2020 – Week 37, stART Week 4


  • Set up the welder, and tried some test welds. The going was difficult.


  • Second attempt at welding, and I think I’ve managed to get the settings sorted, or at least I’m getting close.


  • Welding Issue:
    • I’m feeling drymouthed & scratchy and I think it’s from ozone exposure during welding. It’s not a huge problem for some people, but it’s a concern to me. Notably, welding fumes have been classified as a carcinogen since I was last doing any significant amount of welding.
    • Most of the day was spent researching respirator options (masks being incompatible with beards), and I think that lacking a fume extractor, the final solution will have to be a Positive Air Pressure Respirator (PAPR) welding helmet. It’s similar to my existing helmet, except it has a (beard-compatible) seal under the neck, and a beltpack that drives air into the helmet, to prevent vapour ingress. It also has a flip-up welding lens, over a clear grinding shield, which should mean a big efficiency gain over switching PPE sets going back and forth between grinding tips for the TIG welder, and welding.
    • It’s not cheap at around $2500, but compared to losing lung function, it’s not even a question. It also means I’ll then have a second helmet (my existing one) for anyone assisting or observing me while I work.
    • It does put a bit of a dent in my schedule though – with less than a week left, I haven’t been able to start on final construction, but I can’t stress about that. The process of setting up, and packing down, of having to lift and move multiple 20kg+ pieces of equipment, is really exhausting me a lot faster than I had expected. This is literally the thing the Studio-In-A-Box project is designed to eliminate.
  • Picked up a pair of heavy duty 90degree welding clamps – these things weigh a bunch, but will speed up setting out the joins in my piece. Also, accuracy should be easier.


  • Had a call from 3M to ask me about my welding helmet requirements – they make you supply contact details in order to download the product brochure. But, the conversation was enlightening, and they forwarded my contact details to their local distributor near me, who has given me a $500 discount on the helmet, since I was directed to them by 3M. So that was fun. The downside, is it’s going to be Tuesday next week before the local distributor has it in stock.


  • Drove down to the local 3M distributor to try on the welding helmet. Seems pretty much the same as my existing one, so that’s all good. Really looking forward to getting back to work.


  • Down time. Managed to achieve something pretty amazing with my new displays, and that’s creating virtual scaled resolutions for the side-screens. The result is that objects on secondary screens are the same size as they are on the main screen.


  • Down time. It’s important to take these days off to recuperate, but I’m managing to get some online research and testing in.