Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

One Day Welding Workshop - All Girls

Caroline ScanlanComment

There were sparks flyin' at Tinkering School today...eight girls walked out of the building this afternoon with new skills under their belts. They're welders, now!

The welding workshops are pretty different than the wood-based One-Day Workshops... because, well, metal is much different than wood. Also! Unlike our more team-built wooden projects, welding is really hard to play as a team sport.

This means a few things:

  1. We have to translate our Tinkering School goals (building something bigger than yourself, learning from failure, collaborating and making friends, and trying harder than usual) into a curriculum where solo technical skills are being practiced. (Today, we admitted that really, welding workshops are all about failing once, failing twice - failing a lot of times - and learning from those mistakes!)
  2. Also, the kids are (usually) making individual projects. (Which makes the failure goal kinda hard. Hey kid, get really attached to this project -- and oh, by the way, you're probably going to fail at making it.)
  3. And! Even though these are solo jams, we gotta share the equipment. We have 3 welders to share. This means a lot of the day's learning is based on watching other people try really, really hard.

By the end of the day, everyone had transformed a pile of steel scraps into a  unique project of their own design. Many of the welders used the drill press to drill holes into their work, and most of them used the grinder to smooth edges, cut off small pieces of steel, and correct mistakes. Oh, and everyone made loads of mistakes! We even had a chance at the end of the afternoon to share our favorite mistakes of the day. This unique opportunity to normalize failure as a crucial part of the learning process is one of the things we value most at Tinkering School. 

Via the collective mistakes of the day, these new welders learned that:

  • Freshly welded metal is hot to touch
  • We should always remember to pull our hoods down before starting to weld and drape the welder over the table when we're done, so as to not accidentally pull the trigger!
  • The drill press speed needs to be adjusted for different drill bits
  • Sometimes you can grind your welding project into two pieces by accident
  • Sometimes you might weld your steel pieces into the wrong place. It's okay to start over.
  • Mistakes are normal and useful and great.
  • They could make cool, functional, and whacky stuff out of steel (!!!)

You can check out even more awesome photos from the day by checking out our Flickr album.

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.