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What do you all think of welding simulators?

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  • What do you all think of welding simulators?

    Hi, my name is Henry, and I've been a summer intern at a cool company called 123certification Inc. They currently design and sell welding simulators.


    I was just posting here to try and get some views and opinions about whether current welders of all different levels of serious (hobbyists, experienced welders, teachers and instructors) think this is a cool concept that you might be interested in, that you consider a constructive innovation that will improve welder training and that might garner more interest in young people to become welders by profession. Currently, 123certification's product allows you to "virtually" weld using 5 of the different processes including GMAW, SMAW, GTAW, FCAW and MCAW. Basically how it works is that you have a real weld torch attached to a machine with a screen, you put on a real welding mask that has 3D goggles built in, and you see yourself in a welding training room, and are able to practice welding with 9 different welding assemblies (more are being developed) including the T-joint, butt joint, lap joint in all positions.



    Basically the concept of the simulator is to allow new welders to practice and learn in a safe and comfortable environment, and allow the college or program that is teaching them to conserve on materials and energy. So it is both a money saver and a tool that makes welding seem more accessible to young people. It is only getting better and more refined everyday, but it currently focuses on the basics and to teach the hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity required for all good welders. It is meant to build a strong foundation (and make the student feel comfortable) before proceeding to real and more complex welding. It also has built in a powerful instructor guidance tool that allows instructors to set up welds and create a learning program designed specifically for each student. It also gives extensive feedback on each aspect of a student's weld to show them where they need to improve.

    I'm coming to these forums as a young person going into first year university, and I wouldn't be doing so if I didn't honestly think this is a very cool idea. I've been told that there is a large shortage of new welders worldwide, and I think this could be a way to garner new interest. I know that welding is a fundamental profession for human infrastructure and projects and robots will never be able to replace human welders, especially in cramped or on-the-fly locations like welding repairs on oil pipelines or underwater.

    What do you guys think about this? Would you consider trying it yourself? Recommending it to new students?

  • #2
    No way. It's not the real deal. You won't get the feel of the stinger really, the sparks flying all the stuff that really happens. I wouldn't think that this could ever duplicate the real deal. The only thing I think this would be good for is show and tell. I've seen O/A lines on fire and an 0/2 bottle do a little dance. Would it show this and how stupid someone could be? Sorry to say I think it would be useless as an actual educational product.

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    • #3
      Welcome Henry.

      You can come over and I will give you a dose of actual reality.

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      • #4
        Hi, thanks for the response. I know a lot of experienced and older welders are skeptical of this, but think of airplane simulators. I'm sure at its inception everyone was skeptical too. But now, pilots can get fully certified, military pilots, just from practicing with a simulator. I'm not going to say that welding simulators are at that level (yet) because they are still quite a new concept, but as someone that had no interest in welding, trying the simulator gave me a great feel, and it does have sparks and the darkness, maybe not the toxic gases and actual danger, but its not meant to do that at this point. Its meant for introductory welding to supplement and speed up a new welder's training. And they are only getting better. As an 18 year old, I can say the simulator is what caught my eye to welding.

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        • #5
          didn't Lincoln have something like that last year or two ago they show ?

          but anyways simulators are great IMHO for beginners / students to learn welding techniques and even provide common issue scenarios to weld and maybe to certifications by testes. But like anything goes nothing beats real live hands on experience in this profession. Even though it might have seen in TV/Movies, playing Xbox flight simulators hardly qualify you to be a pilot. They would still require you to have logged flight hours and ground school.

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          • #6
            I agree, there are a few simulators that have started to come into the market and are still pretty basic. Of course you are going to need some real hands on experience, the simulator isn't meant to replace real training, but to supplement it to make a students training, faster, more enjoyable and more enticing (its designed to attract more young people to welding as a profession). I'd love to hear more thoughts, as since I've never actually welded I can't compare the two experiences, but I do know that the simulator has more value than some of the skeptics seem to think.

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            • #7
              What do you all think of welding simulators?

              The idea of a simulator sounds great, as a part time instructor I think it would be beneficial just purely based on cost of material. I think it could shorten the learning curve for first time welders.

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              • #8
                Airplane simulators exist because airplanes cost mucho bucks, a good welder is only a couple grand for each unit. Also, if a pilot fails while training, he is dead, if a weldor fails during training, you grab some more metal and try again. The consumables and electricity used in training are not expensive either. I also feel that welding us all about real world problems and conditions that would not be possible to reproduce. Such as a contaminated piece of metal that leads to a porous weld, or like someone already said, getting hit with slag and spatter and having to still produce the proper finished product. This might be ok for teaching hand eye coordination but I really don't see how this could be any sort of a stepping stone to use as a foundation for proper welding technique. Kind of back to my original point, I really doubt this simulator could be cheaper than just buying the real units, so why would you bother? Just pick up the real deal and burn metal until your good.

