Welding has been a mainstay endeavor in one form or another since the age of ancient Egyptians. Welding is an extension of our need to create and innovate. It also satisfies part of our curiosity.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose welding as a career to learn and master welding. You can pick up welding as your hobby and as an enjoyable and exciting pursuit.
What Is Welding?
Welding is a fabrication method whereby two or more pieces of materials, mainly metals or thermoplastics, are melted under focused high temperatures and allowed to cool together, resulting in fusion. A consumable filler material is often introduced to the joint in addition to melting the base/primary metal to generate a weld pool (which is a pool of molten material) that cools to form a joint.
The filler components can be chosen to have similar chemical and physical properties as the source material, resulting in a homogeneous weld. On the other hand, in heterogeneous weld configurations, the consumable materials chosen have different qualities than the base material.
Welding can be done with various energy sources, including electric arc, gas flame, friction, laser, electron beam, and ultrasonic. For some welding techniques, pressure can be used alone or in combination with heat to create a weld.
Virtually, all welding techniques also necessitate using a shield to prevent contamination or oxidation of the filler metals or molten metals.
Welding should not be confused with soldering or brazing, which occur at lower temperatures and do not require the melting of the base metal.
Can Welding Be A Hobby?
In a nutshell, yes. There are no rules that designate welding as a preserve of professionals. In fact, hobby welding is enjoyed by many DIY enthusiasts, artisans, mechanics, and even artists who find the process of creating through welding enjoyable and exciting.
There are numerous cases of people who started welding as a hobby and transitioned into full-time welding after finding the art form and science of welding too addictive to let go of.
Crucially, welding skills have great utility in various environments. You can use your welding skill for DIY repairs at home or create projects you’ll use in your home or work life.
What Types Of People Like Welding?
Everyone who likes welding is someone who likes working with their hands. As you can appreciate, welding, especially hobby welding, is a manual pursuit. You’re unlikely to invest in an automated welding machine just to undertake hobby welding.
DIY enthusiasts who love to do everything they can around their house and business rather than hiring a third party also love welding. With a huge number of metal components in and around our home, mastering the art of welding will come in handy with repairs.
Other people who like welding include artists who work with metals.
Benefits: Why Welding Could Be A Good Hobby?
Some of the benefits that come with picking up welding as a hobby include the following:
1. You Can Make Money On The Side
While hobby welding is a labor of love, it can also be a lucrative side business. Welding skills are highly valued, and welders are always in demand. Even hobbyists can make substantial money on the side, especially if they get skilled and experienced at it.
In fact, welding can provide a decent side income if you are ready to work hard after work or on weekends.
2. It’s A Satisfying Endeavor
Another advantage of hobby welding is that you can, more often than not, witness the results of your labor daily. Other hobbies may entail working on projects or pursuing endeavors that take weeks or even months to complete and enjoy benefits.
Not seeing results can be aggravating because we, as humans, require results to feel motivated. Lack of motivation from not seeing results is also why some people abandon their hobbies. As a welder, you won’t have this problem because you’ll be able to see the end product of your labor rather fast, and seeing progress every day can help push you to keep going.
3. You Can Perform Your Own DIY Projects And Repairs At Home
You can work on any repair or project that requires welding at home. Do you want to repair a fence? Are you looking to build a workbench for your home workshop? Any project that requires welding will be your forte.
4. You Can Help Out Your Friends
Aside from working on your DIY projects and repairs, you’ll also be in a position to work or repair welding and projects that your friends and family need. As such, you’ll be of great value to those close to you, which is hugely satisfying.
5. You’ll Physically Engage Your Body While Welding
As you can appreciate, welding involves little to no sitting down. The whole time you’ll be welding, you spend it standing and moving around.
This means you’ll receive natural exercise as you enjoy your hobby. And engaging your body some more never goes wrong.
6. You Don’t Necessarily Need Formal Training
Welding is somewhat a technical endeavor. However, you do not need any degree or fancy education to pursue welding.
There are plenty of free manual guides on the internet and tutorial videos on YouTube. Anything you might want to learn can be found free on the internet.
However, if you need some guidance to get off the ground in your welding journey, many metal fabrication companies offer apprenticeship classes at affordable rates. Contact a company close to you can enquire whether they offer welding classes.
Are There Drawbacks To Choosing Welding As A Hobby?
Like with all other hobbies and endeavors, welding has its share of drawbacks. you should know when choosing the best hobby for you. Some of the cons of engaging in welding include the following:
1. Health Hazards
Welding is a hazardous undertaking. The risk of electric shock, burns, inhalation of poisonous fumes and gases, exposure to intense UV radiation, and vision damage is always present. While taking precautions and wearing and using protective gear is helpful, such efforts do not completely remove the associated risk.
2. It Can Be An Expensive Hobby
From purchasing the equipment you need to investing in personal safety, you’ll dig deep into your pocket. Even when you start small, between a MIG, TIG, a stick, and safety equipment, you’ll spend thousands of dollars.
3. Work Environment Is Noisy
Metal fabrication is inherently noisy. The welding process produces a constant buzz.
Additionally, the banging, metal cutting, and other activities that come with welding are noisy. The constant noise is tiring and damaging to one’s ears.
How To Start Welding As A Hobby
Like any other hobby, you’ll need to tick some boxes before starting hobby welding. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you think of getting into welding.
- Welder – For beginners, a stick welder is an excellent choice. Alternatively, you can go for a MIG “flux core” welder. These are the two easiest welders for beginners to learn how to use quickly.
- Safety Equipment And Gear – You need to invest in your safety by buying welding sleeves, a welding apron, gloves, jackets, boots, blankets, safety glasses, a respirator, fire extinguisher, earplugs, etc.
Start-Up and Ongoing Costs
The start-up costs for welding are generally high but vary from one hobbyist to another. You have to purchase a wide range of welding equipment and safety gear, which can cost upwards of $4,000. Moreover, if you take college training in welding, the cost significantly increases.
However, you can keep the start-up cost low by purchasing start-up kits and/or buying used equipment in good condition.
Ongoing costs generally entail replacing defective safety equipment, welding rods if you choose to stick weld, or shielding gas for MIG welding.
Can You Make Money From Welding?
Yes. Once you master the art and science of welding, opportunities to make money abound. Whether it’s working from your garage to repair items for your friends and family or getting part-time gigs, there are numerous ways you can make money from welding.
Similar Hobbies To Welding
There are numerous hobbies that are similar to welding. Some of the more popular hobbies similar to welding include brazing, metal stitching, riveting, and soldering. In fact, you can learn these skills in addition to welding to expand your capabilities.
Alternative Hobbies Welding
If you’re looking to work with metals in your projects but something different from welding, consider taking up CNC machining. Rather than welding metals together, you’ll use a CNC machine to create components or parts from metal stock.
Where To Learn More
There is a thriving community of welding hobbyists on YouTube where you can learn more from. Additionally, there are numerous online classes, blogs, and forums where people interact and share their knowledge and passion for welding. There are also good learning platforms for you to consider.