On Thursday, February 8, 2018, Oregon Tradeswomen’s Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC) had the opportunity to get hands on experience with metal fabrication! Metal fabrication is the altering of raw materials by way of bending, cutting, welding, etc. in order to build structures. This hands on day happened at ADX Portland, a makerspace where people can share tools and knowledge, and take advantage of a huge facility with a wood shop, metal shop, print shop, and jewelry shop.
Our students were tasked with creating their own plaque stands. They were each given 5 sections of channel iron and learned how to cut and grind their materials. They used a horizontal band saw to cut, and a disc grinder to grind down and clean up the edges. Students learned the ever valuable lesson, “measure twice, cut once,” a carpenter’s proverb that also applies to metal fabrication. This rule is important to consider because it is, of course, faster to double check your measurements than cut incorrectly and have to waste time and resources making the cut again.
Once each of the students prepped their materials, the class learned how to “tack weld” their iron segments together to make a frame. A tack weld is just a series of small welds spaced some distance apart. This type of weld is usually only a temporary step in the welding process, but it holds the assembled components in place and ensures their alignment which is all that is needed for a small project like a plaque stand. After the welds are complete, the students cleaned them up by gently using an angle grinder to smooth out any protruding material.
It was clear that our students were enthusiastic about learning to craft with metal and it was an added perk that they got to take home something that they build with their own two hands! Special thanks to ADX for allowing our students to learn about another great option for a career in their beautiful space.