Setting the nozzle

David French (Local 359) lines up the spot.

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THE EXERCISES USED to test apprentices often seem easier than they turn out to be. The nozzle exercise is a good example. Contestants were required to cut a hole in the side of a vessel and attach a nozzle.

The steps are deceptively simple: choose a spot, measure and mark a perimeter, cut the hole, place the nozzle, and tack-weld it into place. But because the wall of the vessel is curved and the nozzle is also round, drawing and cutting the hole is not a simple exercise.

Jim Beauchamp, an instructor at Red River Community College and one of the judges for this event, said, “I suffer with the apprentices when they struggle with this one. It tests many skills. Not only measuring and cutting, but calculating the curves as well.”