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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Southern NH


    I took a welding class at a local vocational school-- it was terrible because the instructor didn't care about the students progress. The class taught me what a welding machine looked like and where the tungsten goes and what an argon tank looked like, but that's about it.

    Then I bought a book by Larry Jeffus: Welding Principles and Applications. I read it cover to cover and learned a lot of academic information about welding. I could pass written exams on welding, but wasn't very good at actually welding anything.

    Then I bought a Lincoln Invertec V205 (similar to the Miller Dyn 200). A billion pieces of scrap aluminum later and my welds are decent these days. People who TIG for a living can definitely make prettier welds than I do, but my welds are plenty strong and pretty enough for my needs. But there is always more to learn and a better weld to strive for.

    So I am 90% self-taught. Today I fabricate dozens of custom motorcycle racing parts for my race bikes, race trailer, etc. I trust my life with my aluminum TIG welds on my bikes.
    miller dynasty 350
    miller spectrum 1000

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    I got my start welding in my 9th grade shop class. I really did not have a mentor per se and was mostly self taught through experimentation/trial & error and the projects I worked on.

    I went on to earn a BS in Welding Engineering Technology. I had several professors that were good mentors in both the theory and practical. One of them worked for NASA on the Apollo projects. I always held him in high regard.

    After graduation, I was far from knowing it all. My first boss was a strong mentor on equipment interfacing and controls repair, as well as the finer points of spray arc vs. short arc MIG welding, and also multi-wire submerged arc welding.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Raymore Missouri


    OK here goes. I got out of the Army in April of 1970. I needed a job...not sure I ended up getting a job with a small HVAC company. I'm sure at the time it would have just been a summer position and then I would be let go when business got slow. I was young and strong which was an asset to the work being done. I learned quickly and became a service tech within months
    and he, the owner, decided to keep me. Story moves on. The guy who was to train me didn't know squat. So, I had to learn on my own. I spent a lot of nights after work to come home and study. We had needs for a welder but I could not convince the owner to buy one. The guy who was to train me had a good gift of gab and convinced the owner to get a stick 225 amp Lincoln to repair some metal tool boxes etc and promptly went to burn holes through the boxes and anything else he attempted. The boss was furious and parked the welder in the back. Finally I convinced him to let me try to correct the
    projects the other guy had started and and screwed up... he agreed. I had never welded before. After a while and practice, I was welding everything thas was loose and falling apart. I really liked welding and on a sale at Sears
    bought my own stick welder. Man, I made a bunch of stuff. Loved it. Once I discovered there was the MIG process I purchased a used Miller 90 amp Cricket XL. Wow, how neat is this?. After doing more projects of larger scale, I realized I needed a larger welder. I bought a new MM 150. COOL!!. A few years ago I bought a new Syncro 200 by Miller to learn tig and really wanted to do aluminum. COOL again. Also I sold the Sears stick and the Syncro more than picks up that part. I'm not a bad welder but I'm not a great welder but I'm getting better.
    What I like about welding is you can take enough small parts, weld them together and come out with a big project.
    I also like to machine. Take a big part and take away what you don't need to come up with the part. My to have a mode of transportation for every aspect. Cars/ vans, motorcycles for paved roads...........ATV for off road...Heli for the sky, Jet Ski for riding on the water. I think that's it. I don't
    see a sub in the near future.
    Last thought. Every weld for me is a mission. Is it good and how can I make it better. That is why I visit this forum every day. Lots of good info.

    PS the business became mine in 1979 and it's been a lot of work...oh well.
    I would have a hard time working for someone else
    Miller 252 Mig
    Miller Cricket XL
    Millermatic 150 Mig
    Miller Syncrowave 200 Tig
    2-O/A outfits
    Jet Lathe and Mill
    Jet 7x12 horz/vert band saw
    DeWalt Multi Cutter metal saw
    Century 50 Amp Plasma Cutter
    20 ton electric/hydraulic vertical press
    Propane Forge
    60" X 60" router/plasma table
    Vist my site:
    and check out some of my ironwork and other stuff

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    greenfield new hampshire

    Default women

    i agree, some are gifted, ive done it for years and still have to earn every inch, the best welds ive seen comes from the ladies, small hands, very flexible ect

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Theirs a vessal shop about 15 miles from my house were both grandpa's worked. My dad worked there as a welder for about 8 yrs when he was my age. My dad thaught me how to stick weld when I was 14. I worked and saved my money in high school and bought a Syncrowave 180 when I was 17. Grandpa came over and ran one of the slickest tig roots I have yet to see. This amazes me because he had been retired for 8 years. I started welding school 6 day after I graduated HS. I graduated MWI that fall and have never slowed down since. I've work in refineries, eathanal plants, paper mills, chemical plants, fertilizer plants, pipelines, pipeline tank farm/terminals and coal fired power plants as both a tube and pipe welder. I've got a lot of respect for boiler tube welders. I have worked along side some very talented people and enjoy every minute of it.
    '08 F-350
    Vantage 400
    Invertec V350Pro
    Invertec V205T-AC/DC

