Feeling the pressure of the quest bearing down on him, Thomas looked around the workroom for anything that might be able to help him complete his task a little faster. As he searched he took the time to light up the forge and get the coals burning so he could begin to work with the iron needed to make the MIG welder torch. He would have preferred to make it out of steel and ceramic parts, but he didn't have the time or materials for that immediately available. As Thomas searched he stumbled upon something that made him smile. A set of dies for making the wire necessary to produce chainmail rings!
Thomas needed to make the wire first so he could make an automatic feeding mechanism for the wire on the welding torch. Unfortunately, chainmail wire was a bit thicker than welding wire. Chainmail was between twelve and sixteen gauge whereas welding wire was usually between twenty to twenty-four gauge. If he had more time he could just produce another die to shrink the chainmail to a smaller diameter, but he was unsure if he would have enough time as it was.
Thomas set up the chainmail wire die press and checked to see how thin he would need to make the initial diameter of the iron bar. Once he had a good idea of how thin he needed to hammer out the iron he grabbed an ingot and placed it into the coals of the forge. Thomas pumped the bellows of the forge furiously to bring the iron ingot up to temperature. Once it was glowing bright orange he plucked it out of the coals and used a hot cut tool to cut it in half. He set one half off to the side to cool before he started to hammer the remaining half.
Thomas spent a little more than half an hour hammering and reheating the piece of iron until he'd forged it out into a long, slightly rounded, bar that was thin enough to fit into the first die. Looking at the length of the bar, Thomas took the hot cut tool and cut the bar into four approximately equal sections. Processing the bar through the dies would drastically increase the length of the bar while decreasing its diameter. Thomas heated one of the sections of the bar to soften the metal and make it easier to work with before he started to feed it through the first pair of dies.
Thomas used a hand crank attached to the bottom die to help him push the bar through the die. It was slightly awkward since the only gloves in the workroom weren't good enough to grip the hot bar directly. He could have cold rolled it, but he felt it would take too much time and time was precious. It had been nearly an hour already and he was still working on producing the wire, he had yet to even start producing the welding torch!
Thomas spent almost two hours slowly working the first section of the bar through progressively smaller dies. With each die, the bar became thinner and longer. At one point he cut it in half again to make it easier to work with. He didn't need a massive amount of wire to prove his device would work, just a length of a couple of feet would be more than enough to prove himself to Hekrin. With nearly a quarter of his time used up just producing the wire, Thomas finally finished running it through the smallest die bringing the wire to a size close to sixteen gauge, the smallest he could get it with the die set Hekrin had.
Thomas let out a relieved sigh and relaxed his focus for a moment and entered the state of 'Serenity' for a moment to refresh himself a bit. He hadn't used much stamina but he felt mentally exhausted. The time limit hanging over his head with unknown consequences was rather stressing for him. He'd also become a little fond of the grumpy dwarf and didn't want to disappoint him. Though, more importantly, he just wanted to show Hekrin something amazing and really stick it to him.
After a few minutes of relaxation, Thomas opened his eyes and focused his mind on the task ahead. The next part was going to be complicated and require him to work hard to complete it in time. Thomas spent some more precious time recalling everything he had read and seen back in reality related to the construction of the welding torch. He would only be able to make a rough facsimile of it, but he was certain it would work. At least, for a little while.
Thomas decided to start with the neck and body of the welding torch. With so little time he decided to skip making an auto feeder for the wire, it would just have to be held by hand. He decided to make it out of wood since it was nonconductive and there would be no chance of the electricity from the contact tip flowing down the neck to the body and electrocuting the user. Thomas selected a hunk of wood, a hammer, and grabbed a handful of chisels to get started.
He quickly chiseled the block of wood into a much smaller piece with the rough shape of the handle and the neck for the torch. Once the largest chunks of wood were removed he got to work with a set of files to refine the shape even more. He left the neck extra thick though, he wasn't entirely sure how well he would be able to forge the gas diffuser, contact tip, and nozzle. He could always make the neck thinner, but he couldn't make it thicker again.
