some quick shots of practicing downhill pipe welding

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Overview

Elgin Community College offers a welding degree and several welding certifications. In ECC’s welding programs, you will learn oxygen-acetylene welding, cutting and brazing, shield metal arc or “stick” welding (SMAW), gas metal arc welding—also known as metal inert gas welding (GMAW/MIG), and gas tungsten arc welding—also known as tungsten inert gas welding (GTAW).

ECC offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Fabrication Technology, three basic welding certificates, and one vocational welding certificate. Our certified welding instructors bring substantial real-world experience to the classroom in our modern welding lab. Morning, afternoon, and evening classes are available to accommodate your busy schedule.

Associate of Applied Science Degree

The Associate of Applied Science in Welding Fabrication Technology degree is a four-semester program that consists of 60 credit hours.

Get additional information, including course listings and course descriptions.

Careers in Welding

As our nation’s infrastructure decays from natural wear and tear, experienced welders will be called upon to regain and renew it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6 percent employment growth of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers from 2016 to 2026.

Skilled welders can also take their knowledge international—welding is employed all over the world! You can join graduates of our welding degree and certificate programs as you work around the globe in a variety of jobs in diverse industries, including, but not limited to:

  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Robotics
  • Underwater welding
  • Automotive

Planning to Transfer

Learn more about earning a Bachelor’s degree, earning summer credits for transfer or dual admissions with a university by visiting University Transfer & Partnerships.

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Welding a bore section with the fastest pipe fitter

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Learning to weld is no easy task. It takes patience, practice and a solid foundation of knowledge. For companies who find themselves faced with the challenge of training novice welders, it is important to instill good habits early on in the training process. Doing so helps ensure that these individuals are well prepared not only to create quality welds, but also to contribute positively to the overall welding operation. It can also help the welders gain the confidence they need to become increasingly proficient. Following are 10 important things to teach novice welders, to help them improve their skills and stay safe in the process.

1. Make safety a first priority: It is critical that welders protect themselves from the heat and electricity generated by the welding process. The arc is dangerous to both the eyes and skin, and welders need to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. These items include: flame-resistant gloves, safety glasses, a welding helmet and a long-sleeved welding jacket. Flame-resistant clothing and steel-toed shoes are also recommended. Both the American Welding Society (AWS) and OSHA offer guidelines for PPE for specific environments.

It is also important for welders to use enough ventilation, local exhaust at the arc, or both to keep the fumes and gases below the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)/Threshold Limit Value (TLV)/Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) in their breathing zone and the general area. Always train new welders to keep their heads out of the fumes. Too, explain to new welders the importance of reading and understanding the manufacturer’s instructions for equipment, your company’s safety practices, and the safety instructions on the label and the material safety data sheet for the filler metals being used. In short, remind novice welders to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.

Routinely checking for proper ground connections and standing on a dry rubber mat (indoors) or a dry board (outdoors) during welding can further protect welders by minimizing the possibility of electrical shock. 

2. Install Consumables Properly: Good conductivity (the ability for the electrical current to flow along the welding circuit) is an important factor in gaining good weld quality. New welders should always install their consumables – diffusers, nozzles, contact tips, collet bodies, etc. – according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, making sure that each component is securely tightened. In a gas metal arc welding (GMAW) operation, for example, the connection between the GMAW gun neck and diffuser needs to be secure to prevent shielding gas leaks. Secure connections also provide the surface area necessary to carry the electrical current throughout the GMAW gun (or gas tungsten arc welding – GTAW torch) to create a stable arc. Good connections also help prevent weld defects, support consistent productivity and reduce the risk of premature consumable failure due to overheating.

3. Cleanliness is critical: Cleaning the base material prior to welding, and as needed between weld passes, is absolutely essential. Dirt, oil, grease and other debris can easily enter the weld pool causing contamination that leads to poor weld quality and costly rework. Excessive oxidation and moisture are also culprits that can compromise quality weld. New welders need to be educated as to the proper cleaning procedure for the particular base material they are welding. In some cases, wiping the base material with a clean, dry cloth may suffice. However, welding on aluminum, for example, takes more precautions. The welder will need to use a stainless steel wire brush designated for aluminum to clean out the joint before welding. A wire brush removes dirt and any of the oxides that may still reside on aluminum’s surface.

Regardless of the material, it is important to provide the welder with the proper instructions for cleaning before welding commences.

4. Always follow welding procedures: Welding procedures are the “recipe” needed to create consistent welds. New and experienced welders alike need to understand the importance of these procedures and should follow them at all times. The procedures for a given application have been carefully determined and qualified by experts to ensure that the recommended parameters are capable of yielding the desired results. Weld procedures include details such as the required shielding gas mixture, recommended gas flow rate, and voltage and amperage ranges. These procedures also provide information on the type and diameter of filler metal to use, as well as the proper wire feed speed in the case of a GMAW or flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) application.

