This class will address safety equipment and general welding tools, and be mostly an intro to the following classes. We'll review the many non-metal methods currently being used - such as cardboard and tape, plastics, pvc, and other flimsy stuffs - and the ways that they could be replaced with superior metal craft. I have so far broken it down into 5 or 6 core skills that could benefit the back-yard or hackerspace tinkerer. I will give a demonstration of each, and provide information about the equipment, materials, costs, and associated safety gear necessary to get into each of the subsequent classes a little deeper. (Without your own safety gear, you'll have to sweat-share some of my stuff if you want to participate! And I may simply not have enough goggles for all to even watch! So this class can whet everyone's appetite and we can talk about exactly what is needed, safety-wise, and what is the best-buy for the money going forward to the other classes!) The practical app portion will involve physically examining all of the tools in my arsenal. I will also demonstrate as many of the methods as time permits.
Now, the first class is all about what's out there in the metal working arena for the home hobbyist, and this will include safety gear, welding equipment, home machine-shop tools, exchange of wisdom-through-wallet on what-not-to buy, plus an opportunity for Q&A about what you might wish to purchase, how to get it cheap, and how soon to get it in order to make the most of the remaining (5) workshops.
The primary piece of safety equipment that you really should bring to the first class if you wish to fully observe is a simple pair of gas welding goggles.
This kit at Home Depot is decent, you will use everything in it in any of the welding technique, but you can get the parts cheaper at Harbor Freight. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100672832/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=goggle&storeId=10051#.UGxkQK7F3hU
Harbor Freight has a PAIR of pairs of welding/cutting goggles for around 20-50), an automatic welding helmet(5-30), and numerous types of gloves and all sorts of hand-tools for show and tell and tryout.
We will discuss and "show and tell" all the rest of the myriad of equipment options at this first class. YOU REALLY CAN'T AFFORD TO MISS THE FIRST CLASS UNLESS YOU HAVE AN UNCLE WHO WELDS AND WILL TEACH YOU, IN WHICH CASE, WHY COME?!?! THE FIRST CLASS WILL COVER 90% OF THE COURSES PURPOSE — Just breaking the ice between hobbyists and metalworking!
If fact, I'll mention now, if you can free up about 50… but usually more. Try the thrift stores. I have an awesome brushed leather/suede Kenneth Cole shirt I wear for welding. You can find stuff like that at any of the thrift stores and it will serve you WELL!
This class will focus on the first technique of welding that every metal worker should learn - oxyacetylene welding! This is, essentially, using a torch to carefully melt the joining surfaces of the two pieces, and usually using a skinny filler rod to melt in some extra material to help it all bind together into a weld. We will also make our first approach at cutting methods. Oxy-acetylene cutting is commonly seen on TV and is frequently used in real life for the big stuff. There is also the trusty 4-inch (or 7-inch) grinder, with a cutting wheel. I will be looking to enlist a plasma cutter for this class as well, but I have not secured one, yet… Water-jets and lasers are still cost-prohibitive for the home user. The practical app portion will send hackers home with their very own "coupons" or practice welds! No, no, no…! Not a discount. A coupon is what they call a sample weld that you do for certification examination. You will get to actually weld during this class. Anyone who has purchased their own equipment to bring, will of course, get a lot more practical app time in, with me close by for any questions you might have. If anyone has a simple welding project ready to go, this will be an opportunity to start on it in a workshop setting. Plenty of hands on time.
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This class will give an introduction to basic shop machining with a drill press, hand drills, reciprocating saw, grinders, metal-bending brake, etc. Hopefully I can find someone to bring and demonstrate a small bench-top lathe. But if not, a formal view of some choice YouTube videos may have to suffice! There will be a marked emphasis on jigging techniques and strategies for assembling projects larger than welding two pieces of metal for "coupons". Warping and heat stress are the BANE of the hobby welder, as well as leveling and alignment. If you want to actually build anything useful with welding, you'll find that jigging, prepping, and assembly strategy are far more important than the welding itself. More time for any projects in progress.
This class will be the coveted MIG welding class! I have a nice mid-end/mid-priced MIG welder (wire-feed with shielding gas for a clean, pretty weld) that is perfect for hackers to aspire to own, and I will be able to demonstrate welds and allow participants to spend time welding themselves to get a feel for just how much "They can do this!" themselves…! I'll also show you just how easy it is to do a bad MIG weld, and some tips to avoid those. There will be more time for project work for any who have come up with a small project to do during the workshops.
Also known as a "stick welder" or a "buzz-box", it has been recently supplanted for hobby use by the MIG, but is still the quintessential method available for a VAST array of metal thicknesses and materials types. It is also less than half the price to get started initially, but twice the difficulty to master! I will be looking to enlist help from someone with an arc welder, if possible. If we can't find a nice one to buy or borrow by this time, I will purchase a cheap but more than adequate for beginner use cheapo from Harbor Freight or Northern Tool. Also, probably the most prestigious of the welding methods, TIG welding, may be available. TIG has typically been prohibitively expensive for the hobbyist user until recently. Many Chinese TIGs that also do DC Arc welding are popping up on the market and getting some decent reviews. We'll be playing this one "by ear". There will be more time for any projects in progress.
I hope to have my sand-casting setup completed and ready for training! As seen on Jeff Nading's most EXCELLENT You-tube videos, I am constructing an aluminum foundry to melt scrap aluminum, and a cope and drag setup to pour the aluminum into sand molds… I would hope to enlist the use of someone's 3D printer, to print up a gear or two and then cast them in aluminum by the end of the session! We would also cover using a rotary tool (Dremel, etc) to "clean-up" the castings and prepare them for use. Hopefully, we can have any projects completed or have a good plan for going forward for all who need help.