TIG Welding Class

The event has the word 'Fun' in its title and is billed as 'Spring Break for Pilots' so you can be forgiven if you thought it was all about recreation. Truth is Sun 'n Fun also has a significant amount to offer for those seeking education. From 8 am to 4 pm you can partake in a wide range of classroom and hands on forums.

To give an idea of the variety there were classes on how to use your favorite app on your iThingy when operating IFR, electronic ignition, mountain flying, how to do a compression test, and how to fly to Cuba.

For my next project I am considering tube and fabric construction. So I bought a welder but right now I am like a cow with a bicycle, very excited but now idea how to use it. So of great interest to me was the TIG welding class put on by Lincoln Electric. This was a 3 hour class, one of the longest on the schedule.

The first half was some theory how TIG machines work and settings suitable for 4130 steel tube. The correct tungsten and how to sharpen it was covered. Also discussed were the three best filler rods and how to decode their designations. We also spent some time on different TIG torches and how to correctly assemble them. Aside from a quick 'thanks to our sponsor' at the start the class was very practical and not a hard sales pitch.

With some basic theory behind us we all had the chance to try welding steel and aluminum. There were two booths set up so the rest of the class could observe when not hands on. Throughout the class safety equipment and precautions were emphasized. I don't think for a minute this class made me an expert welder but it did a good job of providing some basics so I can practice safely when I get home. All in all time well spent.

Nigel Speedy

Nigel Speedy started flying helicopters with the Australian Army and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He currently instructs at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California. Nigel enjoys flying his Van's RV-8 and the freedom of E/A-B to experiment.

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