How to Protect Yourself from Welding Fumes

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

Different jurisdictions may have different regulations that are intended to protect fabricators from different risks, such as the risks of welding fumes at the workplace. However, it may be hard to enforce those regulations when hobbyists are engaged in DIY sheet metal fabrication tasks. This article discusses some tips that hobbyists can use in order to get the best performance from fume extraction guns during the welding process.

Pause Frequently

You can give the fume extraction gun a chance to remove most of the welding fumes by pausing frequently during the welding process. The easiest way to pause is to take a few seconds off each time you reach the end of a welding pass. Those seconds will allow the fume extraction gun to suck up all the residual fumes generated during the welding pass that has just been completed. The next welding pass will find when the air around you is free from welding fumes. The process of fume extraction can then continue without an overload on the extraction system.

Adjust the Control Regulator

You can adjust the suction power of your fume extraction gun in order to ensure that you are getting full protection from its capability. Keep adjusting the control knob until you can see that all the fumes are being sucked into the extraction gun as soon as they are created. It is easy to get this visual confirmation because welding fumes are usually dark-coloured or form white wisps so you can see them rising as you weld. You can make these adjustments as you weld a scrap piece of metal so that you get the best settings at which the air flow of the fume extractor does not hinder the flow of assist gas to the weld area. Move to the sheet metal products once you are satisfied with the air regulator settings.

Adjust the Shroud

The fume extraction gun has a shroud that forms a kind of umbrella around the welding equipment. You can adjust this shroud so that it encompasses a larger surface area. This increased coverage will restrict the flow of welding fumes since they will be shielded from any air currents existing in the room. The extraction gun will then easily suck the fumes that have been contained within the shroud. You can also increase the performance of the extraction gun by closing all the vents on the gun. This step will increase the intensity of the vacuum at the fume extraction gun's front.

Hobbyists usually work alone or they are assisted non-experts. Consequently, there will be no safety specialist to look over your shoulder to ensure that you are safe from the risks posed by welding fumes. Use the suggestions above to protect yourself from the fumes that are given off as you engage in DIY welding projects.


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