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Career Change Question

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  • #16
    Originally posted by #sWelder View Post
    Hey guys-

    Any suggestions for deliberate practice?
    I found the best way to practice was to build. You learn a lot through mistakes, especially when building things, I have built custom stainless carts, aluminum ramps, light mountings, power stands, repaired all kinds of random things, pots, cast iron drains, cast aluminum, structural and the list goes on.

    All of those things had something to teach me which usually involved me going "aw, ****" and throwing a clamp at the wall. But if you can find something you can use or need in the house or at work or whatever, then build it yourself.

    if there's a welder, there's a way


    • #17
      Originally posted by HGR44117 View Post
      Because of a shortage of welders, lots of manufacturers have their own in-house training programs. That would be great if you could find one of those. Where are you located? I know of a few shops in Cleveland. Also, I got welding certified at Lincoln Electric. That at least gives the basics. Certificationot desu y

      Yeah! The company I work for does that. At least they used to. They would give you one weeks training to weld one joint, then give you the test. Not a good way to certify welders. One joint-one position-a monkey could pass that if they weren't afraid of fire!! Lol!
      Ya, that's pretty lame and worthless.
      Gina M. Tabasso
      HGR Industrial Surplus


      • #18
        Hey guys, girls-

        Well... not very far into the course, but I have decided that joining this class has been one of the best decisions I could have made. I love it, absolutely. The course is centered around SMAW, cutting processes, and the actual labor behind welding--- believe it or not, the instructor has made the class very labor intensive.

        Ultimately, it is set to go at our pace, with every individual at this point operating at a different level. According to my instructor/other old-timers, I have been doing really well and submitting consistent, impressive beads with 6010 and 7018- single passes and padding. I think this Tuesday (06/14/2016), I am set to start preparing my own bevels and running open roots.

        I have not started outside practice, but hope to shortly. I will be setting up my AC-225 Lincoln tomorrow, it is only AC (which is a bummer), but it'll be something, at least. I have a ton of metal and pipe to practice on... so I am excited (for what it's worth).

        I will keep you guys updated... again, thank you all for your help.

        Note--- for anyone that might be reading this... our class was a "choose your focus" kind of thing. We will not be going over any TIG or MIG, only stick.


        • #19
          Hi #sWelder,

          I too am contemplating a career change! I am a bit older than you, 42. Up to this point I have been welding as a hobby for about a year, making practical items for home and business use and I am totally intrigued by the world of welding.
          How is your transition going? I would have PM'ed you but it may be interesting to see how other more experienced folks on the forum may chime in.
          I am looking forward to going to welding school in August!

          -Steve in DC


          • #20
            Just my experience - It would be awfully hard for me to stay busy as a welder only. I need to be an engineer, mechanic, problem solver, delivery guy, parts finder, etc. in order to be a welder. My customers expect me to just get the job done. They can't be bothered taking something apart to get it ready for me to weld or if a part needs to be found they just assume I will find it so the job can be completed. Focus on welding & being good at it if that's what you want to do but also learn how to repair things, fabricate & how/why things are built the way they are.
            Trailblazer 250g
            22a feeder
            Lincoln ac/dc 225
            Victor O/A
            MM200 black face
            Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
            Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
            Arco roto-phase model M
            Vectrax 7x12 band saw
            Miller spectrum 875
            30a spoolgun w/wc-24
            Syncrowave 250


            • #21
              Originally posted by tubameat View Post
              Hi #sWelder,

              I too am contemplating a career change! I am a bit older than you, 42. Up to this point I have been welding as a hobby for about a year, making practical items for home and business use and I am totally intrigued by the world of welding.
              How is your transition going? I would have PM'ed you but it may be interesting to see how other more experienced folks on the forum may chime in.
              I am looking forward to going to welding school in August!

              -Steve in DC
              Awesome Steve- they say it's never too late to try something new. I hope all goes well come August!

              As far as my transition...

              It is going really well. If you are willing to put the hoodtime in, you can/will progress much quicker than your classmates (barring those with previous experience and perhaps natural skill)... I find a lot of times in my class, I am the only one utilizing the timeframe to its fullest. I am also the most advanced student in the class.

              In class, I am just getting started running 6010 horizontal t-joint fillet welds, totalling 10 passes- completed/passed through the horizontal 7018 t-joints (also 10 passes).

              Outside of class, I am practicing vertical and overhead passes, and also keyholing techniques. It is working really well, and I have faith that the D1.1 will come easy. Practicing on open roots, flat and pipe, definitely puts the difficulty of D1.1 in perspective (meaning you realize there is much more difficult things than running passes on beveled plates with a backing strip).

