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Welding school to Graduation and stuff in between!

Discussion in 'Garage / Workshop' started by Kwikvette, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. Aug 24, 2021 at 10:35 PM
    #1
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette [OP] Chief Executive Officer at Kwik Fab

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    Long story short; quitting a 10-year, 6-figure job and starting trade school soon for welding. Thank you GI Bill as I haven't used it since I got out over 12 years ago.

    School will touch on MIG and TIG; both steel and aluminum.

    10 month course so, it'll be thorough and not one of those 'a few nights for a quick certification' kind of thing.

    This thread began before I started school, and others posted with helpful info on PPE to buy, tools they wish they had known about, and more.

    To make it easier to navigate, I've provided some shortcuts below.

    Enjoy!

    Week 1: OSHA10

    Week 2: Oxy Fuel Cutting

    Week 3: Gas Welding

    Week 4: Filler Metal

    Week 5: Plasma Cutting

    Week 6: MIG Welding

    Week 7: MIG Bed Stiffeners?

    Week 8: MIG Toe and other shenanigans

    Week 9: MIG Project and more!

    Week 10: Stick Welding and a small project

    Week 11: Pipe welding and root passes

    Week 11 1/2: I GOT A JOB AS A WELDER

    Week 12: Stick Welding and Work

    Week 46: Summary - Fab shop

    Week 46: Summary II - School

    Week 46: Home

    Week 142: Home Update
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2024
    FreeCascadia, j-utah, CS_AR and 4 others like this.
  2. Aug 24, 2021 at 10:50 PM
    #2
    point45

    point45 Well-Known Member

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    https://www.blackstallion.com/products/gloves/25d-blk-detail.html

    I've been using these lately and love them. They have a pad sewn into the pinky that helps with heat when steadying you hand against the work piece.

    Also important to get the fit right so you have a good feeling/control when trying to feed rod.

    For mig it's not as important except for comfort if you're going to be wearing them all day working. I've been using the same pair of Miller gloves thay came for free with my welder as a promo.
     
    Steves104x4 and Kwikvette[OP] like this.
  3. Aug 24, 2021 at 10:56 PM
    #3
    Steves104x4

    Steves104x4 Well-Known Member

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    BUCKLE UP! It makes it harder for Aliens to pull you out of your Truck.
    So cool. Good luck!
     
    shakerhood and Kwikvette[OP] like this.
  4. Aug 25, 2021 at 7:57 PM
    #4
    Wsidr1

    Wsidr1 Well-Known Member

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    I own a 150amp Hobart MIG, a 220amp Primeweld TIG/ARC, Oxy/acet rig, and a 60amp Primeweld plasma cutter. I am in the process of assembling a Crossfire Pro CNC table. For a serious hobby guy, I feel I have a really good setup.

    My pimped out welding table and the clamps I bought and made have really been great. It was still clean in this pic. Pretty grungy now. Also, I moved the saw to the extension end and it has stayed there. I've added a lot since this pic, but you get the idea.

    Klutch Welding Table.jpg

    Clamps of all variety are a real help. These Strong Hands magnets are great little helpers.

    https://www.amazon.com/Strong-Hand-...4c2e003eb71&pd_rd_wg=QvpUH&pd_rd_i=B094C4LJ19

    Gloves, I go pretty cheap. I have a set of Hobart heavy padded for Mig (Rural King purchase), and some basic calfskins for TIG. I have a TIG finger from Weldmonger to protect pinkie from hot surfaces.

    If you are not already a disciple of Jodie on, https://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/ this is mecca. You will be amazed at this guys' knowledge, talent, teaching skills, and videos. Every second of the videos is fact based.

    I recently bought a 2nd one of these hoods, only because the 1st one has lasted over 2 yrs and for the price, that's great. I love the visibility and features.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T47ZFDN?ie=UTF8

    Getting my metal cutting saw has also been a game changer. I can finally cut angles without having a lot of fill work to do because the corners didn't align. I went with the Evolution brand.

    My advice is MIG is the most useful for most people, but TIG is the most marketable skill.
     
    Pablo8 and Kwikvette[OP] like this.
  5. Aug 25, 2021 at 8:07 PM
    #5
    Cudgel

    Cudgel “Tonka”

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    ICON8 Lift -285s. upTOPoverland rack.
    This is very important during a variety of activities.
     
  6. Aug 26, 2021 at 9:40 AM
    #6
    aviorperformance

    aviorperformance Well-Known Member

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  7. Aug 26, 2021 at 9:46 AM
    #7
    texas angler

    texas angler Well-Known Member

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    Sub'd to follow along to learn too.

