welding courses at art schools

Where I'm located, it is hard to find any kind of metal working courses.
I've found a few welding courses, though. One is for people without high
school diplomas (so I'm overqualified), one is at an art school, and one
is a continuing education course through a university. The continuing
ed course costs 3 times as much as the one at the art school, even though
both take the same amount of time. The art school also has a second course
on welding, called "Advanced welding".
What I'm wondering is whether one can adequately learn welding for metal
work from an art school, or whether there is some basic difference in
approach that makes it undesirable to learn welding at an art school?
I figure that artists are just as interested as anyone else in making
sure that what they build doesn't fall down, so I'm inclined to think
the art school would be perfectly adequate.
The art school also gives a course in metal casting, but this doesn't
include sand casting. In the absence of anything better, I'd be inclined
to take it anyway.
I don't know whether it would be too much to hope that by taking these
courses, I would also meet people interested in other aspects of metal
work and thereby find more opportunities to learn about it or find space
to work.
There are courses at other places in woodworking. I think this might include
lathe work, but I'm skeptical that learning to use a lathe for woodworking
would properly prepare me for metal working on a lathe.
Ignorantly,
Allan Adler
snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
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* metropolitan area. *
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Reply to
Allan Adler
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If the price is so much less at the art school, I would go for it in a minute. They would give you some experience in thinking "outside the box" that might be handy later. A lot of my welding work was thinking up solutions to problems, and creating something to solve them. Other parts was to just weld this back to that.
I enjoy going to all sorts of places for ideas. Yard sales. Garden nurseries that sell metal sculptures. Art shows. Just anywhere that makes my mind look at a pile of nuts, bolts, plate, wire, and castoffs, and not see a pile of stuff, but something creative. It is good for your brain to think in these terms. AND, some of that crap actually $ell$ for pretty good dough. Not bad for a little time, and some thrown together parts of this and that. And if they don't sell, you can always put them in your yard to scare the hell out of in-laws and stray dogs.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
As I just took a TIG class at an art school, I do have one comment that might be applicable. Of course, other schools might be wildly different than the one I took...
The instructor at the art school wasn't big on cleaning the metal before welding or grinding bevels in thicker sections. It was more of a touchy feely kind of thing as opposed to learning the quantitive info that Ernie points out.
The class was more geared towards making tables and artwork than structurally sound welds. And after asking about teachers in the other section, that seemed to be a trend at the school.
The most useful thing about the class was spending 4 hours a week at the machines. I read several welding books on my own to pick up things the class missed.
There is nothing you can take at your school? They have amazing machine shop facilities at your school. No clubs?
Regards, Aaron
Reply to
Aaron Kushner
Allen, I think I would head over to the Univerisity library and attempt to check out the old books on the subject if you'd like to know more about structural welding, note most of these at my library at least treat mig as then state of the art for production, and have little mention of tig other than it was a specialty process rarely seen etc., give those a read, then take the artsy class, reread once youve gotten some arc time in, then if you'd still like more science than art, one of the engineering classes may be in order in addition to the University class. Hope this is of help.
mark
Aar>
Reply to
mark
take the trade school course if that is what you want to learn.. if they can teach these guys how to do it i bet they will not be teaching some of the artistic approaches to those students there... one guy i knew who was learning to weld to me that he did not know his fractions too good but that he could get a job welding at a shop and he told the owner that and the owner told him, oh dont worry we will just let you weld stuff by the inch.. i think he was gonna get about 10 cents more than min. wage???
Reply to
jim
My experience is that artists are not very interested in best welding practice or strutural strength. I remember one sculpture teacher showing me starting a weld by dipping the inner cone of the OA torch into the steel! I was polite, but horrified. I assume the real welders in the group would also have been horrified, but maybe I was off base.
On the other hand, time spent welding is perhaps what you really need. If you don't need to produce certified welds, you may get all you need from the art school course and some independent reading.
I remember going to a metalsmiths conference, (mostly jewelers) where the presenter was explaining and demonstrating to the conference about welding copper. The culmination of her presentation was welding two pieces of copper together, around 3/16 thick, 3 inches by 6 inches long, so a six inch seam. She had a big welding tip on her OA torch. It was entertaining to watch the whole piece glowing red, copper really does conduct heat. I would have been more impressed by the demo if I had not been welding quite a bit of copper before I went to the conference. But I get off the point of the story; artists really know little about welding, and generally do not need to know much, as they rarely need to worry about weld structural integrity. For these artists, welding copper was an exotic activity, since they generally solder copper, or occasionally braze copper.
Anyway, I am sceptical about learning best welding practice from an art teacher. You would need to do some independent reading so you could distinguish the bad practice from the good practice.
I probably have a unique view of this, since I am a Mechanical Engineer, a licenced professional engineer, and a practicing sculptor. However, I do not claim to be a great welder.
