Talking Titanium with Instagram’s ArcWeldingAngel
Chloe Hudson aka ArcWeldingAngel is a welder for Joe Gibbs Aerospace manufacturing aircraft parts. Her road to JGA began in a high school elective welding class even though she wasn’t thinking of it as a career path. As she searched for the perfect fit she started posting on Instgram and has developed a diverse following. You can check out her work @arcweldingangel
How did you come up with your name ArcWeldingAngel?
I was in welding school and decided to compete in the welding competition. When I won my category in the in-house competition my dad bought me a fancy new auto-darkening welding hood with a very 1940’s nose art red headed pinup girl and “Arc Angel” on the side and I adopted the Instagram handle from that.
Where did your interest in welding and fabrication start?
My interest in welding came directly from necessity. I was a broke high school/college kid that wanted to modify my Jeeps myself and DIY was usually my only option to make it modifications happen.
Do you look at welding a little like surgery with metal?
Absolutely! And believe me the parallel between my previous life course and the course I ended up taking has been drawn. It takes precision, it takes knowledge, and it takes skilled manipulation of the base material to ascertain the desired end results. Titanium just doesn’t have a pulse unless that’s the settings your running (dad joke*).
Can you talk about how titanium has changed the game for some of your projects?
It has completely elevated my game. I went from AAA ball to the majors. It’s such a persnickety metal with “sticky” filler wire and I weld on extremely thin material with blowouts a potential with every press of the foot pedal. The learning curve has been further elevated when you factor in fabrication of in-flight aircraft parts. Perfection is an expectation and not just a goal.
How do you balance when to use titanium and when to use another metal?
Titanium can be pricey but its resistance to corrosion; high strength to material weight ratio makes it a magic metal. The use of titanium is all about budget. Fiscally speaking it wouldn’t make sense to build structural frames for buildings with titanium, however, an exhaust system would be a perfect trade off from stainless or carbon to titanium.
What parts are best for titanium?
The race and aircraft industry is littered with titanium parts so I think that speaks directly to the quality level of titanium as a material. Frames, latches, hinges, and exhausts are all made from titanium in some cases.
Does working with titanium give you some creative leeway when you are looking at aerospace parts and weight balance?
There is ZERO creative leeway when it comes to aircraft parts. These parts are measures to the hundred thousandths and there is no room for error. The tolerances, if you ask my supervisor to his credit, do not exist. Weld to the highest level of precision for passable parts.
What kinds of projects do you work on at Joe Gibbs Aerospace?
Majority of the projects I work on for JGA come with an NDA attached which is such a bummer because they are so neat! Humanitarian solutions in the form of aircraft things that will break records, and other projects that can change the history books. I can’t wait to get them finished so the private customers can allow us to reveal our work towards their completion.
Aviation must a passion of yours how is flight school going?
It’s a fascination as well as a passion. I’ve read countless books and grew up down the street from the creator of the SuperStol at Just Aircraft. I’ve always been most interested in the aluminum riveted (ironically) airplanes from the 40’s-50’s and I’ve always been a history junkie. I wish my schedule allowed for more flight hours but my pilot’s license is still at the top of the goal list.
How has your relationship with TMS helped on the development side?
Having a company so widely recognized in the industries I work in has been incredible. Not only has it sparked my creativity but it’s added confidence in my abilities to have that kind of support from such a huge name. Not to mention the relationships I’ve built with the reps are amazing. They get me answers when I need them and titanium for any project I can dream up.
If you could make anything out of Titanium what would it be? My next ti project is a side table for my living room chair. It will be the most solid side table to have ever been built and I plan on leaving it raw titanium to show off a little bit of the welding skills. The next project will definitely be a titanium exhaust system for my 1978 cj5.