Tips For Welding Steel Plate

Whether you want to build a box, a platform or a piece of art, steel plate can be an incredibly useful material. But if you are not familiar with welding, getting that plate to stick together is going to be a challenge. Sure, you can use metal screws, but a weld is stronger, more durable and just looks better.

Fortunately, steel plate is some of the easiest welding you can do. It may take a bit of practice, but you can do this. Just remember the following:

Clean Your Metal

Impurities are the enemy of a good weld. As the metal melts, the impurities on the steel will flow into the weld, causing weakness in its overall structure. This is why all experienced welders take the time to clean their work area.

Ideally, you should use a grinder to grind off all the dirt and rust on the surface of the steel. This will expose the clean metal underneath, and ensure that nothing gets in the weld. If you don't have access to a grinder, at least take a powered wire brush and scrub the welding area down.

Use A Stick Welder

There are a number of different welding machines you can choose from, but a basic stick welder is the easiest to learn. It is also perfect for welding steel plate.

You can rent a stick welder from the hardware store, borrow a friends, or if you are really enthusiastic, buy your own.

Go With 6011 Rods

When you start looking at the rods available to you, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are a ton of options. But for your purposes the old standby 6011 is perfect. You will also notice there are a range of widths for each type of rod. Generally, you want a thinner rod for a thinner piece of steel and a thicker rod for a thicker piece.

Weld Parallel To The Ground

A good welder can work along a vertical surface, or even upside down. But a beginner is best off working level with the ground. As the metal melts when you weld, it will flow down with gravity. This is too much to deal with when you are first learning. Welding on a level surface will make sure the metal stays put.

Take Your Time

A strong weld cuts deeply into both pieces of metal. Use some practice material and take your time, learning how long the stick must be applied to penetrate adequately.  

For more information on working with steel plate, contact a company like Steel Plate Products Inc.