Richard Ferguson
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Allan Adler wrote: > > Where I'm located, it is hard to find any kind of metal working courses. > I've found a few welding courses, though. One is for people without high > school diplomas (so I'm overqualified), one is at an art school, and one > is a continuing education course through a university. The continuing > ed course costs 3 times as much as the one at the art school, even though > both take the same amount of time. The art school also has a second course > on welding, called "Advanced welding". > > What I'm wondering is whether one can adequately learn welding for metal > work from an art school, or whether there is some basic difference in > approach that makes it undesirable to learn welding at an art school? > I figure that artists are just as interested as anyone else in making > sure that what they build doesn't fall down, so I'm inclined to think > the art school would be perfectly adequate. > > The art school also gives a course in metal casting, but this doesn't > include sand casting. In the absence of anything better, I'd be inclined > to take it anyway. > > I don't know whether it would be too much to hope that by taking these > courses, I would also meet people interested in other aspects of metal > work and thereby find more opportunities to learn about it or find space > to work. > > There are courses at other places in woodworking. I think this might include > lathe work, but I'm skeptical that learning to use a lathe for woodworking > would properly prepare me for metal working on a lathe. > > Ignorantly, > Allan Adler > snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu > > **************************************************************************** > * * > * Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial * > * Intelligence Lab. My actions and comments do not reflect * > * in any way on MIT. Moreover, I am nowhere near the Boston * > * metropolitan area. * > * * > ****************************************************************************
Reply to
Richard Ferguson
Yes, and if you learn how to solder (braze) from a silversmith, you'll learn how to use a big-ass propane plumbers torch real well. However, silversmiths do worry about the integrity of their joints and can build beautiful things with multiple invisible silver soldered seams. The technique involves getting the whole piece near soldering temp and then running the solder around the seam with the torch. I believe modern propane brazing probably grew out of forge techniques. The ancients used charcoal fires and blowpipes and coppersmiths used to use coal forges and bellows to braze copper pieces with spelter.
Reply to
Rich McCarty
IMO, metalworking courses taught with an "artistic slant" might be a good way to go. The man that can weld up a mighty sculpture while hiding the unsightly bead has got to be an artist. You would learn to weld with enough strength so the object would not fall down under its own weight. Later you could apply "overkill" to objects of your own design. A course in woodworking could be a good prerequisite for learning to work on a "real" lathe although probably only a few on this NG would agree. If wood turning was the only instruction available, it might be valuable to a limited extent. A course in wood turning, again IMO, would be less instructive than a really good book on metal working! Why not get a small lathe, say 3 1/2 x 7 and jump in. The lathe could be had for less money than a couple of the courses you are considering.
Bob Swinney
PS: As a training exercise, consider making your own crude lathe from a vari-speed drill motor, say 3/8 or 1/2 in. and some angle iron for the bed. Grind or scrape the bed to some reasonable facsimile of "truth" and figure out how to mount the drill motor in alignment with the bed. After you got into the project, your "new intuition" would suggest ways to make a tailstock and cross slide, if desired.
Reply to
Robert Swinney
You need to be careful with that - "overkill" without knowing what really helps can actually lead to joint designs with a lot more metal, and yet less strength than a properly designed and welded joint. Stress concentrations, excessive shrinkage, etc...
I agree that the "art" based course could be a good course, but, as with any course (including the more expensive one), it will depend on the actual instructor, and also on what the student brings to it. Given the opportunity to practice, outside reading can make up for many deficiencies in instruction.
If there is time before you need to sign up for one or the other, try to do some initial reading, and arrange to speak with the instructors of both courses about what they are teaching and how that connects with what you want to learn.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
Thanks to all for their helpful comments about taking welding courses from an art school. At the very least, the art school will show me how to use the torch without injuring myself, and that is something I think I shouldn't try to teach myself working alone. Likewise, I'll learn how much space I need to avoid burning anything around me, such as the building I'm in or the gas pipes or cylinders. Again, I'll learn how to protect myself against UV or whatever is produced by welding. So, first and foremost, I'm hoping to learn how to use the torch safely. Without having someone show me that first, I'll always be afraid to use it, but once I know how to use it safely, I won't be afraid to learn whatever else I might want to learn by reading books and trying things out. That alone would be worth taking the course, but I'll also get a certain amount of practice. So, it sounds like a good deal to me, whatever the other deficiencies of the art school's approach might be. If I also meet people who will be willing, even after the course is over, to criticize the welding I do, so much the better.
Let me now analyze, using my extremely limited knowledge of metal work, Robert Swinney's suggestion:
I'm always interested in ways to make a crude lathe for peanuts, particularly to the extent that it teaches me how to make better use of basic materials.
(1) > vari-speed drill motor, say 3/8 or 1/2 in.
Why not leave it in the drill?
(2) > and some angle iron for the bed.
One piece? So, I don't need to weld pieces of angle iron together, making it necessary to take the welding course first? OK.
(3) > Grind or scrape the bed to some reasonable facsimile of "truth"
Exactly which part of the angle iron would be scraped our ground: the edges or the right angle? I think Bob means the edges. That's ok: the only part of the ways that the carriage actually needs to contact is the pair of edges. But that makes it necessary for the "vertex" (actually a line) of the right angle to be at the bottom, so there needs to be some way to support it. One way that occurs to me is to have two more pieces of angle iron, each bolted along one side of the "bed" and facing downward. So, now it looks something like this:
\ / /\\//\ / \/ \
How's that?