With the handle roughly shaped and still far from perfect, Thomas decided it was 'good enough' for now and returned to the forge. He picked up one of the thicker pieces of iron he'd already forged into a circular shape and stuck it into the coals to bring it up to temperature. It looked like starting with the wire was a good thing. He could use the bar and the die set to shrink it down to a smaller diameter. Once it was a proper diameter he could use the hand drills to drill out the pieces.
After bringing the bar up to temperature, Thomas cut off a small section about 10cm long from one end. He started to feed the piece through the wire dies to compress and stretch it over and over until it was thin enough to work as his contact tip. This would be the innermost piece of the torch so it needed the smallest possible diameter. Thomas heated the piece up and using a small hammer, he began to hammer the tip to make it into a cone shape. Normally he would need to drill a hole through it for the welding wire to pass through it, but since he was skipping that this time it was basically done. He didn't have the tools available to thread it to screw it into the neck of the handle, instead, he hammered the rear of the contact tip into a slightly thinner and longer section that he would insert into the neck and glue in place.
He realized what a terrible idea glue would be, but at the moment he didn't have time to think of a more long term solution. He'd already decided to use this first welding torch to create a much better one shortly after he completed his quest. With the contact tip pretty much finished being forged, Thomas set it to the side to cool. He would return to it to enchant it later. He picked up the thick bar once more and heated it to cut off another section to feed through the dies once more. He left this piece much thicker since it would need to fit around the contact tip and diffuse the carbon dioxide around the contact tip.
Thomas brought the piece over to the anvil and set it down while he browsed through the various bits for the hand drill and found one with a diameter that was just slightly smaller than the diameter of the contact tip. He chose to use the slightly smaller bit so that the gas diffuser would fit extremely snugly against the contact tip. He might even have to hammer it on a bit, but that would prevent it from slipping off and would keep him from having to use something stupid like glue to hold the two pieces together. All of this was making Thomas realize just how much he needed to learn magic, it could probably help him out a lot with all of this.
Thomas carefully drilled a central hole through the gas diffuser. In reality, a gas diffuser needed several holes around its exterior to help the gas diffuse, but Thomas felt he could do that with his enchanting so he skipped that step. He was starting to get frustrated at how much he was having to skip and felt a bout of OCD about to kick in. He ignored his frustration though, time was not on his side so going for absolute perfection was simply impossible at the moment. With the gas diffuser done for the moment, he set it over to the side with the contact tip for later enchanting.
The final piece he needed to create was the nozzle. It needed to be wide enough to fit over the contact tip and the gas diffuser and would need to completely cover both of them. Thomas picked up the remaining length of the iron bar and heated it up before feeding it through the largest die. Once it was rounded and smooth he stopped there and brought it over to his anvil. He carefully hammered one end of the bar to give it a small angle. Most MIG welders had a slight angle to their nozzles and Thomas wanted to at least replicate that much. He could have just left it flat, but that felt odd to him. Once he had hammered it a bit he carefully used the wire dies to smooth the hammer marks out.
Thomas selected a wide drill bit, the nozzle fit around the gas diffuser and contact tip, but didn't touch them. It was instead attached to the neck of the torch. The nozzle would help direct the gas flow released from the diffuser towards the welding process. Thomas carefully drilled a large bore hole through the piece that would become the nozzle. Once done he set it down next to the other pieces. Thomas sighed and rotated his head to stretch his neck. He felt stressed by the looming time limit and his own OCD yelling at him for making such a piece of crap.
With all the pieces completed, even if they were crap, Thomas fetched the materials he would need to enchant the individual pieces before assembling them together. Thomas ground a mana crystal into powder and added the oil to it. Thomas selected the smallest engraving tool he could find and held it as he closed his eyes to imagine what he would need for the welding torch to work. The first thing, electricity. Welding used a lot of power so Thomas pictured a generator in his mind that was capable of producing five-kilowatt hours of power. The power source would be mana instead of gasoline. He even pictured that the more mana was fed into the generator the more power the generator would produce. This would give it something like a variable wattage setting since he wouldn't have an actual generator with dials on it to operate.
