I Dreamed a Dream of Welding
For many years now I have wanted to really learn to weld. I have welded on set for shows and done plasma cutting but I have never had time to dive deep into the process. That is currently changing. I am fortunate enough to have met some great people from Lincoln Electric while working on Bar Rescue, Kitchen Nightmares, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Jim Bollinger and Anthony Leone have worked a lot with Lincoln and through them I met Chris Ilicin and Lon Damon. While visiting with Lon at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show this year we set up a plan for me to finally get to Ohio and work on my MIG and TIG welding. I felt like I just got the golden ticket from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
I got into Cleveland on Sunday to partially sunny skies, no snow, and cool temperatures. At the car rental place I was informed there was a 90% chance of snow for Monday. On Monday I changed that prediction to 100% and bundled up for my first day. Coincidentally the Lincoln Electric facility reminded me of the Wonka factory because it spreads across a huge plot of land, is gated and guarded, and can be seen from some distance by a giant landmark – instead of a smoke stack Lincoln has a giant windmill.
On my first day, after a video on safety, I got to weld! My instructor for MIG, Charlie, let us try welding with all CO2, 80-20, and then 90-10 mix. The CO2-Argon mix really improved the look of my welds but I knew I need a lot of practice. On Tuesday he set me up on the company’s virtual reality arc welder VRTEX and I was able to see where I was having trouble. This was the coolest game I have ever played and it scores your progress. When I went back to the shop my real welds were greatly improved as you can see in the image with two welds. Now if I could just be taking dance lessons at night I could live the whole Flashdance dream. Oh well, one thing at a time.
Watch for more photos and blogs on my adventures in welding…