5. Understand the importance of filler metals: Filler metals are a critical, but sometimes confusing, component of the welding system. New welders can benefit from familiarizing themselves with the attributes of various types of wires, including flux-cored and metal-cored wires, as well as the techniques for welding with each type. For example, they should learn whether their particular filler metal requires a “push” or “pull” technique. Following old adages like, “If there’s slag, then you drag,” can help; it indicates that flux-cored wires, which produce slag, should be operated using a pull technique. New welders should also establish the habit of consulting the manufacturer’s specification sheet for additional operating recommendations.

Learning to handle and store filler metals properly is also critical for new welders to learn. They should always wear clean gloves when handling filler metals and if they are responsible for storing them, should do so in a clean, dry environment.

6. Stay comfortable: Keeping cool and comfortable during the welding process can help welders lessen the chance of injuries associated with repetitive movement and reduce overall fatigue. When possible, welders should learn to minimize cumulative strength moves, material handling or constant motion. They should also use a GMAW gun or GTAW torch with a comfortable handle and cable style, as these factors both contribute to the equipment’s weight and maneuverability. New welders should be encouraged to play an active role in improving the ergonomics of their welding workspace. Typically, the more involved a welder is in providing input about the job, the more satisfied he or she will be. Plus, such active involvement can help ensure greater safety compliance and lower workers’ compensation costs for injuries.

7. Know the material properties: Every material has different mechanical and chemical properties. Helping new welders understand the difference between materials — particularly how they react to heating and cooling — is a key component of training. For example, austenitic stainless steel conducts heat at around half the rate of mild steel, but has a much higher rate of thermal expansion when welded; it also has a more localized heat affected zone (HAZ) that can lead to buckling when the weld cools. Welders who are aware of such properties can take precautions such as clamping to prevent distortion. Similarly, many materials require pre- and post-weld heat treatments to control the cooling rate and prevent cracking. When welders are familiar with such material attributes, they’re better prepared to make necessary adjustments during the welding process.

8. Visually inspect the welds: Knowing how to conduct an accurate visual inspection of a completed weld is the first step in quality control. It is also the quickest and least expensive method of inspection. New welders should learn how to identify weld defects that have porosity, for example, since the presence of this weld defect on the surface often indicates a similar problem throughout the weld. Identifying the defect early on helps prevent the time and cost associated with other testing methods, including x-ray or NDT (non-destructive testing) inspections. Other defects that welders should learn to identify include lack of penetration (high, ropey welds), excessive penetration (sunken welds) and undercutting (characterized by a notch in the base material). It is important, too, that welders inspect for weld cracks, which are among the most common weld defects to occur in the welding operation.

9. Learn how to troubleshoot: Being able to identify and rectify welding problems quickly is a key skill for new welders to learn. Good troubleshooting skills not only help reduce downtime, but they also contribute to good weld quality and productivity. Such skills can also help reduce costs associated with rework. New welders can benefit from learning how to adjust gas flow rates properly and/or identify gas leaks in order to solve instances of porosity. They should also know how to make adjustments to amperage and voltage settings if they encounter issues such as lack of penetration, excessive penetration or undercutting. Identifying welding problems associated with worn consumables is also important, since poor conductivity can result in an unstable arc and lead to a variety of weld defects.

10. Maintenance makes a difference: From the power source to the GMAW gun or GTAW torch and consumables, every part of the welding system requires maintenance to keep it operating efficiently and effectively. New welders should become familiar with proper maintenance procedures — preferably preventive ones — in order to play an active part in the ongoing upkeep of the entire welding system.  Regularly checking that the connections throughout the length of their gun or torch are tight is important, as is visually inspecting the front-end consumables for signs of wear. In the case of a GMAW gun, the welder should replace nozzles or contact tips that have spatter buildup on them to prevent issues such as poor gas coverage or an erratic arc that will likely lead to weld defects. Welders should also regularly check the power source, primary power line, gas cylinders and gas distribution system to ensure that they are working properly. They also need to replace faulty gas regulators or cables and hoses that show signs of wear, cracks or damage.

There is more to teaching a novice welder than just showing him or her how to set the power source or hold the gun or torch at the correct angle. The best approach to training is to incorporate good habits that will keep the welder safe and comfortable, and provide the knowledge to address everything from maintenance to materials. The time required to transition a novice welder to a skilled one will, of course, take time. Still, the long-term benefits are worth it.

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Don’t forget to checkout: “TIG Welding Walking The Cup Using a Metronome ”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-REsg8yN-A –~–
Today we are catching up with some South Coast Welding Academy graduates, Tyler Carlisle and Pedro Jaimes at Fab Industries. They are going to weld a 12″ branch connection with MIG/Flux Core. Check them out!

