Fabricator or Welder? What Is The Difference?

Am I a fabricator or a welder?

There is a lot of difference in telling someone you can weld and telling them you can fabricate. Now, there does seem to be a lot of people that assume that  because they know how to TIG weld or MIG weld, that they are automatically able to fabricate. And there are a lot of people who know a good welder and assumes that he or she will be able to build them what they want. Well, no, that would be incorrect. Being a welder, even a good one does not qualify you as a fabricator. If you are able to make beautiful, out of position passes, stacking one dime on top of the other, does not guarantee that you know how to design or build anything properly. A lot of welders that do well at work where they have nothing to do but make sure the joint is fitted and prepped properly try a sideline business of either repair or fabrication. Many times these people end up failing because they fail to understand and apply all physics that all good fabricators instinctively know. A lot of welders have no “eye” for asthetics outside of the weld itself. They’ve been trained to “produce” parts on a production line or run root passes on pipe that describe perfection, but in short, this does not give the type of training and instinct that it takes to become a good fabricator.  A good way to spot this type of welder, is that his fabricated parts will always have a “clunkiness” to them or they will over build to compensate for their lack of knowledge of physics, or in some cases they will make frail, under engineered product in an effort to make a part look better. Now, of course, not all fabricators are good welders. They know how to make it stick and to keep a part from failing but may not possess the skills to make the best looking weld. Which one is best to be? Who do you want to build your next project or set about working as a millwright? If possible, you want to have a good balance of both. You need someone that can make a nice looking weld and someone who can tackle any project and make it expertly. The good news is that if you fall decidedly into one category or the other, a little study and practice will make you better with the other. Don’t’ be discouraged if you think you are one and not the other. People have a tendency to be one or the other and you aren’t alone. If you are a welder and aspire to be a better fabricator, find yourself a mentor who can help guide you through what you don’t know that you don’t know. And if you feel yourself as a bona-fide fabricator, but are weak in the art of joining metal, practice and study will definitely round out your skills.   

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