How popular is welding

GoodOleBoyNovember 3, 2004

I was wondering i noticed around town I see signs for private weldings classes. Has it just recnetly became popular from Tv shows or am just seeing more exsposure from the internet forums. I know on the lawn tractor forum many people are really intrested in it.

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It's a popular hobby around here, and a necessity for other areas.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 7:42AM
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I think welding has become popular because wire feed welders have become so affordable. Almost anyone who has the desire to learn can turn out respectable looking welds in less than a day.
I enjoy welding because I like to build or repair things. I've laughingly told people I like welding because if you cut something too short, just weld some extra to it and cut it again.
Just my thoughts,
Mike A.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 8:56AM
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I think that it ebbs and flows kinda like most things, but not fad things that just fade away. It is solid, substantial, useful and at times necessary. I can remember bygone days where someone that could weld was revered in farming or less urban areas. I remember when it was difficult to find someone to fix something that needed to be welded, sometimes the difficulty in getting the work to them, when portable D.C. welders were not all that common.
These are just my common man, or laymans observations, I am sure that pro welders have a much more in depth historical perspective to look at. I think also that many things have helped to make it "popular" from the evolution to it being a relatively well paying profession, things like the many huge and sometimes historical construction projects, pipelines, etc., coupled with the advances in modern information technology like the things that you mention has definitely had its effect. Now that the gender gap is crumbling, you see more "ladies" trying their hand at it. Those that are determined enough to stick with it long enough to get thru the initial learning curve and frustrations of sticking the rod to the metal and such things soon learn the sense of accomplishment that goes along with it, and it's popularity continues to grow, helped along with advances in technology like the auto darkening helments, mig, tig and such. Of course, there will always be a majority who feel that such things just "ain't their bag" and will throw things away that are still good (much to our delight), or would prefer to just buy something new, much to suppliers delight. To many, it would be a trade off to take their valuable time to learn or do, and some just ain't interested.
I taught one of my DILs a little about it, she really liked it, but has many other higher priorities. One of my little grandsons wants to learn, and I will be glad to teach him what I can, or help him take some schooling if his interests extend that far, but always, always, stress learning the inherent dangers, the safety issues first and foremost and to develop the habits that promote that.
I had a little welding in high school ag shop many years, did not use it much for many years until I retired and got back into it. I find it interesting, absorbing, a way to express creativity, that it opens up areas opportunities that otherwise would not exist in making tools and things you can use, and sometimes, downright useful. Then there is that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as it progresses and when the job is done. Something that will last and still be useful and functinal long after I am gone. That is just my thoughts, thank you for asking.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 9:08AM
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Oops, left out one little word. the word AGO should have been after the word years.
> > >I had a little welding in high school ag shop many years, did not use it much for manyMakes it sound like me and Jethro Bodine spent many years trying to learn cypherin and weldin, don't it ? \":^)

And that reminds me of the guy that could beat up all the other kids in his fourth grade class, was about to become a problem of being a bully, the teacher took him aside and ask him if he knew *WHY* he was able to best everyone in his class. His response was "Cause I am more a gile, faster and can hit harder ? " To which she responded, "No, it is mostly because you are sixteen years old !!!!!!!"
Oh well ~ ~ ~
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 9:28AM
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Welding is a neccessity in several trades namely Sheet Metal workers / Ironworkers / Pipefitters / Boilermakers / Millwrights and several others, most of the apprenticeship programs dedicate at least six months out of there four year training program to welding. Typically if a person is a excellent stick welder (certified) he can easily be proficient at any of the others. As with anything else the job comes with risk, regardless of how careful you are your eyes will be exposed at times to arcs and will be burned eventually leading to blindness, the rays sent out from the welding process will penetrate your skin and burn it leading to high cancer rates, the fumes given off by the welding process can cause lung damage. Not my first choice for a career that is for sure. But it pays good if you are proficient there are some real old welders in the trades the lucky ones I guess.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 5:07PM
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I think that it's a combination of more affordable welders and those TV shows where they assemble a motorcycle in a day, day and a half max.....:-) Speaking of which, I had never seen that orange county show until this week. We don't have cable (or satellite) and I don't watch much TV, but this week I was stuck in Atlanta in a hotel with cable so I thought I'd see what it was all about.

To hear people talk you'd think these guys were mechanical geniuses (sp?) but when I start looking around the shop it sure seems like they are using some low-end homeowner grade equipment.......note the cast iron vise that looks like a Depot special for $39.99. Come on, if you're that into working with tools you should have better/older/more variety than that. What a dissapointment to watch.

kbeitz needs to show them a thing or two.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 9:57PM
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Maybe that cheap HD vice was a "product placement"?

Heck if all you're going to use a vice for is banging things into shape on, a cheap HD vice is appropriate :-).

Anyway, I think welding can be a safe career if one observes safety precautions, such as:

1) Always wearing proper eye protection/light shielding.

