Tips & Advice
How long does it take to become a certified welder?
The length of time it takes to become a certified welder will depend on whether you're being certified by an employer or a third-party organization.
Employer certification is usually specific to single welding process. If you have experience tackling that process, certification can be completed with no need for additional training. This type of certification can be completed in as little as a couple of weeks.
Third-party certification by an organization, such as the American Welding Society, tends to be more comprehensive than employer certification, and it requires you to pass both written and practical tests. Vocational schools offer training that assist with this kind of certification, and it can take anywhere from seven months to two years to complete a program that prepares you to take the tests. You can also choose to study on your own, and study guides and practice tests are available online. The American Welding Society will send your welder certification card within four to five weeks after you've passed the tests.
Are welders required to be certified?
Not all companies require certification when hiring welders. However, many companies prefer to hire welders who have been certified. Certification ensures that a welder is able to perform in compliance with certain codes, and it verifies that a welder has the skills to deliver work that meets contract specifications.
Welding codes and standards allow companies to certify their welders in-house by having them pass a test designed by the company. This in-house certification qualifies welders to perform certain specific types of welding jobs. However, welders who want to move from one company to the next usually find that in-house certification isn't recognized outside of the company that has provided the initial certification.
Certification may also be provided by organizations such as the American Welding Society, and this type of third-party certification relies on testing that is more standardized than the tests used for in-house certification. Third-party certification is widely recognized throughout the industry, and many companies prefer to hire welders with this certification.
How much does a welder cost?
Welders usually charge by the hour. The price can vary based on the welder's experience and the type of work that is being performed, and rates also vary based on geographic location. Homeowners typically pay an average cost of roughly $300 for a welding job, and costs can range from a low of $50 to a high of $800 or more. Custom jobs that require longer hours will incur a steeper cost.
What are the types of welding
- Metal inert gas welding or gas metal arc welding: With this type of welding, metal is combined using a wire that is joined to an electrode current. The metals that are to be joined are heated using a shielded gas that is transmitted via the wire electrode. This is the most commonly used type of welding, and it's suitable for joining metals such as steel and aluminum.
- Arc welding or shielded metal arc welding: With this approach, a welding stick that transmits an electric current is used to create an arc of electricity between the stick and the metals that are being fused. Arc welding is often used in manufacturing and construction.
- Gas tungsten arc welding or tungsten inert gas welding: This type of welding uses a tungsten electrode to heat the metal being welded, creating a puddle that fuses the welded metals. This approach creates a superior finish, but it requires a skilled welder.
- Flux-cored arc welding: This approach uses a wire filled with flux to fuse the materials being joined. It is inexpensive to implement and simple to learn, but the final result isn't as aesthetically pleasing as the results achieved with some other types of welding.
Welding is a process that uses heat to permanently join various parts or pieces. Welding is typically done to join parts that are made of metal, but it can also be used to join parts that are made with thermoplastics. Welding is used in industries such as agriculture, construction, and mining. The art world also utilizes welding, and it's used in this arena to craft sculptures.
How long do signs usually last?
The lifespan of signs depends on the materials, the craftsmanship, and a little luck. Aluminum and other composite material signs can last for decades, especially if they are not directly affected by the elements. Neon and other lighted signs can also last for a long time if they are well made, well maintained, and things like Mother Nature or vandals don’t wreak havoc on them. Even cheap banners and signs can last for years, especially if they are indoors.
Do business signs require maintenance?
Yes, signs need maintenance. Most all need periodic cleaning, especially outdoor signs where weather and the elements can dirty them up. Lit signs might need bulbs changed, or the elements in neon signs can fail and need replacement. You can probably change the bulbs and clean the signs yourself with a basic cleanser, but broken neon elements should be professionally replaced.
How long does it take to make a business sign?
The cost of a sign is completely dependent on the sign itself. How big is it? What kind of materials and graphics? Does it light up? Is it neon? You have to reach out to a sign making company, one that specializes in your types of sign, to get a realistic quote on costs and labor times. Simpler signs will obviously take less time to make, and some projects can be turned around in 24 hours. An elaborate neon sign could take several weeks.
What is the most common material used in making signs?
The most common materials used for signage are Medium Density Overlay (MDO), aluminum, foam board, and acrylic. MDO uses plywood materials with a resin fiber so it is lightweight, but sturdy. Aluminum is ideal for flexibility and sturdiness, especially outdoors in the elements. Foam board is a paper product that uses wood veneer to prevent warping, and is not as strong as aluminum or MDO, but is cost effective. Acrylic (plexiglass) is another great alternative that is clear, making it especially effective in light boxes, while enabling it to resist heat and other chemicals that can damage signs.
How much do business signs cost?
Business sign costs depend on a variety of factors like size (square footage) and materials. Are you looking for a smaller inexpensive urethane sign? You can probably get a cheap one starting around $10. Or are you looking for lighted or neon signs? How big? How elaborate is the design? How many letters? All of these factors drive that price up. The best way to handle cost is to establish what you need out of your sign (square footage, location, indoor/outdoor, the text, lighted, etc.) and then determine your budget. Custom steel signs can run $20-$30 per square foot, while plastic or aluminum and can run $10-$120. Lighted signs will likely run $30 or more per square foot, while neon starts at $200, just as a starting point. A sign-maker should be able to give you a quote.