It’s dark. Your face is only a couple of centimeters away from a piece of cold, raw steel and the muzzle of a pistol-like device. You pull the trigger and, for the fraction of a second, a power unit generates voltage pulses as high as 12.000 volts, which cause the air to be conductive. A moment later, about 100 Ampere start flowing from the nozzle of the torch through the air to the piece of steel right in front of your fingertips. This high current generates so much heat that the metal starts to melt.
You see the flashes of light like miniature lightning strikes.
You smell the scent of red-hot, fluid steel.
You feel the heat of this planned, useful devastation in front of you.
This is welding.
An imposing technique of mankind. A crafting skill that has brought us, as humans, to the point where we are today. A method as powerful as almost no other. “I just saw the glory of the gods!”, said none other than Julius Caesar after he welded for the first time. To weld is something in between art, meditation and the feeling of pure power. No wonder that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once famously said:
“One should hear a little music, read a little poetry, see a fine picture and weld a little bit of metal every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
We at the Research and Design Laboratory work together in a consortium with Fronius, the UAS Campus Wien and the University of Technology Graz to enhance the Virtual Welding console. This is a simulator-machine enabling everyone to get a glimpse of the amazing technique of welding in virtual space without the danger of killing themselves. To accomplish this task, we need of course to gain as much practical welding-experience as possible. So the whole consortium met in the scenic Upper Austrian village of Wels(1) and learned a couple of days from the best, Joe Kreindl. Joe took the carrot-and-stick approach and taught us the physical background as well as the practical skills and probably the most important thing, how to weld without mutilating ourselves. Now we’re ready with zeal to apply our gained knowledge and expertise in the steps ahead on the way to the next iteration of the Virtual Welding Simulator.
If you’re curious about welding, or even if you’re curious about us, the genius minds behind a couple of different applications for professional training, check out our last apps and stay tuned for more.
(1) I was instructed to clarify one more thing to hurt no one’s feelings: Wels is a very large and influential metropolitan city.
Text: Jöller Ajun Simorg
Photography: Research & Design Lab