Have you ever been stuck not knowing how to weld that hard to reach a corner?
Well, in such an adverse condition, when you can’t get the angle right, a welding mirror is used.
However, most of the newbie welders are unaware of such a solution or are simply not that good with welding while looking at the mirror image formed by the welding mirror.
Mirror Welding Explained
The type of welding which is done using a welding mirror is known as mirror welding. There are many contributing reasons to use such a welding process.
If you are familiar with pipe welding, there may be times when you have to weld in such an angle that is not easily accessible, you can instead use a welding mirror to tackle such situations.
Another example for frame welding, if you are hobby welders working on the frame of your truck there may be situations similar to one in the prior example.
The use of a welding mirror can help you the most in such situations.
So in simpler terms:
A welding mirror is a welding tool that gives you a clear vision to weld in such an angle that is concealed and not readily visible.
If you are an established welder, you already know how important the quality of the materials should be.
With a welding mirror, you must make sure that it is of top-notch quality and can help you to weld for a long time.
You don’t want to miss out on those strict deadlines because of not having a good welding mirror or such dire times when it is destroyed by weld spatter.
Similar for hobby welders, you don’t want to get distracted by the damage on the mirror causing you to halt the welding project that you were deeply engrossed in.
Hence, quality should be your top priority while selecting the welding mirror.
Welding Mirror Positioning Guide
Until now we have looked at various scenarios where mirrors are extremely useful and sometimes even irreplaceable.
The positioning of the mirror is equally important to that of the quality of the welding mirror.
If you can’t accurately position the mirror there’s no point in using them in the first place.
Following are some points you should look at before positioning your mirror:
- Flexibility: You should try to position the mirror in such a way that you can easily move it as you move ahead on your welding process.
- Firmness: The welding mirror should be firm on its ground. If it is not correctly attached it may be affected due to the vibration caused by the welding process.
- Space: You should try to position the mirror in such a place where you have ample space to work in with a clear view of the weld.
You should always keep in mind the three points mentioned above before positioning the mirror.
Having said that, there are many other methods you can apply for correctly positioning the mirror.
Of course, you can use one hand to hold the mirror and hold the welding gun with the other, however, is not always possible and is not the best choice.
Your best bet would be fixing the welding mirror firmly to the nearby parts. In that way have full control over the welding method you are working on be it TIG or Wire Feed Welding(MIG).
There are other add-ons that you can use to get the positioning done even faster such as:
- Vice Grips
- Welding Clamps
- A helping hand of your friend, jk.
I, personally, always want my magnets with me for each work that I take upon.
And other welders can connect with the statement that they absolutely can’t work without their magnets, clamps, and wedges.
What’s the bottom line?
It is better to use the welding add-ons instead of simply fixing the mirror to the surface of the nearby metal.
Welding magnets, as the name suggests, is a magnetic welding add-on that helps you to position the welding mirror at your desired angles.
Vice grips and welding clamps can be used for similar functions i.e holding the mirror firmly and turning it in your desired directions and angles.
No, I wasn’t kidding about the friends part!
If you have any good friend who will help you no matter what comes at him, even molten metals, you can use him as your personal mirror holder, however with strict protective gear to mitigate any welding accident.
Mirror Welding Setup
It’s harder to get started by using a mirror for your welding purposes, however, can be mastered by practicing.
You can relate to the situation of reversing a car by looking into the rearview mirrors. At first, you might have a hard time and make a few mistakes here and there, but can be easily perfected by continuous practice.
Once you get it done right, you can easily just follow the same pattern and eventually become perfect in the art of mirror welding.
We have already talked about positioning your welding mirror, Following are some setup tips which will come in handy when you get started with the process:
The Welding mirror size plays a major role in your complete mirror welding experience. Try to choose a mirror which is a bit larger although which will fit in properly to get a clear view of the weld.
There are regular mirrors and magnifying mirrors, which show a magnified reflection of the weld. Using this mirror will give you an edge by producing a much clearer picture.
Mirrors come in all possible shapes, try to get a welding mirror of square shape. The square shape is considerably easier to work with compared to other ones.
Mirror Welding Lens
You also have the option to get multiple lenses to further make it easier for you. As I said earlier there are always possibilities of getting spatter on your mirror and making it unusable. However, when you have multiple lenses you don’t have to worry. Yes, you can also cover your mirrors with plastic covers(fire resistant) covers to protect it or use an anti-spatter spray as well.
Welding Mirror Holder
As already mentioned several times above, it’s always better to get a welding mirror holder like magnets or clamps to give you a pleasant experience instead of holding it with your hands.
Best Welding Mirror
By rigorous testing of different welding mirrors available in the market, I tried to boil down to the two below:
Loc-Line Welding Mirror
This mirror would be my number 1 recommendation although can be a little expensive for some of you it is well worth the price. It has an adjustable mount and comes with a magnetic base.
General Tools Welding Mirror
A rigid magnetic welding mirror that works well particular for all your welding and inspection needs. The rectangular-shaped mirror gives you a clear view of the weld and is great to work with smaller industrials projects.
At first, I had problems getting started with using mirrors for my welding purposes as well. However, with practice, I was able to excel in that skill.
If you just got out of a welding school, and attend an interview for a union or overseas job you will have a great edge over others by the sole skill of mirror welding.