    Miller 12VS suitcase
    Miller spectrum 2050

    Pipe beveler's
    Track torch

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    dover, de


    i'm another shade tree diy'er but with an advantage... my uncle has been a welder ever since i can remember and used to teach at the high school that i went too. he showed us the basics and let me get my hands on a mig gun and it hooked me. no real training just some phone calls and after school projects.

    one of my dad's friends had a forney stick welder (probally 1940's to 50's) that was given to me, so i fixed it up and went to practicing on some scrap. my first project was a boat trailer for my jon boat and still remember building it as a summer project. all in all it was a good expirence, the first few welds looked like crap but held and the more i did i got alot better.

    i then got a gas outfit and i still can't braze or weld worth a ****, but sure can cut with it! i have a lincoln weld pak 100 and use it hard, it's a good machine but it's time for an upgrade. i'm looking at getting a miller 180 or the 211 this summer and want to learn roll cage and chassis fab! a far cry from a boat trailer but it's been a fun learning expirience and wouldn't trade it for nothing. 13 years has gone by fast!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    When I went to work for the gas company, I had always been a hobby woodworker and never had any exposure to welding. I soon became interested, especially since the highest paid guys were the welders. I practiced acetylene welding first and was eventually certified, then started working on stick. Thankfully, the company eventually abandoned the acetylene process entirely, so it's all stick. I hated welding 4" .250 wall pipe with acetylene!
    Miller Syncrowave 200
    Homemade Water Cooler
    130XP MIG
    Spectrum 375
    60 year old Logan Lathe
    Select Machine and Tool Mill
    More stuff than I can keep track of..

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default my mentor's weld sample

    I found this piece of stainless my mentor had done several years ago. He said it was a "fair" sample of what he has done and tossed it because he was not happy with his welds so I grabbed it.

    The disk is .090" thick and 2.45" in diameter.
    The small tubing is .125" diameter with .020" wall and the larger elbows are .250 "diam.

    My mentor welded this as a sample and had to be sure to not burn thru the wall of the tubing as this is used in a gas sampling system.

    He used his Syncrowave 250 to do these welds by hand without a turntable or fixture. Also uses a passive helmet as "I don't need anything fancy".

    I watched him do a few and it was truly humbling.

    Now if only some of his skill would rub off on me................!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, Miller Dynasty 350, Hypertherm 1000, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, etc.:

    Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    i agree, some are gifted, ive done it for years and still have to earn every inch, the best welds ive seen comes from the ladies, small hands, very flexible ect
    I will try to make this long story short, but I quoted that bit because after 10 years I still love comments like that about female welders. I learned from my dad who still welds part time in retirement. He learned on the job nearly 40 years ago, and he taught me everything I know. I tig weld aluminum connectors for substations (on a 20+ year old syncrowave 500) and I never dreamed I would enjoy a job so much. We've got newer tig and mig machines but I don't care for 'em. It's true what they say about it not being work if you enjoy it. My dad is the coolest and one of the best in the industry (proud daughter here). I started learning to weld because I was tired of assembling the parts and hated office work. So I really just fell into it as a last resort and luckily I love it. The bosses let me work part time in the evenings in the weld shop while I worked the daytime in the office. It is something that I don't think I'll ever know everything, there's always a new technique or challenge to try, and I am so thankful that I was blessed with a dad who has given me the tools to do this job. I might work where he did, but I still had to prove myself and earn my own reputation..and it's the coolest job in the world

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    South Central KY


    I started in High school. First year was gas welding, brazing cutting, second was stick third was mig both steel and aluminum and the fourth year was either co-op and work evening at either the houseboat factories/machine shops or learn TIG if you happened to want to wait in line for our one Tig machine or do fabrication in class which meant building trailers, grills, dune buggies, or whatever we could find to work on. I didn't co-op and never got on the tig machine. I also spent a bunch of time in the machine shop and the mechanics shop at school learning all I could. I graduated went from job to job buying different tools and learning different things but have wound up in college working on my engineering degree. My old welding teacher is still teaching but he has moved up to the local community college and I ocasionally as an "experienced advisor" (wink) go in once or twice a semester to harass his students and help out if I can. I like helping out and giving back some of my free time for someone who spent a LOT of time helping me get my skills right. I still sit in some of the advanced classes and learn all I can and go to him for advice if I have a particularly nasty problem I manage to stumble into ( I occasionally get in a hurry and wind up kinda like a dog chasing it's tail ) I know the greatest thing in the world is a teacher taking his or her time to pass on the knowledge and experience they have given. It could be just another job but the ones that take the job seriously there are no better folks in the world because without good teachers (not dis-counting willing students here) nobody propers and nobody gains anything. Done with my novel Good thread by the way.

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