Around about the 3rd week of welding after school, things really hit a nice groove. And, the kids start to realize that welding is about 95% setup.
Besides making mistakes, a thing the welding program emphasizes is sequencing steps to make a really clear, detailed plan for yourself. When welding, even the smallest step is significant. Where are you going to put your non-dominant arm while welding? When are you going to put your gloves on--before or after setting up your pieces? Are you going to weld this piece, or that piece first? Where are going to put a tack weld so that your pieces stay in position for a longer weld?
Plus, the new welders have mostly gotten the rhythm of how each session will flow. We start each afternoon with a quick check-in, then get right to work. With an adult at each welding session, the kids split up into smaller groups. After putting on all their PPE--personal protective equipment--they gather their materials, let one of the collaborators know if they need any pieces to be cut, then head to a welding station. At each station, we ask the folks that are waiting to weld to setup, so that we can move quickly from one person to the next.
Things are going smoothly here, sizzling like bacon at the welding stations. Check back next week to see some of these projects start to come together!