What you'll need

MIG Welder

In order to create your metal masterpiece, there are a few things you'll need to have handy:

  1. MIG Welder
  2. The first MIG (metal inert gas) welder was developed in the 1940's. Since then, it has become one of the most popular forms of welding, creating an electrical current between an anode (the welding gun) and a cathode (the object you are welding). Heat and gas produced by the short circuit melt the metal, allowing the pieces to fuse together once cooled. MIG welders, similar to the one on the left, are particularly popular because they can bond many types of metals with different thicknesses.

  3. Welding Leads
  4. Welding leads are clamps that you will use to establish an electrical current between your MIG welder and the metal. There is a anode (positive) side and a cathode (negative) side that will connect the machine with the object you are trying to weld.

  5. Wire Brush
  6. Not surprisingly, metal junk can be pretty dirty. High concentrations of rust and grime can prevent an electric current from forming, which is why these things should be scraped off with a wire brush prior to welding.

  7. Plasma Cutter
  8. A plasma cutter cuts metals apart as opposed to fusing them together like a welder. To do this, it makes use of the same high-voltage electricity and compressed gas as a welder. I saved this one for last because, while you don't necessarily need a plasma cutter to create your art, it is possible that you might want one. Many times, artists will cut holes through metals using a plasma cutter and then join them with bolts rather than welding them. This creates a specific look in the finished product.

Directions Welding

Once you have these items along with the appropriate safety gear, you are ready to start welding! While I won't get too technical for the purposes of this page, I will give you a basic overview of the welding process. Please visit my resources page for more in-depth information.

  1. Plug it in
  2. Plug your welder into a 220-volt outlet. Turn the machine on.

  3. Establish an electrical current
  4. Set your metal object on a level surface. Make sure the welder and the metal are connected through the welding leads. Strike the metal with your hand and quickly pull up to complete the circuit. This is called "striking a welding ark".

  5. Zigzag
  6. Place the two metal objects you want to fuse next to each other. With your welding gun, move across the two objects in a small, zigzag formation. This will bond the items. To the right is a photo of a metal artist practicing the zigzag method.

  7. Let your piece cool
  8. Once you have welded to your heart's content and the metal is bonded, you should turn the machine off and leave your piece to cool. Do not dip it in water, as it will make the weld brittle.