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                • #9
                  I'm just an intern at the company so I can't say definitively whether the welders will be marketed to individuals, but for a community college or other institution that trains and educates new welders, buying one or two machines that last 10 years or more will definitely economize if they are teaching groups of 20+ students every year. You only need a few simulators to teach many, where as you need new materials for each person for each weld, every single year. There is definitely a cost savings by going the route of the simulator. In terms of the risk of welding, make no mistake, there are risks if you do not set up the equipment properly and take the necessary safety precautions. The simulators isn't just to eliminate the risk, but to stop the intimidating factors of welding from scaring off prospective new students until they become more comfortable. They can practice with no risk before they even need to learn all of the safety stuff. They can get to welding much faster with a simulator, instead of taking classes on how to be safe.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Henry@123certification View Post
                    I'm just an intern at the company so I can't say definitively whether the welders will be marketed to individuals, but for a community college or other institution that trains and educates new welders, buying one or two machines that last 10 years or more will definitely economize if they are teaching groups of 20+ students every year. You only need a few simulators to teach many, where as you need new materials for each person for each weld, every single year. There is definitely a cost savings by going the route of the simulator. In terms of the risk of welding, make no mistake, there are risks if you do not set up the equipment properly and take the necessary safety precautions. The simulators isn't just to eliminate the risk, but to stop the intimidating factors of welding from scaring off prospective new students until they become more comfortable. They can practice with no risk before they even need to learn all of the safety stuff. They can get to welding much faster with a simulator, instead of taking classes on how to be safe.
                    Aircraft are expensive to own and run..... welders not so much....

                    there have been quite a few threads on welding simulators... you might do a search and do some reading...

                    I am personally unconvinced that it makes any sense when the real thing is so affordable... and nothing beats the real deal.... My guess is that the tactile and audio visual will fall woefully short of the real thing..

                    You totally lost me at intimidation factor???
                    Last edited by H80N; 08-15-2013, 05:59 PM.

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                    • #11
                      What do you all think of welding simulators?

                      Wow, an 18 year old summer intern really knows alot and is debating his points with alot of emotion and knowledge. Knowledge which comes with real world experience. I'm not here to give a ****e either way but I feel as if you are one of the companies marketers trolling for feedback posing as an intern. And with that gut feeling I will say only, Goodluck "Virtual Welders of the future".
                      Also, you don't have to be old to be skeptical. I'm young and this sounds fishy. As always, have a nice day.

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                      • #12
                        well as you said, actually welding involves the sparks, toxic gas, darkness, heat, and just an all around uncomfortable environment. So a lot of people might be put off by that and never give welding a chance. The simulator removes the hazardous and potentially scary environment so people can get accustomed to the basics and feel comfortable before diving right in. Its not meant to replace real practice, but just to supplement it. Just like how taking steroids doesn't automatically make you stronger, you have to train and workout to gain the benefits. They should be complimentary activities. I can't really prove to you the cost effectiveness, but there definitely is a significant margin of savings, or else people wouldn't have started buying them. Its not on the same magnitude as airplane fuel consumption, but then again, community colleges and welding schools don't have nearly the same budget as big airlines and/or the military.

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                        • #13
                          Sorry for the double post, but haha I'm glad that you think I sound intelligent for an 18 year old. I've been working at 123certification for 5 weeks now and I've become friends with some of the employees. Of course they are looking for feedback, I hope I haven't been misleading, but I never would have volunteered to do this if I didn't believe the simulators have potential. They still have a ways to go before they reach that potential but yea. It makes sense to be skeptical of new things for sale, but I just want to understand why people are this way. The simulator definitely isn't for everyone, but I think if a company or college wants to find and train new welders quickly and efficiently, it might be appropriate for them. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical, and I think you'd have to see the simulators to believe it, but I think it would also be reasonable to at least give them a chance.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Henry@123certification View Post
                            Sorry for the double post, but haha I'm glad that you think I sound intelligent for an 18 year old. I've been working at 123certification for 5 weeks now and I've become friends with some of the employees. Of course they are looking for feedback, I hope I haven't been misleading, but I never would have volunteered to do this if I didn't believe the simulators have potential. They still have a ways to go before they reach that potential but yea. It makes sense to be skeptical of new things for sale, but I just want to understand why people are this way. The simulator definitely isn't for everyone, but I think if a company or college wants to find and train new welders quickly and efficiently, it might be appropriate for them. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical, and I think you'd have to see the simulators to believe it, but I think it would also be reasonable to at least give them a chance.
                            Can see it will fall far short in the REALITY dept....

                            what with not having all those sparks smoke fumes and stuff...

                            they are part of the real experience after all..

                            and part of the sight and feel that a welder learns in judging your bead.. etc...

                            if somebody is put off by that... they are probably unsuited to that type of work..

                            The environment should be as sensation rich as possible...
                            Last edited by H80N; 08-15-2013, 06:15 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Am I correct in assuming that you do not weld yourself???

                              think if you spent enough hours under the hood that you would see this all in a different light...

                              if you are in the L.A. area you should take Terry's offer (Shovelon)

                              I believe you would be richer for the experience...
                              Last edited by H80N; 08-15-2013, 06:26 PM.

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