Today we were introduced to Shielded Metal Arc Welding. The first two and a half hours of class were concepts and video demos while the second hour and a half was actual hands on practice time. The flow of this new process took a little getting used to compared to last weeks Oxy process. SMAW requires a consumable metal rod instead of just a flame from a torch. With Oxy you just need to worry about keeping the flame the correct distance as you move across the work. With SMAW, the rod is used up (deposited) onto the work surface, so your hand(s) are getting closer and closer to the work as you use up your rod. It took a little getting used to but after about 30 minutes I was comfortable moving left to right (I am right handed) while constantly getting closer to the work surface while keeping the arc (electric spark or heat source) 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the work.
I mentioned yesterday that I listen to podcasts while I run but a process like welding would not be conducive to a distraction like that. I have to tell myself (in my head so people don’t think I am talking to myself) to go slow and keep moving the rod in…. go slow and keep moving the rod in. Trying to concentrate on spoken word would make it impossible for me to keep the correct distance and speed to produce anything other than a worthless blob line on the metal. The only acceptable background music might be classical which is calming and does not require focus to enjoy. But even that kind of music would only be audible between welds. The unavoidable distraction produced by the welding process is the bright glow of the arc and the sizzling bacon sound that it makes which drowns out all other sounds. Its a good thing that it does not SMELL like bacon or we would need to keep taking snack breaks. The glow of the arc actually helps me relax and I think, lets me slow down a bit more than I normally would. Time will tell if I need to adjust my perception of the glow as a help or hindrance.
Happy Birthday to my lovely wife who turns just one year older today. She surely does not look her age (you look much younger dear) since she is a runner as well, and her daily mileage keeps her young and really puts my mileage to shame. We are on our third treadmill (because of usage not age) and are still searching for a good durable home model (read not commercial type expensive). If anyone has a suggestion for an inexpensive durable model (if such a thing exists)I would appreciate a comment with usage experience over at least a year or two. Thanks in advance.
Tomorrow my mileage increases by the 10% rule.