2) Wearing appropriate clothing to protect skin from light radiation (leather is very good). Leather gloves, jacket, neck protection, etc.

3) Adequate ventilation for fumes. I think this is the most difficult area to control. I've seen some high end welding helmets with built in capacity for respirator air supplies. If I were doing welding for a living I'd seriously consider one of those setups. Who needs zinc fever, or, worse, manganese poisoning ("welder's disease")?

4) Common sense when working around extremely hot and/or live electrical things.

One good thing about welding - you can't outsource putting together a bridge or skyscraper.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 9:23PM
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Well I got the Fever and did some stick welding and mig welding. I can see why it is so popular.I think Ill be visiting more frequently.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 6:43AM
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I think welding is cool for several reasons:

1) It's the best "glue" in the world for metals

2) You are creating a miniature steel mill (or iron/aluminum/etc mill) right in front of you. You are really creating new metal, not just joining two pieces.

3) It require some artistic ability and eye/hand coordination.

Now, the dangers are not to be dismissed lightly, but I think if one takes proper precautions they can be minimized - as in just about every trade there are dangers. How many woodworkers are missing digits? How many computer workers have carpal tunnel or obesity caused by sedentary occupation?

Some of the drawbacks of welding for me are:

1) The damn helmets just don't fit my head right

2) It's like playing a musical instrument. Laying down a good bead takes regular practice. It's not exactly something you can drop for a year and then come back and expect to be much good until you put in more practice.

3) Like musical instruments, knowing one welding technology or position does not necessarily mean you will be able to do another, without additional training and/or practice.

4) It's not really a "glue" and a bad weld can be worse than rivets, bolts, or real glue.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 3:34PM
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I started welding around the age of 10 or so...on a machine an older brother had borrowed...being the youngest male of 4, I of course not only didn't get much encouragement, but did get a good deal of ridicule and sibling abuse... THEY had mini-bikes...and I wanted one too...not much finese, but I WAS motivated. well...I welded up a nasty frame (crooked) and got dumped on pretty good by the elder siblings who were enjoying my learning curve...and then bro #2's future father-in-law (who's welder it was) said something to me that made it alright...he said to me:

"it may not look like much, but I'll bet it's hell for holdin'"
you'ld be surprised how that insignificant phrase fixed me.

the 4 of us went in on a new ($100 at the time) 175A Lincoln buzz box ($25 was a fortune to me at 10-12...and was demanded under some nondescript threat) I welded lots of fairly good to the point all the other brothers would come to me for their welds...the evolution from sibling joke to sought after was a healthy right of passage and a good self image re-enforcer...I went thru the steamfitter's apprenticeship and their welding school...and got not only viable, but marketable. when we brothers all went our separate ways, I got the welder without any complaint ...and have had one ever since in the garage.

welding as far as "popular"?...I don't know. I can say it's been a foundational block for me (hard won) and I couldn't imagine that means of expression and ability not in my reportoir.

to the guys who ask "what should I get"...these are the steps I took.

my opinion is a 225A Lincoln buzz box (strick) for a tad over $200 will get you firmly in the door...decent machine at a reasonable (cheap) price. this is assuming someone just wants an all around welder and doesn't intend to marry it. smaller stock can be handled with 3/32 a point.

second choice would be a 110V Lincoln mig for under $400. this will give you lightweight ability...anything over 1/4" is a problem, but the benefit is you can run it off any household 15A outlet or portable generator...weld in the bathroom if you have to...

IF...I say want to spend your money once, and want a wide range of ability...then the 220v mig is a good choice for a "one all around" machine.

...but for a bit more money, between the smaller mig and the buzz box, you'll have more diverse ability...the 220v mig will sit in the spot near the 220v outlet (as does the 220v buzz box) and tie you to all fabrication/repair right there...for most folks, this probably isn't an issue...but you won't have the luxury of welding the chimney cap on the roof, or art/fences mid-yard ect...I do like the luxury of throwing the generator and small mig in the jeep and having remote "on the spot" ability when it's ocassionally called for.

...but I imagine most beginner folks can get by well with the $200 buzz box (stick)+ hood/rod/gloves I did. the benefit is cheapest to "get in the door", and wide range of ability (short of tin foil and gum wrapper welds). the only hurdle is you'll need to install a dedicated 50A 220v outlet to safely run it.

...and I personally would stick with name brands...that machine will sit there giving good service for decades...upfront "savings" with some off-brand machine could come back to haunt you. some investments shouldn't be on price alone.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 5:59AM
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For another option on stick/mig, Airco at one time made a 'Dipstick 160', a 220V 50A combination mig/stick welder that can handle any size of metal you are likely to find around the house and in 'most' shops. A high freq unit could be attached for a scratch start heliarc welder. It's not elegant, but it is definitely functional.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2004 at 3:40PM
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