Arc Welding

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This guide contains a series of lessons, each of which teaches the mastery of one step toward learning the art of welding. The steps are arranged in what is considered to be a logical sequence, and the learning of each step depends on the mastery of the pre ceding steps. Most of the lessons are intended for study in one class period and for practice in one shop period of two to three hours.

The lessons begin with a study of certain fundamentals of the arc welding process. An understanding of these is considered essential not only to making good welds, but also to accelerating the speed with which a student can master the skills required. The lessons then proceed to take the student through the first techniques of striking an arc to the more advanced techniques of welding vertically, overhead and horizontally.

The purpose of the guide is to take the student to these advanced techniques as quickly as possible. The guide goes no further, not because there is no need to go further, but because the student will accomplish this objective if it’s presented as a goal to be obtained within a specified time rather than presenting welding as a vast complex technology that's difficult to master.

Many other approaches to learning welding are being used and are successful. The one used in this guide has been selected because it can be used for a wide range of students—from the industrial arts high school student to the student taking apprentice training or the adult learning a new trade. The approach is based on certain assumptions that have been proven to be sound by teachers who have had success in teaching welding:

1. The student must understand the basic fundamentals of the arc welding process.

2. The student should concentrate at first only on basic skills.

3. The student must master each step before proceeding to the next.

4. The student should avoid side steps into the complexities of welding until the basic skills have been mastered.

These assumptions have formulated the pattern of the lessons. Without an understanding, the lessons use only one type of electrode in one size in order to avoid the confusion students frequently have when confronted with many different types. The electrode type is the AWS E6010. This type electrode is the one most widely used for arc welding. It requires certain skills not needed by other easier operating electrodes. If the student masters this one, he will have no problems mastering others. It produces a small amount of slag allowing the student better visibility. It can be used in all positions.

The lessons are based on using DC since this is the current specified for this type electrode. The lessons may all be performed equally satisfactorily with AC and an E6011 electrode. The lessons, however, avoid discussion of the difference between the relative merits of AC and DC, as well as the question of polarity. Again, this is for the sake of concentrating on fundamentals. The lessons also avoid teaching the student anything about how to set the welding machine. The obvious problem of attempting to cover all types of welding machines dictated this elimination. The student is given, however, enough information to be able to intelligently conduct his practice session.

The sequence of the lessons progresses from welding in the flat position, to slightly vertical, then straight up and down, to overhead and finally the horizontal position. This is a simple straightforward sequence arranged according to relative difficulty. The sequence and techniques taught intentionally de emphasize use of the whip technique. The guide suggests that, by comparing results obtained with different techniques the student prove to himself that all but a few welds can be mastered more quickly and easily with a steady, forward motion. The expanding all-position use of the “medium-thick-coated” electrode types, such as low hydrogen, further justifies this teaching approach. The whip technique is not recommended for use with these electrode types.

A lesson on gas cutting is included to introduce the student to this equipment and its operation. Learning to bevel and cut steel gives the student a further understanding of the behavior of steel besides teaching him useful skills.

Finally, this guide suggests in its bibliography sources of further information and instruction with which the student can continue his education.

Next: What Is Welding?

Glossary of Welding Terms

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