One of the easiest and most effective ways to form strong welds is to properly maintain welding tools and equipment. Proper welding machine maintenance does not take much effort, and it can result in a significant savings of both time and money. Good upkeep can help users avoid some of the most common welding mistakes, and it can help them prolong the time between repairs. In this brief guide, users can learn a bit about maintaining the various types of modern welding equipment.
Maintaining Stick Welding Equipment
Because most of the stick (SMAW) welder’s parts are internal, this type of welding equipment has the lowest maintenance requirement. The ground clamp and the electrode holder are the only two outside parts, but they are slow to wear—meaning that they don’t need to be replaced often. In the long term, users should occasionally hire a qualified, licensed technician to inspect the machine for buildup on wiring, cooling fans, PC boards and transformers. Care for rods by storing them in a tightly sealed container or rod oven, and store electrodes upright to prevent damage.
Maintaining MIG Welders
Unlike a GMAW welder, a MIG welder includes many more peripherals, such as gun liners, contact tips and gas hoses. Therefore, it requires more frequent maintenance and repair. Liners should be cut to the correct length, and users should avoid driving or rolling anything over gun cables. Doing so can flatten the liner, resulting in the need for time-consuming and expensive replacement.
The Difference Between MIG and GMAW Maintenance
Though MIG welders have higher maintenance requirements than stick welders do, one big benefit of GMAW welding maintenance is that wires are typically copper-coated, which eliminates the rod oven or airtight container requirement. While MIG maintenance has multiple elements, there’s an easy way to detect a potential problem: visible holes in welds. With gas-shielded welding, porous welds indicate procedural or fuel supply issues. Users should pay attention to weld quality, as it’s a reliable indicator of a well-maintained welding machine. By learning about welder maintenance, users can keep their equipment running better for longer, and they can avoid costly downtime and repairs.