How to learn welding

I've decided that I need to learn to weld. I have never had any training
or classes or any experience at all in welding or any other metal
working. I do have a bit of experience at woodworking and, in the late
60's/early 70's, worked as an auto mechanic for a few years. Does
anyone have any advice on how a complete newby like myself can learn to
weld? If it's any help, I live in Knoxville, Tennessee and could take
night/weekend classes if I could find any.
Thanks,
Ron
Ron Tipton
snipped-for-privacy@dragonhome.org
Reply to
Ron Tipton
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Learning to weld is mostly a matter of spending time trying to weld. I have taken welding courses and think the ratio of instruction to practising must be about five minutes of instruction to maybe five hours of practise. Say the class is 3 hours long and you get five minutes of individual attention every other class.
I don't mean to imply that the instruction isn't valuable, but that if you can find a welder in your area that would spend a few minutes with you, you can do a lot of it on your own. Then a few more minutes of instruction.
You probably could do it all by reading and practising, but a little instruction would give you confidence.
The first thing is to figure out what kind of things do you want to weld. Then you can get advice on what process would work best for doing that.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
A quick google search found this site in your area.
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People sometimes think that the money spent on a course is wasted. You will learn skills in several areas. You get to try a variety of equipment. The other students as well as the instructor are a wealth of information. Randy
I've decided that I need to learn to weld. I have never had any training or classes or any experience at all in welding or any other metal working. I do have a bit of experience at woodworking and, in the late 60's/early 70's, worked as an auto mechanic for a few years. Does anyone have any advice on how a complete newby like myself can learn to weld? If it's any help, I live in Knoxville, Tennessee and could take night/weekend classes if I could find any.
Thanks, Ron
Ron Tipton snipped-for-privacy@dragonhome.org
Reply to
R. Zimmerman
Book, practice, reliable equipment.
"Learning" to weld is essential, but it can be done on your own from a book. It's really not that difficult. You _must_ know a few bits of theory, but not a great deal. Try Gibson's "Practical welding" or similar.
Practice is what most of it is about. Proper rigorous practice, where you try to achieve the full set of specific techniques, then you section or nick-break test your welds to see how they went. An instructor's eye is useful, but you can manage without.
You need some reliable equipment to learn on, and you need to get a feel for what you're going to need before you go out and buy it. Using a college's gear can be helpful here, maybe saving you buying a hunk-o-junk you hate afterwards when you find that your requirements really do need a certain capacity or feature.
This applies to stick or wire-feed. For gas or TIG, there's maybe more to be said for having someone else watch your technique while you're doing it.
So I favour courses. If you can get one, then take it. Here in the UK they're also _very_ cheap, unless you need to achieve a formal NVQ. This seems to triple the price of the same course, just for the extra paperwork costs.
You might like to get recommendations from people who've done that specific course. Now the course I did was a "failure" on some counts. I went in knowing gas and MIG, wanting to learn TIG. Now I should have been able to do this, but in practice the course's equipment was too unreliable and we simply never had much hands-on time with the TIG sets (no-one during the day put the argon bottles out ready for the night classes !) In the end I learned stick and really honed my MIG technique to be respectable. Not what I wanted, but still worthwhile.
Reply to
Andy Dingley
I'm one who loves the idea of courses
i took a college course here to learn arc welding before i had a machine
it cost me $300 canadian i needed to provide 0 tools other than boots and safety glasses (Basic helmet and gloves=$50)
42 hours of welding machine rental (3 hours were class) total 45 hours 15 an hour (Or the cost of a new lincoln dialarc) $630
50 pounds of fresh cut test steel strips per night $0.50 per pound due to the prep work and that i'm standardizing between 1/8 and 3/32 plate $25 per night $300 in steel
and several pounds of welding rod in all sorts of different types 7014 7018 6010 6013 and so on add $120
Without including teacher time i estimated that to get the equivalent of that class at home would have cost me $1100
Not including teacher time
SItuations like that make me a big fan of teacher based learning
I took TIG lessons in a similar manner but only for 6 hours then bought my machine and turned myself loose
Brent Philion Ottawa Canada
R. Zimmerman wrote:
Reply to
Brent Philion
Everything you say is correct. But I would emphasize the importance of testing weld strength quantitatively. The beginner may make great looking welds that are useless.
Yes, eventually they will learn, but an instructor is just about essential.
Reply to
bw
That's why I mentioned it myself. I used to think my wire-feed welding was OK, but it improved a lot after sectioning the welds and properly testing them taught me just what was working and what wasn't.
I'd question "quantitatively" though. This is a pretty rare level to test welds too - all the weld testing I've done has been qualitative. I do a nick-break test and then look for where the nick ran, but I don't measure the actual forces involved as hard numbers.
Reply to
Andy Dingley
There are a couple of things I recommend. First you can try and check out local 4 wheeling news groups and see if you can pickup a used 110V Flux Cored/Mig welder for $200 or less. That will help you get into it for cheap. Also, call around to local fabrication shops and see if they sell scrap metal. I found a place that would sell me scrap metal, where I could give them $10 - $20 and could take as much as I wanted out of their bins.
Next, I called around to local schools finding out who taught welding classes at night. I found a night school that was only about $35 for 6 weeks, 1 night a week for 3 hours. Plus $10 for metal. They teach you the basics, then let you play around and weld and plasma cut as much as you want.
Reply to
sparty

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