Thursday, November 3, 2011

Class is now in session.

My drive in metal crafting for the last few years has been two things...

Kids and Learning

Its my true passion and love is teaching. Its the reason my dream jobs are doing work for science museums and once and a while at MLS the job comes along and I get the pleasure of crafting for museums and it makes me smile the whole time.

I have been shooting for my CWE and CWI certifications ( certified welding educator and inspector ) for a few years now, the reason I haven't got them yet is, I haven't been welding long enough to even qualify for it so expect the day I hit my qualifying year,  I will be first in line for my test!

I also have been working with a non-profit out of California that develops classroom educational videos for students to get a behind the closed doors look at what a concept fabricator/ welder / machinist does and possible strike up some intrest in someone board in high school careers class.

I saw a need to share my passion a while back when a teacher told me about their school they worked at had only ONE very basic shop related class left, as all had been cut due to budgets years before. The machines were all sold at auction and the great shop teachers that helped hundreds of kids run the mills, lathes and welders were all let go..

That school was MY school......

That school in Minnesota and others around the USA were incubators for skilled craft works and it is truly sad to see these machines filling auction floors now days, realizing that these 1930s to 1990s machines built the USA's next generation of crafters. But now seeing them at auction makes my heart sink as I realize kids will never get the chance to see, hear or touch some of these amazing machines.

I am very busy and always running around building something for someone, but there comes those days when I need to shut it down relax and take a quick break. For some reason, I don't feel like I want to leave the shop, I guess when you Live, Work, Eat, and Sleep in your shop and or other shops it becomes a complete connection of you.  I think thats why I wear my safety glasses all day every day because I am always in a shop, but either way I find spare time to mentor someone in hopes of opening a new option for that student as a skill choice or a new path on life.

My favorites are teaching welding to kids between the age of 8 to about 16 because they don't have the " I know " attitude, everything is fresh, exciting and ready to learn all about this crazy new stuff.  My new student the last months has been little Nate, 11 years old and full of spunk always ready to grab the TIG torch and see what he can make. I wish I had an Aerospace Welder teacher when I was 11, thanks to my dad and his mad skills when I was about 11, I got to look at what was going on thru a 1950s POS welding helmet that was almost fully melted and I learned a lot from what he did and did wrong as he burned his hands and such.

Heres some cool shots and video of Nate, during one of our TIG/FAB classes.

I don't tell them what to build, I just show them how to build it.

Nate has been building stainless steel madness and learning torch angles

Nate forgetting to wear his safety glasses 
yep, he got yelled at after this photo for not having his glasses on.

Not bad for some old Schwinn road bicycle handlebars &
a 11 year old's creativity
Remember I didn't pick up the torch once on this project

even Kane wanted in on the fun by taking this sweet picture
 at MLS Skunkworks HQ. 

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