Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Oxy-Acetylene Welding Class

Al Welding This weekend, I did something a bit unusual with my time. R, my wife, is studying homeopathy and has an all weekend class once a month every semester. Because of this, I have a weekend where I can and do something on my own.

I’ve been wanting to learn to weld for quite a while. My dad was a professional welder when he was younger (and was permanently injured on the job which led to his lack of later work). I never got a lot of exposure to it even though his equipment was around because he and I didn’t see each other during my teen years until I was in college. It always seemed like a useful sort of skill and I’ve been to Burning Man enough times to see the results of people being creative (or simply skillful) with their welding for projects.

Because of this, I signed up for the Oxy-Acetylene basic welding intensive class this weekend at The Crucible, the local fire and industrial arts non-profit organization. They teach all sorts of classes, including many kinds of welding. Working with a torch like this seemed to be the most basic but I didn’t want to do one of these one night a week classes for a month or two. Taking this class gave me something interesting to do and got me more than 12 hours of solid exposure to basic cutting and welding with an oxy-acetylene rig.

I didn’t create any interesting little projects, unlike some of my classmates. I limited myself, not being terribly artistic, to trying to make decent welds, learning to pierce and cut different thicknesses of steel, and just getting to know the equipment. I had a pretty good time with it.

Next, I plan to take either their TIG or MIG welding intensive. MIG is more commonly used for all kinds of welding but if you take the TIG basic and intermediate classes, as well as the machine shop class, there is a further class on bicycle frame building that you can take. I’d love to learn to use a machine shop properly and the idea of building my own bike frame and parts, completely from scratch, has a lot of appeal and would be fun. We’ll see if I’m motivated enough to work through another three or four weekend intensive or the longer, once a week, classes.