Custom made welding caps

I like to throw these things out when I see them. QuiltingB has a cool website with custom fitted skullcaps for welders. These welding caps are 100% pre-shrunk cotton & have a print fabric on the outside and are lined with a matching solid color cotton fabric.

The site says, "My caps are custom made to your head size. For your convenience." They offer a sizing chart.

Thinking of picking one up!


When to quit with a torch, and pick up a plasma cutter

Oftentimes, welders are tempted into buying a plasma cutter to achieve better cutting results. Although that might be a good thing, it's not necessarily a have-to item. Here are some recommendtions before you take the plunge.

  • Before you quit torching, here are some things to check:
  • Be certain your regulators are high quality and in working condition.
  • Check for leaks in your gas plumbing. Use a drop of soap in water and an old paintbrush to help identify leaks.
  • Check your tip size. Is it correct?
  • Be sure gas tip pressures are set right for the tip you're using.
  • Preheat your tip right. Manufacturers sell tips in light, medium or heavy pre-heat settings. For clean steel use heavy tips. This can result in slag blow-through it you don't get it right.
  • Check your techniques and alter as needed. Are you holding the torch at the right position? Using it at the right distance? Be sure.
Get all that? Then buy you a plasma cutter if you think you can't live without it.


Rosie the Riveter was also Rosie the Welder

In the dark days of World War 2, "Rosie the Riveter" became the famous nickname for a generation of women who took up industrial arts like metalworking, welding, and yeah, riveting, to keep industrial production up while the war went on. In many ways, we all owe them just like we do the guys carrying rifles in European plains and South Pacific jungles.

There's a website dedicated to keeping that memory, with a ton of good stuff at Rosie the Riveter.org. There are oral histories, facts, and other nifty stuff.

The Rosie the Riveter Memorial, honoring American Women's Labor During WWII, is the first national monument to celebrate and interpret women's crucial contributions to the World War Two Home Front. It is located in Richmond, CA, in Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park at the site of the former Kaiser Shipyards, which were the largest and most productive of World War II.

These days, a woman in welding is still a curiosity, something you might note and go on. Back in those days, it was revolutionary and vital. In certain places, such as California, plants could not have been run without them.

Here's to you, Rosie.


The top 10 Mig Welding Mistakes...

Just a list compiled by various welders over the last few years.
  1. Not cleaning your parts is the most common mistake in welding. Keep the metal in as perfect shape as you can get it.
  2. Not understanding travel speed, the travel speed of your hand as you move. When you’re welding, stick out, or the distance that the electrode is allowed to stick out from the contact tip, along with travel speed are areas that a person has got to keep under control.
  3. Improper gas selection. Cheaper gasses can cause problems. CO2 is going to be less expensive at the face of it, but might not do the job. Mixed gas usually gives better MIG welding results.
  4. Mismatched filler material and metal. You must get the right tensile strength.
  5. Inadequate shielding is another big mistake. Something as simple as not blocking the wind as you weld can cause huge issues.
  6. Buying a welder that isn’t up to the job. People buy smaller welders thinking they are saving money, but it isn’t savings if you can’t do the job you need to.
  7. Improper welder settings are a killer. You understand the settings and adjust them correctly. For instance, if your welder isn't set right, it will weld will lack fusion. It can look like a good weld, but isn't one. Using a light duty extension cord is a cause for this, as you can get a voltage drop. You'll have only half the output you thought you would.Your bead won't melt in, so it lacks fusion.
  8. You must set polarity correctly - and many people don't. Setting your machine on the wrong polarity results in a really ugly weld. You can tell it’s wrong by the sound and how the welder isn’t flowing in your hands.
  9. You have to maintain your wire feeder’s basic wear components. Liners, contact tips, and other parts wear out over time. Check your welder’s specs and replace them on time.
  10. Wrong contact tip sizes. You can’t put a random contact tip on a MIG welder—it’s too critical of an element. Buy new ones as needed and size them right. Since the contact tip is where the electrical contact makes contact with the wire, it should be right. When a contact tip is burned back, don’t cut it off and try to keep welding. They aren’t that expensive and your wire will be sloppier if you tip isn’t set right.


