Welding Merit Badge Guide

welding merit badge guide

Welding Merit Badge – You may wonder what it means to weld. Welding is the process of joining with a weld-joining or combining similar pieces of metal by heating them with a flame torch or an electric current, then hammering or pressing them together while they are soft.

Welding can also be done by melting plastic or metal into the joint of similar material. The temperature range for welding is 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Welding plays a major role in our modern world, and mastery of the skill can lead to exciting career opportunities.

Someday, you may have an opportunity to experience exciting new career paths in welding. There are more than 80 welding, cutting, and welding-related processes, only a few of which will be covered in this article.

Welding Merit Badge Requirements

  1. Do the following:
    • Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while welding, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, or lessen these hazards.
    • Show that you know first aid for, and the prevention of, injuries or illnesses that could occur while welding, including electrical shock, eye injuries, burns, fume inhalation, dizziness, skin irritation, and exposure to hazardous chemicals, including filler metals and welding gases.
  2. Do the following:
    • With your counselor, discuss general safety precautions and Safety Data Sheets related to welding. Explain the importance of the SDS.
    • Describe the appropriate safety gear and clothing that must be worn when welding. Then, present yourself properly dressed for welding in protective equipment, clothing, and footwear.
    • Explain and demonstrate the proper care and storage of welding equipment, tools, and protective clothing and footwear.
  3. Explain the terms welding, electrode, slag, and oxidation. Describe the welding process, how heat is generated, what kind of filler metal is added (if any), and what protects the molten metal from the atmosphere.
  4. Name the different mechanical and thermal cutting methods. Choose one method and describe how to use the process. Discuss one advantage and one limitation of this process.
  5. Do the following:
    • Select two welding processes, and make a list of the different components of the equipment required for each process. Discuss one advantage and one limitation for each process.
    • Choose one welding process. Set up the process you have chosen, including gas regulators, work clamps, cables, filler materials, and equipment settings. Have your counselor inspect and approve the area for the welding process you have chosen.
  6. After successfully completing requirements 1 through 5, use the equipment you prepared for the welding process in 5b to do the following:
    • Using a metal scribe or soapstone, sketch your initial onto a metal plate, and weld a bead on the plate following the pattern of your initial.
    • Cover a small plate (approximately 3″ x 3″ x 1/4″) with weld beads side by side.
    • Tack two plates together in a square groove butt joint.
    • Weld the two plates together from 6c on both sides.
    • Tack two plates together in a T joint, have your counselor inspect it, then weld a T joint with fillet weld on both sides.
    • Tack two plates together in a lap joint, have your counselor inspect it, then weld a lap joint with fillet weld on both sides.
  7. Do the following:
    • Find out about three career opportunities in the welding industry. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why the profession might interest you.
    • Discuss the role of the American Welding Society in the welding profession.

Staying Safe While Welding

Arc welding uses an electric current that generates intense heat and emits intense light, both extremely dangerous. It is essential that you thoroughly understand all safety precautions before you begin.

Carelessness or ignoring safety practices can be damaging or even fatal to you and to anyone who is nearby.

Always read the warning labels for every piece of equipment or component and filler metals you use. If you are ever in doubt about a safety issue, ask your merit badge counselor. Let’s take a look at some of the risks.

1. Safety Basics

Arc welding, oxy-fuel welding, and oxy-fuel cutting all share one characteristic: The harmful and intense infrared and ultraviolet rays that are emitted by the welding process will damage unprotected eyes and exposed skin, kind of like getting a sunburn-only worse.

When you are welding, you must always protect yourself. The information presented here will help you stay safe during welding activities.

Always have a fire extinguisher nearby. When welding, you must always be conscious of fire protection and keep a class ABC fire extinguisher within easy reach, mounted at shoulder level. Fire extinguishers should be checked monthly to ensure the tank is full and the pressure is normal. If anything appears out of the ordinary, replace the extinguisher or have it professionally serviced.
Button up and wear the proper clothing for protection from UV and infrared rays. Long-sleeved shirts of tightly woven, 100 percent wool (never synthetic fabrics) with buttoned cuffs and a collar (no pockets) provide the best protection from UV and infrared radiation, flying sparks, hot or melted metal, and flames. Wear pants with no cuffs (which can collect sparks and hot metal), and do not tuck pants into boots or shoes. It is best to wear dark colors, which will not reflect as much light as light-colored clothing. Wear a cap to help protect your head.
During arc welding, never roll up your sleeves or cuff your pants. All clothing should be completely buttoned with no frays or tatters. It’s best to wear a shirt that has no pockets. If your shirt has pockets, close, button, or tape them shut to prevent sparks from falling into them. During welding, any exposed skin may get burned from spatter and UV rays. Always protect yourself.
Wear flame-resistant leather gloves. Keep your welding gloves dry, and check them for tears and rips. Take care of your gloves. If leather welding gloves get too close to excessive heat, they will shrink and distort, making them uncomfortable and eventually unusable.
Wear the proper footwear. Fully laced high-top boots provide the best protection. Keep them dry. Because sparks can fall into low-top shoes, wear smooth-top leather work boots, preferably with steel toes. Wear pants outside your work boots to prevent sparks from falling into your boots. Store boots in a clean, dry area.
Never handle hot metal! Welding gloves are not intended for handling hot metal. Use pliers or vise grips when handling parts that have just been welded.
Do not leave any skin exposed. A welding helmet or welding shield is designed to protect your eyes and face from the arc’s harmful rays and intense light. You must wear face and eye protection during any welding process. Tinted glasses with proper shade or goggles must be used with gas welding and cutting.
Always wear an approved welding helmet while welding. Wearing a welding helmet allows you to safely view the arc through a window with a filter plate that removes damaging rays and light. The filter plate is protected from spatter and debris by a clear lens made of plastic or glass. Filter plates are available in various shades, ranging from darker to lighter. The higher the shade’s number, the more shading it provides.
Safety Basics for Welding

2. Risk of Burns and Fire

The electric arc is extremely hot. Temperatures can reach 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Exposure to this intense heat poses an extreme risk of burns or of starting a fire from the spatter.