    OP thanks for your service and good luck.:thumbsup:
     
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  8. Aug 26, 2021 at 10:26 AM
    #8
    ndmak

    ndmak Well-Known Member

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    GTAW glove: https://jtillman.com/product/24c/

    GMAW glove : https://jtillman.com/product/52/

    clamps: https://www.bessey.de/en-US/BESSEY-...all-steel-bar-clamps/Light-duty-up-to-400-lbs
    you will want at least 2 of each size, then once you get more arc time and have more direction of where you want to go with welding, you can upgrade to medium or heavy duty and decide which sizes you want more of.

    GTAW gear: https://furickcup.com/product/furick-starter-kit-17-18-and-26-torch-fu17-sk/ -> this kit is top of the line. maybe wait until you have some arc time and figure out what you want to to. also depending on what size torches your school has, you might need the 19-sized kit. the Amazon kits are generally acceptable, but dont be surprised if you get some out-of-spec parts in there. https://weldmongerstore.com/ has a bunch of kits too. you can piece these kits together to only get what you need, but it probably wont be cheaper and the time it takes to figure out what you need is several hours of research, then waiting for shipping, then going to the shop to test it out, then if it doesnt fit or isnt what you wanted, you have to order more stuff and wait and do the whole process again. find an experienced welder (there will likely be guys in your classes who have lots of arc time) and get their take on what works and ask them to try their gear, then get part numbers and make an order or go to your local welding supply and get what you need.

    grinders: you will want at least one (probably eventually 2-4) 4" grinders with assortments of grinding discs, flap wheels, cutoff wheels, wire wheels, etc. the (arguably) highest quality is the metabo german made ones https://www.metabo.com/us/enus/tools/cutting-sanding-milling/angle-grinder/angle-grinders-o4-1-2-6/ ->skip the cordless for now. also you will want at least one and eventually two 7"-9" size. dewalt is also more popular than the other brands in the shops i have worked.

    stainless brushes: https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Sc...inless+steel+wire+brush&qid=1629997445&sr=8-4 ->you will want to keep an assortment of stainless brushes. you can use carbon brushes on carbon steel, but you MUST LABEL all your brushes and keep them separate. the stainless brush used for aluminum stays with aluminum and only aluminum. the stainless brush used for stainless stays with stainless and only stainless. if either of those touch carbon steel, they become a carbon steel brush and stay there forever. (this goes for any abrasive/wire wheels for your grinders as well.) MAKE SURE YOU LABEL THEM. ideally have 3 separate, smaller plastic boxes to not get stuff mixed up in. depending on the job you are doing, pull out that specific box.

    Acetone is a popular cleansing regimen many GTAW welders subscribe to. I suggest keeping scotchbrite pads and dawn dish soap and washing your parts. Dawn dish soap is an emulsifier and will actually trap oil and dirt and contaminants and get rid of them off of your part. Acetone spreads them around on your part and on your rag. you will have to do your own research on this and come up with what works best for you.

    pliers: you can never have too many pliers. welpers and channel locks of different sizes will likely be your most used.

    a couple of crescent wrenches.

    high quality tape measure, speed square, combination square, framing square, 1' level, 2' level, 4' level, plumb bob. get a couple of each of these. remember PLUMB, SQUARE AND LEVEL on everything.

    carhartt (or similar) bibs and/or tool belt. i always have a scale (like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Mini-Stainless-Steel-6-inch-Ruler/dp/B01DB1C3QS), a scribe (like this one:https://www.amazon.com/Tungsten-Car...id=1629998923&s=office-products&sr=1-15-spons), a sharpie, welpers, a level, soapstone, tape measure in my bibs. efficiency is key when you get out of school on the job. 5 minutes walking back to the truck or toolbox to try and find the right tool or look for your lost tape measure costs money. keep the essentials on you at all times. also these help keep the dirt and metal dust out of the pickup and house. leave them in the shop, put them on when you get there and take them off before you leave. much cleaner.

    https://www.allamericanhats.com/welding-caps/ these (or similar) are very important. keep 3 or 4 so when they get dirty you can wash them and always have a spare.

    tool storage: eventually you will end up with a job-box sized pile of tools. for now start small, get 2-3 plastic boxes and try different things out. if it doesnt work or you break it, put it in your shop or upgrade to a heavier duty piece of equipment. harbor freight is your friend when you are starting out.

    as many clear cover lenses as you can buy and keep stored in a clean environment. change these out every X amount of hours. find a good schedule, like every friday at clean up put in a new cover lens and you will be ready monday morning with a clear view.

    YOUTUBE: watch as many and as much youtube as you can stand, and then watch more. weld.com, chucke2009, weldingtipsandtricks, etc. all of them have something you can learn from.

    im sure theres more i am forgetting at the moment. i will gladly answer a pm or question on this thread.
     