Clamps? Straps? The trouble with my idea of leaving the motor in the drill is that the strength of the drill body becomes part of the equation.
Gingery mentions at one point in his book, The Metal Lathe, that there are a lot of lathes on the market that don't have tail stocks, but he doesn't say anything about lathes that don't have cross slides. But let me try to imagine what my "new intuition" might be. Maybe it means that I have now learned how to use angle iron for bed+ways, so I can also use angle iron for the cross slide ways. But even with that intuition, I still have to design something that can rest on the angle iron edges that can serve as a carriage. That is a different kind of problem from that of mounting the motor and I'm not sure how to solve it using the kinds of materials we are considering here.
Is this analysis correct?
Ignorantly, Allan Adler snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
**************************************************************************** * * * Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial * * Intelligence Lab. My actions and comments do not reflect * * in any way on MIT. Moreover, I am nowhere near the Boston * * metropolitan area. * * * ****************************************************************************
Reply to
Allan Adler
I recently took my first welding course at a local community college. At $50 for a full semester, it was a bargain. We were required to do 20 different joints (different type, metal thickness and position). Each one was (very critically graded on both appearance and structural integrity. Each one was destructively tested. It took me many tries at each one to get a specimen that was acceptable for grading, but once I got it, I could usually do another.
For my purposes, what I liked about the course that an art school might not have is: 1) systematically covering many types of joints and welding positions. 2) critical grading and destructive testing. It gave me the skill to weld a structurally sound joint and the eye to to tell a good one from a bad one.
Especially in thin material, it's easy to make pretty joints that are not strong. It's much harder to make pretty joints with full penetration (and hence full strength). I don't know if you'll learn that at an art school.
Greg
Reply to
Greg
Sorry about the colloquialism - "drill motor". For some reason I've never understood, the phrase "drill motor" is often used to describe an ordinary electric drill. I am sure mounting the plastic (drill) housing to a crude lathe would be a test of one's ingenuity. You were right about orientation of the angle iron members. Edges up would probably be best and easiest to finish.
Bob Swinney
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Reply to
Robert Swinney
Drill Motor: in the old days before they had motors they still had drills, the bits that were to cut the material(mostly wood) and they now call them drill bits, but they are really drills.....so a drill motor does make sense.....if it has a motor in it and it drills
Reply to
jim
OK. The problem of how to move a carriage along it is still open. The following occurs to me: use more angle iron, bolted together, to make the carriage. For example, how about something like this for the carriage (all angles are supposed to be right angles, no matter what they look like):
/\\//\ \ / This is supposed to fit with the bed which, with its support, was determined to look like this: \ / /\\//\ / \/ \
It's better if the carriage actually "grips" the bed, so some doubling of the angle iron might be needed, something like this:
space | v
| |__ -----
That might require a lot more in the way of scraping and grinding.
Be that as it may, after posting my earlier reply to Bob's posting, I noticed Rich McCarty's post>The bigger question is why go to so much trouble? Spend a hundred or two on
So, one doesn't absolutely need a cross slide. I don't know if one needs any kind of carriage.
I recall seeing a book on hand turning in the Lindsay catalogue. Maybe it's time I took a look at it.
Ignorantly, Allan Adler snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
**************************************************************************** * * * Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial * * Intelligence Lab. My actions and comments do not reflect * * in any way on MIT. Moreover, I am nowhere near the Boston * * metropolitan area. * * * ****************************************************************************
Reply to
Allan Adler
Allan, Hand turning is not dead yet! As I understand it, some watchmakers make very small parts that way. I have dabbled a little in handturning myself. My Sherline lathe has a W.R. Smith (renowned clockmaker) designed rest as an accessory. I'm not very good at it, but I can tell that hand graving is an efficient way to make really small parts. I can grave a simple part out faster than I can set up the cross slide.
As for cross slides on the theoretical "crude" lathe. If you understand the cross slide has to move freely in one direction, call it < > X , and that it must be constrained in Y and Z, then you have all the information necessary to make a cross slide. Movement in directions Y and Z must be constrained by jibs. There are various ways to achieve this, but the idea is always the same - just the execution and material used in sliding parts, varies.
Hint: Don't overlook wood as a material for a crude lathe. Lindsay's book shows a big burly fellow working on a wooden lathe. He had steel tools, I guess. Little known trivia: The bearings of some steamships of the late 1800's and turbine bearings of some early hydroelectric plants were of wood - called lignum vitea.
Bob Swinney
Reply to
Robert Swinney
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll think about them.
When you spoke of a drill motor, did you simply mean a fractional horsepower motor?
Ignorantly, Allan Adler snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
**************************************************************************** * * * Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial * * Intelligence Lab. My actions and comments do not reflect * * in any way on MIT. Moreover, I am nowhere near the Boston * * metropolitan area. * * * ****************************************************************************
Reply to
Allan Adler
Yes, an ordinary 3/8 in. or 1/2 in. variable speed electric drill. The variable speed control would be ideal for a lathe. I visualize the electronics being removed from the housing and wired in to the base.
Bob Swinney
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Reply to
Robert Swinney

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