There are few people I have met that get a similar joy from talking about all things fine art as I do. Adrienne Romine is definitely one of those people in my life. In total support of my exploring mediums for art making and learning new crafts and skills, Adrienne selflessly volunteered her brother Paul to teach us how to weld.
Here are the BASICS:
First, there are a few different types of welding… I did MIG welding, MIG being an acronym for “metal inert gas”. Basically you have a trigger (the MIG gun) with a cord that feeds metal wire, which itself melts while melting the metal pieces you are welding. The metal from the wire, and the piece you are working on all mix in a “puddle” and harden as one cohesive piece. This makes it super strong, the same way as if you were to melt three pieces of ice and refreeze them. The gas in the acronym refers to the gas that’s pumped out with the wire which shields the weld puddle of metal you just created from the atmosphere, its actually not an inert gas nowadays, mostly just carbon dioxide, that’s why some people call it arc welding now.
I realized that I have no I know even less than I thought about science when Paul explained to our blank stares that unless you connected a clamp to some part of the metal you were welding the electrical circuit would not be complete and no chemical reaction would take place. Mhmmm… okay. So apparently welding is not just really hot torch making things hot and melting them together, welding steel involves an electric current.
Average COSTS:Our welding session quickly became a family affair. Paul showed us how to weld without masks, what speed we should set the wire feed and how high we should set the machine. Adrienne practiced with her scrap metal and I carefully crafted little pendant charms from the silverware I had picked up from the thrift store that morning in Brevard. Adrienne’s little brother came in later and showed us all up by cutting, bending and welding together a silverware sculpture of a figure complete with wings and a base on which it stood. Mr. Romine took some photos and scolded Paul for having taught us how to weld without masks. We ended the wonderful evening with a dinner “experiment,” one of Mrs. Romine’s Pillsbury million dollar bake-off recipe practices. All in the name of science.
$400-500 for a good machine. A couple bucks for silverware at a local thrift shop or junk steel.
THINGS I LEARNED (THAT I REMEMBER):
- you cant just weld any metals together, they usually have to be the same
- since mig welders feed wire, you have to make sure you have the right wire to match your metal
- you probably need to look into brazing if you want to make a cool bracelet our of your brass ladle you found, brass is a soft metal and thus really just needs heat
- because metal is such a rapid conductor of heat, the heat also leaves the metal quickly
Also... i wanna learn how to fly a plane, holler if you know a pilot!