Monday, February 22, 2010

Learning welding #2

During our conversations on welding, I have taken the role of absolute beginner while Flip explains the intricacies of welding to me. Apart from the need to learn welding skills along with the skills to be an independent learner, I was interested to find out what nuances are of importance in welding.

One important nuance is the role of sound in welding. A point which I did not pick up on in any of the workbooks or text books I have been reading on welding. As with much tacit knowledge, the importance of sound in developing skill in welding is so well known to experts that they neglect to mention the role of sound in learning how to weld. For instance, Flip told me about the importance of sound almost as an aside as he explains how he detects whether students are completing welds correctly as each student works in their individual welding booths. He uses the sound of welding as a way to pinpoint students who are experiencing difficulties with a weld.

This video contains good pointers to what to listen out for when accomplishing a weld. Here is another one, covering the setting up of the arc welding machine with a tip about listening to the sounds produced by the electric arc to be able to work out how well the weld is progressing.

A google scholar search reveals a few papers from the academic engineering community on the relationships between the sound of a weld and how it is progressing.  A Japanese technical paper studying arc welding sound & its relation to various aspects of the welding action plus a Chinese paper on gas tungsten argon welding are examples of research carried out in this area.

So one focus of our project will be to try to find out how long it takes students to acquire the auditory cues important in indentifying stages in the welding process and how sound may assist with trouble shooting when undertaking a weld. We meet with students this week and begin the collection of video & audio evidence of student learning activities so this project is moving along to plan.


raytuckey said...

Hi Selena, as an ex-metal fabrication and welding lecturer for TAFE in W. Australia and now researching workplace learning and assessment, I really enjoyed reading your blog. The sound of welding, in particular MIG welding tells the trainer and student a lot - if it does not sound like "bacon frying" in short-arc transfer things are not good. You could have 12 students hidden away in welding bays and you can just listen to find who is having trouble.

It is interesting you chose welding to study - to me it adds extra dimensions to the learning process because body positioning and sound are so important, where as other trades such as electrical and plumbing this may not be so critical.I used to tell other trade lecturers we were the artists because every time we weld the finished product relies so much on our hand-skills - not whether we set up the saw correctly or laid the pipe at the correct angle.

Selena said...

Hi Ray,

thanks for reading my blog :) & your comments on the differences between welding and other trades. Tactile feedback may be a factor in some trades (apart from welding, baking is another one) which require added learning skills on the part of both learners and teachers.

Would you have any experience with the use of videos in collecting 'welding in action'? Our welding tutors have been trying to set up a video system to film them welding in action & project this on to a screen. Technical issues have been challenging! so any assistance you are able to provide, or recommendations of anyone in the TAFEs in Australia working on videoing welding in situ will be great :)

All the best, Selena

raytuckey said...

Hi Selena, I don't have any experience in the videoing area, we relied on purchased items. These days I would probably rely on Youtube.The Australian Stainless Steel Dev Assoc. put together a nice little TIG resource as part of a national flexible learning project a couple of years back - it has some good footage in it. Maybe they might be able to give you a lead on who did that. Regards

Anonymous said...


Selena said...

Hi Ray,

thanks for the info. I will pass it on to the welding tutors. many thanks, Selena