Welding courses (and welding sets)

I am a fan of welding courses, but only at good prices. When I was young I took welding at the Votec school in La. I took the course in the evenings and could go either from 6 to 9 or from 6 to midnight, five days a week. There was one instructor and maybe 30 students. Actually not a bad ratio, as it only takes about five minutes of instruction followed by hours of practice. That school was part of the school system and there was no cost to the students. Back then welding was a bit less complicated, and there was only oxy/acet and stick to learn. It was after WWII so TIG had been invented, but it was not common.

And more recently I took some welding at the local community college. This time it cost money, but senior citizens can take classes on a space available basis for something like $30, which is cheaper than paying for the consumables as gas and electrodes. The class was 3 hours a night and I think two nights a week. Again one instructor and maybe 40 students. Mostly oxy/acet and stick, but I and a couple of other students took TIG. No one was doing any MIG welding, although they did have some machines. I tried one out setting it up from the instructions right on the machine. If you have done other types of welding, you can figure it out on your own. Even less instruction as more students, but still enough. Mostly welding is practice with someone to point out what you are doing wrong and suggesting things to try.

So in your case, I would skip the school. If you could find someone that would let you pay them some beer money to spend an hour with you, I would do that.

Dan

Reply to
dcaster
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Hi all,

I noticed that our local technical college is offering some welding courses, so went to their open evening this week. I nearly signed up for a course, but then didn't, although I've got until next Wednesday to change my mind.

The courses are 10 weeks long with one 2 3/4 hour practical session per week (no theory). You pick your discipline out of MIG, TIG, stick or gas welding and the cost is £210. I was thinking of signing up for the stick welding course as I already have a stick welder at home, and I've never had any tuition. I've learnt what I know from experimentation, books and newsgroups. I guess I could sign up for a different discipline to give me some experience, but then I can't apply what I learn on projects at home because I only have a stick welder.

I guess the price accounts for quite a lot of my reluctance to sign up. It's probably about the going rate for this kind of course, but it's still a lot of money. I also took along a sample of my welding to show the course instructor. I asked him how much better I needed to be to pass the test at the end of the course. He said "You're pretty much there". On hearing this I was less inclined to sign up, as it looks like a beginner's course that I might not get a lot out of. Apparently you get an Open College Network Level 2 Certificate if you pass the test at the end of the course, but I'm not sure what this means.

My main motivation for taking a course would be to get better at welding. I wouldn't be doing it for the qualification. As there's one instructor to about 10 people, I figure that I might be mainly buying practice if I sign up for this course. And as I have a stash of scrap steel and rods at home, practice at home is very cheap. So I was thinking that for £210 I could buy myself another welder, and probably a fume extractor too. I could get a gas welding/cutting set, although I suspect that I wouldn't use it enough to make the bottle rental worthwhile.

Or I could get another AC arc welder. Now this is something I've been wondering about for a while. The set I have at the moment is made by Cytringan, but it's very similar to the Oxford oil-cooled sets. It goes up to 180 A at 50 V OCV and 120 A at 80 V OCV. Unfortunately it only has a single current control, as opposed to the coarse and fine controls on some of the Oxford sets. I've found that 100 A is about right for running 6011 electrodes on 1/8" thick steel. But I have a project for which I want to weld a lot of 1/4" thick steel. Is 120 A enough to give good penetration in 1/4" steel in a single pass?

Can anyone recommend a good book on stick welding? I know it'll refer to manual metal arc welding instead, but stick is easier to say, isn't it? I borrowed a copy of a book called "Basic Welding and Fabrication" by W. Kenyon from the public library a few times. It was okay, but was more of an encyclopaedia of welding processes than a book specific to stick welding.

Sorry for the ramble. Thoughts welcome!

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

==================== I notice the LB money sign.

Things are most likely different in GB, but private/propritary schools tend to be more expensive than the tax supported public institutions. Be sure which one you are pricing.

At least in US education, fees for these types of classes are proliferating and rapidly rising. If you price shop, be sure to compare total cost to total cost, including items you must buy that may be supplied at other schools.

Also you might check to see what kind of tuition reimbursement is available through your employer, the school, or directly through some governmental agency. Given your astronomical tax rates, it only makes sense to get as much back as you can.

I note in passing that 2_3/4 hours per week practice time to learn a new mainly kinetic/manual skill is on the low side, especially as you will lose time one both ends with set-up and tear-down/clean-up.

The key is practice, practice, practice, with some one that knows what they are doing looking over your shoulder so you don't have to learn by trial and error, and possibly pick up some bad habits.

Effectively you are renting the equipment, and buying the practice materials and consumables [rod/gas], with a little expert advice from time to time.

Reply to
F. George McDuffee

You are already past the biggest hurdle -- getting started. A course is just a way to encourage disciplined practice with a bit of coaching. It also covers safety, which some need to be taught while others have sense enough to know what is and isn't safe practice.

At this point, I think a good book and more practice would serve you nearly as well as a course. I am as proficient as I need to be with gas, stick, TIG and MIG, never had a course -- but I've melted a lot of metal and probably made about every mistake that can be made.

I'd want 120 to 150 amps (depends on rod) for welding 1/4" in single pass. You should be able to get a very good AC/DC 210-amp welder for

210 pounds. Your welding will improve noticably when you have a machine that is well-capable of doing what you want to do.

A 3500 CFM fan doesn't cost much, strongly recommended for stick welding. I haven't burned a single stick since I got a 210-amp MIG. It is quite capable of doing everything I'd otherwise do with stick, and there's no smoke! There are a few things that can be done with stick and not with MIG, like cast iron, but I'd use TIG for those jobs.

Reply to
Don Foreman

worthwhile.

