Maker Spaces - The future?


What's a "Maker Space"? The quick answer is that it's a place you can go in your community to build stuff, using shared equipment. Wouldn't that be great to go to a shop in your town, use what ever machines you wanted.... sewing machines, welders, 3-D printers, laser cutters, water-jet cutters, computers etc. Kind of like a nerd paradise. Kind of like a gym membership for inventors. Kind of like making any blooming thing you could imagine! Not to mention all the expert training you can get on any of these machines.
What does it cost? anywhere from FREE to $200 per month.... and maybe I'm the only guy who's crazy enough to put it out there for free.... (see our welding community fits the mold of maker space, but for the metal work side of the idea. Maybe we'll do a monthly membership to use the shop any night of the week (still free on Thursdays)
I just love the way people sharing ideas, working together, inventing, fabricating, building things and prototyping. Heck, people can even do small batches... maybe make 1000 little widgets and sell them... there's some money... Don't have a job? Go work at Techshop - Chandler, AZ for a year. No boss... just you. I've noticed that Las Vegas has "SYN Shop". I have not been there or seen how they work. Probably a great place to make things.

Techshop walk through

Our Welding Community

a local maker space

a book by Chris Anderson (loved it)

the Maker Movement Manifesto by Mark Hatch (currently reading this)

Thread-O-Lets BAD?

Good and Bad of welding

It Really Really Hurts to have a failure. Makes you more humble... and smarter. How is this possible?!? I can weld as good as the next guy. I have years of experience. There are a million things I have learned in the trenches. Stringer passes are better than one weave pass. Clean everything between passes. Pre Heat, Inter-Pass, and Post Heat temperatures... yes actually are important. But sometimes you are wrong... maybe even the whole industry is wrong.
Here is what I learned:
Just because they hand you a typical fitting and tell you to weld it to a typical looking pipe, doesn't mean your weld will be a success.
Temperature control is a huge issue!! Rapid cooling, weld speed, filler rod size are all important issues.

When welding fittings on Stainless Steel Chill Pipe

Thread-O-Let joint type - 2:1 depth to face ratio
Rapid cooling during a weld
Lots of weld passes / Small Filler Rod
Fast welding speed
Concave weld shape

Half Coupling joint type - .5:1 depth to face ratio
(make sure your fitting is coped to match the pipe)
Less Passes / Bigger Filler Rod
Convex weld shape
Clean between passes
Adequate Fill on Stop crater

Excellent video on the subject
Carbon Steel Crystal Structure

This article really nails it.
(this is the same information given to me by a local SCWI about the subject, confirming my research)

Welding Aluminum

People tend to blame the machine when their welds don't look good. There's no such thing as machine problems... only people problems. Even a broken machine... still a people problem. Inanimate machines don't break themselves or even fix themselves.. therefore it's a people problem.. Here is what I am getting at; You are the single most important factor for having perfect welds! Your knowledge and experience and attitude. Decide you will have perfect welds and you will have perfect welds.
So What Does It Take?

1. Proper Equipment: this covers more than you think... make sure your TIG torch and hoses are all tight, your gas flow is right, and machine settings are correct. Practice on a test piece.
2. Your attitude: You are an artist, straight parallel lines... nothing less. If you weld an inch and it's not right, grind it off and do it again. A little less Hill-Billy and a little more Professional. Clean it, Prep it, Square it, Measure it, Check it, Straighten it.
3. Mentors and Practice: Learning from the pros saves lots of hours of practice, and there is nothing wrong with practice. Did I mention practice? is where you can find all 3. See you there

