UC Students Fired Up for Welding

Music students as well as those in the arts, engineering, pharmacy and horticulture come together quarter after quarter to play with fire at UC’s College of Applied Science (CAS). 

Every quarter, UC students fill CAS’ welding courses to capacity, a program in which art, design and engineering are produced from molten metal.  It’s where students develop their manual skills in the four different processes – gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and Oxyfuel arc welding. 

“We’re usually turning students away because classes fill to capacity.  We only allow 20 students per class,” explained Daryl Peacock, CAS adjunct instructor and a welding specialist at GE Aircraft Engines. 

The range of students in the welding classes, which have been offered since the college’s founding, is as diverse as the projects they choose to work on.  Yes, students have “assignments,” but they’re also permitted to work on individual projects, ranging from sculpture, play props, tools, lawn mowers, athletic equipment and car prototypes.  In addition, the courses fill with workers from local industry – from GE, Ford Motor Company, General Mills Inc. and many more – all seeking certification in welding.

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Kristen Jaap, a mechanical engineering senior from UC’s

College of Engineering

, is now in her second welding class.  She enrolled in the first after simply seeing it listed in the course book.  “…It looked like fun.  I needed another elective, and I like to play with fire,” she laughed.  “I was a little nervous at first.  And then, I just jumped right in and did it though I didn’t feel certain at first.”  Jaap concluded, “The most fun part is also the most challenging part: Getting something right.  I can see my progress and know that I’m doing it better.”

Fellow College of Engineering senior Ryan Macdonald, a chemical engineering student, gained his first welding experience on co-op.  Now, he’s in class, practicing his skills and planning to make his own mountain bike frame.  He explained that he wants a light, functional and strong bike frame that exactly fits him and his needs.  “When you go into a store, you get what fits the average person.  To excel, you need what’s right for you,” he said.

Similarly, Allison Dobbs has a specific goal in mind.  Having earned a bachelor of fine arts in New York City, Dobbs is now an undeclared major at UC planning to audition as a violin performance major at the College Conservatory of Music.  But, she still wants to pursue her visual art interests, specifically lithography.  To that end, she wants to build her own lithographic press.  “Welding is interesting,” she said.  “You have to think through the work and the project.  I’m excited to be here and to think about building a press.  I’ve already jury-rigged an etching press in my kitchen.”

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In order to construct their individual and school projects, the students start out with simple projects that emphasize safety, according to Peacock, a 1994 graduate of CAS’ mechanical engineering technology program.  Early assignments consist of welding two pieces of metal in a flat position, forming a pad of beads, welding t-joints and lap joints, and cutting material to a certain length. 

In fall and spring quarters, a different welding course is offered from 5-8 p.m. four nights a week.  In winter quarter, the course options are offered three nights a week, and in summer, two welding courses are offered.

These courses are part of CAS course offerings that lead to welding certification for industry workers.  For certification, technical training in math and blueprint reading is followed by hands-on training.

For more information about CAS’ welding program, go to http://met.uc.edu/industry.asp or call the College of Applied Science at 513-556-6580.

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