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  • Third-World Welding

    I've been getting an urge to see some different sights in my old age, while I still am physically able, and wondering about shipping myself and a mobile welding outfit to some place that is building up but lacks skilled tradespeople. "The Economist" magazine states that India has a howling need for skilled blue-collar workers, also some of the African countries that have oil or other hot-selling commodities, maybe China.

    At the moment, this is just a notion, but with more info, who knows? Have any of you done anything of this nature? I know that big internationals and outfits like Aramco hire lots of welders and supply them with all the equipment, but I'm talking about being an independent operator with a truck, getting a variety of jobs. Of course, in any place with a shortage of welders there must be a need for instructors, but that requires good language skills and more patience than I have anymore.

    Seems to me that the major hassles (besides getting paid in a timely manner, no different from here) probably include finding handy sources of welding consumables and supplies, of all the metal needed, and of the hardware items, fasteners, spraypaint, etc., etc., that a guy alway ends up having to chase down, rather a hassle even here!! I was PMing a member here about the supplies situation on the big island of Hawaii, Kona side (where my brother lives, and where I have also thought of taking a mobile rig). Of course, he said, "Well, you could always bring in enough extra inventory that you could become a supplier yourself," but if you prefer to be a welder/fabricator rather than a shopkeeper, that has limited appeal. The same thing applies to being an inspector; they are always in demand in these places, but I don't think I'd enjoy the work much.

    Obviously, depending on locale, the real problems might be ones of thievery, organized crime and corruption, political unrest, cultural misunderstandings; you have to know the basics of the particular place before even considering whether the business model has a chance. I'd fly over and scope out anyplace before commiting myself. I'm not 100% new to this; I lived and worked overseas once before and had a great time (I was younger and handsomer).

    So does anyone have relevant overseas experience and observations?

  • #2


    Ummm, I don't know.
    Nothing welded, Nothing gained

    Miller Dynasty700DX
    3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
    Miller Dynasty200DX
    ThermalArc 400 GTSW
    MillerMatic350P
    MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
    MKCobraMig260
    Lincoln SP-170T
    Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
    Hypertherm 1250
    Hypertherm 800
    PlasmaCam CNC cutter
    Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
    SiberHegner CNC Mill
    2 ea. Bridgeport
    LeBlond 15" Lathe
    Haberle 18" Cold Saw
    Doringer 14" Cold Saw
    6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a friend who went to Mogadishu to work,


      don't go there!
      Caution!
      These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

      Comment


      • #4
        Shovelon, Where did you get

        the photo ? Great sense of humor, I love it. I like his Digital Elite and the steel toed shoes.

        old but new

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow!!! The picture really shows sense of humor...
          I really like it.
          cheap wedding decor, paper lanterns

          Comment


          • #6
            http://transitionsfoundation.org/

            http://transitionsfoundation.org/ind...chair-workshop

            My sister did her clinicals in Guatemala and met some of these folks. Guatemala is poor but the locals are friendly and she had a blast.

            They may need volunteer welding trainers, and certainly need supplies. You might see about wrangling them more sponsors and getting involved.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by old but new View Post
              the photo ? Great sense of humor, I love it. I like his Digital Elite and the steel toed shoes.

              old but new
              Google images. I am amazed what comes up when I have a new search word.
              Nothing welded, Nothing gained

              Miller Dynasty700DX
              3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
              Miller Dynasty200DX
              ThermalArc 400 GTSW
              MillerMatic350P
              MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
              MKCobraMig260
              Lincoln SP-170T
              Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
              Hypertherm 1250
              Hypertherm 800
              PlasmaCam CNC cutter
              Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
              SiberHegner CNC Mill
              2 ea. Bridgeport
              LeBlond 15" Lathe
              Haberle 18" Cold Saw
              Doringer 14" Cold Saw
              6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's another

                Same safety gear!
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  They must have sold all their auto-darkening helmets to Harbor Freight...
                  Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
                  Miller DialArc 250
                  Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
                  Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
                  Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
                  Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
                  South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
                  Logan 7" shaper
                  Ellis 3000 band saw
                  Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
                  Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
                  3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
                  Lots of dust bunnies
                  Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Before the Gulf War begain we were setting shop in the Port of Daharan. The arabic contractor sent a welder down to the warehouse where we were working to weld conduit brackets to the steel post. The welder pulled a dark lense out of the pocket of the dress he was wearing. He would tack a bracket on and then put the lense over his eyes to finish it off. Did this all day with welding rods that weren't much more than a coat hanger dipped in corn meal for flux. There were guys that offered him a welding hood but it wouldn't fit over his smoking turbin. One guy felt bad for the man in the dress that he stood close to him to put the fire out when he blazed up and poured water on his smoldering toes because the OSHA approved sandals weren't much help. True story.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Me, beeing in Spain, have been to Morocco twice and I have read tons of trip reports from other people trips in Africa.