Welding Jobs

Every time a politician talks about jobs or new jobs or more jobs, they show some guy welding or making sparks. I don't know why that bugs me..... Probably because I know some of the behind the scenes Bull Crap. For example this Spanish company Cobra who are heavily involved in that Tonopah Solar project (Tonopah, NV) There is no doubt that our Nevada representatives helped arrange this whole thing.... Why do we need Spanish technology, Spanish licensing, Spanish Engineering, Construction, and Maintenance???? The answer is, we don't. I look forward to the day when we have a Wikipedia style government... when all the ledgers are open to everyone and when some wacko wants to spend money, then everyone will say no. Hopefully politics will stay out of the way of progress and profit. The American Dream will create jobs... you may have to create your own opportunities in welding. What ever it takes, right? Several people who attend our Welding Community ( have reported getting jobs related to welding this year. If you are looking for work as a welder, please send your contact information to Lisa -

Here is one of the best links I've found for local welding jobs,-NV-jobs.html

Here is Craig's List Jobs will be updated someday soon with improved content for finding welding jobs

Welding Meritbadges

Blacksmithing Merit Badge

Welding Merit Badge
Metal Working Merit Badge
the Blacksmithing Merit Badge was discontinued in 1952
Requirements at discontinuation
Make an open link of 3/4-inch stock.
Forge a chain hook out of 3/4 x 1/2-inch soft steel or 3/4-inch round iron.
Make a bolt of 1/2-inch iron.
Bend and weld three links and form them into a chain, these links to be fastened to the hook of Requirement 2 by a ring, and links and ring to be made out of 3/8-inch iron.
Make a straight lap weld of 1/4 x 1-inch stock.
Make a rock drill.
Temper a rock drill.
Explain how to harden and temper a cold chisel.

Check out this blacksmithing

Welding Accidents

Hazardous Potential Energy

Hazardous Potential Energy
I think it's ok to laugh at this video.. the guy just bounces off the pipe like he's riding a bronco. LOL but it soon becomes sobering when you realize this could happen to anyone. It's not so easy to see potential energy stored in everyday things or jobs we are doing... and It really hurts when we get hit with that (now kinetic) energy. This potential energy is best described as some weight up high that can drop on you, or a compressed spring ready to deliver a punch. Flammable or Explosive liquids and gasses also fit into the category of hazardous potential energy. Something as simple as cutting open a 55 gal drum, wood dust in a dust collector, an acetylene bottle cracked open, any of which could kill you. Huge pieces of metal fall on people... dead. I've even heard of a guy at the sewage plant who finished work one day, closed up everything and went home. The next morning he started right where he left off by opening a pipe plug... little did he know that the system had built up pressure during the night and when the plug was loose enough, it hit him right between the eyes. Then, surviving that, he had to endure months of other issues when the literal crap in the system entered his blood stream adding many other complications. I could go on... but I think I'll just get to the important list. Here it is

Forms of energy

Stored energy that can be drawn upon to do work. Suspended loads, compressed springs, and pressurized hydraulic systems are examples. Potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy and many of the other energy forms described below.

Energy resulting from moving objects such as released loads and uncoiling springs. When these objects are released, their potential energy is converted to kinetic energy.

Energy converted from the combustion of gasses, liquids, solid chemicals, and vapors.

The capacity of a substance to do work or produce heat through a change in its composition. Chemical energy can be converted from gasses, liquids, solid chemicals, and vapors.

Energy generated through the conversion of other forms such as mechanical, thermal, or chemical energy. Energy stored between plates of a charged capacitor is an example of potential electrical energy. Typical electrical energy sources include open busbars, motors, and generators.

Energy transferred from one body to another as the result of a difference in temperature. Heat flows from the hotter to the cooler body. Sources include mechanical work, radiation, chemical reactions, and electrical resistance.

One of the most impressive welding trucks in the western states.