    Yota X, Kwikvette[OP] and Glueman like this.
  9. Aug 26, 2021 at 10:45 AM
    #9
    ndmak

    ndmak Well-Known Member

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    i forgot the most important things: SAFETY IS YOUR UTMOST PRIORITY. you will be less successful at making a living if you are hurt, injured, lose an eye, lose a few fingers, cant hear, cant see, etc. I ALWAYS wear safety glasses. even under the hood while you weld. wear them. I have had metal/rust rings removed/drilled from my eye several times. not pleasant and costs several hours of down time.

    i always wear earplugs. foam ones. saves spatter (not SPLATTER, this is important) getting in your ears, and saves time when you switch from welding to grinding to stop and put them in. many workers wear earbuds and listen to music. i prefer earplugs and listening to the arc and the machine. you can learn a lot by the sound of the arc and understanding what it is supposed to sound like, and then troubleshooting when something is off with the sound. put on a radio/music in the shop as background noise and stick with foam earplugs.

    Also always assume all metal is always hot until proven otherwise.

    some welders wear a respirator/dust mask. wear an N95 for a day and you will see how dirty it gets.
     
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  10. Aug 26, 2021 at 10:45 AM
    #10
    kevinRR

    kevinRR Well-Known Member

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    You should stop by a local welding supply store and see if they give student discount on PPE. The shop by my house gave me like 10% off PPE with student ID. Gear wise I have Tillman MIG and TIG gloves, Miller Digital helmet and Jody's Tig fingers. The Tig finger help out with heat and make it easier for sliding my hand across what ever it prop up against. Welding gloves aren't expensive so any of the big name brand is fine. For helmet I recommend Miller Elite or Lincoln 3350 best helmet for the price. Baker's Gas is my go to PPE store and Weldmonger Store for accessory.
     
    mic_sierra and Kwikvette[OP] like this.
  11. Sep 5, 2021 at 11:42 AM
    #11
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    I wish you well in your new career !!!

    I have found over the years when it comes to personal gear we all have our favorites only found after on the job experience .

    Unless I get into real serious welding 1/2" and up I use just the regular work gloves tilman 1470

    One word of advice I see so many people ruin gloves picking up hot test coupons /practice plates get your self a nice pair of long handled pliers save your gloves .

    Then the 100 % cotton clothing is a given nothing like having melted synthetic stuck to your skin

    Some classes don`t mandate ear plugs I don`t weld with out them it makes things easier for me to focus.
     
    Kwikvette[QUOTED][OP] likes this.
  12. Sep 15, 2021 at 1:28 PM
    #12
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette [OP] Chief Executive Officer at Kwik Fab

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    Several of you have vested some time and effort in your responses, and so I thought I'd come back to not only provide an update on everything, but take the time to reply to each and every one of you!

    School started this Monday 9/13, and for the next 2 weeks I am doing all of my Clicksafety/OSHA 10 stuff.

    I've already done most of it as I did the courses required, and already halfway through OSHA 10. Glad my memory retention is still up to par :rofl:

    Since I'm a week and a half ahead of my own schedule, I may start the next module a little early.

    I will be cutting metals of different types and gauge, with gas.

    After that, I'm told I would be starting stick welding.

    Various projects are thrown in, and familiarity with other tools happens as well.

    Not too much long after that, we get into MIG and well it trails off from there.

    TIG happens near the end of the course.

    With the exception of the Black Stallion and Tillman gloves shown here, this is what the 'school supplies' consists of -



    There are a few missing items as they're on the way, but not absolutely necessary now as I won't be using them for another week or so.

    The morning instructor (for the class I'm in) did mention the convenience of a quality auto-darkening hood, but also said a passive setup is nice to have. He only mentioned this for the TIG welding part and suggested the hood has a minimum of 4 sensors.

    For that reason, I picked this bad boy up too -



    Everything else is school provided, even the hand tools like angle grinders and more (not to keep though).

    You're one of the reasons why I purchased the gloves mentioned above. Your reply mirrored what someone else said so it just stuck out.

    As for the pinky pad, I actually got one of those 'sleeves' that goes around either pinky as it's supposed to protect from heat as mentioned, but also makes the gloves last longer.

    Thank you!

    Quite a handful of info there, I like it and I love the setup you've got!

    Fortunately, clamps and all that good stuff is made available in school but it'll be nice to know as our new house will be finished this January/February and I am dedicating half the garage to a welding setup.

    Even have a dedicated circuit just for a welder! Oh yeah...forgot to mention, wife and I contracted for a new house just months ago and we have a new house being built.

    She gave me thumbs up for a welding setup in the garage as she's been nothing but 1000% supportive in my going to school and pursuing a trade as a career.

    I see what you did there :burp:

    I hear ya, I got this sleeve that goes over either pinky! It has a loop to attach to the next finger so it doesn't slip or fall off.

