Author Topic: most useful DIY skills from community college courses  (Read 1188 times)

zoochadookdook

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most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« on: July 14, 2018, 06:55:07 PM »
Hey there, not sure if this belongs in side hustle or here but what are some DIY skills you wish you had taken a college course for?

For example my local community college offers welding, automotive, carpentry, building programs. I'm finishing my MIS degree next semester but was considering taking some of these courses (welding for example) to offset future expenses of any projects requiring said skills and also potentially generating income on the weekends. As a homeowner I understand the cost of labor. Shoot at 75 an hour for a mechanic even paying 1500 for 4 automotive classes to save in most repair categories would be an outstanding investment over the rest of my life.

Thanks

Zach

zolotiyeruki

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 09:27:09 PM »
I would say that automotive stuff is quite valuable, especially if you've got an older car.  It's generally not complicated to fix cars, but it can take time.  That being said, I don't think you necessarily need to pay to learn those skills.  For all those skills you mention (welding, cars, carpentry, etc), in the vast majority of situations that a normal person might encounter, a quick youtube tutorial is all you need, up to and including changing a timing belt.

zoochadookdook

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 09:50:31 PM »
I would say that automotive stuff is quite valuable, especially if you've got an older car.  It's generally not complicated to fix cars, but it can take time.  That being said, I don't think you necessarily need to pay to learn those skills.  For all those skills you mention (welding, cars, carpentry, etc), in the vast majority of situations that a normal person might encounter, a quick youtube tutorial is all you need, up to and including changing a timing belt.

as someone who needs a timing belt done in 12k miles and after watching multiple videos it doesn't seem within a youtube scope of jobs. I have a Haynes manual for my 2004 civic and even with that it's a bit difficult. Then again maybe it's my lack of equipment as well

zolotiyeruki

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 06:27:45 AM »
I certainly would not make a timing belt my first car repair project. It's a very involved process. Start with changing the oil, replacing brake pads, replacing belts, spark plugs, etc.

APowers

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2018, 08:50:15 AM »
If you're doing involved projects like a timing belt, finding the official technical repair manual for your vehicle is SO much better than a Haynes or Chilton repair guide.

I did the timing belt on my '96 Civic using YouTube and the tech manual. I also have a good bit of experience fixing cars, and a Dad with a full toolbox and even more experience than me.

You can absolutely learn how to fix cars by practicing on your own vehicle, but definitely start small and familiarize yourself with your car. Also, definitely bribe your gearhead friend with some dinner and/or beer so you can ask him all the stupid questions you might have while you're getting your hands greasy, like "what does this doohickey do?"

Sibley

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 10:04:51 AM »
To answer your question, yes you could teach yourself a lot. However, a CC class would help shorten the learning curve, as well as providing the tools/equipment. Just because you want to learn to weld doesn't mean you want to buy all the welding equipment. I would pick areas that are equipment or extremely skill dependent, as those will have higher barriers to entry.

Jon Bon

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 08:32:48 AM »
I would say electrical or plumbing would be your biggest bang for the buck. Hring either one of these two trades will cost you $200 just for the guy to show up, let alone do any work.

That being said for both trades the basics are incredibly easy. They just include the fear factor and people are never willing to get out and tinker on their own.  Learning to wire up a bunch of lights and outlets or learning to do PEX or PVC could be learned in a day or two.  You just need someone to show you how to do it the first time. After that it is relatively easy to duplicate yourself.

On the automotive side I would slightly disagree, unless you are into working on cars that is. Modern cars run so well and are so software driven that learning how to rebuild a carb feels like a bit of a lost art. The effort versus cost calculation does not add up to enough for me to learn. YMMV

I need new brakes on my car which is a job I think I can do, and I still might just go and pay for it.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 09:01:18 AM »
On the automotive side I would slightly disagree, unless you are into working on cars that is. Modern cars run so well and are so software driven that learning how to rebuild a carb feels like a bit of a lost art. The effort versus cost calculation does not add up to enough for me to learn. YMMV

I need new brakes on my car which is a job I think I can do, and I still might just go and pay for it.
I agree that learning some basic electrical and plumbing is also very worthwhile.  I 100% agree that the fear factor is the biggest and most common obstacle.  The key is to start with simple stuff, like unclogging a toilet, cleaning out a p-trap, or replacing a wax ring on a toilet.  Or, on the electrical side, replacing a switch with a dimmer, or replacing a light fixture.

