Thanks to donations of time, equipment and expertise from members of the American Welding Society (AWS), Nebraska Section 81, learning metals technology skills at Iowa School for the Deaf is becoming less complicated. AWS members determined a welding fixturing/fabrication table and multi-process welder would aid students in more precise measurement, provide a more efficient way to hold pieces in place for welding and save time in using just one piece of equipment for multiple tasks. AWS then collaborated to purchase and install the welder, build the welding table and donate practice materials to the ISD metals technology lab.
“With less equipment, students can use just one welder instead of three to do MIG, TIG and STICK welding,” said Scott Versch, metals technology teacher at Iowa School for the Deaf. “It saves table space and floor space and only one outlet is needed. AWS provides quality equipment for students as they learn the skills and trades required for manufacturing- we can’t thank them enough for reaching out to us.”
“Our local suppliers, manufacturers, fabricators and consultants strive each year to give back to the education and growth of our industry,” said Jeffrey Tyler, a quality manager and welding inspector who serves as publicity chair for AWS’s local section. He said there were key local industry supporters for ISD’s project, such as Miller, which provided the welding machine at their cost; Matheson Gas provided additional safety equipment; Elliott Equipment fabricated the welding table and Olsson donated nearly 2 tons of practice welding material.
The table can be wheeled about the welding lab to accommodate large projects. Versch’s students learn how critical accuracy is; the new table was designed to be accurate within .003+- an inch. The 7-table also contains a plasma cutter table and a one-foot extension that can be removed and used as a square. The holes are two inches on center, providing measurement guidance and holds pieces in place for tack welding.
A new table and welder seemed like the right time to introduce a new project to Versch’s students. Although class enrollment and interest in projects had steered students into focusing on small engine classes recently, building an electric car is now a major focus of his classes. Students are using the new equipment to make first tack welds for the car’s frame and roll bars, then the finish welding will secure the bonds. Versch noted the table helps students measure with precision when fixturing the components to be welded together.
Versch said the electric car project is a favorite among the high school students because this is the age when they begin driving. “They get to design and build a car which they can then race, which is a rare opportunity,” he said. “The process is challenging; their joys match the frustrations. There is a lot of highs and lows that come with creative problem solving.”
“The American Welding Society is dedicated to advancing the science, technology and application of welding through education, research and professional development,” Tyler said. The chapter selects one school each year to receive donations similar to what was received at ISD. “It is our hope that by providing opportunities to the younger generation, we can help educate and potentially steer individuals to rewarding careers in the welding industry.”