My 10 year old son wants to learn to weld. Anybody taught their kid? How
old were they? Any caveats about the teaching process? I've got a
TIG/stick machine and a Ready Welder and I'm undecided which to use...
No useful comments on the process other than if you decide to do it talk up
the postive not the negative about what he is doing. Teach the safe and
right way to do things not the "real men do it this way" type of crap.
I would not let a person that young weld without a respirator. Their lungs
are delicate and they have a lot of years ahead of them for the mistakes of
the past to develop into something nasty.
I taught my daughter to run beads at about that age. I used my
Millermatic 135 which when turned down for thin metal doesn't throw to
many sparks and is fairly easy to handle.
I'd worry about him being strong enough to handle the Ready Welder
but MIG is definitely the best process to start them on in my opinion.
It's easy to get decent looking beads and provides instant
gratification. Important to hold there attention at that age.
I taught my ex girlfriends 13 year old cheerleader preppy daughter to TIG,
MIG oxy/act cut and braze. She helped me build some of my clients engines as
well. If he is willing to learn- start strongly with the safety first and
then have at it. She is the only cheerleader I know of who can weld and put
a 14-71 blower motor together. It helped me teach her how geometry and trig
are used in the real world. You are lucky to be in the position you are in!
All the best,
Fraser Competition Engines
Long Beach, CA.
Can he solder yet? I made my kid solder his own RC car motor connections.
Then propane, sweating copper pipe joints. This was a natural progression
from soldering, but added in the sparker, the flame, and so on. Then we
went to O/A...
With this approach, it all seemed much more obvious, i.e. flame is hot, gas
burns, turn the valve like the knob on the stove, and so on. No need to
mess with the helmet, with voltage or amperage settings, wire speed, HF,
I totally agree about making it fun and successful - if he gets frustrated,
he will never come back. This would eliminate stick, I would think, which I
myself still find frustrating today...
He has soldered and has done a fair amount of "structural soldering", i.e..
soldering wires together to make toys/art pieces. The idea of using the
propane torch is a good one - I may try that first. He could use the
bandsaw to cut copper pipe and make some larger structures with the propane
(and then I could practice welding copper which I've never done).
I am very safety oriented in general and he always wears his safety glasses
when he's in the shop, and that orientation would not change with welding.
Finding gloves to fit might be challenge...
Thanks to all for the suggestions!
Don't do it . Learning to weld only leads to unreversable atitude
changes. one of the most noticable ones is "DIY". The first sign is a
resistance to just buy it off the shelve,instead of spending hours
making it yourself. My dad got me a buss box for chistmas when I was
17.I built all the toys I could not buy that year.This lead to building
the engines I wanted.The next thing I new I was working overtime like a
HO,so I could buy a dragster chassis. I wish my dad had a tig when I was 10
Just one question/suggestion.... Do you have any welding bad habits?
Try to not pass those along as well. Teach him the "right" way, not
your way to weld.
My Dad resisted for a long time teaching me how to weld because of
this. He certainly knows how to weld, but has his own way. He learned
"proper", but a lot has just come from years of experience.
But, if he is eager to learn, first start by getting a second helmet
and letting him watch you do it. Show him what a proper puddle looks
like, how you stitch in the parent material, etc. Then let him have at
it. Watch what he is doing right and emphasize that. Try to be
constructive on what he is doing wrong. You know your kid, so you
should be able to guide him in the right direction.
If it was me, I might lean towards starting with the stick and some
1/8"-1/4" plate. Some 6013 rod and crank it up. Won't burn through,
but should have enough power that starting should be fairly easy.
First just run beads on the face. Eventually try to do some lap welds,
then move on to butt welds. Last should be outside corner welds. Try
to teach him some out of postion stuff too. At some point need to
explain the whys of what he is doing. How the amperage setting is
determined, which rod, etc.
Maybe someday he will have the small pleasure of outwelding his
instructor(s). :) I still remember an Into to Mfg Process lab in
college where my welds outlasted the instructor's and still failed
properly. Made me feel pretty good that day. And also made me realize
how many engineers have NO hands-on experience.
I think 10 is a little young to start them off but if you must, start off
with safety as the top priority. I know a lot of you breath fumes all day
and don't pay much mind too it but it's not cool, so if you do teach
children make sure there's good ventilation. And make sure they understand
basic electrical safety. A good shock can kill them. As far as what to teach
them? Well I would go with what would be more useful at that age. With tig
they can weld small intricate things and fix go carts etc.. Mig would be
good too. Stick is actually a little harder too learn and can be spendy when
they start wasting rod. Just my 2c
As opposed to tungsten, filler rods, argon, alumina cups?
MIG is pretty cheap, but TIG is fairly expensive to learn on, and
fairly difficult to pick up on with no understanding of "basic" welding
Likewise, just my 2c.
As a beginner, I find stick to be much simpler conceptually. Fewer
variables to worry about and the welds actually come out quite
serviceable (able to withstand stress). The hands are also much
farther from "work" and one can get away with wearing heavy gloves.
Therefore, with kids, I would start with the stick process.
"Brian Hill" wrote: (clip) And make sure they understand basic electrical
safety. A good shock can kill them.(clip)
Every aspect of shop safety is important, but I think it is actually pretty
hard to get hurt with an electric welder unless you are standing in mud or
"Brian Hill" wrote: (clip) Stick (clip)can be spendy when they start
Is welding rod really more expensive than wire plus gas, or fluxcore wire?
I'm not challenging you--I'm just wondering.
Yes and no. It's just that once the flux gets busted off a stick rod it
history. I've seen people go through a lot of rod learning to weld. I think
you can get less waste from wire. I'm in the industrial feild and I imagine
we pay far less for gas than a guy off the street buying one bottle. I pay
about $22 for a big 300 cylinder of argon and a little more for tri mix. I,m
just thinking out loud here? I'm sure a lot of good points will arrise on
the subject of cost.
Well I've been a professional welder for almost 25 years and I've had the
crap shocked out of me a couple times. Ask any veteran welder and most have
been shocked at one time or the other. It's rare but I'm just thinking of
kids in a shop and it would be a good idea to kinda fill them in. If anybody
can cause something to happen, it's kids and I got three of em ;)
| "Brian Hill" wrote: (clip) And make sure they understand basic
| safety. A good shock can kill them.(clip)
| Every aspect of shop safety is important, but I think it is actually
| hard to get hurt with an electric welder unless you are standing in mud or
When younger I was helping a fellow and holding something for him while
he tacked it. I wasn't looking, or course, and knew better than to look
down before I knew for sure he was done. He lifted the rod away and stuck
the red hot end right onto my forearm. The jiggle I felt from my forearm
into my hand, but it wasn't near as much as that $%^&*! burn I was getting
while my brain was trying to process exactly WTF was happening!
I had to admit it was funny, 'cuz I think everyone was watching my
expression when it happened.
"Brian Hill" wrote: Well I've been a professional welder for almost 25
years and I've had the crap shocked out of me a couple times. (clip)
You've got my attention. Would you care to tell us your stories?