Students in welding program go pedal to the metal

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren County Career Center Welding students (from left) Caleb McMillen, Gabriel Winn, Andrew Godden, Caden McCune, Gavin Labowski, Waylon Saunders, and Conner Winslow stand with their take-home projects.

Not every school project can go on the refrigerator.

Students in the Warren County Career Center Welding program were encouraged to make something functional or seasonal to take home with them.

Second- and third-year students had the option to make rocket stoves or present an idea for approval, according to instructor Nate McNett.

A rocket stove is a metal cylinder with an open top, air vents at the bottom, and an angled pipe for feeding fuel — typically small-diameter wood. With a grate on top, the stove can be used for cooking. Some students added hot plates.

Trey Whyte’s project was less rocket, more stove. His pot-belly stove creation included a door instead of the angled pipe. “I wanted to challenge myself with different mechanisms for the door,” Whyte said. The body of the stove is made of pipe and pipe fittings.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren County Career Center Welding students Caleb McMillen (left) and Andrew Godden lean on the snowmen they made as take-home projects while they talk shop.

“I welded it all with flux core,” he said.

“It shows pipe welding, I did a little vertical weave, and the fabrication of the door.”

The project took about two-and-a-half weeks, he said.

Not every student went the stove route.

Because the projects were due before the holiday break, a few students made Christmas decorations and gifts.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren County Career Center Welding student Trey Whyte shows off the door mechanism on the stove he made as a take-home project.

Whether rocket stove, snowman, or other decoration, the projects demonstrated a variety of skills developed in the class. “Students used a lot of their skills to cut, fit, grind and weld,” McNett said.

Caleb McMillen built a snowman.

“It was something to get experience on,” McMillen said. “Last year I made a Christmas tree.”

The Christmas gift for Mom will probably require a skid steer to move around, he said, it took three students to move it onto a cart in the welding class.

Andrew Godden made a snowman measuring over six feet tall weighing perhaps 350 pounds.

“I made a smaller one last year and I wanted to top that,” Godden said. “I used different processes, did a good bit of cutting and welding. A lot of planning went into it.”

The nose of the snowman represented a special challenge. “I wanted to try to make it look like a carrot,” he said. “I tried heating it up and forging it.”

Tommaso Clemente built a decoration of a snowman on a sled pulled by a reindeer.

“I used a piece of steel to make the sled and two smaller pieces to make the skis,” Clemente said. He fashioned a harness out of filler wire and welded together a snowman out of several small pieces of steel.

Classmate Jacob Alcorn made a rebar reindeer for the decoration, he said.

“I’ll give it to my mom,” Clemente said.

Class project as Christmas gift is a new tradition for him. “Last year I made a ‘love’ sign for my mom out of rebar.”

With some individual projects weighing hundreds of pounds, McNett is thankful for those who donate materials to the program.

“We want to thank our advisory board,” he said. “All this pipe comes from their good will.”

He listed Superior Tire, United Refining, Copley Welding Service, and John Anderson Construction as some of the key contributors. “If not for those program sponsors, none of this would be possible,” McNett said.


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