Building a '33-34 Ford chassis from the ground up

Nifty page on how this was done over at Custom Classic Trucks. Lots of good photos and documentation of the mig welding processes used to build this truck. A snippet (and I'm not including much since the original article is sensational and you owe yourself the time to go read it.):

After removing the center crossmember from the crossmember jig, Herb tack-welded and finish-welded the center crossmember into the framerails. Since the frame jig is a rotisserie, it can be positioned at any angle, enabling SAC's technicians to produce complete, uniform welds.


Robotic welding on the rise due to skills shortage

According to the Ferret.com.au website, there is such a shortage of welding talent out there that it's driving more and more manufacturers to install automated welding machines. With better computer controls and more ability to automate, there are some formerly labor intensive welding jobs that are being moved into automation. If a company can replace a $50,000 a year welder with a $150,000 robot, they will do it because in 36 months (or less in the right) they'll have paid for that robot. The site reports that much of the conversion to automation is coming from the United States and Japan.

If it's not the right application, they'll have themselves a great coat rack, so companies have to be careful about this kind of conversion to automation

That robot won't call in sick unless they don't maintain it. It won't go on strike. It won't take two weeks of vacation a year or have health insurance.

Before you go thinking it's the end of the world for welders, relax. Rote, every day the same way jobs can be automated a hell of a lot easier than most welding jobs. Certain things, such as in repetitive manufacturing will go that way. But that's just the way of the world. I've been in grocery stores without any people to help me. I just check it out at the automated scanner. That's going to happen to those kind of repetive tasks whether they are welding or not.

Some snippets:

LONG production lines working 24 hours a day utilising robotic welders is a method of manufacturing normally associated with the automotive industry. But in fact robotic welding is being adopted by an increasing number of manufacturers, with most facing skills shortages and increasing labour costs.

“The other possibility is a smaller quantity of repeat items with each containing a significant amount of welding. In the end it’s all about having enough work to keep the robot welding all day, every day. Industries that are having difficulty in sourcing and keeping production welders may also benefit from robotic arc welding.”

“Converting to robotic welding really depends on the job and application,” he said. “Robotic welding combinations can start from $150,000 for a lower end robotic MIG welding system and ramp up from there depending upon welding technology required. However nothing extra is required beyond normal welding consumables except standard maintenance,” Deuchar said.


Marine welders example of Corps’ diversity, versatility

From Marines.com

Every Marine is a trained rifleman, something the Corps takes a lot of pride in. However, in order to accomplish the Marine Corps’ mission, there are countless jobs that require Marines trained in many different military occupational specialties. A Marine Corps welder is one unique example.

Welders from General Support Maintenance Company, 3rd Materiel Readiness Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, flex their creative muscles for the Corps using skills learned in their formal MOS school and ingenuity that can only be learned on the job.

These welders can repair damaged Marine Corps gear such as vehicle parts as well as fabricate completely new parts, many of which can’t be purchased, at a fraction of what it would cost the Corps to purchase them through the civilian market.

“We can create or repair pretty much anything made of metal,” said Lance
Cpl. Alejandro Echevarria, a welder with GSM company, and an Austin, Texas, native.

Marine Corps welders attend the Basic Metal Workers Course at the Army Ordnance School, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., There, students with exceptional talent can receive a certification from the American Welding Society. Once in the Fleet Marine Force, the welders can use their on-the-job training to apply for additional certification.

According to Sgt. Travis R. Nichols, the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the weld shop and native of Hemet, Calif., a welder is like an artist. The skill level and patience needed for both professions is very similar.

Welders must be prepared to think outside of the box when jobs come in to optimize the capabilities of the Okinawa-based units they support.

According to Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Lashley, machine and weld shop staff noncommissioned officer in charge, one recent example that highlighted the type of fabrication work the welder Marines can perform saved the Corps thousands of dollars. A communications unit needed lids for cases to protect their equipment. The lids, available through order, were expensive and made of plastic. The weld shop fabricated metal lids for less than half the cost.

Welders must also have a vast knowledge of the materials they work with. They must know the best materials and procedures for making objects based on their structure and intended use.

“We have to be able to identify different types of metal and know what temperatures they fuse at by just looking at them,” Echevarria said.

The Marines of the weld shop take pride in their job and satisfaction from their work.

