I am a welder currently making heavy duty transport trailers AMA.

as for proof https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1hu15t/iama_welder_ama/ I was verified in the last welder IAMA I did 2 years ago

The reason I am making another IAMA is because the last one to show up was over 2 years ago and trades as a whole seem to be very underrated and undervalued.

http://imgur.com/MUzFXBJ I build stuff similar to this if anyone is curious

Comments: 196 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

satan_loves_us22 karma

Can welding be self-taught? I always need stuff welded.

JesseR9224 karma

Absolutely ,jut look up some guides and videos and make an honest attempt at it.

For certification you will need to go to school for, or get someone to sponsor your apprenticeship, and in some cases you can challenge it.

2ndgenEnt1 karma

Not in the states. The only thing that matters for your AWS certification is that you pass the weld test

JesseR921 karma

Good to know,I am not entirely familiar with how it works in the states,in Canada unless you are red seal certified any schooling and training you have from one province is worthless in any other as none of it is standardized at all.

suddenly_satire12 karma

What's the thing about drinking milk before welding zinc-coated steel? How is that supposed to protect you?

JesseR9211 karma

Supposed to help replenish calcium leeched from the bones.wear proper respirator and have good ventilation and it wont be an issue.

ElMachoGrande7 karma

I'm a hobby welder at most, and not very good at it. The angle grinder is my best friend for making it look decent. I stick weld and MIG weld, but can't make a proper weld with TIG, gas or plasma.

I'm OK with not making the best looking or strongest weld in town, I can fix it with the angle grinder and I don't weld things that will hold heavy loads.

What's the most cost-efficient and low maintenance rig for a guy like me? Flux core MIG?

Also, any tips to minimize deformation when welding? For example, when making a tube angle, I want the angle to be correct, and the heat tends to deform it, leading to extra work fixing it.

JesseR924 karma

bracing and taking works wonders perhaps trying to alternate side when welding.

Sometimes you can pick up an industrial welder for cheap used,harbor frieght often has good small welders.I really suggest using a welder that can run C02 or argon as a shielding gas the self shielding flux core units put off ALOT of fumes.

Boonaki7 karma

If you wanted to get into a standard 1930's style bank vault. How would you do it?

Crabbity1 karma

thermal lance.

mufasa_lionheart0 karma

Definitely easiest way, air arc would work too

FastExchange0 karma

I got the chance to use an arc-gouger once. It was the most violent and loud thing I've ever been a part of.

mufasa_lionheart1 karma

I had to do fire watch while some guys were using them on a press. Loud and had to avoid all the hot shit that kept falling

FastExchange1 karma

Hot as hell too. A piece of slag or something nearly burned through my composite steel toe.

JesseR921 karma

Thats why I dont trust those plastic "steeltoes" steel toe cap and shank or nothing.

JesseR921 karma

Air arc is a fine art I am the only one at my workplace who knows how to use it.

maximuszen1 karma

How does it work?

JesseR921 karma

you strike an arc between a carbon electrode which melts the steel and high pressure air blows it away its like an unwelding rod in that regards.

It takes a bit of finess to leave the area how you want it.

bc876 karma

How's the pay?

JesseR928 karma

Decent 20-25$hr but that is Canadian.

WarMasterHar1 karma

That's nothing. Welders in Alberta make way more than that. Or used to when they had work.

JesseR923 karma

Thats the problem though the work isnt steady in Alberta there is also the quality of life and cost of living aspects so many places wouldnt accept less than 60hrs a week during the boom and the rental market out there was nuts 1100 for a single room was common.

SSChicken1 karma

Ever thought about going pipeline? My brother works on the pipeline and the hours are terrible and you're out in the middle of nowhere, but the pay... It's just nuts. And those pipeline trucks and tricked out SA200s those guys get into are amazing

JesseR921 karma

I dont see pipeline work being steady enough honestly too many layoffs, and the quality of life can be pretty shitty.

dreaminthedark1 karma

My dad is a pipeliner and my brother is his helper. I rode the grinder years ago between the months of November-February. I couldn't get in to it and it does seem fairly unreliable (though the money is good while you have work). The key is to find a really good company who will offer PTO or put you in the shop when it's slow. Unfortunately, those companies in the oil & gas industry are super hard to come by. The other catch is you have to be really good for most of them to give you that treatment. If you're mediocre or have a bad attitude, you're first in line for layoffs.

