Welding can be a necessity, a profession, or a pastime. Whatever it is for you, one thing that stays unchanged is the expenditure. You have to spend on welding gear and equipment, either smaller or larger scale. However, there are some tips for welding on a budget.
Reducing downtime is the key to welding on budget. Make use of your gears as much as you can. Also, take good care of your welding machinery, know what you are doing, maintain the quality and eliminate wastage as much as possible.
Welding shouldn’t break your bank. Although it is expensive, you can cut down the cost by following some easy tricks. To find out how to weld when on a budget without compromising the quality even the slightest, keep on reading.
25 Tips For Saving Money On Welding
There are many simple hacks to minimize costs while welding. Here are 25 tips for welders on a budget:
1. Use The Right Welding Type
Different welding types are meant for different purposes. After all, there are reasons why so many welding variations were invented as time went by. Each welding type is suitable for specific metals. For example, stick welding is good for thick steel and cast iron, whereas aluminum and magnesium are suited for TIG welding.
Using the right type will get you the best results and minimize mistakes. While you can ignore minor defects, rectifying major problems is expensive. So, using the right welding type is always a budget-friendly option.
2. Know The Ins And Outs Of The Type
Using the appropriate welding won’t get you over the finish line if you don’t know the mastery of the type. The purpose of using individual types is to get the best outcome.
A faulty technique will make the weld defective with deteriorated joint strength and quality. So, no matter what type of welding you use, make sure you know it inside out.
3. Resort To Automation If Possible
Robot welding isn’t something new. Using robots will get you longer periods of welding and impeccable results. Human workers need to rest after a certain time. Robots do not have that problem. You can get more work done in less time by using robots. That’s why robots have become a top choice in the welding industry.
But you can not weld everything using robots. In the automobile industry, robots can do 80% of all welds. In the shipping industry, human welders do most of the work. So, it depends on what your work sector is. If you can implement robots, doing so will benefit your budget.
4. Train Your Workers Properly
Knowing all the tips and tricks in the world won’t get you anywhere if your workers can’t apply them in the field. You may know how to get the best out of your weld at a cheaper rate, but that’s not enough. It’s your workers doing the work. It’s equally important that your employees know them as well.
So, you have two options; hire expert workers or train them according to your needs. While both of them will cost you more than having average workers, it will save you a lot of money in the long run for sure.
5. Eliminate Downtime
If you have a welding workshop, it means you have already made quite an investment. Welding and its associated instruments are expensive. To recover the expense, you’ll have to squeeze the juice out of your machines round the clock. Your investment is no good if the equipment is sitting idle.
So, arrange your workforce in a way that there is as little downtime as possible. Wasting time means wasting an opportunity to make money. How you adjust timing to mitigate downtime and maximize efficiency is up to you. But doing so is an economically viable option.
6. Bundle Projects Together
Welding usually comes with a few associated tasks like grinding, painting, machining, etc. If you choose to hire separate technicians for each, the whole thing will cost you a lot. The good thing is that most welders are quite adept in these correlated tasks.
Prior discussion with the contractor can get you a good deal. You won’t have to hire separate workers for painting, grinding, etc., if you can outsource them to the welding contractor. The service you get will be quite satisfactory, and the overall cost will be affordable.
7. Don’t Compromise Quality
Quality comes with a price. If you want the absolute best out of your welding, you must spend money. There are tricks to reduce welding costs. Cutting corners doesn’t always bring the best results. If anything you do degrades the weld quality, the subsequent events will drain your wallet.
Whatever you do to save some money on welding, things will go downhill if everything doesn’t go as you expected; and the result is substantial unnecessary expenses.
8. Reduce Waste On Consumables
Electrodes are one of the main sources of expense in welding. There are consumable and non-consumable electrodes. TIG welding employs a non-consumable electrode, whereas stick welding, MIG welding, and other processes employ a consumable electrode. Consumable means the electrode melts and works as the filler metal to join the parts.
It’s like using a pencil. How much you save depends on the extension of your pencil usage. Use the electrode as extensively as possible before switching to the next one. It might not seem very important, but after maybe a hundred welds, the amount you will have saved will be sizeable.
9. Reduce WastageOn Shielding Gas
Except for stick welding, all other arc welding processes require shielding gas. Shielding gas prevents the weld pool from reacting with environmental gases. Shielding gases are usually single inert gas or a mix of multiple gases. Without shielding gas, the welding would become contaminated and weak.
The cost of shielding gas is also significant. Many think that applying too much gas wouldn’t cause any problem, but that’s not true.
While the resultant problem in the weld quality might be negligible, the cost due to gas wastage will be too big to ignore. So always monitor shielding gas usage to prevent unnecessary wastage.
10. Choose The Correct Joint Design
Weld joint design plays a huge role in welding strength and quality. The design depends on the thickness of the metal and the plane. There are various designs like single V, double V, double bevel, single U, double U, etc.
Many people don’t know that joint design is directly associated with cost. The amount of filler material is proportional to the joint design. For example, double V joints require less filler metal than single V joints. So, if you pick a joint type that isn’t suitable for that specific welding, the wastage on filler metal will be significant.
11. Ensure The Safety Of The Welding Environment
Welding involves high temperatures and electricity. Substandard safety measures can lead to a fire accident, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars. Welding can also lead to several health hazards, which might cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Also, you are responsible for your workers’ safety. A lawsuit against you in the event of such an accident can cost you a big chunk of money in compensation.
12. Get Rid Of Inefficient Workers
Expert workers will automatically reduce cost and wastage, thanks to their proficiency in this sector. As I have already stated above, well-trained workers are like gems. You have to pay them extra, but what you get in return is priceless.
