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Welding 1 & 2 classes started our year off with safety lessons that included: Lock out-Tag out, Personal Protective Equipment, ladders, electrical, barriers, fire, chemical and housekeeping in the work environment. Students also disassembled and assembled a welding helmet. They learned how to clean, sanitize, and replace cover plates in the welding helmets.


Welding 1 students have also learned how to properly operate oxy-acetylene cutting torches. These lessons included assembly, disassembly, lighting the torch, and proper shut down procedures. Students are currently in the process of completing performance objectives laying out parts for cutting out on thick and thin material. The cutting exercise requires them to cut parts that meet tolerance specifications to successfully complete the performance objective. They will also have to perform gouging and washing operations in the near future.


Since the Welding 1 classes are large this year students are alternating between oxy-fuel cutting and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) welding processes. They have also learned about welding polarity, SMAW equipment setup, striking an arc, welding buildup pads using E6010 and E7018 electrodes. They are now working on 2F (horizontal fillet) welds and soon will be moving to 3F (vertical fillet) and 4F (overhead fillet) welds. Their goal is to be working on groove welds after the semester break.


The Welding 2 students, after completing safety training, have been working on various welding processes that have included SMAW and GMAW (gas metal arc welding). Their exercises have included completing welds in the 2F and 3F positions. They will be moving to 4F positions in the near future. They will also be working on groove welds that we will bend test according to the AWS D5.1 standard.


Welding 3/Fabrication students have been working on modifications to the welding shop to improve the safety of the work environment. These modifications have included recycling current fixtures in the welding shop and repurposing them. They have taken a single cut table and have made it into three separate cut tables that include two single work stations and one for use with the oxy-acetylene tractor torch. These students are also utilizing the Torchmate CNC Plasma table and creating parts for tool storage in our welding stations. They designed a plasma arc cutting station that will collect the plasma dust that is connected to our fume extraction system.


The Welding 3/Fabrication students will be putting their skills to practical use by repairing some of the school’s irrigation equipment. This will include removing parts that have rusted out over the years and replacing with new material. They will also be refining GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) skill as the year progresses.


A special thank you goes out to Orthman Manufacturing for supplying our program with steels to use in our welding classes. Without their support the welding program would not be a success and we look forward to the day when we can visit their facilities to see the possible career opportunities in the welding industry.


Keith Nielson-Welding Instructor/Skills USA Advisor