This is what happens when a welder decides to ditch a carpenter’s tool
Welder Jason Marburger couldn’t really understand why he was using a squaring frame, just like a carpenter, as he worked on projects over the years. One day he decided to design a better tool. Today the welder is also a welding equipment entrepreneur.
Sometimes a framing square can fool a welder into thinking that a fit-up is truly at 90 degrees because the square can be manipulated slightly to make it truly look like a right angle. The Fireball Tool’s size prevents such mistaken readings.
From the first automobiles to the world’s tallest buildings, welders have often played a critical role in bringing innovative ideas to life. It makes sense then that a welder would invent a tool that offers a new method for making square welds and fabricating parts with challenging angles
If You Don’t Have It, Make It
Over the course of his welding career, 36-year-old Jason Marburger (see Figure 2) has burned countless rods in every capacity, from automotive fabrication to commercial ironwork construction to mobile welding. Marburger has worked alone and managed crews over the years. Today he works as a contractor. Through it all he has wondered why welders often are limited to using carpenter’s tools that never fully meet their needs.
“They give you a flat welding table and ask you to build and weld with a speed square and primitive tools. I always thought there had to be a way to clamp things to it,” he said.
He started his latest job in Spokane, Wash., with the intent of customizing his welding table to better serve his skills. Marburger wanted a welder-specific square that was designed with weld accessibility, able to accommodate offsets, and constructed of a material that could withstand the heat and abuse of welding. With the goal of making his job a little easier, he sketched out a rudimentary design for something that would meet any needs he might encounter on the job. The next day he had a friend cut the parts with a plasma cutter, then welded a prototype, and immediately put it to work. It didn’t take long to draw interest from co-workers and others in the shop.
From the Welding Table to the Web
When a local welding supply salesperson learned about Marburger’s creation, he asked him to demonstrate it at the company’s open house. He dove headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship and in only two weeks threw together a website, built a brand, and hustled to create a small inventory of products to present.
“I welded my butt off; showed up at the event; flopped down the tailgate; and was right there with all the big boys like Miller, Lincoln, and ESAB,” Marburger said.
He said his custom-designed square drew interest from welders, buyers, and other manufacturers. Leaving with new contacts, new ideas, and a greater awareness of his product’s potential, he set out to design a more accurate and repeatable square.
He immediately faced the challenges of balancing a full-time welding job with becoming an after-hours entrepreneur. Marburger sold his pickup trucks to raise capital for the first orders and managed most of the growth himself, building the business on a limited budget and with a do-it-yourself attitude.