32 Tools Favored For Home Welding Shops

If you’d like to discover the tools needed for home welding shops, how to setup your welding shop, and some examples of welding shops then you’re in the right place.

As you read every word of this article, you’ll begin to see just how many welding tools you’ll eventually be working with.

There’s a good chance you’re a beginner to welding if you’re reading this, and that’s a very good thing. You’ve probably got tons of questions about how to get started welding, what tools you need, safety questions, and more.

I’m going to do the best I can to answer these questions, and show you exactly how to setup your welding shop at home to be safe, and to allow yourself to turn this into a hobby or money maker for many years to come.

My name is Garrett Strong.

I’ve been helping beginners & hobbyists learn to weld online for several years now. I’ve helped thousands of people just like you get started learning to mig weld.  If you’d like to get started, Download my FREE beginner’s guide to MIG welding. It’s a super simple mig welding process pdf.

Before we get into setting up your home welding shop, I want to go over the tools you’ll need and even some advanced metalworking tools you might want to look at down the road.

Tool #1: Welder

Obviously, you’ll need to buy a welding machine. This is the most critical step to get right because if you choose the wrong process you’ll kick yourself later. I always recommend beginners start with a MIG welder just because of the ease, and low learning curve. There are also stick welders, but these are more frustrating for beginners to learn.

MIG welders are cheap too. You can find a good used one for under $100 bucks, and new ones start at around $200.

Tool #2: Angle Grinder

Every home welding shop needs a grinder. They are a must have. They are used to remove metal from workpieces, you can cut with them, you can remove rust with an added wire wheel attachment, and you can use a flap disc for fine finishing. I recommend getting a few of them, and getting several different discs.

  1. Grinding disc
  2. Cutoff disc
  3. Wire wheel
  4. Flap disc

Those are the 4 basic discs you’ll want to get, so I recommend getting 4 angle grinders so you aren’t constantly changing discs on one grinder. (They’re $15 a piece at Harbor Freight Tools).

Tool #3: Welding Cart

This is a must have. You need to have a way to mobilize your welder around your shop. You can buy welding carts for $50, but I recommend making one as your first project. It’s an easy project for newbies, and can be built out of simple angle iron.

In my course “90 Minute MIG Mastery”, I have a bonus video where I show you step-by-step how to build a welding cart. It’s a fun and easy build.

Tool #4: Welding Helmet

Of course, you’ll need a welding helmet to protect your eyes from the damaging arc rays produced by welding. You have 2 options here. You can choose a fixed shade helmet (The lens stays dark all the time), or you can choose an auto-darkening helmet.

The auto-darkening helmet allows you to see the workpiece, and as soon as the arc starts the helmet darkens. I recommend these because they just make life easier when welding.

Tool #5: Welding Gloves

You need welding gloves. Don’t think you can get away without these. Not only will your hands get burned from the heat, the arc rays can also do damage to your skin. Don’t follow what the guys on t.v. do sometimes by not wearing gloves.

They’re not following safety precautions, and it will catch up to them at some point. I recommend getting some thick gloves for any kind of arc welding (MIG, Stick), but if you’re doing TIG welding down the road you can get thinner, more agile gloves.

Tool #6: Soapstone

Soapstone is a marking tool that can withstand high heat. You can find it at your welding supplier, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.

You’ll be marking out measurements on your metal, and soapstone is great for this. If you’re going to be making a cut with a cutting torch that needs to be precise, mark it out with soapstone first. You’ll thank yourself later.

Tool #6: Clamps

Clamps come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and for different purposes. Get yourself a lot of clamps because when you start with a project you’ll be clamping, then tack welding, taking final measurements, and finally laying your final welds down.

Clamping is an absolute because with welding, you can’t just lay your welds down on a project without seeing some metal warpage. That’s why we tack weld, because you don’t want to have to grind out a final weld after you discover how crooked your project has warped.

Here’s a list of clamps I recommend getting:

  • C-clamps
  • Bar clamps (long and short)
  • Corner clamps
  • 90 degree clamps (for making frames)

Tool #7: Ball Peen hammer

A ball peen hammer is a very handy tool to have around when you’re working with sheet metal. You can beat and shape metal into any shape you want, but if you don’t have a hammer with a round end on it, you’ll destroy your workpiece.

