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?