Welding Videos: Pro or Schmo?
Welding Videos: Pro or Schmo?
If you surf around the internet, you'll find a lot of information about welding. It seems that almost everyone has their own opinion and information. For a newcomer, it can be confusing. For the experienced weldor, the information may be viewed as laughable or upsetting. Whatever the reaction, it's safe to say that there is a lot of confusing information out there about the welding industry in general. Sources can be found on company websites and on public venues such as You Tube or Vimeo. It becomes clear that some is based on fact, and at least some of it is fiction. That's why we have put together a small guide to help you separate fact from fiction while sorting through the wealth of welding videos on the web.
Video information on the web about welding and the different welding processes are wide ranging. Almost anyone with a camera and a welder can make a video. You might be drawn to think that flashy editing would automatically be the better information. You would be wrong. Websites such as www.weldingtipsandtricks.com utilize low budget video editing, but offer a Fort Knox full of excellent instruction and information. Some "e-how" sites offer some information from paid "experts" that range in quality and accuracy of information. The best way to determine what is good and what is junk is to look at a large volume of videos. Overall, many of the welding companies such as Miller offer excellent videos for beginners and intermediate level welders, albeit much is centered around their brand, their terminology and their features and may not transfer over to other brands of welders. But it's a good starting point. Other quality sources can be found by looking at 3 basic criteria:
1) Volume of videos from the source. Take a look at the sheer number of videos that the person has produced in the area of welding. Be careful not to put too much stock into DIY guys who have a different video on 100 different topics from building gazebos to how to fix a plugged drain. These guys largely gloss over the important stuff and are highly edited for time in lieu of content. But in general, a large number of videos on a single subject can indicate that there is a large following and the videos are well received and recommended.
2) While quality of editing doesn't count for much, it does count for something. Obviously many are single camera productions...but a lot can be done with a single camera. Don't look for neatly packaged 5 minute or 10 minute exact length videos. These are, as mentioned, edited for time and not content. Videos just showing one weld or cut after the other, are usually put out by a person trying to impress the watcher with his "beautiful" welds. A weldor who knows his stuff will comment and explain throughout the video what he is doing, even though his welds may not be 100% perfect every time.
3) Look at the background. Look for well used shop tables. A few videos I have seen have nothing more than a home handyman wood work bench. Avoid these. Look for other welding machines hanging around in the background. If they are demonstrating the lowest end welder in a utility room next to their washing machine, watch out! Check out the persons welding gear. Is he using a hand held face mask and welding bare handed? If he is, just click on past it. Make sure the level of welding protection equipment meets the demands of the welding task. If a person is dressed in brand-new, full welding leathers to do a simple welding demo on a down hand weld on a table, just click on past it as well. Chances are they are out to impress, not to inform. A guy in a denim shirt with peppered welding sleeves and a smoked-up hood and lightly worn gloves is usually well worth watching if his dress meets the demands of the welding situation. Hint: A dirty welding apron is almost a dead giveaway for a guy worth watching.
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