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Learning to Weld

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Step 6: A good ground

A good ground connection is necessary to making a good weld. Ground clamps that come with welders from the factory are often barely adequate, and they usually deteriorate over time. Making a better ground can really boost the performance of any welder. See this Instructable for how I made improvements to a very common style of grounding clamp. Read the comment section, too, for some update information. 

If the finish on the parent metal is not something very special, it is possible to grind away a bare area and attach the ground clamp there. A simple way to get a good ground through heavily painted or plastic coated surfaces without grinding and unnecessarily marring them is to attach a Vise-Grip locking plier very tightly and then connect the ground clamp to the pliers rather than to the work piece.
 
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When working with galvanized metals, if you need to keep them in that protective state, there are sticks that you can recoat the metal with to give it the galvanized coating back. While the weld is still hot you simply rub these zink sticks across the hot surface and it melts. It will adhere to the metal and protect your project. If you can not do this right after welding you can always reheat the piece with a torch an do the same thing. Using a wire brush just before it cools will give a like new galvanized look to your weld.
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