With a multi-process welder, you have the ultimate level of welding versatility. The best welders will provide you with MIG, TIG, and Stick welding options. Some equipment allows you to use a plasma cutter and flux-core welding techniques as well.
Before looking for the supplies that are required for your MP welder, you’ll want to ensure that you know the exact definition of your 3-in-1 or 5-in-1 process. Some 3-in-1 welders offer MIG and TIG welding with a plasma torch. Others offer stick, MIG, and flux-core welding instead.
Make sure that you have the best multi-process welder to meet your welding needs before finalizing your purchase.
Then you’ll be ready to shop for supplies.
Get the Right Tools for The Job
Everyone knows (or at least should know) the importance of choosing the correct tool for each job. When you’re welding, the process you select is just as important as the accessories, features, and tools that you also use.
If you choose an incorrect welding process, it is like choosing a toothbrush to saw down a tree that is leaning over your house. Have fun with that job.
The different metals you’ll be welding may require unique materials or techniques to produce the best possible results. There are some methods that are better suited than others for specific jobs.
It is your job to know which method is the correct one in every given situation.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, even when you’re using an MP welder for the work. Large jobs require MIG welding. Rusty jobs benefit from stick welding. TIG welding gives you high-precision outcomes.
To get results, you must choose the correct supplies that match up with the technique you must use.
General Welding Supplies You Must Have
Your best friend is going to become an angle grinder when you own a multi-process welder. It will help you cut, prep, and clean your metal, saving you a ton of time. As you’re learning how to weld, this tool will help your mistakes to disappear too.
You’re going to need some type of tool for cutting metal if your MP welder didn’t come with a cutter or plasma torch. One option to consider is a chop saw, which can get you through some of the thicker metals that you might choose to work with at your shop or garage.
A chipping hammer is a good option to consider when slag is present on your welds. If you find yourself using flux core welding or MIG welding processes more often than TIG, you may wish to consider this tool.
For cleaning large surfaces, a knot brush is an invaluable tool to own. You’ll be able to remove lots of mill scale from your work in a short time, even if you need to do heavy-duty work.
Ground clamps are a good option when a smooth arc is required. It also improves the safety of your welding environment as it prevents a shock.
For smaller cleaning jobs, a wire brush is useful to have. It will remove the slag from your welds too. Make sure you have several brushes available to prevent accidental cross-contamination. Sandpaper is a good choice if you’re looking for a disposable way to clean up your welds on soft or fine metals.
Then you’ll want to give your ventilation system a good overview. Because you’ll likely be working with a shielding gas, you may need something better than an open door and a fan. You’ll need something that can remove the toxic fumes from your work environment. That is especially important when working with the plasma cutter on your MP welder.
Using a respirator is helpful, but it isn’t a catch-all system unless the safety equipment is rated to prevent exposure to the specific fumes or toxins you create while working. Never make assumptions about your personal protective equipment. Before working, making sure that whatever you wear meets or exceeds current safety regulations.
Don’t forget to wear a pair of safety glasses or goggles underneath your welding helmet. You never know where to spatter or grinding sparks may go when you’re working.
Common Supplies Required for Stick Welding
There are three basic welding supplies that you’ll need if you’re using a stick welding process.
The first is an electrode holder. Most multi-process welders will come with one. You might find that your welder isn’t running as smoothly as you like, so consider a replacement of the holder to improve your operations.
You’ll also need an electrode oven. When you’re welding with larger electrodes, then they’ll be absorbing a lot of pressure and impact as you work on those structural welds. If you’re a hobbyist or a beginner, you can probably skip this one for now.
Then there are the stick electrodes that are required. Change your electrode as you work on different metals or joints to produce the results that are needed.
Common Supplies Required for MIG Welding
You’re going to need several more supplies to be successful with the MIG welding process that comes with your MP welder.
Make sure that you stock up on solid MIG wire. It is provided in a variety of thicknesses, each with a specific job that it does well at. Don’t forget that you’ll need a shielding gas with a solid wire to prevent impurities in your work.
If your welder includes FCAW, then make sure you purchase the flux core wire that is needed. There are two options here: one that works with shielding gas and one that works without it. Use the latter option if you’re wanting a clean weld that won’t require a lot of follow-up work.
It is helpful to have argon and carbon dioxide available for your shielding gas. Depending on the metals with which you’re working, oxygen might be necessary as well. A rack or cart, along with the canisters of gas, will be required for MIG welding.
The MIG process uses a spool gun that feeds wire for you as you work. It works best with thinner wires, although you may prefer to use a wire feeder instead. Some MP welders are an all-in-one unit, so you might be able to skip this need.
The MIG gun will also come with your multi-process unit, though it can be damaged over time. You might want to upgrade your gun if it struggles to feed the wire smoothly for you. There is a liner inside of the gun that you’ll want to replace once in and while to ensure that the wire feeds properly.
It is helpful to keep a few extra tips around for your gun since they do wear out with use.
Common Supplies Required for TIG Welding
The one product that you’ll want to have for the TIG welding process with your MP welder is acetone. When you use the TIG process, the metals must be clean and prepped for work. Acetone is the most effective way to clean metal before and after you’re done working with it.
Filler metal is required with TIG welding. Your tungsten electrode will not do all of the work for you.
Most multi-process welders will come with a foot pedal or remote control to customize the heat output of your equipment. Specialized pedals are available if you need to create ultra-specific environments.
A grinding wheel is needed for TIG welding as well. You must sharpen your tungsten before using it. Make sure that you wear a respirator while you’re shaping the electrode to prevent irritation to your air passageways.
Goatskin gloves are a better option for TIG welding since you need more flexibility with this process. You’ll be feeding the metal directly into the weld pool, and that requires a delicate touch.
Then there is the electrode itself. There are five different types of electrodes that are used. Lanthanated and created electrodes are the most popular options. You can also grab pure tungsten or thoriated electrodes to accomplish specific tasks.
Finally, there are various accessories you may wish to consider as well, depending on the setup of your multi-process welder. You can upgrade your torch, use a water cooler, take advantage of a gas line cover, or work with a cup that offers more coverage for your shielding gas. Look for an accessory kit if you require multiple items within this category.
Are You Ready to Start Welding?
A multi-process welder gives you the ultimate level of flexibility. You can weld in whatever process best suits your job without having numerous welders, torches, and cutters in your shop and garage.
Keep this list of essential common supplies that you’ll need to maximize the work you can do with your MP welder. Although you’ll pay more when you first stock up since you’re maintaining three or five disciplines, the investment is worth it when you can change between processes at a moment’s notice.
If you’re purchasing the multi-process welder today, make sure to grab these items before you finish the checkout process.