With the image for the enchantment in his mind, Thomas opened his eyes and focused on the contact tip. Very carefully he began to engrave lines into the piece of iron. He even activated his 'All Seeing Eyes' to focus in tightly on his work and make sure that he always had enough of the mana crystal mixture on the engraving tool. As he was engraving the enchantment he noticed something he'd never noticed before. His own mana was flowing out of his body through the engraving tool and into the enchantment. It wasn't massive amounts of mana, but it was enough for it to be noticeable. The longer he engraved the circuit board-like pattern into the contact tip the more his mana drained.
By the time the enchantment was finished, Thomas had expended half of his mana. He was a little confused. He'd never noticed his mana draining when making enchantments before and he couldn't understand why he did this time. He speculated it might have something to do with the nature of the enchantment he'd just made, but he couldn't be completely certain. He needed to visit Emmerick and ask him about it later.
Thomas took a short break to relax his mind and used 'Serenity' to recover a portion of his mana while recovering the rest with a mana potion. Once his mana was topped off and his mind relaxed, Thomas started to think about his next enchantment. He needed to do the gas diffuser next. Though he had been mentally referring to using carbon dioxide, the truth was that the optimal gas for MIG welding was a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide in a 75/25 mix of argon to carbon dioxide. If AoG's atmospheric composition was similar to Earth's then argon would actually make up a significantly larger portion of the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Argon made up 0.9% of Earth's atmosphere whereas carbon dioxide was a trace element. Trace elements made up 0.1% of the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide made up about 90% of that.
In his mind, Thomas pictured a small vortex that pulled in argon and carbon dioxide in the appropriate mixture of 75/25 then slowly dispersed it out. Fortunately, enchantments didn't have to be literal, it was all about the intent behind the image. In this case, gathering and then dispersing the two gasses. With the image in his mind, Thomas activated his 'All Seeing Eyes' once again and began to carve the symbol into the gas diffuser. Once again he felt his mana draining at an accelerated rate, more so than just 'All Seeing Eyes' alone would be taking from him.
By the time he finished carving the circuit-like symbol into the gas diffuser part, his mana had drained by 75%! Thomas drank another mana potion before he checked over the two enchantments. Thomas had a bad feeling about them. He expected they would work, but he just felt that there would be something... off about them. He couldn't quite put his finger on it though.
With the enchantments done, Thomas picked up a small flat metal tool. Using the tool and a small hammer, Thomas carefully tapped the gas infuser to seat it around the contact tip. Like he had hoped, the gas diffuser tightly wrapped around the contact tip and couldn't be moved at all by hand. Thomas looked at the contact tip and made a decision. He picked up the smallest drill bit he could find that roughly matched the diameter of the iron wire he had produced earlier. Using the bit and the hand drill he drilled a small hole into the tip of the contact tip. He would be able to place small sections of wire into the hole and use them for welding. Compared to a real MIG welder with an automatic wire feeder, it was garbage but it should work at least.
With that done, Thomas used the hand drill to drill a small hole into the top of the neck on the torch handle. He coated the small hole with glue and pressed the pin he'd hammered into the back of the contact tip into the hole. There wouldn't be much pressure or twisting of the contact tip so it didn't need to be super secure, he just needed to make sure it wouldn't randomly fall out. With the contact tip installed, Thomas added the nozzle around it. He had to shave a little more wood off of the neck to get it to fit, but once it did he glued it in place as well.
Thomas looked at what he had created and sighed. He fucking hated it. It was rushed and looked like garbage to him. He set it down with a sigh and looked at the system notice he'd received.
|System Notice: You have created a brand new, never seen before, device. Please state the name of your creation!|
|System Notice: Device is now registered as 'Welding Torch'! You have gained the 'Inventor' title!|
|Inventor: Every time you create a never before seen item you gain quadruple the experience you would normally get for creating the item when finishing it for the first time.|
|System Notice: You have created a Normal grade Welding Torch. Quality: Below Average. You have gained 416 Magitech Engineering experience.|