Common welding related questions we hear. Part 9
Question 7 for the month, regarding common welding related questions: What is the best way to learn to weld? Can I learn on my own? To be able to answer that, you really need to know for yourself, what kind of learner you are. Before deciding on jumping in and trying to learn on your own, you should evaluate your learning strengths and weaknesses. By this I mean, how do you learn? Are you visual? Are you hand on?
Do you like to be told what to do, or would you rather see what to do? And are you disciplined and a self-starter. If you are not a self-starter or disciplined, you should go and check on local classes at the community college or some small welding school so that you have a structured way to learn, and an incentive to do well.
Keep in mind though, that by merely going to welding school does not guarantee you a good welder. You may pass certifications and tests, but still not come out well in the end. The biggest thing (but certainly not the only thing) a welding class or school offers you in regards to becoming a better welder is an organized practice time. Some people are able to watch a welding video online, and in the first pass or two make a decent sound weld because they are able to digest what is going on in the demonstration and copy it quite well.
However, the biggest disadvantage to this type of learning is that it is often short on theory. Practical instruction on theory helps you to become a better and knowledgeable welder. In this case, formal instruction, or informal instruction might be something you should pursuit if you are able. One of my favorite methods is the tutor model, where a skilled, well trained welder takes someone under his wing to teach them the basics and then the tricks of the trade and will always be glad to give a guiding hand, along the path of learning. This gives you good instruction, accountability and hands on practice. All of these are eventually needed before you can consider yourself proficient in welding.