Whether you’re professional vehicle technician, a classic car enthusiast or a keen motorist, adding a welder to tool your tool kit can be a very worthwhile investment. A welder makes a wide range of car bodywork repairs possible. Likewise, a good quality plasma cutter can be a very handy tool. But how do you choose the right model for you and the jobs on your list? If you’re confused about the different types of welder, we’ve got a great guide for you.
Brand new welding range
Here at Draper Tools our welding offering has just got bigger and better. We’ve added 16 new welders and 2 plasma cutters to our range, with a host of new accessories and consumables (you can see the complete range here).
Here’s our guide to navigating the world of welding.
Which welder is right for you?
ARC Welders: Using these can be a very cost-effective and convenient welding option when you’re working with thicker materials. Predominantly used with steel, arc welding is often seen in engineering workshops, harnessing transformer technology to generate the intense heat needed to produce the perfect weld
MMA Welders: Manual metal arc welding (MMA or MMAW) is versatile and commonly used welding technique, mainly used for welding steel and iron. It uses the same process as Arc welding, with the electric arc burning between the metal work piece and the electrode. Draper’s new range of MMA Inverter welders use inverter technology to offer a superior welding performance in a smaller, lighter machine than traditional transformer ARC welders. A great multi-purpose option is the Draper Expert High Frequency 200A TIG/MMA Aluminium Welder.
MIG Welders (gas and gasless): MIG welding is widely used for tasks such as light fabrication work, vehicle chassis welding and body panel repairs. It’s an arc welding process, whereby the arc is created between the work metal and a welding wire, which melts and forms the weld filler. The welding wire spool is fed through a tensioner. At the same time a shielding gas is fed along the same supply line to the welding gun to provide an inert atmosphere and prevent oxidation which would weaken the weld. Flux-cored welding wire must be used with gasless models, in order to create the same effect. Gasless MIG welders can weld thicker metals than gas MIG welders, including metal that has rust, dirt or paint.
TIG Welders: Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding uses a small intense arc generated from a pointed tungsten electrode making it ideal for high quality, precision welding projects on stainless steel. You need to be skilled to TIG weld but with the right preparation and training it can produce some of the strongest and most precise welds on a modern car body. TIG welding used generally for welding stainless steel, magnesium or aluminium. An ideal, compact option is our new 145A TIG/MMA Welder.
Plasma cutters: Where welders use heat to bond metals together, plasma cutters do the opposite and use heat to slice apart. They’ll cut through electrically conductive metals and just like welding, you create an arc and use heat to melt through the metal. Plasma cutters can be used for fabrication and body work. Larger, more powerful models offer a cleaner cut on thicker metals. It’s ideal to use an inert gas such as an argon/helium mix or nitrogen when cutting stainless steel or aluminium to ensure a precision cut. Plasma cutters require a clean and dry compressed air supply, so you’ll need an air compressor to use one. For the professional garage, we recommend our new Draper Expert High Frequency 60A Plasma Cutter.
Welding features – what do they mean?
You’ll need the right accessories to use your welder safely, these include:
- Welding helmet, an essential for any welder, make sure your helmet is EN175 and CE approved.
- Welding apron and gloves, leather is a good choice for protection and flexibility.
- Welding curtain, workshops should invest in a flame retardant welding curtain to protect from welding spatter and UV and IR radiation. Check your curtain conforms to BS EN 1598.
- Anti-Spatter Spray – this is designed to prolong tip and shroud life and prevent adhesion of weld spatter to your work area.
Other essentials to look out for, dependent on your model of welder, include nozzle cleaners, scratch brushes, gas regulators, welding clamps and more.
Draper Tools has a new range of welders, welding accessories and plasma cutters out now, for more information and an in-depth look at the different models available, take a look at our online booklet here.