I am taking an introduction to oxy-acetylene welding class at CAFAC and today we got to spark up the torches and fuse metal. This was the second class - the first was devoted to welding safety and how the torch works (set-up and shut-down).
By the end of class I was able to form a puddle and pull or push the puddle to form a weld, but this is definitely something that takes some practice. Heat management via distance and angle is the trick of it all, it seems.
CAFAC is very cool; this class is ten weeks long. Once I am through that, I can re-enlist in the continuing education program and get access to the space and equipment at a reduced cost. There are also volunteer opportunities at CAFAC as well, so that's also a possibility.