Making welding a fun and engaging activity can help to inspire the next generation of welding engineers, as well as get students to think creatively about science, engineering, and industry. In this article we will be looking at some beginner-level high school welding project ideas that can be fun, educational, and even make useful gifts!
First Things First
Before going anywhere near that welding torch, you need to make sure you have all of your gear in order, especially welding safety equipment!
Once you are equipped with your safety gear, you should make sure you have all of these things:
- Welding machine
- Angle grinder
- Set Square
- Spirit Level
- Drop Saw
One advice for teachers: before firing up the welding iron, deliver a safety talk to your students and stress the importance of how easily one can get a life-changing burn if they are not careful.
Idea One: A Fire Pit
“Imagine yourself at night burning up some logs in a fire pit, getting under a blanket, roasting marshmallows, and watching the stars.” Romanticising the idea to your students is one thing, but actually building the fire pit is another. Perform a quick Google search to find styles, designs, blueprints, and parts lists for a wide range of fire pits. These are excellent group projects due to their size and weight, however, some students may be fully capable of creating them on their own.
Idea Two: Metal Picture Frames
One way to engage students to do welding and metalwork is to give them the opportunity to create something they can take home and share with their families. A picture frame is perfect for that. They are simple to make, there are tonnes of different designs, and they can be done fairly quickly. Ask your students to bring in a photo to class so that when they have the finished product they can insert it right away.
Idea Three: Pencil/Pen Holder
Small, simple, useful for the school. Your students can create a pencil holder that could actually provide a function on the school grounds or could be taken home to use on their desk or given to their parents for their home office. Either way, this requires very few parts and can be combined with woodwork or plastics to improve the simplistic design.
Idea Four: Wall Clock
Creating the frame for a wall clock can really bring out the creativity in your students. On top of that, it gives them the opportunity to connect their metalwork to a clock and battery unit and understand better how things must be measured to fit together. Working with different shapes or metals and learning how flat pieces are welded against curved ones can prove very interesting. Let the students paint their metal in their preferred colour to express their identity and here you have a high school welding project that will be very popular.
Idea Five: DIY Storm Kettle
You might have never heard of a storm kettle before, but once you see it, you will understand immediately why the students are going to love this project. Also known as a Kelly Kettle, this is a welded product that has a space in the base for a fire, and a flask compartment for liquids. The fire heats, boils, or cooks whatever is inside of it. To clean it, simply tap out the ash and give it a wipe down.
Idea Six: Candle holder
Imagine, Mother’s Day is approaching and perhaps some of your students have not yet thought of what they could give her, beyond the traditional flowers and chocolate. Tell your students that they will be welding a gorgeous candleholder for her and save their day. What is great about this project is that the complexity of the design is down to each individual student. Those with more flair and creativity may be able to do a more expansive piece, but those with less ability will not be disappointed by the elegance of a more simplistic and careful finish. A typical candle holder consists of a sturdy base and a number of spouts coming away from it, with ledges for candles to sit on.
Idea Seven: Small Charcoal Grill
One of the best ways to get students interested and engaged in welding is by helping them to create something that is useful. Everything listed in this article is useful, but few are as enjoyable as a charcoal grill or barbecue. On a hot summer day, a BBQ is a great way to spend time with friends and family, and if the student can claim the credit of having themselves made that grill, all the better. There is no reason for a BBQ design to be too complex, so keep your students focused on simplicity and making sure the finished product is robust.
Concluding Thoughts for Educators
There are dozens of activities that we could have added that could have taught high school students some useful welding skills, whether beginner or more advanced. The right way to do things is to start simple and build up confidence and ability in an organic way, by not pressuring students or forcing them to weld when they’re not comfortable.
We cannot stress enough the importance of safety in the classroom, so please check, and double-check that your students are fully aware of the dangers and how to avoid them. Be sure to know first aid and have materials on hand in case of any potential accident.
Some students may seriously form a connection to welding and make it a career or lifelong hobby, others might see it as a very useful skill for making things in their home, and others might never pick up a welding iron again. Some see welding as creativity, others see it as work, some see it as engineering. Whichever way you see it, it teaches patience, coordination, and some physics.