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Adventures in Welding!


OK. . . I realize that the above pictures represent some pretty crappy welds.  However, before you rush to judgement please note that this is the very first time I have EVER tried to weld anything! Embarassed 

With that in mind, I'll tell you a little bit about my saga.  I am planning on using a Corvair engine on my Q-200, which of course means that I will need to design and fabricate an engine mount.  Knowing this, I have been trying for at least two years to get registered for a welding class that they were offering at a local VOTEC school here in North Eastern PA.

I know two years sounds like I'd obviously not been trying very hard, but in actuality I must have called the school at least 50 times!  Each time I was either routed to someone's voicemail and never called back, or I was told that I could not register for the class until a week before it started.  "How will I know when the class is starting?"  They told me that they advertise in the paper 5 days before the class starts!  Firts of all, nobody reads the newspaper anymore (especially the computer geek that is me.)  Secondly, couldn't they at least keep my info on file and call me when a class starts up?

At any rate, I was almost registered and ready to plop down my $500, even though I would have to miss several classes because of overnight trips I had to make for work.  However, one day I signed up to rent the Cub in Tunkhannock, and got rained out.  While there I started shooting the breeze with the owner of the airport.  (It seems every pilot up there is also an A&P mechanic.)  At any rate, he said, "You don't need no stinkin' welding class!"  Bring some metal up here and just practice. . . practice. . . practice!  AWESOME!

So I went and bought the metal that I would need to build the engine tray and brought it back to the airport the following week.  Eric, one of the super nice A&P's there, sat down with me, went over the settings for TIG welding, then had me put on a welding helmet and watch him make a few welding pools on the side of a piece of square tubing.  He made it look VERY easy!

Next it was my turn.  At first, I couldn't get it through my thick head that the foot pedal was controlling the power of the arc, but before long I was getting a little more comfortable.  I made a few beginner mistakes like touching the welding rod to the tungsten bit and shocking the ever living SH*T out of myself, but needless to say, I learned quickly not to do that again! Wink

Eventually he had me welding two pieces together along the edge of the square tubing.  I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.  I obviously have some more practicing to do, but so far I am enjoying myself.

I should get a chance to head back out next week, and I'll see if I can improve upon the mess that I made above!  As always I invite your feedback below or in the forums.