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Improve Your Welding - 5 Easy Tips

The practice of welding is extremely important to agriculture, manufacturing and a number of other industries. While welding is a profession in which even a beginner can see results quickly, there are a few tool, technique and material guidelines that can help any welder create a more professional weld and find better welding jobs in any area. Here are some tips that can help beginner and professional welders alike improve their craft.

Always Clean the Metal You Are Welding

While welding does not require that you work with spotless metal, high levels of rust, paint and dirt can create impurities in the weld. These impurities can reduce the structural integrity of the bond and cause it to crack or break more easily. To prevent this problem, it is a good idea to use a powered wire brush to clean the area before you begin to weld.

Know Your Wire Types

The type of wire that you use for your weld is extremely important, and will have a great impact on the penetration level, bead width and overall quality of your weld. For general, all-purpose welding, AWS ER70S-3 is often the wire of choice. This wire type provides a good balance of penetration, bead width and spatter control, creating a clean enough weld for most agricultural applications.

If you need a finer weld or are welding auto bodies or manufacturing equipment, AWS ER70S-6 is a better choice. This type of wire can create deeper bonds for high-stress applications, but should only be used in indoor welding for protection from wind and better spatter control.

Drag Vs. Push Welding

Like wire choice, the angle of your welding gun will have an impact on bead width and the strength of the bond. By angling the electrode 10 to 15 degrees away from the direction of the weld and pushing the gun, you will create a wider bead pattern. Angling the electrode toward the weld by the same degree and dragging the welding gun will create a narrower bead pattern.

Reinforce Stress Points

Every weld will have stress points where the structure is more likely to crack or break. Some common examples of stress points are hinges, locations of previous cracks and breaks, and places where the metal was not cleaned before welding. Any location where old and new metal meet perpendicularly will likely create a stress point, and must be joined using deep penetration beads at a 30 degree angle.

To reinforce possible stress points, be sure to bevel and grind the edges of the weld. It is also okay to make multiple passes over the same bond if you notice any defects in the beads. Defects can include porous markings where hydrogen gas has escaped, or seams with insufficient penetration.

Aluminum Welding

Aluminum welding is different in many ways from welding steel and other materials, and requires its own specific set of guidelines for a clean weld. ER4043 and ER5356 are the most common types of wire to use for aluminum welding. The former is for general purpose welds, while the latter is a stiffer wire that is best for welds with high strength requirements.

It is necessary to use a different shielding gas for aluminum welding. While pure carbon dioxide is the shielding gas of choice for most other welds, argon gas must be used for aluminum to prevent the buildup of magnesium oxide on the surface of the aluminum.

These guidelines create a solid foundation for any welder looking to improve their welding skills. By keeping these simple tips in mind, you will know how to avoid some common mistakes that cause a weak weld and continue to perfect your craft as a professional welder.