Hints at Setting Up a Welding Shop

by J. Lang Wood; Updated September 26, 2017
Setting up a welding shop requires preparation and equipment.

Setting up a welding shop requires a number of pieces of equipment that are necessary for welding, various pieces of shop equipment, and protective equipment to ensure safety while you weld. You may need a large overhead door for bringing in larger pieces of material that need to be welded. A shop with sufficient electrical capacity for the kind of welding you will be doing is required, and your landlord may require additional insurance coverage because of the flammable nature of the work.

The Right Shop

Finding the right shop space is important to good workflow in a welding shop. You will need an area to store material, steel and aluminum, an area for your welding tables, areas for floor grinders, drill press and saws, and an area for storage of hand tools.

Even the smallest welding shop will need at least 100 amp service, regardless of whether you will be doing arc welding, MIG welding, or TIG welding. However, if you will be running more than one welder at a time, you will need more electrical capacity than that, as one welder can use as much as 90 amps.

Welding Equipment

The kind of welder you need depends on what kind of welding you intend to do. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding offers accurate, splatter-free welding of aluminum housings, furniture, and other items that need clean, smooth welds. MIG (gas metal arc welding) offers faster joining with a rougher weld. Cast iron repair will require a stick welder (SMAW -- shielded metal arc welding).

Safety equipment is very important in welding. Stock your welding shop with a good supply of eye and ear protection items, helmets, leather gloves, welding sleeves and aprons, and an emergency medical equipment to handle minor cuts and burns. Keep one or two fire extinguishers on hand in case weld sparks ignite nearby paper or cloth.

Additional Equipment You Will Need

You will also need flat top metal tables for your work area, right-angle grinders to smooth welds, belt grinder, small die grinders, a cold saw or horizontal band saw, drill press, an anvil, and a wide variety of metalworking hand tools.

You may also need a hand truck or forklift to move heavy metal pieces around your shop. Some welding shops require elaborate equipment such as overhead cranes to move materials during welding.