Let’s Get Bending!

by Chris Gandee

To spice things up for the month of February, we have combined our regular monthly tip with a highlighted feature of the VRTEX® 360 virtual reality system.

In December 2011, the VRTEX® 360 team released the version 1.2.2 software upgrade package consisting of some very exciting new additions. For more information on the upgrade package, you can View the press release 
We have received a few questions about one new feature, the “Bend Test.” The Bend Test function allows welders to go straight from making a virtual weld to seeing if their weld holds up in destructive testing. Many welding codes require bend tests as part of the testing required to qualify welders and Welding Procedures Specifications (WPSs). By adding the bend test to the VRTEX® 360, a student can see what causes a bend test to fail. This functionality also enhances the instructor tool set by reinforcing classroom instruction and allows students to pass and fail in a virtual environment before going in a real welding booth, saving both time and money.

How the Bend Test works:   

Please Note: The “Bend Test” can only be conducted on groove type welds, including pipe.

1. Complete the initial system set-up: 
a. Log in.
b. Select the joint to be welded.
c. Select the welding process.
d. Set the proper weld settings found in the Welding Procedure Specification.
2. Once you have welded the joint completely (all passes), the green “End Pass” button will change to “Bend Test.”  Press the green “Bend Test” button. This will take you directly to the Bend Test screen.
3. From the Bend Test screen, use the joystick to choose which SAMPLE you want to bend. The selection possibilities are SAMPLE A or SAMPLE B. To receive the Bend Test Certificate, both SAMPLES must be bent and pass.
4. Once you have chosen the SAMPLE to be bent, select either “Face” or “Root.” Use the joystick to highlight the lower box and toggle between Face and Root. Use the red Select button to make the selection, and the Bend Test will begin.
5. Once the Bend Test is complete, the crowd provides positive or motivational auditory encouragement based on your results. 
6. The screen will change to the inspection screen, where you (the instructor or user) can examine the bent piece. Also located on this screen are the results of a visual inspection. An explanation of the results can be found on the right side of the screen. If your piece failed, the word “Failed” appears, and the system displays the percentage of the weld that failed. If your piece passed, the word “Pass” appears next to Visual Inspection, and your percentage failed shows all zeros.  
7. To bend the next SAMPLE, select “Next” or “Previous” using the white arrows located on the control panel. This will take you back to the SAMPLE selection screen, where you can choose Root or Face.
8. Once the Bend Test is complete, you are ready to exit. Press the red “Menu” button and the option “Exit Bend Test.”
9. To conduct additional Bend Tests, follow steps 2 through 7.

How to access the Bend Test Certificate:   

The Bend Test function includes the ability to save, view and print a Bend Test Certificate.  The certificate serves as recognition for a student's achievement on a certain level in training.

Viewing the Bend Test Certificate can be accomplished in two ways:
a. Option 1:
i. Place a USB memory device in the USB slot in the front of the VRTEX® 360 before you begin welding.
ii. From this point, every completed weld will automatically be saved in PDF format to the USB memory device.
b. Option 2:
i. If you have forgotten to insert a USB memory device before you started welding, insert a USB memory device into the front of the VRTEX® 360.
ii. Press the red “Menu” button, and select “Save Weld to USB.” You will see the USB icon in the top right corner of the screen blink green. This means the information is being transferred. When it is done, remove the USB, and review the certificate on a computer.

How to add the Bend Test and make it fun:   

The Bend Test functionality adds motivation for the student in their welding training program.  Here are some tips on how you can use this functionality and add a little excitement to welding training:

1. Highlight each student’s accomplishment as he/she achieves a passing bend test. Post their certificates on a bulletin board, or electronically on a results page, to serve as recognition and motivation.
2. For further recognition, provide a small prize to the students with the top 5 passing scores in a class.  For example, hand out welding gloves, safety glasses, beanies, or other items that students can use either in class or on the job site once class is completed.
3. Create a Virtual Bend Test results board.  Post the high scores, student names and date of scores as a running record.