Somebody in Kevin’s studio – that would be him – got the shock of his life recently.

He’s been working on an aluminum sculpture, and it was over 100 degrees in his Arizona studio, even though he had his swamp cooler running. It was hot, he was sweaty, and he leaned up against the bench. With no sleeves.

Kevin went to the doctor, who ran an EKG test and said it didn’t look like he’d done any permanent damage. He had a tightness in his chest, though, which felt like a big knot. He could just feel his chest contracting as the 144 amps of AC coming out of his AHP AlphaTIG 200X went through him instead of through the sculpture to the ground.

He did two things wrong. The first was that he didn’t have sleeves on. He shows his heat sleeves, which let you arc, MIG or TIG weld with them on. If you have them on and happen to lean up against something, you won’t burn yourself. They also work pretty well for insulating skin against the table.

The second thing Kevin did wrong was clamp his ground to his table instead of to his work. All winter long, he’s hooked the ground to the table, where it’s out of the way. He wasn’t sweating, so he could lean up against the table and didn’t get good contact and didn’t get shocked. The first hot day, though, he’s not paying attention, and zapped himself.

Be careful out there! These machines aren’t toys, and they can hurt you. Be sure to wear proper safety gear and take proper safety precautions, including putting your ground on your work wherever and whenever possible instead of on your table, where you end up with your hair standing straight up in the air – or something worse.

Kevin was lucky this time. He doesn’t want to try it again. “Be safe out there,” he says.