Friday, November 11, 2011

Yeah, I'm kinda Badass

Welding isn't really something too many people get to even try in life. This week, I did it underwater. Oh yeah, and I used a giant torch to cut shit up! Not gonna was a pretty badass week :) So how exactly does one get to this point?

Well the first step was learning how to do these things "topside." I've never welded anything in my life, nor do I really know jack about it (despite being a structural engineer!). But last week we learned! First we spent a half day or so going over information and then we were out running practice beads on scrap! We had several mini projects: 1) practice running beads on a plate topside, 2) practice a lap joint, 3) weld a small plate onto a bigger plate, 4) weld a plate onto a tank to cover a crack (we will leak test the tank soon). I was doing pretty OK with it all.... not too too shabby. Mostly just having trouble getting my welds started. Stick welding sure does freaking stick! I only got a little slag in my shirt and only retardedly grabbed my hot electrode end once. The hole in my thumb is almost healed!

After that, we were pretty much ready to go try it all on bottom. Eek! I was definitely intimidated. Electricty makes me nervous enough. Doing this underwater was a tough pill to swallow. We do have to wear latex gloves to insulate your hands from any shocks (sort of...) but other than that, it's pretty much the same. Oh yeah, except you can't see ANYTHING. Kinda hard to get any sort of decent bead when all you see is bubbles. But I sure as hell as tried and I was told that mine actually came out fairly good! Plus I managed to rack up about 70 minutes of bottom time :)

My first underwater welds!

After the practice beads, we got to do our next "project" - again, welding a 4x4 onto a 6x6. I tried a little different method for this one and actually held the electrode, which I had prviously been skeptical about. Soooo much easier, even though you still couldn't see anything.

Not too shabby indeed! Kicked quite a bit of ass compared to some dudes!

Oh yes, and for those that are curious and know a little about welding - we do wearing shields over our hats to protect our eyes. The arc isn't nearly as dangerous, but you still need some sort of screen.  Unfortunately, the screen was directly above my line of sight, so I had to get in the strangest positions while attempting to do these things. Let me tell you - those hats are not light. 70 min of bottom time with a cranked neck and I'm still recovering 4 days later! Apparently need some seriously neck exercises! 

This is me post welding in a SuperLite hat!

Finally, I got to burrrrrn! We were doing oxy-acetlyene burning with a Broco torch. Basically, a stream of oxygen is shot down through a hollow metal rod and the oxygen and rod react to burn through just about anything. We had created about a 2'x2' plate of 6x6 plates and just got to burn whatever of it we could. Each rod gives you about 8" of cutting, so they go fasssst. But let me tell you, it kicks ass! Luckily, I did recognize that my ground wire was directly behind the project before I started burning and moved it out of the way. This time, I was back in a Desco and was lucky enough to aquire video of me coming up and over.  Just a bit of a giant sea monster look when you're in it :)

And that my friends was my week. What did you do?