To start hobby welding and not have an idea of the amount of money you want to spend is not a good idea.
Cheap Welding Tips
1. Don’t Go Too Cheap
There are a lot of cheap welding machines on the market today, and no I don’t recommend going with the bottom of the barrel when you’re just starting.
Do look into a decent welder because if you go too cheap it may not even allow you to weld metal any thicker than sheet metal.
The higher you go on the scale of power for a welder the more expensive they get. Just know that if you go with a more powerful welder you can always turn it down to weld thinner metals.
Everybody wants to save money, but it’s not the best idea to go overboard here and disappoint yourself.
I always recommend that beginners to welding start out with a MIG welder just because they are so easy to use. You can literally lay a nice weld bead right out of the box when using a MIG.
If you’re not sure what the difference is between the different welding processes, you may want to check out my post “What’s The Difference Between MIG, TIG, and Stick Welding?”
2. Don’t Overpay For A Welding Helmet
There are lots of welding helmets on the market and some even cost upwards o $400. For diy welding projects you don’t need a helmet that expensive.
You can buy a good beginners welding helmet for around $50-$60. That will work just fine for you until you want to upgrade in the future.
I’ve had several of these helmets and they did the job for me, but here’s a not of caution. Some of the cheap welding helmets are made kind of flimsy and might break on you eventually.
Besides that, it will work fine for you while you’re just getting started.
3. Build Your Welding Cart
Buying a welding cart can cost you $100, but why spend that money when you can make this a first project.
It’s good practice to build you own welding cart, and the materials to do it might cost you $30.
All you really need is some angle iron, expanded metal, and wheels.
4. Check The Scrap Pile At Your Steel Yard
If your local steel yard has a scrap pile that you can search in it’s a good idea. A lot of times they will discount pieces of metal that have been cut on.
When I was just learning to weld I went and asked a local welding shop if I could grab some scrap pieces out of their dumpster to practice on. They were perfect because I wasn’t building anything.
I was just practicing my welds, and the metal was FREE!
If you buy the steel from the racks in full 20′ pieces it’s a little more expensive, but it’s the way to go when you’re building a project.
5. Buy Your Welding Rods and Wire Online
It’s cheaper to buy your welding consumables online, like at Ram Welding Supply or Ebay. It’s not only cheaper, but you don’t pay tax on online purchases if they’re out of state.
Like I said before, I recommend beginners to start out with a MIG welder. It’s very quick and easy to learn how to weld using a mig welder.
If you’re buying your MIG welding wire online you have 2 different options because a MIG welder can work with gas or without gas.
If you’re using it with gas then you would buy solid wire. If you’re using it without gas then you’re using it with flux core wire.
Using your mig welder is cheaper when starting out by welding with flux core wire. This is because you don’t have to buy a gas cylinder.