An Unfortunate Accident

Oops! I accidentally broke part of some old audio equipment that is still viable for today’s use. People recycle them all the time to save money, so why not repair it myself. Why spend a ton on a professional with knowledge of outdated gear. I could borrow a welder to do the necessary work. The problem is: I don’t know how to weld. Small detail.

An unfortunate accident turned into a big ordeal. I need to find someone to demonstrate the basics for me. At least the welder is designed for beginners so I won’t be too intimidated. I could look up instructions online, but I would prefer to watch the process in person. If I am stupid enough to manhandle the speaker on a metal stand, I will have to be smart enough to fix it. Metal is the fodder of welding, so I am thinking along the right lines.

If I prevail, I can use the speakers as backup, start a new system, give it away to a good cause, or sell it for a bit of profit. I don’t want to ship it, so eBay is out of the question. I would have to find a suitable box of just the perfect proportions, seal it, and then take it to the post office. The shipping will cut into the sales price. I don’t have “people” to do things for me; I have to fend for myself.

So I am off to a welding demonstration given by the local high school shop teacher. He has the requisite type of machine. Most professionals who work in the construction industry have a top grade tool. I arrive just after the last student has gone home. He puts on his welding helmet with face shield and takes the beginner’s welder off the shelf. “What would you like to see?” he asks. “Welding.” Duh! Of course. He smiles. He then takes a metal rod and a piece that looks like some kind of bracket and puts them on the work table. “Stand back,” he warns. “This is arc welding, my friend.” It is a process of and joining metal parts by means of electrically generated heat. “Got it,” I piped in. “You are going to see SMAW or stick welding, great for beginners as it is fairly easy to learn. I nodded.

After the demonstration, I felt more confident about my ability to do a simple no-brainer job. “Do it in the garage and wear a helmet and gloves. “Hey, I will give you a student set if you return it.” “Absolute, by tomorrow.” I left with gear in hand. I went right home to the garage and set everything up, just like he had demonstrated. I inhaled a deep breath and turned the welder on. I made sure there were no flammable materials nearby. I set the welder to match the metal thickness and electrode diameter. The shop teacher had selected the right one.

I set the joint for a firm connection and proceeded to weld the pieces together. I tapped the metal and pulled it away. It is like striking a match. I immediately saw a small pool of molten metal. Maintaining a constant arc length, I moved it toward the end of the metal. Now it was time to stop. I pulled the electrode back, waited a few seconds for the metal to cool, and inspected my work. Wow! It was perfect.