Tool #8: Shot Bag

A shot bag is optional, but can come in very handy. It’s basically a leather bag filled with small metal balls used to pound out sheet metal into different shapes. Again, not necessary, but you may want one down the road.

Tool #9: Ear plugs

Since I always put safety first I recommend you just buy a container of ear plugs and keep them in your shop. Your grinder will be very loud, so do not use it without hearing protection.

You can do damage that can’t be undone if you use your grinder without hearing protection.

Tool #10: Safety Glasses

DO NOT use your grinder unless you have some safety glasses on. Even better is if you have a face shield you can lower down when using your grinder. Remember, when grinding, all those sparks you see are tiny pieces of metal flying off the disc.

If you get hit in the eye, you’re going to the hospital for a very painful surgery. They will have to manually take out the metal. Not fun for you or your wallet.

Tool #11: Welding Sleeves

If you don’t have a long sleeve shirt on when welding, I recommend getting some welding sleeves. They will protect your arms from sparks, and will keep your work shirts from getting holes in the.

I primarily use my welding sleeves when welding overhead just because a shower of sparks are falling all over your arms. Very handy to have, and they even come with an attachable welding apron to protect your front side.

Tool #12: Chop saw

Before I bought my own chop saw I was using my portable bandsaw to cut metal to length. It wasn’t nearly as accurate as using my chop saw as that will make a 90 degree cut. Beware the differences between a miter saw and a chop saw. A chop saw is made for cutting metal, and miter saws are for wood.

The blade speeds are different, and the torque is different. You’ll know a chop saw because the blade cover is steel, while most miter saw blade covers are plastic.

Tool #13: Bench Vice

A bench vice is a general, all around good tool to have. They are great to have for metal working. When you want to heat and bend a piece with your torch simply put it in the vice and go to town.

If you have it mounted to a heavy welding table, you can bend pieces with your sledge hammer.

Tool #14: Oxy Fuel Setup

The oxy fuel setup is the most versatile tool in your shop, but it’s also the most dangerous. You can cut with it, bend with it, weld with it, braze with it, and more.

You can actually use acetylene or propane as your fuel gas. While propane won’t burn as hot, it’s more affordable than acetylene. Either way, I would look into getting an oxy fuel setup as soon as possible when you start welding. It’s fun to use and makes you feel a little powerful knowing that you can cut straight through ½” steel without blinking.

Tool #15: Plasma Cutter

The plasma cutter is pretty cool because you can cut metals with it that the oxy fuel setup won’t cut. You’ll also get much cleaner cuts with less slag with a plasma cutter. Less heat goes into the metal too.

It’s a great tool to have for sheet metal, and if you have a cnc cutting machine you can simply load up your design, connect your plasma cutter, and cut out your designs.

Tool #16: Anvil

An anvil is a great tool for hammering and shaping metal. Sometimes you just need something heavy that won’t give way when you’re hammering on it.

It’s definitely not a must have in my book, but if you want to do a little blacksmithing at some point you’ll need to get one. You can also use the hitch on your truck as a metal shaping tool.

Tool #16: Welding Table

After the welding cart, the welding table is the next most important thing to have in your welding shop. I hate bending over on the ground to weld projects. It’s just uncomfortable, and when you’re not comfortable you won’t make as good welds.

You need something with a heavy, flat top. Why heavy and why flat? You want the top heavy because you don’t want it warping on you. Plus, with a good welding table top you can make tack weld right to the surface to hold projects down.

You can find cheap welding tables online, but I don’t recommend them. The top will warp on you, and your projects won’t come out square. Get a good ¼” top at least, but ⅜” is better. I teach members of my “Advanced MIG Welding Fabrication” course how to build a welding table from the ground up, with a clamp rack, mig gun holder, lower shelf, and 90 degree slide ups for making frames.

