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  1. #1

    Default TIG manufacturing career?

    Hey guys, 25 year old fellow welder here with about 3y ears on the job welding experience and some VOC tech classes under my belt.

    Just started a new job @ a decent size company north of Boston. Sheet metal manufacturing for all sorts of industries.

    Although the work is repetitive, I really enjoy the tig process! Its so rewarding to watch myself get better everyday.. especially fighting with (dirty) aluminum lol.

    My question is - is there a good future for myself and family being a Tig guy in the manufacturing field? I feel like a lot of these jobs are being handed to robots or outsourced. I was thinking long term with this company, and the thought of Tig welding 10 hrs a day with some good music in in the shop doesn't bother me one bit. I currently started at 13$/hr as a novice tig .

    Is there a future in this type of the field?

    Thanks for reading I appreciate!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Flin Flon & Creighton area
    Posts
    232

    Default Definately is a future....

    If your happy where you are doing what you like , i would stay put. Lots of people gripe about sh_tty jobs and not enough money and are miserable. You may not be making the dragons ransom in gold but happiness and satisfaction goes a long way. If you stay with that Company you might get raises, which as your skills improve, so should your wages. Robots cant replace welders completely, and if you do a variety of one off or short production run work it isn't worth the costs to automate. Make an honest days wage for an honest days work , and be happy doing it , sounds like you got a good gig. My honest advice is to get whatever paper certifications you can , and then you can command wages. If you wanted to you could always buy your own equipment and moonlight as well. I have done this for many years as well as worked for the other guy. Now i am pretty much self employed. Tig welding is a specialty craft, not everybody can do it or has the tooling. I have made it my little niche that not many others can compete with locally. Steel , stainless and absolutely tons of aluminum welding on everything from pop cans to boats to aluminum structural of all types.Do good work and be fair with the pricing and you wont run out of work.
    I have a welding addiction

    ...the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sturugged:315553
    If your happy where you are doing what you like , i would stay put. Lots of people gripe about sh_tty jobs and not enough money and are miserable. You may not be making the dragons ransom in gold but happiness and satisfaction goes a long way. If you stay with that Company you might get raises, which as your skills improve, so should your wages. Robots cant replace welders completely, and if you do a variety of one off or short production run work it isn't worth the costs to automate. Make an honest days wage for an honest days work , and be happy doing it , sounds like you got a good gig. My honest advice is to get whatever paper certifications you can , and then you can command wages. If you wanted to you could always buy your own equipment and moonlight as well. I have done this for many years as well as worked for the other guy. Now i am pretty much self employed. Tig welding is a specialty craft, not everybody can do it or has the tooling. I have made it my little niche that not many others can compete with locally. Steel , stainless and absolutely tons of aluminum welding on everything from pop cans to boats to aluminum structural of all types.Do good work and be fair with the pricing and you wont run out of work.
    Thanks my friend! Great advice. I'd like to ask what you use for your personal tig setup? Inverter or generator power? Also truck or trailer? I drive an old pathfinder and tow a 8ft utility trailer with a millermatic & 75/25 and a bunch of clamps etc., doing small side work (lawn mower decks , lawn art) for friends & neighboors... but want to have a good mobile tig setup. Seems like there's no way around spending big $ especially to have AC/DC.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Belle Plaine Iowa
    Posts
    270

    Default

    Do what you love and youll never work a day in your life.
    Who do you call when the lawmakers ignore the law?

    Miller AC/DC Thunderbolt 225
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Flin Flon & Creighton area
    Posts
    232

    Default have a variety

    In the shop i got a synchrowave 180sd, the first one without meters. for tig and stick work. Bought it when i just got out of trade school to hone skills and moonlight. Just this past summer added a coolmate4 and watercooled tig torch to it. Also have millermatic 251 with 30a spool gun. For outside or field type work have maxstar 150s for little stick jobs. Have two trailblazer 302 gassers , bought the second used one cause it was a steal of a deal. Have suitcase 12vs feeder and hf-251d high frequency for portable tig, and also have it configured to take the coolmate and watercooled tigtorch if needed. Can also run the spoolgun portable when needed. Most of the portable gear is in a trailer i got that hold a large gangbox with the tb 302 on a skid with cable reels. Probably have spent way to much on tools , but better them than a crack habit.
    I have a welding addiction

    ...the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,840

    Default

    I wouldn't plan on making a career out of doing what you do now. Since you are 25 yrs. that gives you maybe 40yrs. more to work. Learn what you can, gain experience & look at what opportunities there are for advancement to work towards.

