If you don’t have the luxury of owning a big shop with all the tools in the world there’s no need to worry because you can still build great projects with your basic welding essential tools. These top 10 tools are absolute MUST HAVES if you plan to get anything done.
1. Safety Glasses
Make sure you own a solid pair of safety glasses. This is very important to have in order to protect your eyes whenever you’re working in any kind of shop, especially a metal shop. I recommend keeping two to three pairs nearby because they often get damaged easily. Remember to always wear a welding helmet when working with any type of welding.
2. Welding Gloves
Be sure to have a couple of pairs of good welding gloves. I personally have been using Tillman Welding Gloves for many many years. Whatever your preference is I recommend you make sure that your gloves fit nicely and are perfectly snugged to your hands to where you’ll still be able to pick things up.
3. Work Bench
You need a work bench to perform all of your work. Make sure your table is flat and is durable enough to beat on with a hammer. I like to use a 1/2″ thick for my shop at home because it makes it easier to move around when I need to, but I’ve seen a lot of welders work with a bench between 3/4″-1″ thick.
4. Tape Measure
Always have a tape measure on you and in your shop. Stanley tape measure is what I have used for several years and I prefer to always carry around their 12′ tape measure because after awhile of carrying a 25′ it starts to hurt your hip. You can always catch me with a tape measure with me so be sure to always have one handy.
Grinders are super important to have in your shop. I typically use DeWalt and Milwaukee in my shop, both are great and dependable grinders in my opinion and I have a lot of fun with them. When I’m working on a project I will generally have four grinders in my area because they’ll each have everything I will need on them. This will save you time and the hassle of having to continuously change out the grinders.
How I set myself up is by having a stone disk on one of the grinders for any hard grinding, a flap disk on another for all my finishing work, a cut off wheel on the other to cut through metal quickly and effortlessly and lastly a wire wheel to cut off any rust or slag. I strongly suggest owning three to four grinders because you will work more efficiently.
I know it might be tempting to buy a cheaper set of drills and drill bits but trust me when I say it will only frustrate you and make you mad. Get yourself a dependable drill and drill bits to drill with ease and make your life easier. I also recommend having a good set of impacts in your shop because I know I use the heck out of them to be able to put things together and take them apart quickly.
A great set of clamps is always worth the investment. I use clamps that are a little bit more on the expensive side but they are seriously worth it because they’ve never failed me. A cheaper clamp can potentially hurt you or those working around you so keep this in mind when making your purchase. Along with the clamps, you want to be sure to have a good working bench vice to bolt to your table and save yourself from frustration.
8. Hand Tools
You need to have hand tools in your shop such as sockets, ratchet wrenches etc. Tool kits are investments that will last you a life time unless your kids lose them like mine do. I’ve had kits for ten plus years that I still use to this day. Tool kits will get you by and are a great way to start. As you continue to become more advanced in your work, have a larger budget and want better tools then I recommend investing in a tool box.
A welder is clearly a must! I recommend having a 220 welder especially if you’re going to be welding with 1/4″ material. A 220 welder will be so much better in your shop and will lay down a much better bead. I’ve welded with every machine out there and you can do great work with all of them. I also suggest having a welder cart for easy storage and being hassle free when moving your welder around.
10. Chop Saw
A good chop saw is necessary for any kind of shop. You put saws through a lot of pressure so its important to invest in a reliable chop saw that is built to last. I know the saws I have in my shop have been really good to me making cuts easy, flawlessly and still working through.
As a bonus I strongly suggest keeping a refrigerator in your shop to keep stocked up with your favorite drinks! These are your top welding essential tools for you to start creating projects and earning money.