Tool #17: Portable Band Saw

A portable band saw is perfect for making 90 degree cuts on metal tubing, round bar, or just about anything. A portable bandsaw is basically a hacksaw on steroids. Take a hacksaw blade, weld the 2 ends together, add a motor to rotate the blade around and around and you’ve got yourself a bandsaw.

Like I said, I recommend using a chop saw for cutting pieces to length, but a chop saw is stationary. You can’t take it to your project and make a cut.

Tool #18: Welding Magnets

Welding magnets might be the most handy tool you can buy. They’re cheap and you should get several of them. They are a quick way to make a 90 degree angle with metal pieces or a 30 degree angle, or whatever angle you want.

You can buy the snake welding magnets that allow you to hold metal at any angle, in any position you’d like to.

Tool #19 Center punch

Center punches come into play in many different situations. I use my punch when I’m cutting circles with my torch. I simply make the punch (it puts a small divot into the metal) into the center of the circle.

I then insert my circle cutting guide into the punched hole, and it cuts a perfect circle.

Tool #20: Metal scribe

A metal scribe looks like a pen, but instead of having a ball point on the end it has a super hardened sharp point. You can drag this across your metal to mark where cuts should be me.

Tool #21: Welding Curtain

A welding curtain will protect your neighbors, your dogs, your kids, your wife or husband, or anyone else from the damaging arc rays emitted from welding.

You can simply hand the curtain on hooks like a shower curtain, and pull it in or out of the way when needed.

Tool #22: Belt sander

A belt sander is great when doing fine work. They are perfect for sharpening tungsten electrodes for TIG welding, or just anything really.

Both the disc sander and belt sander are great for getting perfectly flat ends.

Tool #23: Drill press

Before I had my drill press I was making holes in metal with my torch. Then I inherited a drill press from a family member and life was much easier. It’s not the best drill press by any means. In fact, I think it’s actually a cheap Harbor Freight.

I went to my hardware store and bought a step bit to put in it, and it works great. You do want to make sure that you change the gearing to a lower speed for metal. If it’s too fast you’ll destroy your bits by overheating them. Many drill presses are setup for wood, so the revolution is faster.

Make sure you use a drill lubricant so you can save your bits.

Tool #24: Bench Grinder

The bench grinder is a must have in my opinion. They can be bought for pretty cheap. They are handy to have because they remove a lot a material quickly if you’re using the course wheel. The other wheel is typically a fine disc to make fine adjustments.

I built a frame for mine that mounts to the studs in my garage wall. It shakes the house a bit when I turn it on, but I didn’t want to mount it in a tire with cement, like so many people do.

Tool #25: Torpedo mag level

A torpedo mag level is great to have when metalworking because it has magnets. You can manipulate any piece into place and ensure that it’s level before tack welding it into place.

StrongHand Tools makes a great one.

Tool #26: Lathe

Machining your own parts with a lathe will give you an incredible skill set. With a lathe there is obviously a learning curve, but if you get good with it you can earn good money. Want to learn gunsmithing? You’ll need a lathe.

Want to eventually land contracts with companies providing specialized machined parts? You need a lathe for that too. And you can earn a significant income if you land some large contracts with companies or government.

Tool #27: Pliers

This one is clear as to why you’ll need pliers when welding. You can pick up hot metal with your welding gloves, but you can’t hold it for long periods of time. You’ll need plier to pick up hot metal. I use mine to hold hot metal, but I also use it to hold pieces I’m grinding on the bench grinder.

A cheap pair will do. I didn’t mention this before but you might consider heading to a pawn shop to see what you can pick up on the cheap.

Tool #28: Cutting table

Cutting tables are used to ensure you have a solid surface to cut metal on while ensuring you’re sparks fall to the ground.

I’ve seen some pretty elaborate cutting tables where the sparks are actually contained in a sheet metal down box. You don’t need to get fancy here. My cutting table is an old rebar frame somebody welded together, and it’s sitting on 2 sawhorses. It works great too.

Tool# 28: Milling Machine

Milling machines can get pretty complex, and the modern ones are all computer driven. Start with an aluminum billet, and end up with a complex race car design.

I don’t think I’ll ever own a milling machine just because I’m a hobbyist. I don’t plan on ever needing to go that route, but if I do I’ll outsource the part.

