The type of job, the size of the shop, the power available, and your operation will determine the welding equipment needed. Facilities can range from a small workshop at home to a multi-million operation as used in structural steel fabricating or automobile manufacturing.
A face shield, to protect the face and eyes from the electric rays and spatter from the molten metal, is necessary. Use a shield with an adjustable headband; but some shields are held with one hand while welding with the other, or used by an observer. You will also need leather gloves, sleeves, and maybe an apron. Depending on the position being welded, you may also need a protective bib, or an entire leather jacket.
Don't forget high top work shoes, chipping hammer, wire brush, safety glasses for chipping welds, vice gripes, and various clamps. Other equipment may include an anvil, heavy hammer, and tongs or long handled pliers, and a pail of water. Note: Be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
A Welding Rod Oven is fundamental. Store unopened welding rod containers at room temperature, in a dry location. Once the container is opened place the rods in a portable or stationary Rod Oven at proper settings. Various styles and models of Rod Ovens are tailored to your needs. (Insert the link see chart for proper storage.) When the rods are taken out of the holding oven place them in a "pouch" or toolbox at the job location. Half way through the day place unused rods back in the holding oven. Keep rotating the use of your used/unused welding rods.
In a stationary location "fixed" equipment may be available, but in many cases the portable Oxy/Acet burning outfits are used. The portable outfit on wheels consists of an oxygen and acetylene cylinder, with attached valves, regulators, gauges, hoses, and a cutting torch with removable welding tips for gas welding or brazing.
Two cables of copper wire covered with a tough insulation are necessary to carry the electric current from the welding machine to the work and back to the welder. An electrode holder (stinger) and a lightweight "whip" are needed. The holder/whip should be light, well insulated and sturdy to withstand the wear from continuous handling. A ground clamp is used to attach the ground cable to the work or the welding table. You will also need cable lugs to attach the cable to the machine.
There are two basic types of machines, AC, alternating current and DC, direct current. In a small workshop with single-phase electric (house current), the 225-ampere, 240-volt transformer (aka "buzz box") machine is most often used. If power is obtained from public utility lines, one or more of the following welding machines can be used: Transformers, rectifiers, motor generators, and control equipment can be options.
When in doubt always check with the power company or a competent electrician before selecting a power source or machine. (A good working knowledge of welding rod selections and use is also essential.) If public utility power is not available, a portable generator driven by gasoline or diesel engine is used. A portable welding machine rated at 200 to 300 amps, with a 4 cylinder engine of 16 hp. is adequate for a wide range of jobs.