When you have your own welder, you may be the guy all of your friends go to for welding lessons. The problem is, you haven’t been trained how to teach someone to weld. You may be on the verge of a really frustrating weekend if you can’t help your friend figure out how to strike an arc or run a straight weld bead. In the hope of salvaging your weekend, here are a few tips on how to teach a new welder the basics.
Teach a New Welder Travel Speed
The most common challenge that welding instructors mention is teaching their students the proper travel speed. It’s hard to know how fast or slow to move in order to create the best possible weld. You may know how it feels to travel at the right speed, but it may be difficult to tell someone how to do it.
However, you can overcome this challenge by first letting your student watch you weld a few practice beads. Beginners can imitate you as you weld just to get the sense of how fast they need to move. When you turn your friend loose, you can help guide the torch on the first few passes just to make sure it’s moving at the right speed.
Teach a New Welder How to See the Puddle
Welding instructors often start their students with stick welding because it’s easier to see the puddle. However, if you do start out with MIG, you will need to spend some time helping your student find the right angle and positioning in order to see the puddle. When beginners move their heads to the side in order to see the puddle, they often move off the weld joint.
This also brings up the importance of making sure you both have safe helmets with large enough viewing areas. If your student is a child, it may be hard to find a helmet that fits well enough to provide excellent visibility.
Teach a New Welder How to Weld Straight
Beginners don’t need to learn how to weld uphill or in a variety of positions. It may be best to just start with a flat piece of metal where you draw two lines on it and weld down the middle of it. Straight stringers are the best way to go with beginners who need to focus more on travel speed than whipping or weaving the torch as they work.
Keep It Fun
A first welding project isn’t the time to build a trailer hitch or to work on an expensive part for your car. Besides practicing on scrap pieces, choose some simple projects that a beginner can enjoy welding for a brief period of time. By the time you’re done, you’ll have something small to show for your efforts, even if it’s as simple as tacking some pieces of metal together. If you keep it fun and provide some attainable goals, you can help even the greenest noob get started on welding.