Maintaining Your First Machine: 3 Maintenance Tips For Novice Welders

Posted on: 1 June 2015

Investing in the purchase of a welding machine can be exciting for novice welders. If you have recently taken up welding as a hobby, and invested in your first welding machine, there are some important maintenance tips you should follow in order to keep your equipment running right at all times.

Here are three tips that will get you started with proper welding equipment maintenance, so that you can produce solid welds in the future.

1. Don't exceed the manufacturer's specifications.

Novice welders can sometimes be quick to overlook the manufacturer's specifications for their welding equipment. This is especially true when it comes to the duty cycle for a particular machine. The duty cycle is defined as the number of minutes within a 10 minute period that a welder can safely operate a given machine.

Since the duty cycle differs from one machine to the next, it's important that you consult your owner's manual before you begin welding. Choose projects that will fall safely within your machine's duty cycle to extend the life of your equipment.

2. Never do your grinding near your welding equipment. 

No matter how advanced your skills as a welder become, it's likely that you will need to grind your seams flush with your welded surfaces. When your welding bead hits the metal you are working with, a small ridge is created. These ridges must be ground down in order to improve the function and aesthetic of your finished product.

While it might seem easier to keep your grinding equipment next to your welding machine, this could reduce the life of your welding equipment. Small metal shavings left behind during the grinding process can get sucked into your welding machine during use, causing gunk to build up on the interior of your machine. Doing your grinding far from your welding equipment is the best way to ensure that you don't cut the life of your welding machine short.

3. Store your stick electrodes properly.

When it comes to welding, the materials you work with can affect the performance of your equipment. Stick electrodes are particularly susceptible to moisture, so taking precautions to prevent moisture from building up on the surface of your stick electrodes during storage is important. You should invest in a wax coated carton, or purchase stock electrodes that come in a resealable package to ensure proper storage.

Be sure that you consult the manufacturer's recommendations when it comes to the proper storage temperature, since this can vary from one brand of stick electrodes to the next. Working with products that have been properly stored will reduce the amount of strain placed on your welding equipment, helping it last much longer.

As a first-time owner, taking the time to learn how to properly care for your welding equipment is a must. Adhering to the recommended duty cycle, keeping your grinding separate from your welding, and storing materials properly will go a long way toward extending the life of your welding equipment from a company like Wayne Oxygen & Welding Supply Co Inc.