Options for Marking Your Welding Projects

If you are new to welding and need to mark your metals for cutting, punching, and welding together, then you have a variety of different materials you can use to accomplish this task. Since different marking substances work better than others for marking various types of metals, it is important that you use the correct marking tools for the project that you are working on. To this end, here are some of the options you have for marking your raw metals before cutting, punching, and welding them.

Permanent Markers

If you are working with a light-colored or soft metal such as aluminum where other markers are hard to see, then you can easily mark it with a permanent marker such as a Sharpie. If you need to make very precise welds or cuts, you should use a fine-tipped Sharpie. However, you should be aware that Sharpie ink is not easy to remove from aluminum, so you should not use it on surfaces that are going to be seen. The pens also do not work well on oily surfaces, so if your metal is greasy, then you should use an alternative marking option. 

Paint Markers

Similar to permanent ink, you can also purchase inexpensive paint pens and use those for marking your metals. Paint markers are easy to see under welding hoods and can be purchased in bright colors for easy identification while welding. As with permanent markers, paint markers often don't work well on oily metals and are harder to remove after welding if your marks are in areas that will be seen on the final project. 

Soapstone Markers

Soapstone markers are made out of natural talc soapstone. This type of marker is most often used on steel and stainless steel in areas that will be seen on a final project. Soapstone markers are typically used with acetylene cutters and welders and are favored because they are easy to see while welding, won't disappear when the metal heats up, and will be wiped off with just a rag when you are finished welding. Soapstone will easily mark greasy or oily metals. You can get soapstone markers from companies such as Soapstone Plus.

Silver-Streak Pens

Finally, silver-streak pens are a marking option typically used on carbon steel. Silver-streak pens can be sharpened to have very thin lines and are reflective so they are easy to see under protective eyewear. Streak pens are also available in red, so they can easily be seen on aluminum and stainless steel. Silver-streak pens do not contaminate your welds and are long lasting.