MIG welding week 2

My second welding class on Wednesday was great. I hadn’t been feeling well during the day and thought I might struggle in the evening, however, simply walking through the door and taking my seat in the classroom was enough to shake it off.

Once we headed down to the workshop, I carried on from last week and continued to practice the ‘T’ fillet welds. The first few tried were – to be honest – a bit dodgy and certainly not up to the standard I’d achieved towards the end last week. At one point the teacher ran a piece of 1.5cm square chalk down the weld join to demonstrate the correct depth of the fillet which helped enormously, so that by my fifth attempt my speed and technique had improved and the runs were starting to look pretty good again. The great news, however, was that my new welding gloves performed beautifully so I was able to manoeuvre the steel plates and handle my welding mask and torch much more easily which was fantastic! A couple of ladies from the class also noticed my gloves and are now planning to do a little reconnaissance themselves in the coming weeks having struggled for some time with the unwieldy larger sized ones.

After finishing the fillet welds, the teacher duly signed off the three types of welds I’d completed so far (bead, pad and fillet), and we moved onto the next project type in the course book: corner fillet welds. For this approach we moved to 6ml steel plates (up to now we’d been using 8ml plates) and adjusted the MIG settings on the machine to suit. The steel plates were positioned into a ‘L’ shape using a custom-built vice (so the edges just met and didn’t overlap) and tacked in place using the torch before removing from the vice and finishing off the welds. I spent the rest of the evening practicing these runs and managed some pretty smooth finishes by the end, which was really pleasing (pictured). The process was made much (much!) easier by the loan of one of the school’s auto-darkening welding masks that had recently been purchased due to a very kind bequest from a local foundation. The mask meant that I was able to position the torch and hold my work firmly in place without feeling the lack of a third hand to flip my mask into place before starting to weld. And the evening ended on an even better note when the teacher told me I could keep it!

Hmmm, new gloves and new welding mask? Watch out world!

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