                      Given te rough roads, mechanical failures and gear breakages are common. Every once in a while a picture of a local mechanic welding shows up. It is difficult to find a picture of someone using a propper welding helmet.

                      I got to say that I have seen people propertly geared as well. No autodarkening helmets though.

                      Mikel

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        a lot of folks love egypt(i guess tourist see tourist places) but the worry about whats going to happen to you if youre injured or ill is more than i want. then there is food and water issues of these countries.in a lot of these places the people fear their government. stay out of africa.

                        i always felt small being in a place i couldnt speak the language.
                        Last edited by mikecwik; 11-19-2010, 07:07 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          don't expect quality steel

                          I have spent some time in Fiji Islands. Anything that isn't for structural work or for a high-end resort is made out of rebar. The Indians use 100 amp clarke (or similar) flux core welders. High/low voltage switch, no dial. A few of the Australians or Indians have a small AC output buzz box (maybe 130-140 amps). I have seen a guy with an old 2"x4" lens hood. No other safety gear. In the summer it is 95% humidity and the sun is directly overhead. I have never seen a Fijian with a welder as they have too many family demands.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The guy that mentioned availability of parts/supplies/"normal" hardware in a lot of places was absolutely right. Then again, we in the USA are accustomed to working to some standard or another that demands that certain things be used or that things are made/wired/built to some standard or another whether it be code or just general good practice. A lot of places DO NOT have any such standards and, therefore, don't have the supplies available as they are just not needed to support what we think of as normal standards or practices. As an example, my brother was living in Honduras and had a production company there. Whenever he went to build/fix/maintain anything (he is a welder with several certs, has a background as a millwright and steamfitter, powerplant construction, has a general contractors license in a couple of states and has a degree in management) he found that most anything he needed, no matter how common or simple was NOT available in any of the local stores. He once was fixing a leaking toilet that was slobbering all over the floor and found that there was no wax sealing ring under it, so went to buy one. Such a simple thing for us here where any one a dozen places would have them, but in Honduras, they DIDN'T EVEN KNOW what they were as NONE of the toilets were installed that way! And a LOT of them leaked!

                            I'll bet if you went looking for, say 4043 3/32 TIG rod or stainless 1/4 inch X 20 TPI bolts (or somekind of a metric fastener of similar type) in just about ANY undeveloped country you would run into the same problem. You say you want a lens for a self darkening WHAT??? You want a what grit disc for a WHAT GRINDER?? Good luck!!

                            I'd say that if you had been somewhere and tried to do a job and had SOME idea of what was and what was not available in whatever country, and you came back to the USA, you would just about HAVE TO buy the stuff you needed back "in country" and take it with you when you went back. THEN try to get it through customs, pay the bribes, grease the palms and etc just to have the stuff you needed to work with, because that is how things work in a LOT OF PLACES!!!

                            I know a guy that has worked in, I think, Indonesia and always takes extension cords so he won't have to hook his tools up to the ROMEX-like crap they had laid out all over the place and when he leaves, he gives them away to whoever local workers he thought deserved them. The locals acted as though he had just given them an extionsion on LIFE, not just a cord!!

                            When you think about it, we here in the USA have it quite good and we don't even appreciate it!
                            Don J
                            Reno, NV

                            Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Interesting. As to Mike's concern about getting sick or hurt, a mitigating factor is that at least in touristy places like Egypt (as opposed to your basic tropical h***-hole) our embassy can usually give you names of competant English-speaking medical providers, frequently American or European expatriates. And I've been far enough into the Alaskan wilderness that a serious but normally treatable injury could easily have been fatal. Sometimes you just take a semi-calculated risk.

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