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5 Ways to Boost Mechanical Skills: #2 is CRUCIAL for Welders

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Source: MyMajors.com College Major Quiz

When I was in high school, we had a term for people who could ace tests, but then walk out the door and not understand a single way to apply their “book” knowledge.

We called them “Four – Oh’s.”

That referred to their incredible GPA (4.0) and lack of street smarts.

Don’t be one of those guys.

A mechanical expert possesses a blend of book and street knowledge, the “how” and the “what.”

Understanding the science behind welding through reading is only half the equation. The other half comes in application and increasing your mechanical ability.

And for those of you are who obsessed with the “art” of your work:

As this study on commercial divers shows, underwater welders aren’t near as much of an artist as they are realistic and logical. Keep that in mind, especially if you tend to daydream during your day job.

All of us know someone who has a natural mechanical ability. They can just see the way those gears work without ever opening it up. Others have to work at it, which makes them appreciate their mechanical skill even more.

Here are some ways to increase your mechanical skills for increased success in the underwater welding field. I cover this topic in my newsletter as well.

Five Tips for Improved Mechanical Skills Mindset

1. How Crap Works: Mechanical Aptitude Test

They’re not just for car mechanics and engineers.

Everyone in the manufacturing industry should take this to see where they land on the “mechanic IQ” level.

Most test challenge your intellect in these primary areas:

  • sounds
  • velocity
  • gravity
  • force
  • heat conduction

From words like “velocity,” you might think you’ve enrolled in a physics class, but don’t worry. It’s just a fancy way of saying, “How does this piece of junk work?” If you haven’t already, take a free test online. Then study for a more professional mechanical skills aptitude test; it’s worth it.

Image credit: Terry King, Flickr

2. Old, Rugged Gurus

I can’t be too specific here, but everyone has a guru in their lives.

For some, it’s their 85-year-old grandpa who can put their tractor engine together faster than they can type their name on a keyboard. For others, it’s an overweight instructor who understands aluminum properties better than Walter White.

These are the people you’ve studied and trained under, observed and respected.

They know their stuff, and you want to know “it” (welding, diving, cars repair) just as well as they do without sacrificing your own unique skill sets. These people are your valuable asset in becoming an underwater welder.

They’ll teach you a ton – and most of it you won’t find in any book.

3. Instructional Videos: YouTube’s Specialty

Every time I’ve wanted to do something manly, whether I’m tying a tie for my job or changing the brakes on my car, I YouTube it.

YouTube has millions of instructional videos for every type of mechanical task that you can think of. The beauty of these videos is that many of them tell you “what” (resources), “how” and “careful” (things to watch out for).

Even how to tame a wild animal:

And of course, you should learn how underwater welding works (our specialty).

And don’t just restrict yourself to YouTube. There’s plenty of helpful websites that give an instructional outlet to the project you’re working on.

4. Rough it out on a 2-5 day Camping Trip

Wait, you just told me to use YouTube, not you’re telling me to like, get away from technology?

Pretty much.

Everyday, we strike a balance between using technology and becoming dependent on it.

We should be constantly self-evaluating ourselves in this area based on our profession and personal life. You can still use your phone on a camping and hiking trip, but it’s less reliable and not as useful out in the woods.

Go somewhere remote, pitch a tent and make a fire without that jug of gasoline. Then, try out some other outdoor activities Man vs. Wild style.

You’ll increase your mechanical skills and survival skills – 2 in 1 bonus!

5. Go Deep with Open Water Certification

Some of you probably already have this, which also means you can always improve your diving skill.

For the rest of you, open-water certification is an essential part of being a commercial diver. Most schools don’t require it for application, but it’s good to have the practice and familiarity under your belt before you apply.

In earning your certification, you’ll also handle all of the diving equipment that a SCUBA diver uses on a regular basis.

Can’t get much more mechanical than that.

Always Learning: Ways to Boost Mechanical Skills

Of course, there’s many more ways to increase mechanical aptitude, and many aspects of mechanical learning can’t be measured.

Hopefully, the use of these tips will get you off to a good start as an underwater welder, car mechanic, or anything else that you dream of becoming. Don’t go it alone – use these techniques and resources to your advantage!

Cameron Dekker

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.