Personally, my biggest issue is that it's really hard on the body and there doesn't seem to be any retirement plan (though that probably depends on the company). I am studying Occupational Safety & Environmental Technology instead, and I do theater/lighting system installs on the side.

JesseR921 karma

Ya for every company who respects their employees and treats them like they ought to there are 10 who treat their employees like crap.

One company I worked for it wasw around for 25 years.They had an atrocious turnover rate for employees going through nearly 170 in a year,this is a company of 130 people.They just didnt give a shit about anyone who worked for them to the point were they were downright abusive.While some of the people who got fired did so because they were fuck ups and lazy and mostly got hired because the company was scraping the bottom of the barrel,a good portion got fired because they either refused sign a contract obligating them to work up to 80 hours a week,or they missed a small amount of work due to family obligations,illness,legal reasons.about half of the people quit due to the absolutely toxic enviroment there was a lot of meth use one or two neonazis who were very open, and fistfights werent unheard of.

When I quit I was the second most senior in my department of 12 I was there a year and a day.

MuhReelMarill5 karma

What project are you most proud of?

JesseR928 karma

The trailers I am currently building I usually work on em from start to finish.

MuhReelMarill3 karma

Oh wow, do you do these alone? How long do they usually take? I didn't know welding was so large-scale until this thread.

JesseR924 karma

Not entirely but I will have worked on every part by the time its done from assembling the rails down to electrical and airlines.There are other people working alongside me but at this point ive covered all the bases.

I avoid the wood decking though its a PITA

Imissyourgirlfriend24 karma

Fellow welder here! What got you into it?

JesseR9210 karma

Was a shipper reciever and kinda hated my boss ,the production side of the shop were all family friends except the guy who I ended up replacing who had issues with simple things like working 40 hours a week or showing up to work.The waitlist for welding courses ended up being years shorter than other trades so I stuck with it.

Imissyourgirlfriend24 karma

Sounds better than my story. I got really into the custom choppers in the early 2000s so when I got into college in 03, I took every welding and machining course I could find. When the depression hit, no one was buying $50,000 bikes and thus no one was hiring apprentice welders. Got a shitty gig as a structural welder then moved on to a machine shop doing NDT. Happy now, but that structural gig was straight up abuse.

JesseR925 karma

Ya it seems to be hit and miss with structural,the same is true for shop work also.

Ive worked at some places where the only thankyou for working 30 hours of overtime in a week is not firing you.

Owenkayla3 karma

How many welding rods can you bend around your neck?

JesseR923 karma

Well lets see how many you can first,gotta set a benchmark!

Owenkayla1 karma

Lol, good turnaround. I'm a lowly electrician, that only ever worked one time for me. However, I have way more success asking apprentices to grab me an off-centre punch. That one works surprisingly often

JesseR922 karma

handing a plumber apprentice a pail full of 90 degree elbows and telling him to get some elbow grease on them works too.

NaziMeComin3 karma

When is the last time you got burned?

JesseR928 karma

Got burned just before christmas break was using an old jacket and of course sparks WILL find any hole or tear. As for major burns its been a few years,but there is always a spark that will go into your boot or down your back.

HanaHonu3 karma

Why do you think professions such as your own are so often overlooked by young people in favor of college educations (many of which are attached to weak job outlooks)?

What pushed you to pursue it?

It is a career you'd like a son/daughter to pursue?


JesseR921 karma

Its a dirty job a lot of people cant look past that aspect,alot of it could be due to the whole stigma that its a job for the unintelligent,so people get pushed to go to college in order to get degrees in oversaturated job markets or just drop out because just that they got pushed into it without having a chance to find out what they like and what they are good at.

As for the second part whatever pays the bills and makes them happy,so often is the younger generation pushed into chooseing from such a narrow scope of careers and the lack of exposure to alternatives doesn't help.

throwsawayaway122 karma

Is welding hazardous to your health? Is your life expectancy lower from it?

JesseR922 karma

If you dont take safety precautions then yes there is an increased risk of respiratory disease including cancer .There is also eye strain,burns sunburns,muscle strain,and injuries related to physical labor but as long as you use your head and your PPE the effects are negligible.

iabmob2 karma

What's your grinding wheel of choice?

I meet a lot of talented welders in my work, I have a lot of respect for the work y'all do. Keep on keeping on.

