Pipe line welding in the oil field pays well, but they will work you like a dog! And you won't EVER be home! Pipe line work sucks in my opinion. I have a friend that works 18 days and then gets 2 off until they get the pipe line they are working on completed. They are about to start a 3 year pipe line. When it is a 4 hour drive home it isn't even worth going home for only 2 days off. So his wife and kids come stay with him for his 2 days off. He hasn't been home in months. Not I life I would want, no matter what the pay.
I get home every other weekend for 4 days in my oil field job.
My last job I would work 2-3 weeks straigh. Then have 1-2 days off.
Technically I worked from 6am until 1-2 am but it wasn’t worth the commute after you got in and out of uniform.
That job is also the reason I use a cane and am unable to be a pipe welder or anything that requires twisting or lifting more than 20#’s... just too much metal in me and too much broken stuff still.
Long story short, I feel lucky to have gotten into the Tig program. Carbon steel of course, but a lot of aluminum and titanium later. I want to focus on thin steel. But it’s nice to have a working knowledge of the other stuff.
Everyone has been telling me that if I can Tig 18 and 20g steel with .045 filler all day long in every which way, the thickets stuff becomes easier.
We shall see. But hopefully the skill will be able to earn me some side work here and there at minimum.
Learn stick or TIG. I teach welding part time at Palomar down here in So Cal and always tell the students "don't fall in love with the processes that are easy to learn (MIG & Fluxcore), those were created for the company owners so they could replace you faster. Fall in love with the hard processes, Stick or Tig, you'll have your whole career to master it"
Oxy/acetylene welding was the first thing I learned as a kid. I welded a lot of stuff together with the torch we had. It wasn't till several years later that I learned how to stick weld. We didn't have a Mig or Tig.
I agree with those that say people shouldn't start on MIG. That is a "lazy man's" welder in my opinion. Recently one of my guys showed an interest in welding, so I gave him a flat plate of steel and set up the Miller Bobcat welder for him and told him that when he could weld proficiently with that, I would let him use the MIG welder. I showed him the basics to run a bead and showed him how to practice. He gave up after a couple of hours because it "was too hard" I laughed at him and told him to never ask to use the MIG welder, because I would never let him.
Mig is definitely easy from the get go. However I am finding tig is easier than Mig after I have overcome a recent learning/practice hurdle. Or rather, I am more confident in my welds on Tig than I am on mig.
My biggest hurdle now with Tig is keeping the tungsten and cup in the correct direction through the entire bead. Having a current broken back, and a bunch of metal in the right side of my body, from the calf to right below my heart, it gets uncomfortable easy, painful frequently and just impossible to adjust every once in a while.
But when I am in a good spot and able to travel nicely with the torch, the results are very satisfying and apparent.
I am definitely going to be on the search for a HF start AC/DC 220v machine.
Sadly. Brown and now Gavin don’t want medical retirees from my profession getting jobs. No matter how disabled or how poorly or well the job pays.
They will cancel your pension, force the reinstatement into your old job and have you dismissed for not being able to do it.
You will have to come out of pocket for the hundred thousand or so for lawyers to fight it... then go through it again every year until your fifty.
Semester 1 is over and it was awesome, I was hoping to pick up a decent machine to build some stuff over summer and keep in practice.
Unfortunately some med issues (does it ever stop) and had a baby (I now have a beautiful daughter and a beautiful new baby boy)
So my dreams of a brand spanning new dynasty 210 dx (buy once cry once a lot) did not occur (I was so close but now I’m down to $777 in the welder fund).
Anyways, I spent most of the classes working on carbon steel. Super thin stuff with awkward positions and awkward fitments etc, and then some stupid thick stuff that was hours of beads filling the joint lol.
I did touch on some aluminum, stainless etc, but he had me hammering down on steel. He knows my goal is automotive fabrication so is directing the projects that way.
He is allowing me to retake the program in September so I can rehash the steel and then spend a little time on the aluminum stainless and titanium. If I can or rather if he can swing it, I’d like to run the class a third time. It’s an awesome amount of knowledge and this guy can weld and his style of teaching works for me.
I’m hoping after two more sets of classes that I’ll be fairly confident in the strength of my welds and be able to confidently get my machine set up and working correctly for the job. After that it’s just more years of learning by burning.
Maybe in Christmas I’ll make a bad financial decision on a payment plan for the welder lol... don’t tell the wife.
(Any Miller sponsored folks here looking to sell off a 210 dx at the end of the year??)