I'd like to clarify my support for learning car repair.  You're right that learning to rebuild a carburetor is not likely to be a useful skill.  And I'm not trying to suggest that OP invest in gaining expertise in diagnosing engine issues.  In fact, the computerization of cars makes a lot of car repairs a lot easier nowadays. What I'm advocating is to simply get past the intimidation factor on car repair.  Replacing brakes is a great introductory repair IMO.  Because:
1) It's not a complicated repair.  Remove lug nuts, remove wheel, unbolt caliper bracket, remove old pads, put new pads in, and put it all back together. You don't have to worry about timings or alignment or anything "analog" or adjustable.
2) It's a good way to learn what can be hard about car repair (awkward angles, rusty bolts, getting dirty).
3) It requires relatively few tools
4) It's very visual, and things generally only fit one way, i.e. it's harder to mess it up.
5) You learn that car repair is mostly just unbolting old parts and bolting new parts in their place.

Around here, shops charge around $100/hour for labor.  I figure that even if it takes me twice the standard time for a given repair, I'm still saving $50/hour after taxes.  This, of course, holds true for the trades as well.


Jon Bon

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 10:39:11 AM »
On the automotive side I would slightly disagree, unless you are into working on cars that is. Modern cars run so well and are so software driven that learning how to rebuild a carb feels like a bit of a lost art. The effort versus cost calculation does not add up to enough for me to learn. YMMV

I need new brakes on my car which is a job I think I can do, and I still might just go and pay for it.
I agree that learning some basic electrical and plumbing is also very worthwhile.  I 100% agree that the fear factor is the biggest and most common obstacle.  The key is to start with simple stuff, like unclogging a toilet, cleaning out a p-trap, or replacing a wax ring on a toilet.  Or, on the electrical side, replacing a switch with a dimmer, or replacing a light fixture.

I'd like to clarify my support for learning car repair.  You're right that learning to rebuild a carburetor is not likely to be a useful skill.  And I'm not trying to suggest that OP invest in gaining expertise in diagnosing engine issues.  In fact, the computerization of cars makes a lot of car repairs a lot easier nowadays. What I'm advocating is to simply get past the intimidation factor on car repair.  Replacing brakes is a great introductory repair IMO.  Because:
1) It's not a complicated repair.  Remove lug nuts, remove wheel, unbolt caliper bracket, remove old pads, put new pads in, and put it all back together. You don't have to worry about timings or alignment or anything "analog" or adjustable.
2) It's a good way to learn what can be hard about car repair (awkward angles, rusty bolts, getting dirty).
3) It requires relatively few tools
4) It's very visual, and things generally only fit one way, i.e. it's harder to mess it up.
5) You learn that car repair is mostly just unbolting old parts and bolting new parts in their place.

Around here, shops charge around $100/hour for labor.  I figure that even if it takes me twice the standard time for a given repair, I'm still saving $50/hour after taxes.  This, of course, holds true for the trades as well.

yeah I am with you here, I probably should just order the parts for my brakes and learn by doing. What bugs the hell out of me is when my check engine light is on, and the code is

P0161: Oxygen Sensor Circuit Low

Like what the hell am I supposed to do with that!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2018, 01:53:03 PM »
Google the error code.  Most probable cause: oxygen sensor needs replaced.

zoochadookdook

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2018, 02:28:57 PM »
I know basics, I do my oil oil for $11 every 5k (synthetic Walmart/auto quest filter), do my o2 sensors if they go and do my front brakes (rears are drums). I'm tasked with changing my exhaust manifold on my 2004 civic and it's proving to be a bit more trying. I understand what all has to come out but the heat and rust has seized the bolts up pretty well.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: most useful DIY skills from community college courses
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 10:31:26 AM »
If they choose to, around here kids in high school in a 5 county area, go to a vocational school, and learn such things. (My brother went his jr and sr year and owns an auto body shop.)
Sometimes the school has adult education classes to teach such things, but certainly not to such a depth.  If there is something like this in your area, maybe check it out to see if one topic will help you more than others. Then, you can go to a CC for more.