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Old 12-09-2005, 03:01 AM   #1
Peanut Butter
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Default Welding Class at Community College

I want to enroll in a beginning welding class to learn the basics. I have used a few friend's welders, but have no idea what kind they were, what settings they were at, or their best uses. My wife got excited and ran out and bought me a mig machine, so now I need to learn to use it. I will want to fabricate bumpers, sliders, and other truck stuff, but don't know which class to take. The intern who answers the phone at the college is an idiot, so I could use some help.

1. OXY/Fuel Plasma Cutt/Weld- Basic theory and lab practice in oxy/fuel welding and cutting. Basic hand plasma cutting. Machine oxy/fuel cutting and an intro to CNC cutting opperations.

2. SMAW I (Stick Arc)- Emphasis is placed on proper techniques, skill development, and proficiency of Shielded Metal Arc Welding and cutting of mild steels, in flat, horizontal and vertical positions.

3. GTAW (TIG) Gas Tungs ARC- Basic GTAW of mild steel, aluminium and stainless steel in the flat and vertical postions. Intro to tube and pipe welding.

4. GMAW (Hard wire)- A short comprehensive study of the theory and application of GMAW in the short circuit and spray mode.

5. FCAW (Flux Core)- A short comprehensive study of the theory and application of FCAW with and without shielding gas.

I have searched, and don't know enough about welding to be able to make a good decision on my own. Thanks for taking the time!
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Old 12-09-2005, 03:33 AM   #2
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woah great post, I'm in the same boat! looking forward to some answers.
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Old 12-09-2005, 03:48 AM   #3
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I'm a hack! But my girlfriend is a welder! I thought i could get her to teach me....but then i was thinking I'll get her to weld up the junk and hopefully inspires her into building the rig! I would love to have her involved!
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Old 12-09-2005, 06:27 AM   #4
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I just enrolled in a certificate program at my local community college,I am starting with the intro class(arc,oxyacytelane) and will move to mig,tig after that.If it is just MIG that you are interested in,then just take the GMAW class.I am looking to do the welding as a career change and for personal stuff too,however, at my community college they offer a class called advanced welding and fabrication.This is something that requires a prerequisite,soi I would need to take other classes first to get into this one.I have already wasted a couple of hundred bux on metal,wire and gases teaching myself how to MIG,but I have gotten to like it so much I am thinking about a career involving it.I hope this helps answer your question,I am sure others will chime in with their opinions as well.We do have a lot of members with alot more experience then me,so take it with a grain of salt.

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Old 12-09-2005, 06:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanut Butter
I want to enroll in a beginning welding class to learn the basics. I have used a few friend's welders, but have no idea what kind they were, what settings they were at, or their best uses. My wife got excited and ran out and bought me a mig machine, so now I need to learn to use it. I will want to fabricate bumpers, sliders, and other truck stuff, but don't know which class to take. The intern who answers the phone at the college is an idiot, so I could use some help.

1. OXY/Fuel Plasma Cutt/Weld- Basic theory and lab practice in oxy/fuel welding and cutting. Basic hand plasma cutting. Machine oxy/fuel cutting and an intro to CNC cutting opperations.

2. SMAW I (Stick Arc)- Emphasis is placed on proper techniques, skill development, and proficiency of Shielded Metal Arc Welding and cutting of mild steels, in flat, horizontal and vertical positions.

3. GTAW (TIG) Gas Tungs ARC- Basic GTAW of mild steel, aluminium and stainless steel in the flat and vertical postions. Intro to tube and pipe welding.

4. GMAW (Hard wire)- A short comprehensive study of the theory and application of GMAW in the short circuit and spray mode.

5. FCAW (Flux Core)- A short comprehensive study of the theory and application of FCAW with and without shielding gas.

I have searched, and don't know enough about welding to be able to make a good decision on my own. Thanks for taking the time!
It is better to learn stick (SMAW) first then you can take a class to learn about MIG (GMAW,FCAW). When I took my class I took a stick welding class but the teacher also taught us MIG and TIG because it was a non-credit class.
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Old 12-09-2005, 07:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptrautne
It is better to learn stick (SMAW) first then you can take a class to learn about MIG (GMAW,FCAW). When I took my class I took a stick welding class but the teacher also taught us MIG and TIG because it was a non-credit class.
I second the stick, anyone can MIG, stick welding takes technique, practice ans skill....one you can arc weld MIG will be gravy...

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Old 12-09-2005, 09:52 AM   #7
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If your wife already got you a MIG welder, then I would take the MIG class (GMAW - Gas Metal Arc Welding, which is the same as MIG - Metal Inert Gas). I took a few semesters of MIG and stick (SMAW - Shielded Metal Arc Welding) at Mt. View Community College in West Dallas and learned alot. I highly recommend what you're planning on doing - taking a class.

