Chris is always carrying a torch for adventure, and he’s getting geared up for his hottest escapade ever in this week’s Keeping up with Chris.
If you’ve ever flown in a plane, driven in a car or sat in a chair, you can thank a welder for that. But the American Welding Society says that by 2022, we’re going to need 450,000 welding professionals! So with that said, I grabbed a welding helmet to see what it takes to have a career in welding.
Channing Tatum made welding look so cool in “Magic Mike XXL,” and let’s be honest, welding is cool and also pretty important.
John Douglas, associate director, American Welding Society Foundation: “Just about anything you see in life has some sort of welding in it.”
I went to McFatter Technical College in Davie to learn the basics of becoming a welder.
Chris Van Vliet: “Where do we start?”
James Scott, McFatter Technical College: “You have to have patience, and you also have to recognize that welding can be an emotional experience.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Emotional?”
James Scott: “You have to learn to embrace it.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Am I going to cry?”
James Scott: “You might.”
Before we get anywhere near the equipment, we put on a welding jacket, gloves and, of course, a welder’s helmet.
Chris Van Vliet: “I feel like some sort of a superhero villain right now.”
Chris Van Vliet: “So before we weld the metal, we gotta cut some metal so we actually have something to weld.”
James Scott: “Correct.”
We’ll use this thing here to cut the steel. It’s called an oxy fuel torch, and it gets hot!
James Scott: “Produces a flame that’s almost over 6,000 degrees. Well able to melt this steel in different thicknesses.”
Chris Van Vliet: *flame lights up* “Oh! I feel like I’ve got a lot of power in my hands here.”
James Scott: “You do.”
Chris Van Vliet: “A lot of responsibility, and we haven’t even started welding yet.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Oh!”
James Scott: “There you go. You’re cutting.”
Chris Van Vliet: “There’s some sparks … Oh, there we go!”
James Scott: *bangs metal* “OK! It came off!”
Now that we have some metal, it’s time to weld.
Chris Van Vliet: *sparks* “That’s very bright!”
James makes it look easy, but it’s definitely not.
James Scott: “What’s gonna happen is it’s gonna stick, and it’s gonna stick, and it’s gonna stick, hence the frustration.”
And that frustration began quickly.
Chris Van Vliet: “Oh, it’s stuck. You’re right.”
James Scott: “Do it again.”
James Scott: “Jiggle it off. Jiggle it off.” *James and Chris wiggle it off*
Chris Van Vliet: “Man!”
James Scott: “Pick it up. Pick it up.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Jeez!”
Chris Van Vliet: “It keeps sticking!”
James Scott: “Yeah, of course.”
After quite a few tries, I finally got it started.
Chris Van Vliet: *Chris sparks it* “Heyyy!”
James Scott: “Look at that, look at that! Now that’s a work of art!”
Chris Van Vliet: “That’s it right there.”
James Scott: “That’s the spot. Remember when I said this was an emotional experience?”
Chris Van Vliet: “I’m getting emotional.”
James Scott: “Look at you, man!”
Chris Van Vliet: “Yeah!”
Chris Van Vliet: “Wow, look at it!”
James Scott: “You just did from start to finish a weld without extinguishing or sticking, so that’s a monumental experience!”
James was right. That was a much more emotional experience than Chris expected.
So what should Chris get fired up about next? Email him your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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