My Initial Foray into Welding

Today at the Appleton Makerspace, I took my first steps learning to weld.

I prepared by watching several Youtube videos on safety and technique. I also got an impromptu demonstration from Jake Kasper at the Appleton Makerspace.

In the above photo, the bottom-right weld was the very first attempt. Lots of splatter and completely missed the seam as I discover what it is like to work behind the welding mask and wield multiple thousands of degrees of heat. The top-left weld I managed to slow down and allow the bead and heat to catch up. Too slow however as the puddle turned into more of a loaf. The very top weld in the photo was the 3rd attempt and I think the best one. Still need lots of practice, but it will be fun practice.

I scavenged an old steel bed frame I had been saving and now I have lots of practice material. (Much cheaper than $5 for a 3ft section at the store.)

Even saved the cut-off wheels for some future project.

Essential tools and skills I managed to sample:

  1. Welder (thanks Tyler Doupe for the welder and Mark Finn for all the setup!)
  2. Wire wheel(thanks Jacob Kasper!) to remove paint and improve conductivity.
  3. Safety equip.(thanks to lots of people!) like gloves, long sleeves and pants, heavy shoes under the pant leg, ear protection (esp when cutting/grinding), safety glasses, welding helmet, and face sheild.
  4. Angle grinder (thanks Shane Grey!) to more quickly remove paint, grind edges and cut off rivets.
  5. Cutoff wheel (thanks Simeon Dorsey!) to cut angle steel down to size.
  6. Makeshift welding table (thanks Jason Kuehl!) from upside down DIY server rack.

Much in the way I can point to my mom and dad's interest in computing affecting my own fascination with computing, I can also point to both of my grandfathers for my (latent) interest in metal work and fabrication. I think the next thing I'll learn about (and point to) is sewing -- much of my family is "fiber able". I'd like to be able to put together a t-shirt that I can then screen print.