Any welders on the SDMB?

Are there any welders on the SDMB? Do you mind if I ask a couple of questions?

I’ve wanted to learn to weld for a very long time, but the long hours in the software industry prevented it. I’m now not exactly in the industry, and want to pursue this. I am sort of curious about a few things:

  1. What’s the best way to start? I left California, the land of community colleges, and am now in Canada (much of the time) and am not eligible for any awesome trade school subsidies, and spending a few thousand dollars would not make the wife terribly happy, but I could do it if that was the best way.

  2. The people I have talked to have talked about a TESS certification; is that a requirement for getting a job, or is it merely a really big plus? Does getting the TESS cert require a lot of time in the field? It appears that 80 hours of practical instruction would be sufficient to take the test; does that presume 80 hours of instruction and 2000 hours in the field, or is it a fairly basic test?

  3. Does Opal know how to weld?

  4. I don’t want a factory job; construction or shipwright would work, so would repair work; are those jobs available? Would I have to log factory time to become skilled enough to manage that?

  5. It appears one starts with MIG welding; is that true? Is there any call for oxy welding, or is almost everything MIG inter alii these days?

I don’t remember anyone talking about being a welder (and given Jarbaby’s fascination with them, if I could weld, I’d mention it in every post), so this might be a long shot, but since every other career under the sun is represented here, I thought it worth trying. Thanks for any pointers, even wild guesses.

Look for a non-credit welding course at a nearby university or state technical college.

Get to evaluate all the types of welding before investing money in equipment etc.

Good Luck!

If you just want to learn how to weld, but not be well-trained enough to get a job doing it you might check with welding supply companies. One of them here gives free classes…I imagine in the hopes that you’ll buy your supplies from them out of gratitude.

I’m also very interested in learning to weld. I don’t plan on doing it professionally, but I’d love to be able to do it for my own purposes. I bought a book on welding at one of the local home-improvement megastores. It gives fairly explicit instructions on most types of welding but I’m still left with a few questions and I’m really nervous about picking up a piece of equipment that gets hot enough to melt metal without knowing exactly what I’m doing.

Everything I’ve heard or read says to learn oxyacetlyene gas welding first, possibly followed by brazing. Apparently you’ll learn crucial heat-control skills that will make you a better welder when you move on to more modern techniques like MIG and TIG welding.

I’ve been considering taking a course at a local community college, but the times they offer welding classes don’t really work for me. I don’t know any welders personally, unfortunately. I had no idea that some places had free classes, though - I’ll definitely look into that.

I would highly recommend the oxyacetelyene mix before buying a mig/tig… I was never trained in the ART of welding, I simply went out and bought a starter kit - oxyacetylene - and learned on my own. I got a bunch of scrap metal from a friend and went to work…taught myself over a weekend. Now I own the oxy-kit, and a Mig and tig welder. I do mostly lawn art with them…I built a gocart for my nephew last year…that was fun.

I’d just take a class at a local supplies store. All the supply stores near where I live offer classes on some level.

IIRC, to get licensed as a welder I think you have to apprentice with a journeyman for a while…

I’ve always wanted to weld also.

So one day, I went to the cheapo-tool outlet and bought a wire-feed machine that was on sale. Took it home, wired it up and BANG! I’m makin’ metel stick together!

Using the wire-feed is about as easy as soldering, but I wouldn’t trust any of my work with my life! :wink: Also, the welds are pretty ugly. I can pretty much only weld heavy pieces. Anything that takes finess or skill is beyond my talent (or lack thereof). That being said, however, I have made all kinds of stuff. Mostely for the Jeep or truck. All the stuff came out stronger than hell! I have towed the jeep from the front bumper/brush guard I welded. I made custom spare tire hangers and a motorcycle carrier and also a drum riser. The motorcycle carrier worked to carry a W650 accross the country with no problem. The drum riser hasn’t collapsed under my fat ass (yet).

95% of welding is in the preparation, or so I’m told.

Not much help, but there you have it.