For one, you'll learn the most important thing - safety. I had no idea you shouldn't weld in flannel shirts (will catch on fire) or anything polyester, for instance. I also didn't know that the gas cylinders (Argon and CO2) for MIG could accidentally serve as missiles if not stored and transported correctly. It'll teach you about the level of eye protection for welding hoods when arc welding (both MIG and stick are considered arc welding) - level 10 shade or higher (I personally like using level 11, even though most people like level 10).

Secondly, it'll teach you how to weld with a MIG. You'll soon learn that laying a bead on a piece of metal with a MIG is a piece of cake. However, that doesn't mean that the nice looking bead had the proper fusion (penetration). And too much penetration (sometimes caused by too much heat) can also be bad, it'll affect the heat affected zone, weakening the area around the weld and increasing the chance that it'll break right beside the weld. It'll teach you about undercutting (increase chance of rust), drag and pull motion, and how to look for and at the molten pool, how to push the molten pool and things like that.

Another plus about taking a class is that the class shop usually has all the tools you'll ever need - plasma cutters, torches, anvils, chop saws, MIGs, stick welders, all kinds of electrodes, wires, gas (most shops use straight CO2, though, to keep costs down), grinders, etc. So you can learn how to use those tools and practice with them.

Anyway, like I said earlier, since you got the MIG welder, I would take the GMAW class so you can learn how to use it. I understand what the others are saying about taking the SMAW (stick) class first. It's true that if you learn how to stick weld first, then MIG will be even easier to learn than if you've never learned how to stick weld. But if you want to start learning about your MIG welding machine first, I think you'll be fine taking the MIG class.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanut Butter
My wife got excited and ran out and bought me a mig machine
....does she have a sister?
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:53 AM   #9
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What kind of gmaw (mig) machine did your wife buy you? I am in school for welding. Like ScoTaco I started with basic and later i will learn mig then tig. I am doing stick right now.
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Old 12-09-2005, 12:42 PM   #10
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I know about welding, I used to fabricate/ weld for a living a while back. I would take the hard wire or flux core class, but IMO you dont need to take a class to learn to weld. Unless you want to weld specialty materials like stainless or aluminum or want to become certified you learn by doing. And while stick welding may take more tecnique you wont use it on truck fab, just like TIG, yeah it takes more tecnique also and I love it. However who do you know that has a heliarc (TIG) machine? They are cost prohibitive for the amatuer fabricator.

What kind of machine do you have, brand, amperage, is it a true mig with a gas setup or a flux core machine? I would be glad to show you some basics, I sold my mig awhile back and have been kicking myself ever since. I always need something welded and have a hard time locating a machine to use. I will eventually replace it, just waiting for the right time and deal. Your best bet is to find someone who can weld and have them show you whats what, and then run beads until you improve. The more you do... the better you get. Most of a quality weld is in the prep work to begin with, if you have a small gap, clean material, and the proper setup welding is relatively easy.

Last edited by blackhawk223; 12-09-2005 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 12-09-2005, 03:03 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info guys. I think that I will stick with the GMAW then. I really wanted to learn why my welds turn out good or bad, what the hell I am doing, and how to use my own machine to do what I want. I don't want to mass produce, but make myself a bed bar, light bar, bumpers and who knows what else. Just a fun project to improve my skills. And until blackhawk chimed in, I didn't know of anyone to explain the lingo, or help me decide.
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Old 12-09-2005, 05:08 PM   #12
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I wouldnt mind taking a similar class, but Ill have to wait until Im done with the degree Im currently working on first before I start taking "fun" classes. Im sure you will learn lots of things I never knew, I just know how to weld (mig, tig, oxy/acet).

How are you planning on bending your material? Ive been thinking about getting a tubing bender for awhile now just havnt gotten around to it b/c I havnt had a welder for awhile. I hate paying lots of money for things I used to be able to make, Im just too busy right now is all.
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Old 12-09-2005, 05:55 PM   #13
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FWIW, I picked up this book at home depot and really liked it. It covers the basics of welding, safety, etc. for each type of welding.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/155...books&v=glance
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Old 12-09-2005, 06:21 PM   #14
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Check for prerequisites, at my community college there are two or three begining classes, all intro's just each a little different. All other classes have a prerequisite refering you back to one of those three. Check for that. If you can go striaght in, try to get you instructor to teach you around your machine, as they often have them.
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:33 PM   #15
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Well...If you plan to make welding a career then FCAW would probably be the most common as far as finding a job with decent pay (right off the bat)? SOMETHING ELSE THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT- Is Blue print reading!!! If you want a job, then you'll want to learn Blueprint reading. It will seperate you from the "just a welder" routine. Almost all shops these day need you to read AWS Blueprints. Just call around a few shops and ask...if they say No, then chances are they work off a sketch on a napkin done in pencil...that's not a career, that's a j-o-b.