              Also, outside of class I have been spending a night a week working on tig. I will say that I am so glad I started with stick, because tig would have spoiled me something awful.

              I'm finding out all of this, stick, tig, etc... is about 10% natural ability, and 90% hoodtime. Get as much hoodtime as possible.

              Best of luck!


              • #22
                I think I went through three hoods after I got out of welding school and started welding for food.... out of position overhead 45 degree pipe welding was a nut crusher for me.

                The Good Lord was good to me, I got an old welder that new the ropes for a partner, he settled me down and showed me how to do it when I needed help.

                Keep a good attitude and if possible befriend an old welder who knows the ropes like I did, your learning curve will be shorter, safer and you'll have someone to laugh with you when you screw up instead of becoming an angry hood throwing ***-clown.
                Last edited by tackit; 06-22-2016, 10:42 AM.


                • #23
                  Thanks for the updates!
                  Gina M. Tabasso
                  HGR Industrial Surplus


                  • #24
                    I like the fact you are focusing on stick. This is where the rubber really hits the road and is something that cant be faked. Lotso guys can stand around twirling a tig but stick skills take real time to get good at. ​ When I was slumming and changing jobs, signs etc the welders were mostly part timers. I remember hiring in and hearing what a welder ole Tony is, then they see my first weld and cut and realize the difference.
                    Now at this point you want to weld but the accountant part will come in handy down the line when you want to move up. Lots of business in this business in this business.
                    A good share of the worlds critical highly inspected work is done sticks, the men are irreplaceable.
                    Last edited by Sberry; 07-09-2016, 08:25 AM.


                    • #25
                      At 24 yrs old you've got all the time in the world. Keep in mind that there are welding jobs, and then there are welding jobs. Some start at minimum wage and some pay upwards of $80/hr.
                      I'm not dogging on people who are content to weld for 15 bucks an hour putting in their 40 hr/week every week, but people who concentrate (hard) on hi paying work may have to travel, but then they may only work 4-6 months/year and live a decent lifestyle.

                      To rise to the top in structural land it's a very good thing to have really good uphill lohi (7018/8018/9018/12018) skills, that's the broad base and can make you a lot of money just by itself. That will transfer into really good uphill flux core wire skills with a little experience. Knowing the T-8 wires (in particular NR-232, it has a distinct learning curve) intimately are a big, big plus in the higher seismic zones ie earthquake prone areas.And those get expanded every year : )
                      Add in some tig and you are then pretty versatile and employable. Food industries use a lot of tig ie food processing plants (be it human or animal, $$$ too be made there with structural tig).

                      To rise to the top in pipe land again you need very solid uphill lohi ability plus open root (6010/7010/8010) skills. As more and more chiller/heated water lines (and thousands of tons of these are welded every day, on every large building in the US) in traditionally uphill land have transitioned to all cellulosic (6010/7010/8010) downhill, that's a very good skill to have in your back pocket.
                      In pipe land tig skills on stainless/monel/etc are just another plus, but you can make a good life without them. That's probably what a guy would want to learn last, unless your geographical location has a higher need for that type of welding.

                      I'll add this, not to start a war, but joining a union apprenticeship program in any of the building trades will do several things for you. Give you access to solid welding programs (that you can spend every day if you want, and you're not working) with free to you consumables/machines/and coupons. And field experienced instruction.
                      Plus you'll be banking pension hours, and have good health insurance. And very good wages. Keep in mind that you will have to earn every penny in the building trades, production rules over all in that world, 120 degrees or 35 below. If you produce, you work. If you're a slacker, you sit at home.
                      You'll also get the best training available on safety, fork lifts, rigging, work at heights, etc, etc. etc.
                      Heavy industrial construction land requires cert's for all of those things in todays world.

                      I've seen for 30 + years now, kids come out of a school, with a welder qual (what most people call a cert) that have learned to make one weld, in a lab, that will pass a bend test or xray. But they are befuddled when presented with the difficulties that actually occur on a site. That's where an apprenticeship comes in very handy.

                      So really be it Millwrights or Piledrivers or Pipefitters or Iron Workers or Boilermakers or even Carpenters, there is a lot of welding being done today in the construction crafts. Go get some. If it suites you.

                      My opinion only so take it or.........
                      Some days you eat the bear. And some days the bear eats you.


                      • #26
                        Great write up. JT hit on it, good uphill lo hi welders, uphill pipe and a guy gan find a job when he wants. Also agree about the union halls. This is the one skill set used across all the trades.

                        Last edited by Sberry; 07-09-2016, 07:47 PM.