Today, most projects involve the use of a lot of metal, intending to achieve durability. To arrive at your final metal product, you can adopt different processes, one of them being sheet metal fabrication. Sheet metal fabrication is the manipulation of flat metal sheets, often aluminum or steel, by cutting, bending, and welding. The result is an item of your desired shape and design.
This article discusses sheet metal welding, specifically safety as you execute it. Welding is the process you’ll use to join your sheet metal and arrive at the final product. Unlike traditionally when such operations occurred in factories, today, most of the population is undertaking such projects as DIY. You most likely don’t have the tools and equipment like factories at home to ensure safety. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t ensure your safety as you weld your sheet metals.
What are the safety tips you can adopt? Read on to find the ways you can safeguard yourself.
- Learn How The Tools Work
The basic safety tip you can adopt is knowing how the tools work—in this case, the welding equipment. You can get this information from the equipment’s manual, which the tools’ manufacturers provide. In addition, you can use the internet and find sources such as Alroys Sheet Metal and others that divulge much information about the process. Videos of how to use and handle the tool will also come in handy. You want to hold it properly to prevent accidents that could be catastrophic.
Besides learning the tools’ workings, familiarize yourself with the various parts and how they function. Some crucial parts you must know are on and off switches, as well as safety features such as guards.
Ultimately, knowing all the workings of your welding equipment reduces the possibility of accidents.
- Wear The Right PPE
Personal protective equipment (PPE) aims to protect your body from harm as you weld your sheet metal. You want to protect yourself from sparks and toxic fumes as you weld.
One of the PPEs you need is a welding helmet. This helmet is made from a hard material like steel that doesn’t burn easily. The welding helmet should cover your entire face, including your eyes. However, the eye section needs a transparent metal to ensure you see as you weld and reduce light intensity. As you weld your aluminum sheet metal, flying sparks and metal parts can enter your eyes and nose, causing harm and injuries.
The other PPE you require is a respirator. Welding produces toxic fumes, and the respirator will prevent you from inhaling the toxic fumes that could lead to respiratory problems. Some welding helmets have a respirator on their inside, serving two purposes. However, if your helmet doesn’t have one, buy one and ensure it can comfortably fit under your helmet.
Lastly, you must wear the right clothing for the job. It’s best to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. These will prevent the flying sparks from burning your skin as you weld your sheet metal. One last piece of advice is to ensure you tie your hair tightly and ensure none is hanging down your face or back. The same should apply to your clothes; you shouldn’t have hanging drawstrings from your hoodie. Hanging hair or clothes can get caught in your welding equipment, leading to injuries.
- Always Inspect Your Tools
Inspecting your tools before using them for your DIY project is a practice you should adopt. You want to ensure your tools are working right as you use them because it contributes to your safety. Imagine a scenario where you use the welding tool only for its wiring to cut off or jointing to fall off. Since it’s in use, other parts could fly and hit you. Damaged wiring could lead to a fire, which you don’t want.
Therefore, always check your tools beforehand. It’d help to create an inspection checklist for each tool, especially the parts that contribute to the functioning of your welding unit. The checklist will ensure you don’t miss out on inspecting any part that ends up being the cause of an accident. If you see any issue, ensure you address it immediately and don’t postpone it until you finish the work. Postponing repairs increases the safety risk.
Sheet metal welding is an activity you can easily take up as a DIY and enjoy doing. However, you’ll only enjoy it when you don’t worry about your safety. The article above divulges safety tips you can adopt as you undertake this project. It’ll be to your benefit that you implement these tips, and you’ll enjoy your newfound hobby without putting you at injury risk.