The best welding truck in the western states

There it is, Truck 14. One of the most impressive welding trucks in the western states. What can it do, you ask?
First let's look at the power plant... This 25,000 Watt generator powering 2 or more welding machines with 3 phase (480 volt) is a relatively new concept for welding trucks. Why try to do everything with a typical 400-500 amp welder when you can use a generator to power different welding machines for specific tasks. You will see a lot more of these in the future.
Second.... Portable Aluminum Welding. Can you say 1" thick aluminum? This truck is equipped with a Dynasty 700 able to weld pretty much anything. Yeah... ANYTHING.
Third, think about 3 guys welding at once, now add oxy-acetylene torch, and the 100 gallon diesel tank (we can refuel other trucks), the work bench with storage, quick start welding in 10 minutes or less, and we can drive this truck just about anywhere in the country. I know that was a run-on sentence.. just too much to say about this truck.
And what is the point of all this? Really it's about the customer.. Give them what they want... and get it to them right now.

Check out the video!!

What's the best certification you can have?....

What's the best certification to get?

PLEASE, just tell me! What's the best certification you can have? I get that question all the time. Really that just shows ignorance... I hate to say. Here is the problem when you try to say which certification is best. If you are welding structural steel... plate, beams, rectangular tube etc., then you are not welding pipe... The 6g pipe cert might be accepted, but it's becoming more and more by the letter of the law out there. So don't count on it. Okay, now what? Well, you need an AWS D1.1 (all position, unlimited thickness, vertical up and overhead, butt joint with a backing strip) THE PROBLEM ONLY GROWS. We have to assume (if he passes the test) that the AVERAGE GUY doesn't have $250 to pay for the cert in the first place, and he certainly doesn't have $250 x 10 different certifications all at once. For sure, passing 10 different certifications would be a major undertaking.... Imagine the possibilities: Stick, TIG, MIG, Flux Core, etc. TIMES the number of metal alloys TIMES the number of joint types TIMES the number of positions (just 4 ea would be 4x4x4x4=256 different certs at a cost of $64,000) So let's just get to the bottom line here.

1. Get the D1.1 plate cert qualifying you for all positions, any thickness, most joint types.
2. Next get the 6g pipe cert, all position, unlimited thickness.
3. Flux Core
4. Aluminum TIG or Stainless TIG
5. any cert that gets you on the job, like a rebar cert, sheet metal, deck puddle weld cert, stud gun cert. etc.

Certifications can also be based on different welding standards (AWS, ASME, API)
see List of welding codes

Fabrication Skills

Check out these fab skills

You've got to have fabrication skills, that's for sure. In fact welding is the least important skill when it comes to metal working. Here's my list of most important skills.

1. Planning. Take the time to visualize your creation. Think about size and function and appearance... Then draw it out with the measurements and cut list. If you don't? You'll end up with a big mess.

2. Safety First. You don't want to lose an eye or a finger. Put on your protective gear. Duh!

3. Tack everything. Don't weld a single thing until it's all together. Sure as heck, you will find a glitch somewhere, and you'll need to fix it.

4. Make it nice. You are not a 2 bit chump off the street..(are you????) YOU ARE A TALENTED CRAFTSMAN NOW. so cut that ugly, doesn't-look-right part off of there and do it perfect. Use a square and measure corner to corner.

5. Finish it. take this last step to put some WOW into it! Don't just paint it... Powder Coat it... don't just clean it.. polish that thing.

What Tom said may surprise you....

What is interpass temperature?

I want to thank Tom Helm for his overview of FCAW (flux core wire feed) at last Thursday's WeldComm. Almost anyone who welds for a living, needs to know flux core. Flux core is always in demand. In this photo, I thought Tom was warning us about dropping sparks down your gloveā€¦ that REALLY hurts.. The truth is he was giving us some useful information about interpass temperature. What he is saying is that the back of your hand is very sensitive. So here is how you check your temperature: Place the back of your hand a few inches from your last weld, pull your hand away if it's TOO HOT. If you can hold it for up to 10 seconds, then you have the CORRECT interpass temperature of about 450-500 degrees. This is not to be confused with the minimum or PRE-HEAT tempurature, which is at least 50 -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check out this article on interpass temperature (The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation)
and this article on preheating

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