JesseR921 karma

I dont have much preference honestly just not mastercraft at any rate,something about those wheels is off.

DinaDinaDinaBatman1 karma

can you share some arc eye stories,(first time? if at all, worst occurrence?)

can you explain what it is to the non welder community and why it should be feared and respected

JesseR921 karma

Helping someone fit something and with absolutely no warning the lay a bead right in front of my face.

Arc flashing can temporarily blind you in sever enough cases cause permanent damage itd be the same as staring at the sun as welding arcs are way more intense.

radelrym1 karma

I work for a large national company that sells pretty much everything involved with the welding industry. Where do you buy your stuff from?

JesseR921 karma

A smaller local vendor they have a long relationship with my company.

Takoda_sioux1 karma

Welder in training here, what kind of certs do you need to get a job like that?

JesseR922 karma

Nothing too extreme I am a certified structural welder I took courses for pipe and pressure but never followed up on them as the jobs open to me at the time didnt require it.Also certs vary wildy between regions,Canada is honestly the worst for this as alot of Provinces dont recognize the certs and educations of others.

[deleted]1 karma


JesseR923 karma

Fluxcore is what I mainly use.

About 6 years now

Mig,Tig,and Stick.

Most of what I have done has been with trucks and trailers I enjoy it.

[deleted]1 karma


JesseR921 karma

T100 steel sometimes T130, all is done with flux core.

noshoptime1 karma

i know/am related to quite a few welders. i can even manage to stick 2 pieces of metal together with a mig (aka trained monkey level welding)

i've heard horror stories (usually about underwater welding), and even lost a welder friend - he was welding in a silo and somebody dumped the grain on him. almost exclusively the injuries i know of/hear about are directly cause by idiots doing something without regard to the guy who's welding.

what's the most dangerous job you've had to take on? how do you go about ensuring your safety from those around you?

JesseR921 karma

None of my jobs have been particularly dangerous.Sometimes working at heights.Communication is key.As for your friend that sucks alot of people dont pay attention in the workplace and thats how the worst injuries happen.

zomfgcoffee1 karma

I would like to work on cars and motorcycles. What type of welding technique or material should I really focus on?

JesseR921 karma

MIG some TIG stick and fluxcore is overkill for that.

06Wrangler1 karma

So you're certed for under water?

JesseR922 karma

No thats far from what I am doing and honestly I wouldnt want to do it its really hard on the body and iirc they only allow you to do it for 7 or so years.

06Wrangler1 karma

So what do you weld?

JesseR921 karma

transport trailers the kind that carry heavy equipment and heavy loads what we typically build is rated for 50-150 tons. there is a pic in the OP of an example of what I build

AKbandit081 karma

Are you guys mostly doing MIG on those? Is each trailer specific to prints or is there just a few standard trailers you build. fellow steel worker, keep it up bud.

JesseR922 karma

Nearly 100% fluxcore,some light guage stuff gets MIG but thats usually some sort of overflow tank or filling a seam in a light bracket.

MpVpRb1 karma

Learning to TIG weld steel

I clean all the parts with acetone before welding

Sometimes my welds look beautiful

Then the next one bubbles and boils and looks like Swiss cheese

What am I doing wrong?

JesseR922 karma

Possible gas flow issues is the first weld always the better one,your regulator may be freezing up.

The acetone may also contaminate the weld area if not cleaned off properly.

as-well1 karma

Hello friend, I am simply wondering if your profession is working through a union as many other craft professions are in the US? If yes, what is your experience with the unions?

JesseR922 karma

I am working in Canada.

I have applied to multiple unions but the only reply I have ever gotten is.

"Thank you for sending in your resume we will keep it on record."

Neversummer771 karma

Lincoln or miller?

JesseR921 karma

Lincoln I have used both as well as Hobbart

dandersonerling1 karma

Did you go to a 4 year college or did you just go to trade school? Did you find a job right after finishing school? If you did find a job, was it enough to move out of the parent's house?

I'm mostly curious if welding and trade school are an alternative and perhaps better option than a traditional 4 year school.

JesseR923 karma

7 month pre apprenticeship at a trade school and I had a job already lined up. before starting.

15$ an hour with no experience so it wasn't terrible.Some places pay more some pay less this place was known for being cheap.