On the other hand, inept workers are just intolerable. Not only do they not have adequate skills to lower welding costs, but they are also a threat to your welding machinery.
You have two options, one of which I have already discussed above. If that’s not possible, relieve them of their duties politely.
13. Maintain Your Equipment
Welding machinery is complex. They undergo a lot of stress. So naturally, welding equipment is prone to damage, which isn’t much of an issue because it is repairable. But you may not be so lucky if you don’t properly take care of your welding instruments.
Once they are irreversibly damaged, this will take a toll on your wallet because welding machinery is expensive. So always properly take care of welding equipment for long-term financial benefits.
14. Invest In Advanced Equipment
No technology is foolproof. There is always room for improvement, and rightfully so, every existing technology is constantly evolving. In the welding sector, the improvement is astonishing. Laser welding, friction stir welding, automation are a few, to name a few.
Advanced technologies in welding yield more efficient, impeccable welds at a lower cost. There is no overwelding, the filler usage is as minimal as possible, the joint strength is optimum, and the list goes on. So, investing in advanced technologies might seem expensive, but it will bring budget-friendly results in the long term.
15. Don’t Spend TooMuch On AHelmet
Welding is like a temptation, more like bike helmets. They range from dirt cheap to daylight robbery. And as I said, it’s a temptation. So many new welders can’t resist the temptation and buy such expensive helmets.
The thing is, the relatively cheaper ones get the job done just as well as the expensive ones. So, there’s no point in spending over $400 for a welding helmet. You can get equal performance from $100 helmets. However, don’t go below $100 as they are not that good.
16. Keep Proper Records
How much you spend and how much you make it difficult to keep track of without proper records. A thorough calculation of factors like how many electrodes you need for a hundred welds, the electric bill, associated costs, technicians’ salaries, etc., is important to figure out if your expense is over the top and whether it can be minimized.
Proper record-keeping is of utmost importance to track every dime you spend on your welding projects. In-depth and meticulous record keeping is a huge advantage for budget welders.
17. Minimize Paperwork
Paperwork is part and parcel of keeping records. Everything you write is a permanent record that you can trace even years later. But too many papers can do the opposite. It can make things too complicated for future reference. Maintaining them is also costly.
Digital record-keeping is an excellent alternative. You can store and find any information with the stroke of a few buttons. The hassle is less, the cost is less, and the upshot is a thousand times more efficient.
18. DIY Where Possible
There are things that you can make yourself with the help of wonderful YouTube tutorials. A welding cart is one such thing that people buy without doing any research. Welding carts cost around $100. You will not find one at any lower price than that.
However, you can construct a welding cart all by yourself for just about $30. You can find all the parts in nearby hardware shops or online. The online video tutorials will make things so easy for you that you won’t feel that you are doing it for the first time.
19. Visit The Scrap Metal Yard
Welding is all about trial and error. As a beginner, you will have to spend a lot on metal sheets and pieces. But many don’t know that there’s a wonderful way to save some money on metals. Visit your local scrap yard. You will find metal pieces of all shapes and sizes at a cheap rate.
You won’t need metal pieces of high finish for practicing. You will find metal pieces in good shape at a reasonable price. You can even find the necessary stuff for free if you have a good acquaintance with the owner.
20. Properly Prepare The Welding Site
Weld site preparation can make or break the success of welding. The welding site is usually full of debris, such as oil, paint, etc. If the weld is performed on top of that, the joint strength won’t be up to the mark. The subsequent failure of the weld will be costly.
So proper cleaning of the welding site not only yields a robust joint but also is financially beneficial. Clean the site with proper cleaners, then remove any remaining cleaner solution for a neat and dry surface.
21. Don’t Use Excess Amperage
Welding consumes a lot of electricity, which is reflected in the utility bill. There is a simple way to bypass this problem. Know the exact amperage for the type of welding and stick to it. You don’t need more current than recommended. Using excess amperage will only increase the utility bill with no expectant result in return.
22. Purchase online
Try purchasing welding-related equipment online. There are many discounts, cashback offers, and coupons available round the clock. If you are lucky, you may find such offers and make a huge saving. Also, there are usually discounts on online orders instead of buying from physical shops.
23. Save Time
Don’t waste time on anything. The more work you do, the more quickly you will recover your investments and start making profits. The point is to make the most use of your machinery and avoid downtime as much as possible.
24. Stick To The design
There is usually a welding map printed on paper. The weld map denotes the numbers, type, and location of welds on a project. The mapping is done to obtain the best possible results from the welding project.
Following the design strictly will ensure the avoidance of any wastage or faulty welding. The resultant welding will be impeccable and will aid you in reducing the waste of resources and money.
25. Eliminate Overwelding
Overwelding is a common issue in welding. Many think that it does not cause any problems; grinding the excess will do just fine, which it does. But that doesn’t necessarily prevent wastage.
Overwelding means wasting filler metal. Also, extra grinding will increase utility bills and technicians’ salaries. If you calculate the excess expense after a hundred overweldings, you will see how much you can save from just making one change in your welding practice.
What Is The Cheapest Type Of Welding?
Different welding types bear different costs. If you are on a budget, stick welding is the way to go. It is the simplest form of welding, with cheap and readily available equipment, and it is highly versatile.
You can use stick welding on almost any type of metal. For beginners, there is no better welding type than stick welding. Although the finish is not good on stick welding, you can’t do more advanced welding unless you learn to use the most basic type.
Welding is constantly evolving. With so many advancements in technology, the cost also seems to be on the rise. If you look closely, you will realize that’s not the case. Resorting to the latest technologies is one of the many ways you can save on welding.
If you don’t have the budget, following any of the above tips for welding on a budget will be good enough for budget welders like you.