    I also would diversify yourself. By that I mean only knowing tig limits you on the jobs you can do. If you wish to stay a welder then learn other types of welding even if you have to pay for it yourself. If you wish to be a shop foreman then take courses on areas that will help you get there.

    Look at what $ the top welders in your shop are making now. Listen to them & see if they have a "good" financial life or not. That is all you can expect $ wise for the rest of your career unless you work towards advancement. If you would be happy making that amount when you have a house, family, etc. then work towards being the top shop guy. If you want more money then you need to figure out where it is & work towards that.

    Just my opinions.

    I know many welders who always look to do side jobs to get extra money. That in itself tells you something.
    Last edited by MMW; 12-27-2013 at 07:59 AM.
    MM250
    Trailblazer 250g
    22a feeder
    Lincoln ac/dc 225
    Victor O/A
    MM200 black face
    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
    Arco roto-phase model M
    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
    Miller spectrum 875
    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
    Syncrowave 250
    RCCS-14

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Oswego IL
    Posts
    627

    Default can you live on what you make?

    I dont care how much you love what you do, if you cant live on the wage, then what are you to do when you want to live! I would look at other people in the shop, if they all live check to check, dont own homes, are constanly worried about money move on. If it were me i would learn to weld pipe. I work in the gas industry and there is tons of work. As for your question about tig, mostly i see semi skilled paying job, with very few high paying. Also with the pulse mig technology getting bettar and bettar, much of the tigging is being replaced with much quicker mig. I just welded very thin aluminum, with a 350mp lincoln. Amazing, and very easy!
    Kevin
    XMT 304
    Miller Spectrum 625
    Miller 30a spool gun
    S22a
    Miller Legend 302
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    Ford f450 Maintainer Srv Truck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    48

    Default Get More Formal Education

    Quote Originally Posted by jbskateboards View Post
    Hey guys, 25 year old fellow welder here with about 3y ears on the job welding experience and some VOC tech classes under my belt.

    Just started a new job @ a decent size company north of Boston. Sheet metal manufacturing for all sorts of industries.

    Is there a future in this type of the field?
    That you are working and enjoying what you are doing is a blessing. As to your question, no one can predict the future. However, you can prepare for the future by getting more education. Get formal training toward a certificate in welding, or even better an associates degree in welding technology which means you would have to take English and Intermediate Algebra. Mastering reading, writing, and mathematics combined with technical knowledge will enable you to meet opportunities for money and advancement. In my opinion, if you continue the way you are going you will not be prepared when opportunity comes a knockin'.

    The link below and the quote (italics are mine) is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If getting an associates takes you 5 years, you will only be 30 when you get it.

    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/we...zers.htm#tab-5

    "Overall job prospects will vary by skill level. Job prospects should be good for welders trained in the latest technologies. Welding schools report that graduates have little difficulty finding work, and many welding employers report difficulty finding properly skilled welders. However, welders who do not have up-to-date training may face competition for jobs."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,840

    Default

    I don't have statistics for rates but again just my observations.

    In my area average hourly rate for welding business is $70-90. This is not what the welder makes but what a customer is charged. 8 yrs. ago the fab shop I worked for was charging $85 an hour. Rates have not increased. One of my customers is a truck repair shop & he charges $80-85 an hour. Same thing, very minimal rate increases in the last 5 years. The market won't bear increases.

    Yesterday my wife got her BMW serviced at a rate of $135 an hour. Her last car was a Ford fusion & their shop rate was about $75-90 an hour. It seems if you can get into a business that caters to "corporate" people you can charge more money.
    MM250
    Trailblazer 250g
    22a feeder
    Lincoln ac/dc 225
    Victor O/A
    MM200 black face
    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
    Arco roto-phase model M
    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
    Miller spectrum 875
    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
    Syncrowave 250
    RCCS-14

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    328

    Default You will quickly top out

    The shop rates have been stagnant for years. In California most production TIG or MIG welding or finishing is done by recent immigrants (or us deaf guys). I think our company shop rate is $60 or $62 an hour. That includes the building, power, office help and estimators, California regulatory BS, etc. Tremendous pressure to keep the wages, benefits, etc. low. It is a tough love case as a good auto darkening hood is $300. A coat and a few other things total $150-$200. My Jackson died 2 years ago and I needed another ADF quick. The replacement was 2 1/2 days of my pay.
    Try to advance at the company by getting some CAD or estimator training.

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