The distinguished smell of the steel after meeting the oils of my skin, the warmth throughout my hands when holding a recently melted piece, watching the orange glow of the steel slowly dim after lifting my mask, hearing the crack of an arc jumping from my hand, the sweet taste of a Dr. Pepper when leaning back to take a break and wipe the sweat off my brow, seeing something that didn’t exist before I created it.
I love welding.
As an engineer it’s essential to develop a strong intuition as to the properties of materials, an intuition only gained through actually working with the materials; cutting them, bending them, breaking them, heating them, pushing them beyond their limits to know where those limits exist and how to design around them. Having the time to play with steel, aluminum, bronze, plastics, wood, with or without a goal in mind is critical to developing creative ways to form them, combine them, and use them for some functional or aesthetic purpose that has never been explored. Great design requires play.