Last night was my first metal working class at 3rd Ward. It's a pretty amazing facility. We were given a kit with all of the basic tools neatly packaged and branded. That place is pretty well thought out, I highly encourage any of the New York/Brooklyn peeps to check it out.
The class consists of a half dozen of your basic Williamsburg hipster/gay/grumpy-dude types. All seem nice enough. We learned basic shop safety and were introduced to most of the tools we would be using in the course.
Toward the end of class we all got to try and MIG weld for the first time. Let's just say, for me, the prior arc welding experience was more of a hindrance than help. MIG moves fast, and you need to keep the nozzle very close to the material. That was hurdle #1; hurdle #2 was not being able to see the weld line. I could see the arc and puddle; I just couldn't see where to put it. Finally after three or four chewing gum snake disasters, I started to get it.
I went back today (I have unlimited access for a month) to practice. I found some scrap, cut some pieces, set up a work area and welder, and was about ready to go. No helmet, no pliers, both sort of crucial to the task. At the time of day I was there only one other person was around; a sweet man that spoke very little English who had a lot of production work to do.
"Hmmm no tools. Only supposed to be back here if I know how it works. Hmmmm. Well don’t get frustrated, tomorrow is another class". At least now I know the questions to ask about off hours access, plus I got to have lunch with Christopher in the burg. I can live with that.