Beginning welders create ‘Holiday Treasures’



Ivy Tech Northeast welding instructor Brian Barnes cuts a piece of scrap metal down to size for a student welder.

At first glance, no one would have known that the nine people working in the modern welding lab at Ivy Tech on Oct. 14 and Oct. 21 were beginning welders.

The two-session class was offered as part of the Ivy Tech Community College Northeast IvyLiving classes. IvyLiving classes as “non-credit classes promoting personal growth and lifelong learning through engaging and intriguing short-term experiences,” according to the Ivy Tech website.

Instructors for each class are chosen from local and regional experts to share their knowledge and passions in a small group setting.

The Artistic Welding-Holiday Treasures class took place on two Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

During the first session, participants met at the The Steel Dynamics Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center, 3701 Dean Drive, Fort Wayne.

Instructor Brian Barnes started with a beginner’s lesson on welding safety and techniques. Barnes is an Ivy Tech Northeast certified welding instructor. Safety tips provided were wearing appropriate clothing such as jeans and a cotton shirt. Synthetic materials were to be avoided due to their more flammable qualities and their tendency to melt when exposed to sparks.

Ivy Tech also provided protective equipment including gloves, safety glasses, welding jackets and helmets to wear. Closed- toed shoes were recommended for each participant, especially boots or steel boots.

Once safety information was given and any questions were answered, participants headed to the Omnisource scrap yard, 3601 Maumee Ave., Fort Wayne, to collect random pieces of weldable material in order to make some nice projects. The college provided a truck to haul the material back.

During the second class, participants put their newly learned skills to the test and created unique take-home art in the college’s modern welding lab, making their projects from scraps gathered. This included learning how to cut pieces down, grinding down rust off of certain pieces and knowing how to tell whether a piece was made of ferrous metal or aluminum, which would affect how the piece welded.

A few participants decided to embrace the holiday theme of the class and created a Halloween-themed scarecrow, a multilayered Christmas tree decorated with different sized nuts and bolts and a series of Christmas trees that could stand on their own. Others approached the class with a more practical approach, creating a table that could be used outside and a rolling wine rack.

Other IvyLiving offerings can be found online at The college offers a variety of classes that range in price, during the spring and fall.