Manual welding skills are learned through demonstration and practice. Typically an instructor will demonstrate correct welding technique for a particular process, and then the students will practice the same task within welding booths. The key skill that is taught in practical welding education is visual analysis of the puddle behavior, but the small scale, dynamic movement and hazards of welding make it difficult for more than a handful of students to observe details in the melt zone (e.g. arc shape, weld puddle behavior, wire placement) during demonstrations.
There is a need for camera system suitable for practical welding education that conveniently provides magnified views of the melt puddle behavior during both instructor’s demonstration (to teach a greater number of students to more effectively read the arc and weld puddles), and during student practice (to highlight and drive home the instructor’s observations and feedback). Ideally such a system would be both unobtrusive and flexible so that the variety of viewpoints that a welder takes during different welding tasks could be easily mimicked with the camera.
The MeltView APEX2 is our welding education camera system that provides clear, in-focus, magnified views of the weld zone during both demonstration and student practice. Because the small APEX2 camera mounts flexibly to the MIG or TIG welding torch, it’s possible to show and record circumferential welds, 3G welds, long welds, and more, from an angle that most closely resembles the manual welder’s point of view.
Every APEX2 camera comes with a laptop with our MeltView LUCI software ready to go. LUCI makes it easy to record and annotate video files. The user can also optimize the welding and non-welding images via preset modes or individual parameter adjustments. Other software features include digital zoom, timestamp, frame-by-frame playback, background enhance mode and adjustable crosshair overlay.
The MeltView APEX2 offers a high-resolution image suitable for demonstrating and recording all open arc welding processes. While we recommend using a torch-mounted camera to most closely simulate the welder’s viewpoint and maintain an in-focus image, we offer a varifocal lens and magnet base mount so that the camera can be mounted to the workbench for a fixed view if desired, such as in the case of SMAW.
WHY CHOOSE A WELDING CAMERA?
- 90% of welding skill is visually based. Virtual reality trainers can’t teach this critical skill.
- Instructors can engage students and demonstrate welding to more students, more effectively.
- Student understanding is greatly enhanced by a magnified image of the weld, both of the instructor’s welds and their own welds.
- Create video libraries for e-learning resources that attract and aid students.
- Document student progress and results in a unique way that enables students to advance and enter employment faster.
- Increase qualification testing success.
MELTVIEW APEX2 ADVANTAGE
- Our unique torch-mounted camera system mimics the welder’s viewpoint.
- Once the camera is mounted to the torch in the desired position, the image stays in focus as long as you weld.
- The APEX2 can be mounted to different torches at different angles, or bench-mounted if desired.
- Our LUCI software for viewing and recording software comes preinstalled on a laptop with every APEX2 camera.
- The APEX2 system is currently offered to educators as a compact kit for $5000 USD, including camera, software, laptop, cabling, and power – everything you need to start making welding videos.
MELTVIEW APEX2 FAQs
Q1: Is the camera too heavy to mount to the torch?
A1: A1. No, it’s not. Our customers report that the APEX2 doesn’t feel heavy or get in the way of welding. The APEX2 plus flexible mount weighs a few hundred grams, which is negligible compared to the weight and drag of a typical welding torch and cables.
Q2: The APEX2 image is in black and white. Isn’t a color image better for teaching GTAW?
A2: Again our customers report that a clear, magnified image is what’s critical for teaching, not necessarily a color image.
Q3: Why is welding camera so expensive?
A3: While cameras are everywhere nowadays, they are not designed for imaging the very bright welding arc. In fact, there are only a few cameras that can do this, and MeltTools offers the most affordable and most well-designed camera for welding education of any on the market. Every MeltView welding camera is designed and built and supported from our facility in Michigan.
Q4: How long does it take to set up?
A4: The standard kit is the simplest to set up. Mount the camera to the torch, plug the camera cable into USB hub and the hub into the provided laptop. Share the laptop screen with a large format monitor (i.e. HDMI monitor) if desired. Check that the camera is in focus and start welding!
If you are using the zoom lens and LED accessory, mount this assembly to the bench and power up the LED.
Q5: Is the miniature flex mount suitable for all different welding joints, welding positions and welding processes?
A5: The mount included with the standard kit allows for almost any viewing angle. This is the principal advantage of the MeltView APEX2 camera over other welding cameras. The torch mount is not suitable for imaging SMAW, since the stick is consumed during welding. If you find that you need a longer mount than our miniature mount, please contact us.
Q6: What can I see with the APEX2 camera?
A6: Our customers have visualized all of the following: Melt-in at the leading edge of the puddle; melt-in on the sides of the puddle; solidification of the rear of the weld puddle; effect of parameter changes, electrode position and traverse speed on weld puddle behavior and dimensions; generation of various weld defects; torch manipulation techniques.
Q7: How do instructors actually use the APEX2 for teaching?
A7: Two of the most common ways that the APEX2 is used are live display of a welding demo on a large screen and running looped video in the welding lab for reference during student practice. Instructors also report that it’s very useful to record a student welding and discuss the video with the student. Recorded videos can also be used in the classroom and posted online.