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Where or how did you learn to weld?

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  • Where or how did you learn to weld?

    Being fairly new at this, I was wondering how you learned to weld? School, apprenticeship, self taught? Also, at what age did you learn? I've been watching as many youtube videos and reading as much as I can and then practicing to try to teach myself. Just thought it'd be interesting to see how other did it...

  • #2
    On the farm and business at age 9-10. My dad was blind in one eye and didn't want to risk his other eye in the off chance he might get hit with hot slag. Years later in Ag Shop classes, heavy construction and as a hobby once I got away from the trades. Keep practicing, you'll get better.
    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.


    • #3
      That's interesting. I've found that so far, I like it so much that I can get lost in the garage for hours and not realize it. I suppose part of that is because I DON'T HAVE TO DO IT. I do it because I WANT to...


      • #4
        I used to do the same. To be great at something you need to have the passion for it. I Started out trying to build lowrider mini trucks. I started by repairing my bosses chair(didn't hold ) My cousin showed me how to set up my first mig I bought (Centeruy 110 volt welder when I was 15).I then started chopping frames on trucks, doing sheet metal work, then suspension work and it wasn't pretty but always strong. I bought welder books and some O/A tanks to learn how to gas weld then on the side I just started fixing stuff. I bought a Syn 250 for $500 like new and researched how to TIG....I burned up a water cooled gun cause I had no clue what I was doing. I then worked for the local township and had free reign to learn with an mm250 and an old old ac/dc stick machine. I started my first full time apprentice/welding job when I was like 27 and learned from 2 very good fabricators with different outlooks and a grudge towards each other. I paid my way through vo tech and took some basic tig and blueprint classes to see where I stood . The entire time I have been on and any good welding site including youtube just doing research. I still to this day stay late at work and practice then and through my breaks just to perfect things. I currently work for a large construction company doing d1.1 and d1.5 structural work as well as repairs on random odd stuff like cast iron, cast aluminum and cast steel and stainless. I started doing the student bridge project for NJIT 2 years ago and will be starting the third round tomorrow. I tinker in my garage all the time despite downgrading to a Diversion 165 and mm 140. One of my side jobs was developing and building the first run of the "Jersey Boot" tactical breaching device for my friends at Dave
        Originally posted by HomerJSapien View Post
        That's interesting. I've found that so far, I like it so much that I can get lost in the garage for hours and not realize it. I suppose part of that is because I DON'T HAVE TO DO IT. I do it because I WANT to...


        • #5
          Here is an older thread which has lots of interesting information and good stories.

          Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, large first aid kit, etc.

          Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !


          • #6
            Originally posted by HomerJSapien View Post
            That's interesting. I've found that so far, I like it so much that I can get lost in the garage for hours and not realize it. I suppose part of that is because I DON'T HAVE TO DO IT. I do it because I WANT to...
            I get lost in my garage for hours too. Maybe I should leave a trail of bread crumbs, but the rats might erase it on me. Learned to weld from my dad.


            • #7
              I was born with the knack. Both my mom and dad were welders as they owned a fab shop where i later worked...Bob
              Bob Wright


              • #8
                Where or how did you learn to weld?

                Started when I was 15 as a pipe welder helper with my uncle went on into bit of structural when I was 19 then at 22 till now which I'm 25 been working at a shop building anything from gas pipes to fence panels which I really have a passion for because I'm not just stuck with the same routine , one day I could be welding pressurized gas pipe and another I could be welding structural beams


                • #9
                  I find all this very interesting. Everyone has a story and you can quickly tell in most cases whether or not someone has a passion for something. I've had many throughout my life (almost 63 years) and welding has been something that I've been wanting to learn for quite some time. My Son & I had a small powder coating shop for about 7 years. He did all the welding and I never had, or took the time to learn. I did some O&A brazing in High School, but that was it. We sold the shop about 2 years ago before the economy got any worse. He sold his welders and that was that. Now that I'm retired, I feel that it's time I tackle my bucket list.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Burnt hands View Post
                    Here is an older thread which has lots of interesting information and good stories.

                    Before I started this thread, I did a search for this info, but didn't find anything. Thanks for the link. I'll catch up on some reading...


                    • #11
                      Went to Southeast Tech, Groton Connecticut Class of 81


                      • #12
                        I started welding with 6011 stick when I was on a crew traveling around building grain elevators, welded with stick for a year and then my boss introduced me to mig welding in his garage shop. I decided to get out if the elevator construction and keep my feet on the ground while welding so now I have been mig welding in a shop building side dump trailers for the last year and a half.


