When the topic of welding is brought up in conversation, most people will automatically think of two metals being melted and joined together.
Since both techniques are different, they also require a separate list of equipment in order to get the job done.
What are some of the most important items you need for MIG Welding?
Some of the most important items that you need for MIG welding include an MIG welder, auto-darkening helmet, a metal brush, C-clamps, and an oxy-acetylene setup. Along with the basic equipment and tools that are needed to perform actual welding tasks, you will need to have the proper safety equipment while on the job. This includes safety goggles, long sleeve shirts and pants, leather boots, gloves, and sunscreen.
As a welder, whether you are a beginner or professional, it is obvious that you will need a wide range of equipment, from actual welding tools to safety gear.
There are so many components involved in welding, and as a result, there is a long list of necessary equipment.
Before you can gather all of your needed supplies, however, you will need to be clear on the type of welding that you are interested in completing.
In this case, if you are looking to get started with MIG welding, you will find all of the information that you need about equipment, and the general price range of each piece.
The Ultimate List
If you are not familiar with welding types and techniques, there are two main categories to consider: MIG and TIG.
MIG welding, also known as gas metal arc welding, includes using gas to heat up metal pieces and join them together.
When it comes to MIG welding, in particular, there is a long list of specific equipment that will be needed to complete each task.
In this section, we will be going over all of the equipment and tools that are necessary for MIG welding in general.
Take a look at the list down below to get all of this information, along with an estimated price range that you can expect for each piece:
- MIG welder ($300-500)
- Auto-darkening helmet ($50-100)
- Welding magnets ($5-10)
- Welding framing jig ($150-200)
- Speed square ($6-10)
- Sheet metal gauge ($5-10)
- Metal file ($5-10)
- Welding clamps ($20-40)
- Metal brush ($15-30)
- MIG pliers ($15-20)
- Soapstone ($20-30)
- Angle grinder ($200-300)
- C clamps ($20-30)
- Portable band saw ($300-500)
- Chipping hammer ($20-30)
- Oxy-Acetylene ($300-500)
The first thing that you will need to start up your MIG welding gear collection is, obviously, your MIG welder.
This is the machine that you will be using to complete the needed welding tasks. You can find a good one online for the price range of $300-500.
An auto-darkening helmet is another necessary piece of equipment for MIG welding. This will go over your head and work to protect your eyes from the flames at the same time.
These don’t cost much, and can be found for $50-100 almost anywhere that sells welding equipment.
Some of the smaller pieces of equipment that are needed for MIG welding include a welding framing jig, speed square, sheet metal gauge, metal file, welding clamps, metal brush, MIG pliers, soapstone, angle grinder, C clamps, and a chipping hammer.
All of these items fall under the price range of about $5 at the lowest, all the way up to $40 on the high end for the most quality items.
Even though the individual price points are relatively low, they can certainly add up when you are purchasing the entire list of MIG welding necessities to get started.
When going down the line to purchase the items on your essential MIG welding list, you will notice that there are only a few very high-priced items.
These are the areas in which you should go for the upmost quality.
In other words, you should try to purchase in the higher range of price for the MIG welder, portable band saw, and oxy-acetylene set.
These are some of the most vital pieces of equipment, and you will need them to work flawlessly – you do not want to go cheap on any of these items.
The other smaller items on the list that were previously described do not need all of the additional features and bells and whistles.
While you should always look for quality in your MIG welding equipment, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to break the bank in order to check off the items on your list.
Saving money on your MIG welding equipment list is something that we will all about in more detail shortly.
But for now, there is an entirely separate group of items that you will need before you can start MIG welding.
Along with the actual welding equipment that is needed in this circumstance, you will also need to be prepared with the proper safety gear to protect yourself while welding.
Without these items, you will be much more prone to accident and injury while you are on the job.
To tie up this section, we will be going over all of the additional pieces of gear and equipment that you will need to cover and protect yourself from head to toe while you are engaging in MIG welding, or any other category, for that matter.
Take a look at the list down below to get an idea of what you should have on before you begin any welding task:
- Safety glasses ($20-30)
- Leather gloves ($30-50)
- Long sleeves and pants ($50-100)
- Sunscreen ($10-15)
- Leather boots ($30-50)
The first thing that you will need, as far as safety goes, is a good pair of safety glasses. These will usually cost you anywhere from $20-30.
In addition, you should have leather gloves to protect your hands ($30-50), and some leather boots to match for your feet ($30-50).
Along with the external pieces of equipment that are worn on top of your clothes, you will need to have the proper attire to protect your skin from both direct and indirect burns.
This will consist of long sleeves and pants. If you don’t already have an outfit similar to this, you can find one for around $50-100, depending on the quality and brand that you are seeking out.
Finally, you should always have some sunscreen on hand before you begin welding.
This will protect the exposed areas of your body that are not covered by your pants or sleeves. Without it, you can experience a sunburn from the heat and flames.
How To Save Money On MIG Welding Gear
So, now that you have gotten the full breakdown on the cost of getting all of the basic MIG welding gear that you will need for your first project, you might already be deterred away from the idea.