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$21,283 – $32,159
11% of jobs $32,160 – $43,037
16% of jobs $44,930 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $43,038 – $53,915
17% of jobs $53,916 – $64,793
11% of jobs $64,794 – $75,671
6% of jobs The average salary is $85,625 a year $75,672 – $86,548
3% of jobs $86,549 – $97,426
3% of jobs $97,427 – $108,304
1% of jobs $108,305 – $119,182
2% of jobs $127,695 is the 75th percentile. Salaries above this are outliers. $119,183 – $130,060
23% of jobs $130,061 – $140,939
0% of jobs

$21,283 $85,625/year $140,939

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This week for our, New to Pipeline series, we share with you what you can expect to make as a helper/labor, operator, and welder. We think these are good average numbers that will allow you to get an idea of what to expect to be making.

Questions your asking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hYR2zjxy5A

Videos in the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgTJsHwxEeA&t=2s

New to Pipeline series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_tVzKYdF2T34ysLiAaxWBcu_Oplv-0U_

Next week, we will share with you about the expenses you can expect to have as you travel for work and for welders to rig up and expenses for welders wanting to work contact.

As always, thank you so much for watching and please subscribe to hang out with us more. See y’all soon!
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Filmed May 2017 | Location Ohio

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The stringer beads on the left were TIG welded by my instructor. The ones on the right were the made by me after about an hour of practice.

I started taking a 10-night, 30-hour TIG welding course this week at a welding supply company.  I enrolled partly because I enjoy learning new skills and partly because TIG welding is especially useful in a machine shop.  You can use it to weld almost any kind of metal and it can make very small, precise and neat looking welds with very little heat distortion.  It’s also a very clean welding process that you could do in your living room without getting yelled at too much because it doesn’t produce any spatter or sparks and it creates little or no fumes.

Machinists will frequently use TIG to add a new layer of metal to parts that are worn and then they’ll re-machine them.  Mistakes, such as a hole that was drilled in the wrong place, can be repaired in the same way and you probably won’t be able tell they ever existed.

TIG uses electricity to create heat with an electrical arc, which makes it similar to MIG and “stick” welding.  But in those two processes the electrode (a wire or rod) gets melted and deposited in the weld.  But a TIG electrode doesn’t get “consumed.”  It just creates heat and a filler rod is used to add material to the weld puddle if it’s needed.  So it’s very much like oxygen-acetylene gas welding but with some huge advantages.

  • You can almost instantly turn the heat (arc) on or off.
  • You can very easily and precisely control the amount of heat using a foot pedal.  Sometimes a thumb wheel on the welding torch is used instead.
  • It’s much easier to see and control the weld puddle.
  • You can weld almost any kind of metal.
  • It’s safer. Oxygen and acetylene can be very dangerous.  TIG welding is almost always done with argon gas which can’t burn or explode.  You also only have to deal with one tank of compressed gas instead of two.

TIG welding does have some disadvantages

  • TIG welding requires more skill than MIG or stick welding.
  • TIG welding is a slow process.  TIG is to MIG what walking is to running.
  • TIG welding equipment costs more.  If you’re going to buy a TIG welder make certain it can produce AC (alternating current) because you’ll need it if you want to weld aluminum.  Many of the inexpensive/cheap imported TIG welders you see for sale on eBay and the Internet are DC (direct current) only machines.  So beware.

Being able to weld aluminum is one of the best reasons for buying a TIG welder.  You can weld aluminum with a MIG welder but you’ll need to invest in a spool gun and a tank of argon gas.  And you still won’t be to make welds that are as precise and as neat as those made by a TIG welder.

By the way, most TIG welders can be used to do stick welding.  You just replace the torch with a “stinger” to hold a welding rod and go to it.

That’s my real quick overview of TIG welding.  If you want learn more this Wikipedia article is a good place to start.  You can also leave a comment if you would like to hear more details from me.

I didn’t get to spend much time in my workshop this week

I was in my welding class two nights and I worked late (until 8 PM) on two other nights and all day today (Saturday).  Monday night was spent cutting our grass and doing other household chores.  And I went to bed at 8 PM last night because I’ve caught a cold (my first in 2 or 3 years) and I was exhausted.  So I haven’t gotten any work done on my CNC router this week yet, although I am hoping to spend a good part of tomorrow working on it

I did get some work done on my “winter” workshop.  Some of my wall space was taken up by large plastic storage bins that I’d filled and stacked to the ceiling with things that we don’t use very often.  I got rid of some by ruthlessly throwing out (or donating) things we’ll probably never use again. The room also has a really nice big computer desk that’s kind of the modern equivalent of a roll-top desk because all the storage compartments and cubby holes it has.  I was going to keep it but I’ve decided not to so I can have a longer workbench and more room for tools.  So I’m going to have to throw out or find other places for the things that are in it.  I think it’s going to be a tedious chore and some of the storage bins I just emptied will get filled back up.  But it has to be done.

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Don’t forget to checkout: “TIG Welding Walking The Cup Using a Metronome ”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-REsg8yN-A –~–
Finally the collab we have been waiting for all year to do is here! Welding legends Bob Moffatt, Jake Schofield and Travis Field with special guests Jimmy Mcknight from Arc Junkies and Jason Becker from Welddotcom. Everyone welding in one place. The South Coast Welding Academy home of WeldTube!

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