I grew up with a wrench in my hand - I was handing tools to the old man until I was old enough to do it myself - then he became the supervisor. You are spot on - there are engineers that have field experience - and those that have never gotten their hands dirty. My experience is that book smart engineers (unless they are in the genius catagory) - are practicle stupid.

I will be the first to admit welding is a passion unrelated to my day job. I bought my first MIG machine 3 years ago (Millermatic 135) for a repair job on my RV. Added a TIG machine a year later with another "excuse" (Dynasty 200DX). Followed by a plasma cutter (Spectrum 375), an oxy-act welding/cutting rig - and finally a spot welding machine (LMSW52T).

I have a few more purchases to round out my shop - then I will hit the small repair & custom fabrication specialty segment.