By Pete Harris.
There’s nothing like stepping out of your comfort zone to get you to look at life in a different way.
This was a day to try what lots of people view as “Real Man” work. (I know I’m ignoring the welder/dancer in Flashdance and all the other women who weld; sorry.)
As I queued up (cowered in the corner) with five other non-practical computer geeks, I realised I don’t even like being hit by the fat in a frying pan. It was quite intimidating watching the fireworks of molten metal that would soon be under my command.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry: They gave me a very heavy jacket, protective gloves, and an awesome welding mask. I was ready. “Let violent creation begin!” To my surprise, apart from the noise and the sparks, MIG welding is closer to needlepoint than you might think. You need to be very delicate, take it slow, and move in tiny fractions to make an effective weld. You have to think of the lance as a pen, not a light sabre. The visor goes really dark when the sparks start flying to protect your eyes, which was a bit of a shock, and my first test line was like Morse code (dot dot dash).
After a few more goes, I was able to make a continuous bead line, and the patient tutor said I was ready to join metal. It turned out he was a little optimistic. My first attempt was too high, my second too low, and my third just joined the two bits of bumpy weld. It could be some time before I make a ship.
Don’t let my attempt put you off, give it a go.
Brighton Mini Maker Faire