As an alternative to the SportAir Workshops, which require travel and a bit of a financial investment, our chapter has decided to put on a series of workshops at our hangar. Our first workshop will be Oxy/Acetylene Welding next Saturday, March 24th. We intend to start around 10am by covering some of the basics... components of an Oxy/Acetylene system, safety, proper adjustment, etc., and then break into a couple of groups for some practice. We will break for lunch around noon (simple hot dogs, chips and cold drinks) and then pick back up with some instruction on proper fitment of tubing clusters and such. Cost has been set at $15 to help cover food and materials (steel and rod) AND to get people to commit to attending and learning... not just hang around because it doesn't cost anything, basically turning it into another bull session.
We are fortune in that we have several skilled builders and craftsmen in our chapter, so finding qualified volunteer instructors is not a problem. Not only are we able to count on volunteers, but we will also have two welding rigs to include steel tables, fire brick, safety glasses, etc. I'm sure that the SportAir Workshops are great, but I think we'll be able to focus on the task with a small group (we currently have 15 signed up), and perhaps encourage a ferw more people fire up their torches and get to work. Just had another person e-mail that he would like to attend while I'm typing this... perhaps we'll end up with 20 or so. That would be great!
Anyhow... aside from just describing what we are attempting to do, and hoping that it might encourage other chapters to do the same... I'm interested to know what other chapters might have done, or have found successful. At this point we are testing the waters with Oxy/Acetylene welding because it is easy to set up and it seems that several people would like a refresher. We are also considering courses on electrical wiring, fabric covering, sheet metal and other common topics based upon feedback from our membership. Does anyone have any suggestions on what we might consider? Things we should or should not do? Things that have worked well for your group?
I contacted Miller, Lincoln, Victor and Smith and they were happy to send us marketing material and catalogs, so that will help to spruce the event up a bit and give the attendees something to carry away. Hopefully some will place some orders. I know that I'm looking for a new torch, but I'm waiting to try out a few during the workshop before I make my decision.
So, without dragging on too much longer, I would appreciate any suggestions that others might have in order to put on the best programs that we can while still keeping them affordable. Hopefully this thread will inspire others to organize similar events, so your comments will be put to good use!