The NSRP Video Weld Demo and Tutoring Station
We were intrigued when the Navy wanted our cameras to speed up welder training. Cameras have long been used to help athletes perfect their form and since welding also requires high dexterity and good form, we thought, “What a great idea – that should work.”
Under the Navy’s NSRP program, we collaborated with shipyards, academia and industrial partners to test this idea and create an optimal station. It had to be effective, but also economical. Another important goal was that it must be welcomed and used by real-world instructors. It should be an every-day tool that is not stored and forgotten.
Over 3 years, we tested many future-looking features, keeping those that worked well in schools and replacing those that didn’t. With several major versions and literally hundreds of small modifications, we zeroed in on our current core — clean, simple and effective.
The mission for the system was two-fold: Demo and 1-on-1-Tutoring.
To accomplish these, we boiled the final system to just 5 elements:
- Color close-ups of the weld: Provided by our V2016-Z color zoom weld camera. We put the camera on a flexible counter-weighted arm so you can instantly pivot and get the ideal angle for the weld.
- Real-time amps monitoring: Our AmpWatch box provides on-screen amp graphs
- Big-screen support for demo: Provided HDMI port can drive giant TVs
- Automation so instructor can instruct: WeldWatch Software automates demos and video tutoring freeing the weld instructor to focus on the student.
- Use commercial computing: A standard Microsoft Surface Pro gives easy touch-screen operation and built-in disk space to record demo and student videos. The Surface is mounted in a steel case on a flexible arm. The arm allows the instructor to easily position the computer away from the arc spatter.
The simple software controls use big buttons for touch-screen control.
You can use a simple big-screen like the TV on a stand like Manchester CC, or can go all out with 4 screens overhead like Blackhawk Technical College did:
Through the testing, we learned to avoid adding work to the very busy days of the instructor. Wherever possible, the system automatically handles things allowing the instructor to instruct.
The system automatically records the demo welds so they are all available for replay to answer questions or point out interesting details. The amps are recorded along with the video so the graph is redrawn on playback – the same as it looked live.
In addition to recording automatically, the system automatically erases old videos when space gets low. The instructor just welds, day after day, and the system takes care of things.
Of course, you’ll want to save some videos from erasure, those perfect demos as well as memorable mistakes. Just mark these as ‘KEEP” and they move to the “Keep” directory where they will never be deleted.
The system is also designed to help with tutoring. The idea is that the student / trainee will weld a coupon using the camera while the instructor watches. With a good view onscreen, the instructor can see the weld and coach the student to get the proper weld stroke. We typically hear instructors saying things like, “slow-down… slow down… that’s good. You’re arc is getting long and your amps are dropping… that’s better; keep that arc…”
The welds are all automatically recorded and will even automatically play back so the student and instructor can see and review the good and bad parts – all without touching any controls !
Typically, after a short tutoring session the trainee knows what needs practice and goes back to their booth to work on it. Practice is much more effective when it is directed to a specific skill to perfect.
Well, we could go on and on, but let’s use the power of the web.
We shot a number of videos that show the system and how to use them.
Here’s list with direct links to all 10 videos so you can jump straight to the videos. You might find the most interesting one to be From the Instructor’s Viewpoint.
|Demo and Tutoring Station Overview||CLICK for YouTube||Download 430 MB|
|From the Instructor’s Viewpoint||CLICK for YouTube||Download 202 MB|
|Quick Weld Recording Session||CLICK for YouTube||Download 131 MB|
|System Walk-through||CLICK for YouTube||Download 279 MB|
|Demo Training Session||CLICK for YouTube||Download 137 MB|
|Quick Tour of Software||CLICK for YouTube||Download 64 MB|
|Lesson Suggestions||CLICK for YouTube||Download 200 MB|
|Tutor Station Software and Settings||CLICK for YouTube||Download 288 MB|
|Tips for Better Videos||CLICK for YouTube||Download 593 MB|
|Advanced Features||CLICK for YouTube||Download 430 MB
Visible Welding cameras are currently used at many educational institutions in weld training courses.