Be sure your work area is free of combustible and flammable materials, including gas, oil, and grease, and that these materials are at least 35 feet from any welding activity. Commonly ignited substances are trash, wood, fabric, boxes, papers, rags, plastics, and chemicals.

If you are welding in a questionable area, place fire shields or flame-resistant blankets around the welding area, and have a responsible fire watcher keep watch for you. Continue inspecting for fire for 30 minutes after welding.

# First Aid for Thermal Bums

Superficial burns are mild burns that affect only the outer layer of skin. Treat them by holding the burn under cold water or applying cool, wet compresses until the pain eases.

Partial-thickness burns are more serious than superficial burns and affect the outer layer of skin and part of the layer of skin below it. They typically include reddening and blistering of the skin.

To treat such burns, first, remove the person from the source of the burn. Cool the burned area with cold, running water until the pain is relieved. Let the burn dry, then protect it with a loosely applied, sterile gauze pad and bandage

Full-thickness burns are very serious. They destroy the outer layer of skin and the layer below it. A victim who has been exposed to open flames, electricity, or chemicals may sustain full-thickness burns.

The skin may be burned away and the flesh charred. If nerves are damaged, the victim may feel no pain. Such burns constitute a medical emergency.

Do not try to remove any clothing, as it may be sticking to the victim’s flesh. After cooling the burn, cover the burned area with dry, sterile dressings. Seek immediate medical attention.

Also Read : Fire Safety Merit Badge

3. Risk of Electrical Shock

One of the most serious risks to the welder is electrical shock. An electrical shock of more than 30 volts can be fatal. Arc welding presents the risk of both primary voltage shock and secondary voltage shock.

Primary voltage shock occurs when the power is on and someone simultaneously touches a lead inside the welding machine and either the welding machine or other grounded metal. The shock can be between 120 and 480 volts.

Secondary voltage shock will occur if you touch the electrode while another part of your body touches the workpiece.

If you touch both of these components at the same time, you will receive an electrical shock ranging from 60 to 100 volts. The higher the voltage in an electrical circuit, the more serious the electrical shock will be.

Always remember that electricity easily flows through water. Therefore, when you are arc welding, you must stay dry. Never weld with wet gloves. Even wetness from perspiration is dangerous. Wear proper welding clothing to maintain insulation between yourself and your work.

Before you begin welding, be sure your work area is clean and dry. Inspect all of the equipment you will be using. Cables, electrodes, and electrode holders must be dry and in good condition.

Ask your counselor to make a visual inspection and to replace any damaged components. Do not attempt to repair a welding machine yourself.

# First Aid for Electrical Shock

If electricity travels through a part of your body, you can get an electrical burn. Besides a burn, too much electricity can even stop the heart from beating correctly or damage other internal organs.

Superficial and partial thickness burns from electricity look like burns from too much heat; the skin may look charred. Full-thickness electrical burns may not leave charred skin. Instead, the skin can look leathery and white and be hard to the touch.

Call 911 or the local emergency-response number if someone has an electrical burn.

4. Risk of Explosion

The shielding gases used in arc welding are commonly inert or only slightly reactive. However, the cylinders that contain these gases are under intense pressure. Always handle cylinders with care. Do not heat or weld on a cylinder.

Above all, learn about the materials you are welding and know the risks involved when working with them. Make sure you have the correct base metals, electrodes, and shielding gases.

This information can be found in the chapter “Welding and Cutting Methods.” Never weld near flammable or combustible materials. Notify your merit badge counselor if you detect any damage to your welding equipment.

5. Material Safety Data Sheets

Material Safety Data Sheets are available for the filler materials you may be using. The MSDS gives the proper procedures for working with, handling, storing, and disposing of materials.

The MSDS will also alert the user to any hazardous substances the product may contain, such as a hazardous material in a particular welding rod or that could evolve during welding with a particular welding rod.

The format of the MSDS may vary, but by U.S. law, all must include certain information presented in eight specific sections. Some internationally formatted sheets will have up to 16 sections.

Here are the eight required sections, although many manufacturers include additional information, such as emergency and first-aid procedures.

Manufacturer Information. Identifies the material and lists the manufacturer’s name, address, and emergency telephone number.
Hazardous Ingredients. Lists the hazardous ingredients in the material and some of the exposure limits (such as the permissible exposure limit, or PEL). 
Physical and Chemical Characteristics. Tells what the material will look and smell like, whether it is a liquid or solid, the melting point (if it is solid), and what will cause it to react.
Fire and Explosion Hazards. Tells whether the material is flammable and lists the flashpoint, firefighting materials and methods, and any unusual burning characteristics.
Reactivity. Tells how other chemicals will react with the material. 
Health Hazards. Lists known routes of entry into the human body and the health risks from each, and lists any cancer research that might have been done on the material. Describes how to recognize and treat overexposure.
Precautions for Safe Handling and Use. Lists procedures to use in case of accidental spills and give information about proper disposal.
Control Measures. Lists ways to avoid making contact with the material, such as using respirators, wearing gloves, and working in a well-ventilated area.
Material Safety Data Sheets
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