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Boy Scout Welding Merit Badge

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  • Boy Scout Welding Merit Badge

    In February of 2012 the Boy Scouts of America introduced the Welding Merit Badge with the help of the American Welding Society. Being that you are interested in welding, you might be asked to assist with this merit badge. I thought that I would relay my experiences so that you would have some idea of what is involved.

    Two fellows that I work with are scoutmasters of their respective troops. Eleven boys from one troop and four from the other expressed interested in earning this merit badge. The boys ranged in age from 10 to almost 18.

    The merit badge consists of two parts: the hands on welding part and answering some questions in a worksheet. The questions are basic questions about cutting and welding as well as safety and first aid for welding related injuries. They also included a section on careers in welding. All of the information could be found in the Welding Merit badge book. I agreed to help with the with the practical welding part. The scout masters agreed to handle the worksheet questions. One of the scout masters agreed to sign up to be the welding merit badge counselor. The scouts must weld three things:

    1. Pad beads on a plate of metal that is 1/4" x 3" x 3".
    2. Make a Lap, Tee and Butt joint.
    3. Weld their initials on a plate of metal.

    They must use one of the following four welding processes:

    Oxyacetylene gas welding
    Stick
    Bare wire MIG
    Flux core MIG

  • #2
    They are not allowed to use TIG because it was felt that this welding process would be too difficult for the boys to learn in a short session. The idea is to expose the boys to welding. It is not intended to be a comprehensive welding course. They are encouraged to take a welding course if they are interested in gaining proficiency in welding. A sheet metal welding company in town donated 400 pieces of 1/8" x 2" x 6" Pickled and Oiled Steel (P&O) as well as 24 pieces of 1/4" x 3" x 3" P&O steel. We used P&O steel, so that we wouldn't have to grind off the mill scale. We used my Lincoln SP-250 MIG welder and a Miller DVI-2 MIG welder that I borrowed from a friend. We ran .035" wire on both machines. Both machines had a 100% duty cycle for the welding current that we used. I supervised one machine and my friend, a technician from work, supervised the other. In a past life he MIG welded machine bases for a living. I divided the class into four three hour sessions: three on Saturday and one on Sunday. Because we had two welders there were two boys on each welder for each session; on boy observed and the other welded. My partner and I demonstrated each of the welds and then each of the two boys had a hand at it, while we watched. I had wanted to demonstrate the other welding and cutting processes covered in the book but I couldn't fit it into the three hour time slot and still allow enough time to do the welding part. The two 10 year old boys had the most trouble, but eventually got it done. The summer camp that both troops are attending offers welding merit badge but limits welding it to boys with first class who are typically at least 12 years old. I think that the boys would be less frustrated and get more out of it if they were a little older. Attached are pictures of one boy welding as well as his finished welds.
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Boy Scout Welding Merit Badge

      What a cool merit badge to get! I'll bet those boys had a ball learning to weld. That was very nice of you to put on a workshop and help teach them. Too bad you couldn't have spent more time informing them on the processes. Looks like great progress with the time you had. Did any of the boys try their hand at stick?

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      • #4
        Very cool

        Some of them weld better than guys I work with

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Texas113 View Post
          Did any of the boys try their hand at stick?
          With the time we had we couldn't fit in any other processes.
          I found out that boy's can purchase a kit of metal on line from the James F Lincoln foundation. This will help boys & counselors that don't have access to cut metal.

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