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.
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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,
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
Chris, what's your location; I've tried to find a course locally (North Herts) but the local colleges seem to have abandoned all the technical courses and I'm not too interested in studying creative needlework, Pilates or philosophy. Martin
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 fine controls, nice machine and so much quieter the a buzz box.
Christ> Hi all,
Reply to
David Billington
Forgot to mention. It has been suggested here before that as you have you own equipment it may be better to get in contact with a local welder and see what you can work out regarding personal instruction.
David Bill> I'd ask if the instructor had welding qaulifications. When I did a
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,
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
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,
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,
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
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.
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