What an awesome group! It was our last one day welding workshop of the season, and this group really put their all into making some amazing projects.
Before we fired up the welding machines, we learned how electricity functions. Flux-cored welding is a way of melting metal using electricity. Just like plugging in a lightbulb, the current that we create produces both heat and light. These are the main things we need to protect ourselves from, and that's why we cover our skin and protect our eyes.
After a demo and some practice time, the Tinkerers got to design their own projects to work on. This amount of freedom is sometimes overwhelming, and because the workshop is only one single day, we like to give the kids a lesson in how to approach this process.
Above is the end result of a drawing/lecture that we usually give that explains how to have fun during the day. This isn't about hoarding as many pieces of metal as possible. This isn't about standing around watching an adult cut intricate pieces of metal to specification. What we're here to do is weld! Do this by figuring out what to make, chatting about your plan with an adult, and then picking two pieces of metal to start with. Weld those. Come back for another piece. Weld that, and keep going until the end of the day. That way, you can practice welding and make a thing!
And that's what they did...
For some of the Tinkerers, their day of welding also became a lesson in other ways that metal can be manipulated. We set up a metal bending station and experimented with ways to make the flat, straight pieces so longer flat or straight.
At the end of the workshop, one Tinkerer tested a fun fact that we always tell the students but actually hadn't ever tested ourselves. When you weld two pieces together, (if you do it well!) the weld is actually stronger than the two original pieces of metal. We welded two pieces, and then set it up in our bending station. With some teamwork and lots of muscle, we were able to rip the piece of metal in half. The part that finally broke? Not the weld!