If you are going to give this a try, take some time to practice. The restriction coupled with the thinner material make it challenging. If you a jam up pipe welder with pics all over Instagram with your slick colored tig welds, understand that the conditions in which you made those welds DO NOT EXIST ON SHIPS! The test that I and many others failed was just one of many required to get through the process. Some welders have made it through so don’t assume you can’t! I just wanted to share my experience. The welding industry is full of wide ranging needs as far as skills and abilities go. After all of my years in the industry, I’m still learning.
This process was a waste of my time for sure. I am not sure what is trying to be proven by the testing process, however, I am sure there have been quite a few “taxpayer dollars” spent on this process. Maybe not directly, but in a roundabout way. Regardless of the money spent by others, It was a big loss for me. I was looking forward to returning to welding on Navy Ships since that’s where I “cut my teeth” as a young welder. Between the time for paperwork, orientation, and taking a test that is very “non-typical” in all other industries, I probably lost about $2k.
The tests required for welding on US Navy Ships can vary widely depending on the welds that expected to be made. Though my vision was a factor, even with good vision, this test would be challenging. This specific test is one used to qualify on “thin materials” and qualifies the welder for all socket thicknesses and diameters welds within other ranges of qualification. It’s specifically referenced in 248 at para 188.8.131.52(d). And though it qualifies for “everything”, I was able to make it through the US Navy’s Nuclear Power Plant components welder program and work on various classes of submarines without ever coming across a piece of schedule 10 pipe! I’m not saying it’s not needed however it is uncommon in most industries and a difficult test to start with.
In my 38 years as a welder, I have never encountered a ½” schedule 10 fillet weld test. Yes, it happens I’m sure. Additionally, in production, I have never seen a ½” Schedule 10 socket weld. Yes, it happens I’m sure. I have tested welders under many codes and was the “Qualification Petty Officer” in the 26A/B weld shop on the USS Hunley. For instrument lines, we had a few that tested on thin wall tubing however no restriction was required and this was done on tubing material. It was also very uncommon and consisted of less than 1% of our work.
The test supervisor seemed very proud of his shipyard skills and I’m sure he’s a good welder in that industry, you can be pretty sure that should he step out into the rest of the world, there will be a learning curve!
Who knows, maybe after going through the “testing process” with hundreds of welders to say that “We just can’t find any qualified welders outside of the shipbuilding industry”, an organization (The training and testing facility at the yard) could say “Maybe we need to use some of the funds to expand our training program”. JUST A THOUGHT.