GTAW (Tig) almost always pays more, but with more pay usually requires more experience, unless you are a complete natural at it...which I have seen, but not very much of it. It's mostly clean work, as the metals can become contaminated very easily. Usually much more quiet than a large industrial shop. You can build anything from high dollar display stands for upscale stores (what my buddy does, and makes really good money) to building aluminum Mountain bike frames for Gary Fisher?

SMAW (stick) is the "Good Ole' Stand by", we use it for outdoor projects and odd local jobs on our site. SMAW is one of those "good to know" skills unless of course you plan to strictly use that process (then you might want to start there). Alot of "Field" jobs like railroad work, mobile service mechanics, construction use SMAW. Less equipment to drag around (compared to FCAW) and can be used in all kinds on conditions.

GMAW (Hard wire) is big with sheet metal, auto body, small parts manufacturing. Another buddy of mine builds computer cabinets (where all the guts go) for large corporate servers.

Anyhow, as far as "what to take?" go with your gut...I prefer heavy metal! Big fabrication...heavy welds...my primary process is FCAW. I can send you a pic or two of what I have built/welds at work to an email?

Pretty much anything you take will benefit you! Oxy/Act cutting and Plasma will almost always go hand to hand when welding...it is the most common way to cut/prep materials. You may also learn Oxy/Propane, Oxy/Propylene and the list goes on. One thing I did was go to a library and check out a few books on the processes (GMAW, TIG, FCAW) to familiarize yourself with what they are.

Check out www.aws.com, that has a ton of imformation about the field, and try www.weldingjobs.com it's a forum where you can ask questions.

Oh...Air Carbon Arc Gouging is something to learn too...theres really nothing to it but practice. The first time I used it I was blown away (no pun intended), it's usually used to take a weld out down to it's root (which means you screwed up) so you don't want to get real good at it

I hope that helps?

If you're curious about my experience? I went to a CC and started out with FCAW because I knew what I wanted to work on. Then as luck would have it I applied for a job with only 4 months of experience in school with FCAW and Blue print reading...and then 6 months later I tested and was Certified "All Positions -Unlimited" as a structrual welder. I haven't looked back since...I personally want to learn everything and anything there is to know. I love getting in there and taking nothing and making something!

Good Luck!!
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Old 01-17-2006, 07:14 PM   #16
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when i started taking classes at my CC the department head recomended starting wiht Oxy/fuel cutting and welding and SMAW 1. after that i went into GMAW (gas metal arc welding) and now starting GTAW and SMAW2. i am glad i took the Oxy class before TIG, the Oxy help teach the control, hand eye cordnation to make TIG easier to pick up on.
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Old 01-21-2006, 01:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhawk223
I know about welding, I used to fabricate/ weld for a living a while back. I would take the hard wire or flux core class, but IMO you dont need to take a class to learn to weld. Unless you want to weld specialty materials like stainless or aluminum or want to become certified you learn by doing. And while stick welding may take more tecnique you wont use it on truck fab, just like TIG, yeah it takes more tecnique also and I love it. However who do you know that has a heliarc (TIG) machine? They are cost prohibitive for the amatuer fabricator.

What kind of machine do you have, brand, amperage, is it a true mig with a gas setup or a flux core machine? I would be glad to show you some basics, I sold my mig awhile back and have been kicking myself ever since. I always need something welded and have a hard time locating a machine to use. I will eventually replace it, just waiting for the right time and deal. Your best bet is to find someone who can weld and have them show you whats what, and then run beads until you improve. The more you do... the better you get. Most of a quality weld is in the prep work to begin with, if you have a small gap, clean material, and the proper setup welding is relatively easy.
the inverter stuff is rather inexpensive and tote-able these days. my esab 161 with some accessories ran just under $1500. my newest toy, millermatic 251 MIG ran some more, but what a great tool. the only pitfall to the miller transformer units is that they are very heavy, not tote-able.

it's actually MAG if using CO2, MIG using argon, helium, or arg/hel mix. and yeah, you do need classes for TIG and vertical stick (or spend alot of time and materials practicing), these are not so easy. even with nice clean properly fitted parts, achieving a "stack-of-dimes" weld is not so easy for a newbe weldor.
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