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Thursday, June 11, 2009

And a welding we will go….

The welding class is going… well…. well!  I had forgotten how much fun it is to throw arcs, melt steel and have the sparks flying!  Its particularly great because I get to watch my two youngest sons, Emery and Randy, learn the tools and techniques that are available to make and modify metal structures.

We have covered torches (oxy-acetylene, plasma), “stick” welding (typical ages old electric welding with a flux coated rod or “stick”) and MIG (commonly called: Metal Inert Gas ) welding. Tonight, I think we cover TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding which is more like high temperature soldering with a tungsten arc rather than a hot contact iron.

I realized last week that my old eyes are just having too much difficulty seeing through the fixed shade welding visors they have at the class. I just could not see well enough around the arc to tell where I was going with the “puddle” so I did some research into auto-darkening helmets and they generally start around $120.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a good one for about $50 from Northern Tools. Harbor Freight also has one or two for about the same money. So I am headed out in a few minutes to grab lunch and pick up one from Northern Tools.

I have also found YouTube.com to be a great resource for supplemental welding instruction and examples.

Cool stuff!  BTW, Randy is back from E3, the gaming industry’s mega-conference and missed the last class so he will be there tonight. I have not had a chance to talk with him much about E3 but some of the links he sent me of new technologies in human recognition, like the NATAL project, are really mind blowing.  To think that in my short lifetime I have seen so many technologies of the Science Fiction books I devoured as a kid become real and then surpassed just gives me chills.

ttfn

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