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How did you start in welding - did you have a mentor?

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  • #16
    i'm another shade tree diy'er but with an advantage... my uncle has been a welder ever since i can remember and used to teach at the high school that i went too. he showed us the basics and let me get my hands on a mig gun and it hooked me. no real training just some phone calls and after school projects.

    one of my dad's friends had a forney stick welder (probally 1940's to 50's) that was given to me, so i fixed it up and went to practicing on some scrap. my first project was a boat trailer for my jon boat and still remember building it as a summer project. all in all it was a good expirence, the first few welds looked like crap but held and the more i did i got alot better.

    i then got a gas outfit and i still can't braze or weld worth a ****, but sure can cut with it! i have a lincoln weld pak 100 and use it hard, it's a good machine but it's time for an upgrade. i'm looking at getting a miller 180 or the 211 this summer and want to learn roll cage and chassis fab! a far cry from a boat trailer but it's been a fun learning expirience and wouldn't trade it for nothing. 13 years has gone by fast!


    • #17
      When I went to work for the gas company, I had always been a hobby woodworker and never had any exposure to welding. I soon became interested, especially since the highest paid guys were the welders. I practiced acetylene welding first and was eventually certified, then started working on stick. Thankfully, the company eventually abandoned the acetylene process entirely, so it's all stick. I hated welding 4" .250 wall pipe with acetylene!
      Miller Syncrowave 200
      Homemade Water Cooler
      130XP MIG
      Spectrum 375
      60 year old Logan Lathe
      Select Machine and Tool Mill
      More stuff than I can keep track of..


      • #18
        my mentor's weld sample

        I found this piece of stainless my mentor had done several years ago. He said it was a "fair" sample of what he has done and tossed it because he was not happy with his welds so I grabbed it.

        The disk is .090" thick and 2.45" in diameter.
        The small tubing is .125" diameter with .020" wall and the larger elbows are .250 "diam.

        My mentor welded this as a sample and had to be sure to not burn thru the wall of the tubing as this is used in a gas sampling system.

        He used his Syncrowave 250 to do these welds by hand without a turntable or fixture. Also uses a passive helmet as "I don't need anything fancy".

        I watched him do a few and it was truly humbling.

        Now if only some of his skill would rub off on me................!
        Attached Files
        Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, etc.

        Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !


        • #19
          Originally posted by kevin View Post
          i agree, some are gifted, ive done it for years and still have to earn every inch, the best welds ive seen comes from the ladies, small hands, very flexible ect
          I will try to make this long story short, but I quoted that bit because after 10 years I still love comments like that about female welders. I learned from my dad who still welds part time in retirement. He learned on the job nearly 40 years ago, and he taught me everything I know. I tig weld aluminum connectors for substations (on a 20+ year old syncrowave 500) and I never dreamed I would enjoy a job so much. We've got newer tig and mig machines but I don't care for 'em. It's true what they say about it not being work if you enjoy it. My dad is the coolest and one of the best in the industry (proud daughter here). I started learning to weld because I was tired of assembling the parts and hated office work. So I really just fell into it as a last resort and luckily I love it. The bosses let me work part time in the evenings in the weld shop while I worked the daytime in the office. It is something that I don't think I'll ever know everything, there's always a new technique or challenge to try, and I am so thankful that I was blessed with a dad who has given me the tools to do this job. I might work where he did, but I still had to prove myself and earn my own reputation..and it's the coolest job in the world


          • #20
            I started in High school. First year was gas welding, brazing cutting, second was stick third was mig both steel and aluminum and the fourth year was either co-op and work evening at either the houseboat factories/machine shops or learn TIG if you happened to want to wait in line for our one Tig machine or do fabrication in class which meant building trailers, grills, dune buggies, or whatever we could find to work on. I didn't co-op and never got on the tig machine. I also spent a bunch of time in the machine shop and the mechanics shop at school learning all I could. I graduated went from job to job buying different tools and learning different things but have wound up in college working on my engineering degree. My old welding teacher is still teaching but he has moved up to the local community college and I ocasionally as an "experienced advisor" (wink) go in once or twice a semester to harass his students and help out if I can. I like helping out and giving back some of my free time for someone who spent a LOT of time helping me get my skills right. I still sit in some of the advanced classes and learn all I can and go to him for advice if I have a particularly nasty problem I manage to stumble into ( I occasionally get in a hurry and wind up kinda like a dog chasing it's tail ) I know the greatest thing in the world is a teacher taking his or her time to pass on the knowledge and experience they have given. It could be just another job but the ones that take the job seriously there are no better folks in the world because without good teachers (not dis-counting willing students here) nobody propers and nobody gains anything. Done with my novel Good thread by the way.