Welding area (generally) set up


At long last, we have a welding area! Thanks everybody who’s chipped in to help out with this. It’s drywalled, painted, laid out, and very nearly ready to go.

We still have a couple of things on the to-do list for this area, but once we get the first -3- 4 done, we can start welding.

:heavy_check_mark: Get gas bottle for the MIG welder
:heavy_check_mark: Review insurance policy to make sure welding is covered
Shave bottom of door and get rid of the tripping hazard for fire exit
:heavy_check_mark: Run extension cord from machine shop (make plugs, cut mousehole)

Install ventillation system
Cut down and dispose of the big flat dolly that we’ve all been tripping over for the last 6 months (maybe use parts of it to build welding curtian holders)
Build welding curtian holders
Get proper lights in there
Put fab table onto casters
Build some saw horses at same level as castered fab table
Build a better stand for the metal bandsaw, putting its bed level with fab table and saw horses
Build metal storage rack on South wall
…And I’ll add more as they come up.

If anybody is interested in learning how to weld, let me know. I’ll be offering a more formal course a bit later on, but for now I’d like to gauge interest, and I can give lessons here and there on the weekends.


I’m totally down for learning to weld. I’ll chip in 1/4 of costs up to $50 to help make it happen. :slight_smile:


I’d love to learn as well! I took a 2 hour course a long time ago, so basically starting from scratch.


I’m also in. And very happy to pay cash to support this effort. Thanks @metal_janet for your continued awesomeness.


Awesome guys, I’ll try and pick up the gas on Thursday, and I’ll keep you posted as things develop.


I’d be super interested in a welding class


Im in for some welding. I can do a bit of oxy but never touched a mig or tig


If you can do OA, MIG should be no problem. and TIG shouldn’t be too tough either.


All right… we have the gas bottle, and the insurance is confirmed good. @Billiam and I are going to work on the power tomorrow, as well as the fire exit. If all goes well, we should be able to weld by Sunday.

If anybody wants to come down and help out with the list either on Saturday or Sunday, I’ll be around to give guidance, and maybe some informal welding lessons if anybody wants to pitch in on a build but isn’t a confident welder yet. (confident welders also welcome)


Hi Janet. I noticed this was one of your todos. The tripping hazard is needed as it stops the water from draining in to the space when it rains.

Can we leave it in place for now?


Yes, but let’s shorten, ramp, and paint it yellow so that it’s not so much of a tripping hazard.


IIUC there are some regulatory implications here, like it has to be firmly attached to a wall/post… Since this is literally or practically inert gas, it may not need to be outside though.


Literally every commercial shop with a welder in the lower mainland has the gas bottle securely attached to the welder and kept inside in use; ie, while attached to the machine, unless they’re using gas bottles that are too big for the machine, in which case, yes, they securely attach them to the wall or a post.

Our gas bottle is securely attached to our welder.

Gas storage for flammables and oxidizers is required to be outside of buildings, but a) this is an inert gas, and b) this is not storage, this is considered “in use” because it is attached to the machine. Detatching it to take outside each time it is used would result in excessive wear and tear on fittings and additional tip hazard each time it is unsecured to be moved.


We brought back from Cook St a small welding curtain set with frame. The frame is tubular steel and coloured black. It’s components may currently be in different parts of the space.


Thanks for the lesson, I wanna send some cash to support the metal shop. What’s the best way to do this?


Holy cow - in it’s entire history (10 years) VHS has never had a dedicated welding area. In my mind this is a huge milestone for us. Thanks to everyone working on this. Feels like we have the power to make anything at all.


I’d also like to make a donation, and thanks so much @Metal_Janet for the lesson yesterday! I definitely feel like I know enough of the basics to practice and get better now.


I’d also like to throw in cash. @Metal_Janet do you have a paypal account through which we can send you some bux?


Thank you to everybody who has offered to chip in on this.

Here are my expenses for the metal shop setup.

Item cost
gas cylinder*, gas fill, welding pliers, anti-spatter 384.13
steel for materials storage, sawhorses 550.76
plug adapter supplies 25.8
fireguard drywall and supplies 632.44
additional drywall supplies 77.15
locking casters for fabrication table (estimate) 276.37
total 1946.65
  • KMS gave us a $50 starving-non-profit break on the gas cylinder, which we own outright, no monthly rental, and it will be $66/fill hereafter. I went with KMS because they’re open on Saturdays, and our gas cylinder is sized to be transported behind the passenger seat of a sedan or larger.

I gotts say, under 2 grand is a steal for this kind of setup, because we had so much labour donated; thanks to @faja66, @JohnC, @dbynoe, @Majicj, @winegummo and everybody else who pitched in to help with the demolition and rebuilding work (feel free to remind me… I was not in great shape due to illness and antibiotics at the time, so if I’ve missed your name I am very sorry, PM me and I’ll add you to this list) Also a big thanks to @Billiam for the donation of the fabrication table, and @Rob_MacKenzie for making the purchase of the welder back at Cook Street.

I don’t mind throwing $500 at this, because it’s worth at least that to me to have a metal shop that I can use whenever I want to. (For context, keyholdership at CoLab is about $140/month, working out to $1743/year with GST, or $1023 more than VHS per year.)

[REDACTED for privacy reasons, go here if you’re a member and want to contribute!]

[…] If we go over, I will let you know, and put any excess into a pool of cash for shop equipment purchases. If we’re under, I will put the whole fee for the welding course towards the balance until it’s paid off, at which point I will revert to the usual 50% to instructor 50% to shop consumables model. I’m thinking the basic intro course will run about $70 (subject to change as I figure out actual timings). (the folks who I guinea-pigged on this weekend can and should take a discount… call it pay what you want)

Thanks to my guinea-pig students yesterday, you all asked great questions. @SeanPo @MachineHum @TankGuy

@Janet @rsim @Arrgh

Edited to add: If you chip in above $50, I will weld your name or Slack handle onto a donor plaque.


You rock - cash sent.