23 September 2007

Breaks In the Monotony, Cracks In the Pieces

Occasionally I get a break from my production work, and I get to do something fun. The foreman of the other half of the shop (Mike) and one of the supervisors (Joe) discovered cracks in four of the fan-shaped things (I have no idea what they're called) in the space of two days, and they've come to me for patch jobs. The first time Mike and Joe came to me, I think it was just because I was closest to the entrance to their part of the shop and happened to be welding at the time.

Friday, though, Joe brought in a part while I was over at the work table breaking blades. He called me over while he walked to my welding station to put the part down. One of the other guys was at my station tacking something, and when he saw Joe, he volunteered to stop what he was doing and patch the piece. Joe said, "no, I'll wait," and smiled at me. I made the repair and got his nod of approval, so apparently I'm now the repair girl.

I'm really proud of the quality of my patch welds. When welding stainless steel, the ideal bead color is yellow-gold. That means that the heat and speed are balanced, so the weld is solid. Once I reminded myself how to weld with wire (instead of just fusing, which is what I do the rest of the time), my welds came out yellow-gold. That made my day.

I love doing repairs because the job requires skill, unlike most of the work I do. One of the pieces I worked on had been patched before by someone else, who, to quote Joe, had done "a piss-poor job" of it. It's nice to know that, for this task, I'm more skilled than some of the guys who have been there for a while. I hope it means that I'll get to do more repairs and maybe move onto more interesting parts of the production line when they hire more new people. (One will start in a week and a half; a classmate of mine.)

Coming next: People Are People

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