                        • #13
                          A little over 30 yrs ago, I was laying on a straw bale in the bottom of a mudhole repairing a split in an underground waterline to a center pivot. (Manufacturing defect in the pipe, of course almost on the bottom.) The owner of the ranch drove up and asked, "Where did you learn to weld." My response, "Places like this ditch." Then he invited me to lunch at his house. Life was good. And I was nearly done with the repair before the straw bale caught fire.

                          Many cordless tools...........
                          2 cordless hammers
                          2 cordless punches
                          1 cordless chisel
                          2 cordless screwdrivers, 1 + and 1 -
                          and a cordless adjustable wrench that also doubles as a hammer.....


                          • #14
                            Now that's a story...


                            • #15
                              Here is some history if anyone feels like reading.
                              Summary - Learned to weld at 7yrs old.

                              Long history of welders/iron workers in the family. Grandfather is a welder and was still welding well up into his late 70s. He set the antenna on the Hemisphere Tower in San Antonio and help build the Pecos river high bridge. I don't have a clue what all else he got to work on. He was VERY well known at the Potash mines as well. Many years later I worked at the mines one summer and some of the guys out there would tell me how well they liked my grandfather. Father was a welder from a young age, constructed some power plant in Corpus Christi, TX and worked as an iron worker in Minnesota for a while. He use to tell of how they would climb the vertical columns bolt bag on and all by hand with no ladders to get up to where the crane was setting the next beams. And though I will never try it, he mentioned they would skip down the bar joists jumping from one to the next to get down to the other end of the building. I found out the hard way my first time walking them, you don't stop on a 60ft bar joist that doesn't have bridging in place (lots of swaying when you stop in the middle for a moment).

                              My father was always really busy, was running his own welding business when I came around. When I was 7 yrs old he had a shop hand show me how to strick an arc with 6010. By 10 I was also getting familiar with oxy/acet cutting torch, although cutting a long straight line was still out of the question.

                              At 14 I started working for my dad at the shop every summer. Was cutting scrap iron to sell off making $3.25hr. Would fill a semi trailer using a backhoe and after it was full with a few tons they would haul it off to be sold. Spent alot of time as a welding helper going to rigs to help out with well heads. Got to work as a swamper a few times. There isn't much out there harder than loading a backhoe bucket up with drilling mud using a shovel. Went out on several jobs to help out and install gas/mud seperators.

                              Got to go out to rigs as the welder a few times doing small jobs like tacking collars, welding the flange back on the pipe for the rat hole, and once got to cap a conductor pipe. Of course it always would be on a friday afternoon when no other welders could be reached and I would be the one working till sun up saturday. One of the shop hands would always go with me who knew how to get to the rig and would talk to the rig hands and get the ticket signed since I wasn't even 18 at the time.

                              When I was 17 worked as an iron worker/welder putting up a bank in NM. That was my first time getting to walk iron and never was a day boring. The crane operator foreman was actually a foreman for my dad long ago, so it had a lot of meaning to it as well. Carrying 200ft of welding lead across beams was always a rush since you had to make sure the cable didn't get hung up and pull you off. Wasn't really any way to be tied off when walking the iron or at least none of the welders I was working with were until they sat down to start welding. Welded in a LOT of bridging that summer. Was at that job till we completed the roof. When the roof was going on that job was miserable since even with a wide brim hard had, the top of my ears would blister from the reflection off the roof.
                              That was one of my favorite welding jobs. Got to slide down the beams at break and eat lunch in the banks cement valt (irony) to be in the shade.
                              That job welding and hanging iron I was making minimum wage.

                              At 18, before senior year in high school I spent the summer at the Potash mines during a summer pre-shutdown. Got to help replace rusted out beams and make a temparary brace support for a 300' conveyor belt line that had dropped almost 6". Of course they couldn't stop the conveyor belt while we straddled it putting in supports in the tunnel, they said they could only run a courser form of potash so it wasn't so dusty. It got so bad in there you couldn't see light at the end of the tunnel. By lunch every day I could pour 2 cups of potash out of my bolt bag. It was basically raining potash all day long. Some places were rusted so bad when I would stand in the webbing of the beams I'd have to kick the rust off the bottom of the beam to make sure I wouldn't step through and I could break the bolts off with my hand. I'd get to use air-chisels and replace bolts at times.

                              My last year I worked in the shop more with an older gentleman building stock for around the tank batteries. Several times there would be 3 or 4 of us working all afternoon and into the next morning making cuttings boxes (box with no top and 1 end open) for the rigs. +20ft long by around 8ft wide by 6ft high (big enough for a backhoe to scoup stuff out) 5/8" plate, jet rod and 7018 all the way. We'd have it loaded on trailer with a roustabout 5 ton wench truck by 8am.

                              Then went off to college and now the welding it just a hobby.
                              Last edited by clint738; 02-11-2013, 12:45 PM.