At first, I got to practice on scrap pieces of metal so that I would get used to the brightness that seems to equal that of the sun, and the heat required to melt metal, which was 600 degrees! Of course, I also had to learn the techniques, such as how far away from the metal you should hold the wire, how long to hold it in one place, how quickly you can move it, etc.
Once I had finished practicing, I got to move on to making the shells for the R2's foot drives. It took me over an hour to make the first shell, because I was concerned I would destroy the metal and burn a hole in it. However, I did not burn a hole in it (although a spark did burn a hole in my jeans and in my leg!) or even make poor joints. Because of my increased confidence, I finished the next one in less than half an hour.
I now love welding almost as much as soldering, and I hope to be able to do it more often. Welding is awesome!