Welding is a very useful skill to have and is not too difficult to acquire, just requires some knowledge of technique and a lot of practice. A basic welding set-up can be had for under £50, often less than the cost of having someone else perform a single repair. Uses include replacing panels on a classic car, putting a patch on a leaking exhaust, making brackets, fences, gates, handrails, furniture, sculptures...
There are many types of welding process but I will only cover the ones suited for home workshop use. These are MMA ("stick") , MIG and TIG.
Manual Metal Arc welding uses an air or oil cooled welding set with a consumable electrode (welding rod) that has a flux coating. A wide range of rods are available for different applications and materials including mild and medium carbon steels, stainless steel, disimilar steels and cast iron.
Manual Inert Gas , also know as GMAW, involves a continuously fed coil of wire as the electrode, with gas shielding. A variation on this, Gassless MIG, uses a flux cored wire rather than gas shielding. MIG takes less time than other welding processes and is relatively easy to perform.
Tungstun Inert Gas, or GTAW, uses a tunsten electrode shielded by gas, and filler wire fed by hand into the weld pool. Similar technique to gas welding. A slow, skiled process particularly suited to stainless steel and (with a suitable welder) aluminium.
|2% Thoriated||mild and stainless steel||DC -ve||Red|
|Ceriated||ferrous and non-ferrous metals||AC and DC||Grey|
|Zirconated||Aluminium and magnesium alloys||AC||White|
Gas/TIG wire is available for welding particular metals.