Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson


Two weeks ago (yeah, I'm slow with writing here) Melinda and I took an oxy-acetylene welding class at The Crucible in Oakland. Learning to weld has been on my to-learn list for quite and while, so when Melinda suggested it over the glass flameworking or other classes at the Crucible, I was psyched. The class didn't let me down. Welding is great fun!

The welding rig is pretty simple. There's two tanks of gas, one oxygen the other acetylene, a hose from each, and an instrument head where the gas mixes and is expelled through an implement (welding or cutting torch). Turn on just enough gas to make it all run (there's charts that tell you what flow to set your regulator to for whatever size tip you're using), make a few sparks to ignite the flame, and you're set. Oooo... fire...

The flame's pretty bright so you wear "shade 5" welding goggles (dark, but you can still see through them; arc welding masks are shade 10). You don't *actually* need the goggles -- I looked at the flame without protection several times -- but it's about like looking at a 40 watt light bulb. Doing that for an hour will surely hurt.

The course was for beginners so we did very simple things: welding, cutting, brazing, and had lots of time for actually doing things. The base project for everyone was to weld a 2" cube out of 1/8" steel stock. Straightforward but fun. On Sunday I brought in some hinges and made an openable cube out of mine, although in hindsight I should have used a corner hinge so the parts would all fit correctly. Oh, well. I have pictures on my flickr account of my work and of Melinda at the welding table.

The neat thing about oxy-acetylene welding, unlike arc welding, is that it's equipment that one could conceivably own and use at home. Not that I have a garage much less a shop presently, but one day, sure. And it'd be fun to weld things together! Or cut them apart. Oh, we also played with a plasma cutter, which can make very precise cuts in steel using electricity, rather than burning gas. Fancy and fun, and another bit of kit that wouldn't be unreasonable to own, either.
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