It is the "End Of The Welding As We Know It". For a while anyway... There was an accident at the Louisville, Kentucky plant which supplies most of the calcium carbide to North America. Calcium carbide is the main raw material used for for making acetylene gas for oxy-acetylene welding and more importantly oxy-acetylene cutting. Most welding is done with other processes and most cutting can be done with propane, MAPP (Methylene Acetylene Polypropylene), or natural gas. The cutting torches will require different tips and even when up and running there are those who will dislike the longer preheat times.
Suddenly the things I was doing and planning to do have changed. There are other, smaller sources of acetylene so critical uses should still get enough to get by though none have enough excess capacity to meet all the demand. I expect prices to rise of course. Funny how the other sources suddenly find it more expensive to produce acetylene. It will be interesting to see how far reaching the ripple effect will be. You don't have to think too long to see how all of society is affected by, if not dependant upon, metal fabrication/welding. A couple times in your novel "Patriots" you mention using welding gases to do a job. This is fortunately not not the sudden and final end but it is a good time to come up with switch to Plan B at least as a trial. Read More Here