Reply to
Martin Whybrow

I'd ask if the instructor had welding qaulifications. When I did a course at my local tech college about 1985 I knew the instructor as he was one of my lecturers and he was not a welder, the course did give basic skills and allowed me to play with TIG and introduced me to aluminium welding with OA. 5 minutes with the OA on aluminium and I was better than the instructor. I had the benefit of OA at home and a stick set to practice with. The course was more a practice session and allowing me to use the stuff I didn't have but this was my experience and the course was much cheaper then. The tech college did later get a fully qualified welding instructor, although now I think they have gotten rid of virtually all the engineering equipment they once had. The test at the end may just be to satisfy requirements so the course is cheaper. When I did a french evening class that was the case, the instructor said if they didn't have an exam at the end then the course didn't get subsidy and so would be much more expensive.

I have a Pickhill 180A welder like the Oxford with course and f> Hi all,

Reply to
David Billington

Reply to
David Billington

It's a state school.

I looked into this. At first I thought I might get some money, but the particular course I want to do is excluded. If I want to do the course, I have to pay the full £210.

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

Can you recommend any particular books?

I have 120 A, but I don't have 150 A. I'm planning to use 6011 for this project.

I'm going to see if I can find a surplus fan.

Thanks for the advice!

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

Here's a free download that covers the basics:

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More stuff at
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Here's a selection at Amazon specific to arcwelding:
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I can't specifically recommend any of them because I haven't seen them. But they are subject -specific, rather than being welding textbooks that cover a wide range of topics. Textbooks like "Modern Welding" typically have one chapter covering the basics of stick welding, and the free Miller download does that pretty well.

Thing is, there isn't that much for a book to cover. It's a technology, but most of the technology is in the machines and materials you buy. Applying them is a skill, learned by practice once a few basics are understood. A video or DVD might be more helpful. I did see one DVD in my quick scan of the stuff at Amazon.

Reply to
Don Foreman

I think he's a qualified instructor. He's also teaching the City & Guilds overhead welding course, so I assume he's qualified.

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

The courses I'm talking about are in Telford. I believe there are also welding courses running in Shrewsbury and Stafford.

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

Thanks for the link. I just downloaded and read through the manual. Most of it agrees with what I already know. The only two points it doesn't agree on both concern electrode angle. Folks here at rec.crafts.metalworking suggested lowering the electrode a little (maybe

10 to 15 degrees) below the 45 degree point when welding a fillet, so that it "blows" the weld pool upwards. This has worked pretty well for me, and my fillets are looking a lot better than before I started doing it. Also, the electrode holder I have means that it's almost impossible to hold the electrode at 90 degrees when welding a butt joint. The electrode leans away from your hand at about 15 degrees in my electrode holder. Nevertheless, my butt welds look okay, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Unfortunately that results page must have been specific to some keywords you entered. I got a blank page.

Thanks. I'll browse through those at leisure. There do appear to be quite a few titles showing there which don't appear when I search for welding titles on Amazon.co.uk.

If anyone else has any specific recommendations for books on stick welding, do let me know. It's often hard to tell what a book is really like at an online bookstore.

It's annoying that my welder is 80% big enough for my needs, in more ways than one. It's big enough for 80% of the jobs I do. For the remaining 20% it can supply 80% of the current I need. A 225 amp machine would be just the right size, but if I was to upgrade I'd be inclined to go for 300 amps. I have one project in mind for which I want to weld

1/4" steel. I also have a plan (pretty vague at this stage) to build a shop press around a really nice ram, pump and gauge assembly which came from a junked Carver press at MIT. That's going to need 1/4" steel at least.

So I'm not sure whether to upgrade or not. If I do, I'm inclined to get another Oxford-style AC machine. The quality is just so much better than that of the DC-capable machines I see in the UK. I suspect I can manage without DC. What do you think?

Best wishes,

Chris

Reply to
Christopher Tidy

Keep in mind, you can set your own angle with any stinger (rod holder).

You simply bend the rod at the stinger.

Gunner

"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."

- Proverbs 22:3

Reply to
Gunner

I went on one of those courses many moons ago, and other than practicing TIG, which is what I enrolled for, it was pretty much a waste of time!

Best thing to do is to think carefully about what sort of welding jobs tou are likely to want to do most often, and get hold of an appropriate welding set for that type of job, and practice, practice, practice!

The most adaptable set at a reasonable price is going to be a MIG set. Ideally look for a good s/hand professional set, rather than a cheap and nasty new Machine Mart type thing.

k
Reply to
Ken

To Chris:- I missed the original post, but try looking a bit further afield.

For instance, I found that Warwickshire don't do a very good choice, but Coventry do 18 weeks 18:00 to 20:30, two evenings per week for £136 with your choice (first come, first served) of MIG, ARC, TIG or O/A. this ends up with City and Guilds 3267 Introductory welding skills. That is enough to get you a job at many places.

Unfortunately for me, I started a couple of weeks late and lost four weeks due to illness in the middle, but found it very useful and intend to go back and do more when time/money/inclination permit.

Mark Rand RTFM

Reply to
Mark Rand

Sorry, screwed up on that. It's £226. But it's still nearly twice the time of the one you were offered.

Mark Rand RTFM

Reply to
Mark Rand

On Mon, 25 Sep 2006 21:52:03 +0100, with neither quill nor qualm, Mark Rand quickly quoth:

There are nine courses offered at the junior college here in town (Grants Pass, Oregon, USA.) The total comes to about $2,400USD with tuition and supplies.

It has 2 courses for fundamentals, 6 for Technology of Industrial Welding I-VI, and one each for GMAW, GTAW and SMAW. It's better funded in California and is roughly 1/4 that price for the whole course.

Reply to
Larry Jaques

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