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Slartibartfass
12-06-2004, 02:30 PM
Hi there,

For next year I have planned to learn the basics of welding. I was trying to find classes around where I live (Westchester County, NY) but couldn't locate any weekend/evening course so far.

Could anyone point out/recommend a suitable class?

Thanks a lot,

Malte

paulgrandy
12-07-2004, 07:28 AM
I recommend OJT. If you are the least bit mechanical inclined it comes easy. I started with a stick welder. Once I figured out how to keep from getting the stick stuck to the metal during the strike I did OK. Moved onto a MIG with fluxcore. Got tired of cleaning up the weld. Added the gas and an automatic helmet. The only thing that stumped me at first was the wire speed. Keep it high. I also put on some 3X ShopSpecs under the helmet to see the weld puddle better. It doesn't seem to matter if the helmet setting is 9 or 13 I have a problem seeing it. It seems like after all these years someone would have invented a filter to get rid of all the glare. I've been thinking of a TIG lately. Looks like the welds are a lot nicer. But if you want to do this as a business I guess you have to get Certified so that means a school. Or is there such a thing as a 'Challenge Course' for welding. I know they have them for the Arts at Universities. You pass a test and they give you the credits.

pgmrdan
12-07-2004, 09:10 AM
I'm not in your area but I took an evening class through the continuing education program at the local community college. It included OxyAcetylene and stick.

It sounds like you may have already checked that route but just in case you haven't I thought I'd mention it.

pkastagehand
12-07-2004, 01:22 PM
When I started AC stick welding I may have been in single digits or maybe no more than 11 or so years old. (grew up on a farm)

Got so I could make some nice looking and strong welds. When I got to DC arc and then MIG it was easy to learn because I had learned the basics the hard way. I had done some brazing with oxy-acet and then even tried some gas welding as a teenager so then learning TIG was almost a breeze.

With all the books available now there is no reason not to go for teaching yourself unless you intend to get certified. Or maybe for welding boilers in which case safety is a big issue. A class would be a bonus for maybe two reasons: 1. Jump start the learning process by saving you from some beginners mistakes and having a teacher to tell you what's happening and why; and 2. A class will give you the chance to try different kinds of equipment before investing your own money.

I have found that the biggest problem in welding is understanding what the process is doing to the metal and seeing whether it is actually happening through a lens (that seemingly wasn't made to see through).

I have shown several people how to weld. Some pick it up almost intuitively and some never really seem to get it. One of my quickest learners was a woman who was a stage manager during a summer theatre season. She was bored one day and came in and asked if she could learn to weld. By the end of the day she was making beautiful welds (MIG) in 16 gauge square steel tube.

The main thing is to watch closely what you are doing while welding, then examine closely what the result is and try to correlate the two. If your beads keep running away from the joint area try to figure out why you're not seeing the joint in the mask. If you see undercutting you're too hot. If the weld looks like solder stuck to the surface of the metal then too fast a wire feed or too low voltage (or current, depending on process), etc. Cause and effect and some thinking and a good book go a long way.

One trick I usually use on teaching someone is to start them on oxy-acetylene brazing and then welding and explain the difference between soldering/brazing (adhesion) and welding (fusion). Take a torch and make a puddle and watch carefully what happens to the metal as it gets hotter. As it gets to the molten stage it actually looks wet and shiny. Practice moving the puddle without filler. When you can do that with some degree of success try adding filler. If you can get to the point of being able to stick two pieces together with the torch arc welding may seem easy. Taking it in stages works for some. Others may do better starting right with stick or with MIG or with TIG. That maybe where the class approach helps; trying different processes without the cash outlay. Us farmboys had to start with whatever the old man had (im my case a 1940's era Miller AC)

Don't know if my rambling helped but if you can't find a class close by don't be afraid to go it alone.