Welding is an art, and if you want to be successful at it, you need to learn a few tricks to get the job done. One of these tricks is to observe the weld puddle. Often, a puddle means that the weld was too slow, or it did not penetrate deeply enough. Learn the proper way to move your welding gun and you’ll be on your way to a smooth weld.
Observing the weld puddle
It is important to observe the weld puddle during the welding process. In an autogenous arc welding process, the weld puddle has a swirling motion that is important for the fusion of the weld edges. Observing the weld puddle while welding can be difficult if you don’t know how to observe it correctly. If you’re not sure what to look for, follow these tips to keep yourself safe.
Observing the weld poodle when welding can help you determine the right speed for welding. It is crucial that you move at a speed that keeps you in the leading one-third of the puddle, and not in the middle. Using too fast a speed can cause the weld to cold lap or sag in the middle. The goal of observing the weld puddle is to avoid a wide convex bead.
The first step in avoiding puddles while welding is to monitor your workspace for air flow. Welders should be mindful of strong air flows because they can affect their gas shield and weld puddle. They should also monitor their arc length and voltage. If these conditions are not controlled, there is a high risk of air seepage, which can cause bubbles and a weak weld.
When you’re working on a thick piece of steel, it’s particularly important to be aware of puddles. While the front edge of the puddle is easily visible, the full extent of it might not be. In this case, you need to lean into the weld, keeping it out of the way. Another key to avoiding puddles when welding is to look away from the arc. The arc is essential to the welding process, but it’s not as important as the puddle. Just as a driving instructor tells you to focus on the road, avoiding puddles while welding is crucial to safety.
Getting a smooth weld
Welders should be familiar with the procedures for setting up the welder to get a smooth weld. They should follow company policies and specified welding procedures. They should weld at the right speed and complete joint fusion with a good bead appearance. The welder’s experience will determine the weld style they should use. During the critical first pass, the welder should have a clear view of the joint to properly position the wire.
Wire speed affects the sound of the weld. A low wire feed rate causes a hissing sound and can lead to melting of the wire before it reaches the work surface. Increasing the wire feed rate until a steady buzzing sound is heard is a good strategy. A high wire feed rate can lead to a spit and pop sound, and the wire may melt below the surface.
Getting a good weld
When you’re welding aluminum, you should use a 100% Argon gas, aluminum wire, and a spool gun. The spool gun puts the wire behind the gun, so there’s less chance of the fine wire getting stuck or damaged. Spool guns also generate a small electromagnetic field that can draw contaminants to the weld. This contamination may not be visible after the weld is finished, but it can damage the weld. Flux core wire is a great choice for reducing contamination.
A 3/8-inch stick-out distance is an important rule of thumb. This distance reduces the input voltage of the weld, which leads to less penetration and heat. A good weld is a convex bead, with the edges of the welded piece parallel and blending seamlessly with the base metal. The weld should also show some fine ripples. Some seasoned welders say the weld should look like a stack of dimes. You can practice and get a good weld by following these guidelines.
Avoiding falling out of the weld
Keeping the arc length at a reasonable value is critical for welds to last longer. Using a higher amperage and lower wire feed speed can reduce the chances of the weld falling out. Increasing the wire travel speed is another way to prevent the weld from falling out. Finally, remember that the right arc length depends on the welding wire’s extension. Here are some tips for avoiding falling out of the weld.
The first step to avoid falling out of the weld is to make sure that the wire is properly sized for the job. Undercutting is when a groove is formed in the base metal adjacent to the weld but is not filled with the weld metal. This results in a weaker weld, and often causes cracking. The key to preventing undercutting is proper welding current and voltage. The gun angle must also be correct to allow the weld metal to fill the grooves in the base metal. The weaving technique, which requires pauses on both sides of the weld bead, also plays a key role in preventing undercutting.