Recently some EMS members have been learning to weld. Unfortunately, the shop hasn't been very welder-friendly. We have the one welder but we really didn't have a good place to weld. The only place we are able to plug in the welder is in the far back corner of the shop, and the only surfaces we really have to weld on back there are the concrete floor or the wooden workbench. Neither of those are very good options. Another problem was that we didn't have a good way to protect other members from being flashed from the welding arc. We had no safety screen. And still a third problem was that we had all of our welding gear separated into a few areas of the shop, so there was never a good way of knowing just what exactly we had or where it all was. Well, fret no longer!
After visiting HeatSync Labs in Arizona a couple of weeks ago and seeing their awesome welding booth, it really got me motivated to make something in our shop that would enable our members to weld more easily, and more safely. The problem was making welding readily accessible but not taking up too much space in our already crowded shop. After some thought and planning, I managed to cobble something together that I hope will work out well. I mounted a custom curtain rod in the corner of the shop near the 240V power outlet and stuck two 6' x 8' welding curtains on it. Now we should have enough room to store all of our welding gear in or near this small 6' x 5' square and be able to weld simply by pulling back the welding curtains and securing them shut. The curtains also allow us to keep that large square open when the booth is not in use. This way, the welding booth doesn't take up a large square of the shop at all times.
The welding booth is not yet completed, but I hope to have it mostly completed by Friday night, before the big open house on Saturday. I still need to do the following:
- We should be getting a decent welding table tomorrow to put in the booth (Donated!). Now we will have a surface to weld on!
- Move the welder into the booth wherever it makes sense.
- Put some adhesive Velcro on the curtains so we can attach them together easily and quickly.
- Cut the white shelf on the wall so the curtain can close all the way to the wall.
- Replace the zip ties with actual curtain rings.
- Install some kind of ventilation to get the fumes moving out of the shop.
- Put up some signage about general usage and safety in the welding area.
I'm sure there is more to be done than just that, but those are the top priorities for now. I hope this booth will work out well for everyone. It shouldn't take up much space when not in use but it should provide easy access to the welding equipment whenever one has that urge to fuse metal together.