“It’s amazing when you make something out of nothing,” Echevarria said. “Seeing the finished product as something that was created by hand while saving the Marine Corps money is very rewarding.”


Welding data PDF's.. great sources of arc welding information


Fun with product labels...

I picked this up browsing the web, and thought you'd think it was a hoot as well. A pair of "welding goggles" has a warning label that reads "DO NOT use these goggles for mig, tig, or arc welding".

Otherwise, I guess they're just peachy keen!

Warning: don't use these welding goggles for welding...


What are the job prospects for TIG welders?

For Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Workers, the United States Department of Commerce thinks the future is pretty bright. According to its official website, "job prospects should be excellent." Lots of this is general stuff, but when they say that "Training ranges from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs," they're saying that you get what you pay for. I think some guys do well in a self taught mode. They're just inclined toward the work. They're talented welders due to hand eye coordination, a good sense of how the metal is working, and steady demeanors. That doesn't mean you have to be born a welder. You can definitely learn it.

Commerce site goes on to say that about 55% of welders, solderers, and brazers work a 40-hour week, overtime is common, and some welders work up to 70 hours per week. Welders also may work in shifts as long as 12 hours. Some welders, solderers, brazers, and machine operators work in factories that operate around the clock, necessitating shift work. You and me both like the overtime, but not the lack of time after the whistle blows.

Welding, soldering, and brazing workers held about 452,000 jobs in 2002. Of these jobs, about 2 of every 3 were found in manufacturing. Jobs were concentrated in transportation equipment manufacturing (motor vehicle body and parts and ship and boat building), machinery manufacturing (agriculture, construction, and mining machinery), and architectural and structural metals manufacturing. Most jobs for welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders were found in the same manufacturing industries as skilled welding, soldering, and brazing workers.

Median hourly earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were $14.02 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.41 and $17.34. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $9.41, while the top 10 percent earned over $21.79. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels.


Ever had a flash burn?

My high school welding instructor, who is long past this world now, used to describe them as "tater burns" on your eye. "You look at a live arc, I don't care how tough you think you are," he told us once, "and you'll be crying home to mama." I took him seriously and was happy never to get a flash burn, or welder's flash, as others call it. That paranoia has paid off for a while now -- to date I have never got one.

In a flash burn due to welder exposure, your corneas can get damaged by the ultraviolet light. It hurts, I'm told, a kind of subtle, always-there pain that takes 3 days to a week to go away. It takes about 6 or 8 hours to appear once you've been exposed. You can also get it from reflected light off water, snow, or even from sand. Long term damage is rare.

If it happens, the experts tell us to bathe eyes, both of em, with cold water. Lightly dress them with nonfluffy, clean materials (gauze would be good), and seek medical help if you aren't sure you've done it right.

Synonyms, Key Words, and Related Terms: actinic keratitis, snow blindness, flash burn, welder's flash, arc eye.

If you want the full scoop on welder's eye, read this article...


American Welding Society publishes Specification for Low-Alloy Steel Electrodes for Flux Cored Arc Welding

For those who follow the specification track, I like to throw these announcements out from the AWS...

Miami, FL September 9, 2005:
The American Welding Society (AWS) announces the availability of: AWS A5.29/A5.29M:2005,Specification for Low-Alloy Steel Electrodes for Flux Cored Arc Welding. This specification prescribes the requirements for classification of low-alloy steel electrodes for flux cored arc welding. The requirements include chemical composition and mechanical properties of the weld metal and certain usability characteristics. Optional, supplemental designators are also included for improved toughness and diffusible hydrogen. Additional requirements are included for standard sizes, marking, manufacturing, and packaging. A guide is appended to the specification as a source of information concerning the classification system employed and the intended use of low-alloy steel flux cored electrodes.

The American Welding Society is the largest organization in the world dedicated to advancing the science, technology, and application of welding and allied processes, including joining, brazing, soldering, cutting, and thermal spraying. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, USA, AWS serves almost 50,000 members in the United States and around the world. In 2005, the FABTECH INTERNATIONAL & AWS Welding Show—the largest welding, metal forming, & fabricating event—will take place November 13-November 16, 2005, in Chicago, IL, USA. www.aws.org/expo For more information on AWS programs and publications, visit the Society's web site, www.aws.org.