Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Now I see...

We're having a blast up here at Miller Electric in Appleton, WI. The three winners of the Farm Journal "Welding University" contest are getting chance to try out some state-of-the-art equipment and have experts help them improve their skills.

To show you what a quantum leap this has been for us, none of us had ever used an auto-darkening hood. Boy howdy - what a difference to these far-sighted eyes! That's $250 I'm definitely going to invest in my welding tool inventory ASAP.



Stan Smith is using the X-treme 375 Plasma Torch. This rascal weighs all of 18 pounds and can cut 1/2 metal easily. None of us had ever used a plasma torch either, like many farmers and hobby metalworkers, and this was eye-opening. Throw in the new trend to small, light tools with inverter technology, and some of us might be able to leverage meager skills up to passable competence.

It is astonishing how technology can ramp up seldom used-skills to acceptable levels. This can be irritating for welders who have taken the time and effort to master the craft, I know. But it also means that amateur metal workers have a wider range of projects they can undertake and repair abilities to save time and hassle.

We'll be showing our experiences on US Farm Report this weekend, and you can read all about it in detail in Farm Journal soon.

The winners are taking home some pretty dang cool tools.

Not that I'm jealous, mind you...

3 comments:

rhoads said...

John, before you spend $250 on the helmut, shop around a little. You can get one for about half that. I've been gas and electric welding for over thirty five years and the auto-darkening helmuts are the best innovation I've seen yet.

John Phipps said...

rhoads: I have seen them at Rural King for less too, but after talking with the Miller folks - I think I'll opt for a higher quality model like theirs.johnwphipp

rhoads said...

I'm sure there are lesser quality helmuts out there, but I got mine from a Miller dealer five years ago for $100, have used it many, many times and I'm not blind yet.