LeCardinal1 karma

How hard is it for a foreigner to get into welding in Canada (or the US) ? Do you need to take that "Red Seal" or do the foreign qualifications apply ? I'm considering getting into the trades here in France and a career otherseas is a big dream of mine !

JesseR921 karma

IF its recognized worldwide then it will be accepted in Canada alot of Polish welders working in Alberta the last time I worked out there.

ILoveToEatLobster1 karma

How many times have you dropped a weld down the back of your shoe/boot? I haven't welded in years and I still have scars :/

JesseR921 karma

countless times.

iamjacksua1 karma

Question 1: Do you say:



Stick or SMAW?

I always heard them referred to as the former, and the latter just seems unnecessarily complicated. Is there a good reason to use the latter?

Question 2: Someone asks you to make a unicorn statue out of clean, non-oily scrap steel, in a non-windy location. You can use any process you like... which do you choose?

JesseR922 karma

TIG,MIG,Stick.People should know what your talking about either way you say it.

MIG its fast self feeding and doesnt sound like it has to be particularily strong,you can also go up and downhill with it unlike fluxcore.

iamjacksua1 karma

doesnt sound like it has to be particularily strong

Curious -- Are there inherent strength differences between the different processes?

I thought the biggest differences came down to ease / speed / conditions.

JesseR922 karma

Mig is typically not as hot and doesnt penetrate as deep as stick.

joesacher1 karma

What is your favorite process? GTAW, GMAW, SMAW? I've been self teaching GTAW and really enjoying it.

JesseR921 karma

GTAW is nice im partial to wirefeed but I can do everything equally as well.

flangleshelm1 karma

Do you ever weld stuff back together on Zap Rowsdower's beat up old pickup truck?

JesseR921 karma


hemphead4201 karma

Im strongly considering welding as a career and im just wondering what its like? Is it really hard work? And also is it fun?

JesseR921 karma

Hard sometimes,its not a job where you will go very far if you drag your feet.IT is very rewarding after you see something entirely built.

Nauin1 karma

Probably a little late to ask, but how physically taxing can welding be? I'm very interested in joining a trade school for this, but have Marfan Syndrome and have to be careful of how much physical stress I go through...

JesseR921 karma

It all depends on the workplace really as long as you can lift 50lbs you should be good.

It is a physically demanding job some workplaces might be able to accomodate you in those regards.

larrymoencurly1 karma

How do you do overhead welding safely?

JesseR922 karma

Propper protective gear and how you position yourself.You will get sparks its just the nature of the job.Also if you lay the weld down properly you shouldnt be in any danger of serious burns from molten metal.

[deleted]1 karma


JesseR922 karma

Starting salary is typically much higher and im pretty sure welders are in higher demand so finding and keeping a job will be easier

maximuszen1 karma

There is a youtube video that shows a guy welding using two car batteries. Can this be done?


JesseR921 karma

Yup with the proper electrode,thats how they used to do it in the early days of arc welding.

Id really only suggest that in the case of emergencies

maximuszen1 karma

Is there some danger or is it the quality of weld that you only recommend it in case of emergency?

JesseR921 karma

its probably pretty hard on the batteries and you dont get nearly as much control over voltages as if you had a machine to set your settings on,plus not sure how long the battery would last charge wise.

maximuszen1 karma

How much is a home welder?

JesseR922 karma

The cheapest are about 100$ but they are not that great 200-300 will get you a decent one.

Dunnyer51 karma

What industry are you currently in as a welder and what industry did you start your apprenticeship/training in? ..

In Canada, is there any "fitter & turner" tradesman? .. If so what industry's are they mainly in? (Asking because I'm a fitter turner apprentice in the sugar mills) ..

JesseR921 karma

In transport industry atm.

Pipe fitting plate fitting?

There are positions for fitters and such here.

Lucid-Pancake1 karma

Wow I would have made a welder one if i knew how popular it is haha. Im a welder currently working shutdowns. How much do you make welding trailers? I plan on doing something like that when I get sick of the road life.

JesseR921 karma

25$ an hour ,alot less bullshit to deal with as well and it helps that its steady work.

Bigsaggynigganips1 karma

How many times have you lit yourself on fire accidentally?

JesseR921 karma


Bigsaggynigganips1 karma

How many times have you lit someone else on fire?

JesseR921 karma

Never actually if they are that close to what I am doing they are way too bloody close.Granted I know some people that are more likely to burn down the entire building before they notice anything.