Thursday, May 5, 2011

Arc Welding Classes

After finishing the greenhouse project at the end of March, I began to hold consistent classes with the older boys teaching them how to weld with the electric arc welder.

We started with classroom type instruction covering the electrical circuit and its measurements, the welding equipment, and of course welding safety.  We spent two, one-hour classes on these introductory topics.

Then I began allowing the boys to try their hand at striking an arc and making a bead.  I introduced them to the various types of welding electrodes (welding rod) and we how to select the best rod for the job.  They learned how to adjust the welding machine to the situation and the type of rod being used.

William Gomez welding with two other boys observing.
 They had the usual problems that beginning welders face, rods that stick to the work, difficulty holding an arc, moving the rod too fast to make a nice bead, etc., etc.  But they learned how to correct their technique and avoid these problems, too.

Fabian Perdomo (left) and Anderson Mora (right) checking out their practice beads. 
Anderson cleaning the slag from his bead.
Once their practice plate was full of welding beads on both side, they had to grind them flat to be able to continue practicing.  So the boys would take turns welding and grinding their plates.

William Cruz grinding his practice plate flat.

Most of the boys loved the hands-on nature of the work and conquering their fears of a process that is fiery and that can be scary.

After only 5 weeks of instruction, many of the boys were anxious to try their newly developed skills on a project, which you will see in the next post.

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