We had an amazing last day of welding! It is truly wonderful to see how much the children have grown in their abilities. From barely knowing about welding to feeling comfortable and creative with welding, each of the children have developed literally before our eyes.
Today was the second to last session of After School Welding, and for many of the Tinkerers, this meant refining their projects, and doing some metal skills leveling up.
Last week, a few folks suddenly became interested in the possibility of bending metal. We set up a vise on the deck, and got some really long wrenches out to demonstrate how levers can assist in multiplying human strength to bend steel. This week, I promised that we would make the task even easier.
We had a fabulous Friday welding session with lots of creative ideas and enthusiastic children. Along with welding, children bent metal to use on their projects.
Alex and Lee collaborated on bending a piece of metal. It was good to see them supporting each other without being instructed which is one of our goals.
Violet took a simple idea of welding a v-shape 6 times and combine them to make a star.
Corey has really developed his skills from week one til now. Patiently setting himself up with the proper posture, he took his time and focused on doing the best job he could.
Today we jumped right into our projects! Above Sadie practices her weld with tools in each gloved hand. Basically we are training up astronauts over here.
Ava finished up her exploration of prisms and decided to make something practical she can use: Tree-climbing spikes! She did a little research at the computer and drew up her design. Hopefully we'll get to do some leather working for straps in a couple classes!
Jackson finished the bridge he's been working on, while Alex kept thinking of more and more things to add on to his tank. At the end of class we discovered that Alex accidentally gave the tank axles that can adjust to roll across all types of terrain, including custom built metal bridges!
The kids came up with a plan to take short welding turns, be ready with the pieces you want to weld, how to connect them and to also know how you were going to set up the pieces to weld all BEFORE you got to the welding station! We also made a plan to have the rotation of safety gear go more smoothly and ...safely!
Today was a really interesting day! The kids have gotten a handle on the positions that make them comfortable, how to use tools with giant leather gloves on, what patterns they need to move the welder in for certain types of welds. Today everyone was doing complicated set-ups and a lot of creative problem solving!
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.
When Amanda asked me to pinch hit this afternoon for the first day of the second round of after school welding, I said YES. Welding Workshops, aka Mistake Making Workshops, are a special kind of workshop. We get to spend a lot of time together practicing both one specific skill and one focusing on one of our TS goals--make mistakes and learn from them.