"By the end of my internship, I could say that I learned a lot of things – from the tools and how to use it, proper work etiquette, new skills, and doing things differently. I am grateful to Chicago Fabrications for giving me this opportunity. The new things and knowledge that I have gained will help me not only in my future career but in my everyday life as well."
Choosing the right company to have my internship at is important to me because I believe that this will help shape my future. I chose to have my internship with Chicago Fabrications because of the challenge and opportunity of learning new things on my own.
On my first day, I learned the skill of working with a miter saw and how to properly cut wood using it. I also learned that you could remove debris off steel by using acetone then applied Turtle Wax to prevent it from rusting.
On some days that I don’t do hands-on work, I do research and emailing or responding to clients. One of my research tasks was to look into the different kinds of tools and its uses. This will help me understand more the tools that I will be using. During one of my research tasks, I learned that there are different types of saw, each with different function and purpose.
On my third week, I learned to use a jointer, table saw, planer, sander, and miter saw. I was also tasked to cut wood into specific sizes and prep them for delivery. We used the jointer to cut flat edges then used the table saw to rip the edges. After the table saw, we used the planer to cut the wood into the required thickness. The thickness of the wood is decreased with every pass through of the planer. We used it for making claddings so that all the wood pieces are of the same thickness.
When using a sander, I learned that you need to sand the surface gently to prevent marks. The outcome should be that the surface is smooth, even, and free of marks. After sanding, you need to use an air hose to remove the dust and debris.
Aside from using tools, I also learned to prep products for delivery. I also got used to the habit of maintaining a clean workspace – cleaning up when I get to work and before I go home. All the tools need to be where they are supposed to be and maintained very well.
One of the projects we were working on is an epoxy resin tabletop. We used an air hose to remove dust and debris to ensure that the surface is clean and dust-free. Then I applied wax on the surface that serves as a coating and prevents the epoxy from sticking to the surface as well – this way, when the epoxy hardens or cures, we can remove the tabletop easily.
There were some days that I get to come with my colleagues on-site and assist them during installations. It was tiring but a good experience indeed! I also learned just from watching my colleagues work. Sometimes while they work, I watch them and they teach me tips and how to use the tools, making sure that I learn something. Every day I learn something new!
My mentors were very patient and accommodating. They give me tasks every day, making sure that I get to learn something even during my day off. I learned to work independently. I liked that they give me the chance to learn on my own too but still guiding me. At the end of the day, I submit a report about my day, what I did, and what I have learned. Then they send back an email with their feedback or comments, teaching me more things about what I have learned about that day. I feel like they really wanted me to learn!
By my fifth week, I learned how to use the drill and nail gun. We used it during a shelf installation at a client’s home. Before installing, we lay out papers or anything we can use to prevent the wood from scratching or messing up the floor. We made sure that the shelf was precisely leveled before drilling it to the wall then put the shelves up one by one – there were a total of eight shelves. Before going on-site, you need to make a checklist of all the tools that you need and make sure that you bring everything you need with you, otherwise it’ll just be a waste of time.
On my eighth week I started working on steel. I learned to use cut steel and use the press drill to make holes in it. The holes need to be accurate so I had to measure and mark where I will drill to hole in. I learned that you need to drill right at the center of the mark and don’t drill too fast.
By the end of my internship, I could say that I learned a lot of things – from the tools and how to use it, proper work etiquette, new skills, and doing things differently. I am grateful to Chicago Fabrications for giving me this opportunity. The new things and knowledge that I have gained will help me not only in my future career but in my everyday life as well.