    Thank you!

    And I hope this thread serves as help to anyone getting into the hobby starting from 0!

    Your wealth of information does not go unnoticed, thank you sir!

    It's funny how I was asked on day 1 what I 'know about welding'

    I said nothing, even though I've read and watched videos, treat me as if I know nothing and going into this with an open mind.

    With that said, I did remember your advice on cross contamination with brushes and so forth, and though the instructors said that is absolutely 100% true and important to remember, it's hard to do in a class room environment so they won't hold me to it. It's good practice in the class room though to learn good habits.

    I'll take a look at the rest of the stuff you've posted and get back to you as needed, thanks!

    Agree on ALL!

    Taking my OSHA 10 and other classes is really bringing light to certain things I wasn't aware of or thought about.

    Already have hearing loss and tinnitus, we'll see how long my hearing lasts :anonymous:

    I did just that for the few items above I purchased; the 2 sets of gloves, the auto darkening hood, and hell even the extra FR shirts and leather boots I got. Student + military discount...one has to work right? :rofl:

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  13. Sep 15, 2021 at 1:39 PM
    #13
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    Best of Luck!

    After the different processes do you get to take any real world tests? As that is something your going to see maybe before your application is looked at real close.

    I have seen good people get so nervous taking tests they make rookie mistakes .

    There are so many different areas in the welding field one can get into have you given that any thought?
     
  14. Sep 15, 2021 at 1:48 PM
    #14
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette [OP] Chief Executive Officer at Kwik Fab

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    AWS comes out every few months to administer tests on-site.

    You can request to get certification as well for something specific before graduating.

    I'm unsure what exactly I'd want to do, guess we'll see.

    Really would love to be proficient with TIG welding; I've always been the type to get good at 'the most difficult' things.

    It's why I joined the Marine Corps and not the Coast Guard :laughing:
     
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  15. Sep 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM
    #15
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    Back in my day they still taught oxy-Fuel gas welding and brazing then the move to Tig was so very much easier for me.

    The trick is understanding what is going on in the puddle and making it do what you want on a constant basis

    To me the only real difference in all the processes is how you get the filler into the puddle .

    The different metals is something you pick up with time.

    Good luck
     
  16. Sep 15, 2021 at 4:50 PM
    #16
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette [OP] Chief Executive Officer at Kwik Fab

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    Yes!

    Forgot to mention I'll be doing some brazing just before I get into stick.

    Was just so excited knowing all I'd be doing that I forgot to mention it :laughing:
     
  17. Sep 15, 2021 at 7:52 PM
    #17
    Wsidr1

    Wsidr1 Well-Known Member

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    Brazing is a skill I don't have, but before my Dad got too old to keep welding, he was pretty good at it. Definitely a good skill to have, and will help flatten the learning curve for TIG.

    Here is a shot of my machines. As you can see, I like to make my carts out of scrap. Sense of satisfaction, not appearance points...

    The Primeweld TIG/Arc machine on the left is all analog adjustments. Some people prefer the menu driven. Menu driven is the simplest, but I wanted lower repair costs and more adjustment capability. Also, I just like playing with the controls! It takes longer to learn to use it, but just more fun for me.

    upload_2021-9-15_21-36-20.jpg

    I am really happy with this lineup. My CNC table is about 50% setup. Just got my last box of parts yesterday. I also have two 30amp x 20' extension cords that are invaluable. I like to weld/cut/grind either outside, or near a door where I can direct any sparks outside.

    Also, one of the best things I've made is the rolling vise. Tip it left in the picture and it rolls on the tires. I use this rig for grinding and/or welding almost every time I have a project going.

    upload_2021-9-15_21-37-7.jpg
     
  18. Sep 15, 2021 at 8:12 PM
    #18
    GHOST SHIP

    GHOST SHIP hates you.

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    I use soapstone for big things and or laying out designs on my shop floor but for writing on mill scale covered material, I’d strongly recommend this little guy:

    Markal 96107 Silver-Streak Round Metal Marker with 6 Refills https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004N63EGE


    they have traditional wooden pencils with the same “lead” but the mechanical version can clip on to your shop apron or work shirt and doesn’t require another tool (knife/sharpener) when you run down the tip.

    I’ve found soap stone is a little too delicate for me so I’m usually working with smaller pieces that have broken off but I can kick the silver streak around without breaking lead.
     
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  19. Sep 15, 2021 at 11:24 PM
    #19
    HighCountryTacoma

    HighCountryTacoma Well-Known Member

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    I don’t know shit about welding but good luck to you, sounds like an exciting change of pace!
     
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  20. Sep 16, 2021 at 12:11 AM
    #20
    Dalandser

    Dalandser ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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