Welding Instruction at LHS Has a New Face

December 14, 2015

Welding technology classes at Lexington High School are nearing the end of the fall semester, and it’s been a good start for this new but experienced teacher. This is my first year at LHS but I’m going on my twelfth year in the classroom. I was the skilled and technical sciences teacher and assistant girls’ basketball coach at Logan View High School before I came to Lexington to focus providing instruction in my area of expertise. I began my welding education in the spring of 1998 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland, where I completed my Advanced Individual Training in the U.S. Army as a metalworker.  I returned from my training to serve eight years in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a metalworker and I completed one tour of duty at FOB Speicher. I also have recent experience working in the private sector as a fabricator and CNC operator at a steel fabrication shop. My experiences both inside the classroom and out in the welding industry have given me the insights and knowledge that I enjoy passing on to the fifty-two LHS students who are currently enrolled in one or more of my four welding classes. With that being said, I enjoy learning new things about welding whenever I can. I consider myself to be a slightly-better-than-average-welder who has a significant amount of technical knowledge, so my goal has always been to help my students reach a skill level that exceeds my own. Over the years, students rarely hesitate to inform me of their achievement when they make a weld that they consider to be a little better than mine, and there is no better feeling than when a student brings me a weld that he or she is truly proud to have produced.

The students in Welding I classes are currently performing welds using the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), or stick welding, process using E6010 electrodes. They have previously produced surfacing beads and fillet welds using E6013 electrodes. The Welding II and III students are revisiting the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), or TIG welding, process that they were exposed to last year in their welding classes that they took with Mr. Reed. We’ve been focusing on welding mild steel this semester but I look forward to providing them with the opportunity to weld aluminum and stainless steel in the spring semester. In addition to the SMAW and GTAW processes, the students have had many weeks of instruction covering the Gas Metal Arc Welding, or MIG welding, process using short circuit metal transfer. We’ve performed oxy-fuel cutting on metals of varying thicknesses up to ¾ of an inch. Some of the LHS welding technology students have performed plasma arc cutting using a manual torch, but all my students have seen CNC plasma cutting. 

This fall, we equipped our training facility with a 4’ x 4’ Torchmate Growth Series CNC table that has been paired up with a 65-amp plasma-cutting machine. Although this technology has been in use in the LHS wood shop for quite some time, this machine is the first of its kind in the welding shop at LHS and I’m excited to help students become proficient CNC operators by creating projects such as metal signs, stencils, parts, etc. Welding and Intro to Engineering students used the new CNC plasma table to produce four deadlift-bar jacks that were used to load and unload the weightlifting bars at the Lexington powerlifting competition, which took place at LHS earlier this month. The process of designing the bar jacks was tasked to the Intro to Engineering students and they played a significant role in the fabrication of the devices, as well. The addition of CNC plasma cutting to the welding technology program at LHS helps us ensure that the students who successfully complete the three-tier course offerings have a strong grasp on the most common welding processes and the newest technology that is currently being used in the welding industry.