Tool #29: Metal Brake

Metal brakes are used for bending sheet metal. Depending on the die you’re using, you can bend the sheet metal into many different angles for your needs.

However, beware that sheet metal brakes take up a lot of space, and unless you’re working with sheet metal a lot you don’t need one. You can actually make your own sheet metal brake that takes up much less space in your shop. I made one that does a fairly good job of bending.

Tool #30: Metal Bender

A metal bender like the one shown can be used to bending solid stock like round bar, flat bar, and more. It’s not meant to bend tubing as it will simply kink the tubing. A tubing bender will be needed for this.

There are also scroll attachments you can use to do ornamental iron work. Perfect if you’re creating your own ornamental gates or ornamental custom designs.

Tool #31: Your Brain

Don’t ever forget how dangerous metalworking tools can be. Around every corner their lies a pitfall, but if you’re smart you can easily avoid them. Wear your safety glasses, ear plugs, face shield when grinding, learn how to properly turn on/off your oxy fuel setup before using it…  just be smart.

If you aren’t sure about something, put it down. Don’t put yourself at risk until you are fully sure how to use the many tools you’ll now be using. It’s not worth a hospital stay.

A couple of safety items I haven’t mentioned are to keep a fire extinguisher next to your welding station. I keep a bucket of water in my garage at all times. Use proper ventilation when welding, too. Don’t lock yourself in the garage for hours welding without ventilation.

Remember, you’re breathing in harmful chemicals. I even keep a fan on to circulate the air when welding. Just don’t put it right on your workpiece if you’re using shielding gas because it will blow it away.

Now that we’ve talked about the tools you’ll need, let’s look at some examples of home welding shops so that you can get a good idea. A couple of these are from Car Craft, but I think they are great examples of how to setup your home welding shop.

This is a good example because it’s a nice, compact setup. He’s got the welding table pushed over on the wall, and all his clamps and tools within reach on the wall. To the left he’s got his drill press, and bench grinder.

To the right he has a band saw and his welders on carts. It’s also very clean. That’s what I love about this. You’ll notice that when arc welding you’ll quickly build up a lot of tiny metal particles on the floor. I’m a bit OCD so I like to clean it up after I weld.

This guy has a nice little station for his clamps, glasses, face shield, bench grinder, angle grinders, drill presses, and more. There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

It looks like this little welding shop might be built inside a cargo container. Either way, very cool setup. Notice the thick steel table top.

Here’s another example of a clean shop. Very important. He’s even got a lathe.

All home welding shops are different. Just lay yours out the best you can with the space you have. After being in my own garage welding shop and working on many projects, I quickly discovered that you need a cutting station for cutting pieces to length.

Try to use a long work bench with an adjustable roller stand to hold up the other end for cutting. This will make life much easier on you.

In my course 90 Minute MIG Mastery I take you into my own garage welding shop and show you how to use many of these tools. The primary goal of the course is to take you from a beginner to a master welder in as little time as possible.

Of course, it focuses on mastering the weld puddle, the welding positions, and the welding joints. Once we’ve mastered those, we then move on to fabricating several projects I’ve included in the course as bonuses.

It truly is an amazing experience for the people who go through the course. Most people are beginners and have never welded in their life. There is a money back guarantee, and I personally guarantee you’ll love it or I’ll give you a full refund of your investment.

For a short time I’m making it available for a super low price, and this is just for new subscribers. So what’s your excuse? What is stopping you from learning a new skill that is very valuable, and can bring you joy (and money) for many years.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some great ideas from it.

If you’re new to welding, or you want to master mig weldingDownload my FREE beginner’s guide to MIG welding. It’s the fastest way to learn the best welding process for beginners.

Regards,

Garrett

P.S. What do you think? Do you already have some of these tools? Leave your comments below.

P.P.S. If you liked this article, please share it by clicking on the sharing icons below.

P.P.P.S. You might also enjoy these articles… “5 Reasons Why The MIG Welding Process (GMAW) Is Best For Beginners” and “Make Money Welding with These 5 “Weird” Welding Projects”.

 

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