Tinkering School

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Intro to Welding

Josh Rothhaas

With a few hundred feet woth for flat iron, angle iron, and square tube steel, two welders and 8 kids we set out on an entirely new journey for Tinkering School San Francisco. We welded. Its important to note what welding is and isn't. It is not the steel equivalent of hot glue. Most things you have built or have seen built are multiple objects, that even when bound together stay multiple distinct objects. 2 pieces of steel that are welded become one piece of steel. Welding uses enough electricity to take two pieces of solid steel, melt them into liquid steel, and reform them, at the atomic level, into one single contiguous piece of steel. It's awesome, in the purest sense of the word.

We start with a group demo, some scary safety warnings about burns, flashes, UV rays and sun burn (yes, welding can give you a sun burn)

Then it's right to straight line practice. We don't start even trying to weld until we can bead a decent straight line.

Sparks fly as Isabella tries welding for the first time.

We didn't stop at welding. We also explored cutting metal and grinding metal. The basic essentials of metal work.

Frannie welds two angle irons together.

Isabella hacks through a steel bar with raw muscle power.

Ben takes another route with the angle grinder. The cut isn't as clean, and the metal is scolding hot afterwards, but it is much faster.

We even got to use the drill press as Alex crafts a coat hanger.

Alix and Frannie made a startlingly square box, with edges as smooth as anything we've seen made by adults. Their commitment to excellence and focus on execution was unparalleled today.

Kyler is stoked on the tiny sculpture of a tank he is working on.

We are delighted to introduce welding to our repertoire here at Tinkering School and cannot wait to see what the kids make next.

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