As with almost everything else in the world, money is the main decision-maker in how quickly you get into MIG welding, or if you even do it at all.
Even though the price tag of a set of MIG welding gear can look pretty steep from a beginner’s standpoint, it will all be worth it once you finally perfect your welding craft.
Whether you are trying to go into welding as a profession to make some extra money, or you would like to be more hands-on with some projects that you need done within your home, you can easily benefit from learning this skill.
Since welding equipment and safety gear is absolutely needed for any welding task, and cannot be compromised on, you will need to get creative when you are trying to save some money on your overall expenses.
When most people think of saving money on something like this, they would immediately jump to sacrificing a few pieces and going minimal.
However, when it comes to MIG welding, you cannot skip out on any piece of equipment for welding or safety.
In other words, it is just not possible to be minimalistic when you are looking into getting into this craft.
All items that were previously discussed are absolutely needed throughout this entire process.
So, let’s take a look at some other ways that you can save money while buying MIG welding gear. Refer to the list down below for some quick tips, and keep reading to get all of the details:
- Look for used equipment
- Find sales in store or online coupons
- Go with the basics first (and upgrade later)
- Try to save money on your welding materials instead (scrap piles, wholesale, etc.)
Even though you can’t get rid of anything on the MIG welding essential equipment list, you can still look for discounts on used equipment.
This can be found online on websites like eBay, or you can look on a local marketplace website like Craigslist.
In addition, local welding shops or groups might have old equipment for sale.
If you are able to find most of your pieces in good condition for a lower price, you can really knock a lot of bulk off of your final bill.
If you would rather go for newer equipment, you can look for sales in store or internet coupons to use for online shopping.
To find the best deals, you can visit your local welding shop and ask them to keep you up to date on upcoming sales.
If you are shopping online, on the other hand, you can sign up for the store’s email list, so they can alert you when they are having store-wide discounts.
When trying to save money on MIG welding gear overall, you should have the mindset of going with the basics first.
While it is true that there is a lot of fancy equipment out there, you should leave behind all of the bells and whistles, and just plan to upgrade later on.
If all else fails, you can just try to save money on your welding materials instead to make up for the difference, which is much easier to do.
Look for spare metal pieces in scrap piles, or buy them wholesale online. This will help to offset the expenses that you splurged on your new equipment in some way.
How To Maintain Your MIG Welding Tools
As with any other type of equipment or set of tools that you will be using on a regular basis, you will need to learn how to maintain your MIG welding tools.
While it is true that you can gather all oft he needed supplies for your welding task, they will not hold up long if you do not take proper care of them.
Since MIG welding tools can really pile up when it comes to costs, you want to make sure that you are caring for your investment.
Even though MIG welding tools are rather expensive when all of the necessities are calculated, you have the potential to use them in order to make a lot more money on top.
However, this will not be possible if all of your tools and equipment break or need repairs within weeks or months of your purchase.
In this section, we will be going over exactly how you can clean and maintain the MIG welding tools that were previously discussed, in order to ensure that your hard earned money is not wasted.
With that being said, it is vital that you establish a cleaning and maintenance routine for all of your MIG welding tools.
Take a look at the list down below to find some helpful tips and suggestions for doing so:
- Come up with a consistent cleaning schedule and stick to it
- Frequently check all parts of your welding gear/machines for repairs
- Quickly find a resolution to all damages/needed repairs
In order to maintain your MIG welding tools satisfactorily, you will need to come up with a consistent cleaning schedule and stick to it.
Ideally, you will clean up your machines and tools before or after each use.
This will ensure that no scraps or debris get stuck in the crevices, or cause any permanent damages or needed repairs to your tools.
Additionally, you should frequently check all parts of your welding gear and machines for repairs.
Even when you are not using it for long periods of time, you should make sure everything is in good standing and looks correct.
In the event that you find something that needs to be fixed, you should find a resolution as soon as possible.
Leaving damaged or broken pieces idle for too long can give you more problems than you are ready to handle:
- Make sure your wire is cut to the proper length
- Clean the gun contact tips (and replace them when needed)
- Keep the gun nozzle clean of spatter
- Check the diffuser regularly for any clogs
- Maintain the shielding gas bottle
- Keep a cover over your machine when you are not using it (to prevent dust)
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your MIG welder machine, in particular, there are a few specific points that you should keep in mind, and never leave out for the best results.
First of all, you should always make sure that your wire is cut to the proper length while welding. This will prevent dirt and debris buildup.
While you are cleaning, you should not forget the gun contact tips, and always make sure to replace them when needed.
Keep the gun nozzle clean of spatter, and check the diffuser regularly for any clogs. It is also important to maintain the shielding gas bottle.
Last but not least, keep a cover over your machine when you are not using it, in order to prevent any dust from building up and accumulating damages that you will have to attend to at a later time.
To conclude, it can seem like there are a lot of specific pieces of gear and equipment that are needed for MIG welding, and this can be overwhelming to someone who is just starting out in the craft.
However, you will find that once you get started with everything that you need, it will be smooth sailing, and you will be able to make your investment back times ten if this is your intention.