Types of Welding Positions – Briefly Explained by Experts

You might have been thinking that welding can be performed simply by putting the two pieces together and joining them, moving them around just as one wants; it doesn’t sound so difficult, right? But there is much more to it. Knowing different types of welding positions might leave you panicked and agitated.

Welding two metal pieces together can be trickier. There is so much to consider, like the location of the workpiece and where it will be used, according to which 4 main types of welding positions are developed. The welding position is in relation to the welder and the workpiece. They tell the tricks and techniques through which we can carry out safe and effective welding on pieces of different types and at different positions.

There is so much to know and understand, but absolutely no need to panic; it will again begin to sound easy to you once you understand and get the gist of it. Below are the 4 main types of welding positions explained in the easiest way that can help you to become a proper welder.

Types of Welding Positions

Flat Welding

Also known as Down hand position, the flat welding position is the most common of the four types of welding positions and the type that welders learn first. This position does not demand much skill hence is the easiest, yet provides a strong and effective weld. The welding is done on the top side of the joint, with the metals that are to be welded together, placed flat, and the welder moves the electric arc in a horizontal direction over them.

That way, the upper side of the joint is welded together, and the molten metal then flows down into the joint. This means maximum penetration, strong and easy weld, as well as the lack of danger as the molten metal, does not flow out of the weld pool. Hence the flat position weld is faster, safer, easier, and sounder. It is normally used to make fillet welds, butt welds, and padding welds and can be written as 1G or 1F, according to the type of weld—1 for flat weld and G and F representing groove and fillet weld, respectively.

Types of welding positions

Horizontal Welding

Horizontal welding is said to be an out-of-position weld because it is not flat; also, it demands skill and expertise that comes from practice as it is a challenging weld position to perform. The reason it is called horizontal position is because of the horizontal weld axis, while the position of the joint is decided by the type of weld. For a groove weld, the weld face of the joint is vertical, while the welding is done on a horizontal axis or plane.

As for a fillet position, the two surfaces are held at an angle of 90 degrees, perpendicular to each other rather than in a vertical position. One surface stands vertically over the other surface that lies horizontally, and both are welded on the upper side at a horizontal axis.

Hence, the difference lies in the executed position of the joint, which depends on the weld type, but the welding axis remains horizontal regardless. 2G is used to represent horizontal welding performed on a groove weld, 2 standing for the horizontal position, and G is for groove weld. Similarly, 2F represents horizontal welding performed on a fillet weld, 2 for the position, and F standing for the fillet weld.

The reason it is taken as a difficult welding position to perform is that there is a chance of sagging of the molten metal, which can flow downward on the joint. This can result in undercut and overlapping of the welding on the joint. A skilled welder avoids this through certain tricks, like moving the welding electrode at a faster speed across the joint and moving it slightly up and down. That way, the puddle can harden quickly and is held at a place; keeping the arc length shorter also helps.

Vertical Welding

Vertical welding involves welding a joint that is held vertically at the same (vertical) axis; both the metal and weld lie on a vertical plane or an approximately vertical plane. There are two types of vertical weld, vertical-up, and vertical-down. Vertical-up involves welding in an uphill vertical position, and vertical-down is the downhill vertical welding position. Both are used for different purposes. This position is represented by 3G and 3F, G, and F, standing for the weld type, groove, and fillet.

The obvious problem with this welding position is the force of gravity acting against your work. The molten metal keeps flowing downward and can pile up, though the issue can be dealt with in both types of vertical variants. While performing an uphill vertical weld, holding the electrode at a 45-degree angle while pointing at the joint can keep the molten metal from dropping.

That way, the metal from the lower area of the joint works against gravity. In vertical-down welding, the piling up of the molten metal is controlled by pointing and holding the electrode towards the plate at the same angle.

For the vertical welding position, using an electrode with a larger diameter presents a greater risk of the puddle flowing down; hence an electrode with a maximum diameter of 4mm is used, not more than that. The vertical-up position offers deeper penetration and a stronger weld, so it is used for purposes where strength is important.

Vertical-down puts one at a disadvantage here as the slag (residue of the metal) can get trapped in the molten metal as both run in the same downward direction. This results in ineffective penetration, consequently, a weak bond. So, this variant is used for sealing purposes where strength is not a major concern.

Types of Welding Position

Overhead Welding

This is the most difficult and dangerous welding position to perform among the four basic types of welding positions. As the name implies, the workpiece is placed over the welder’s head, and the welding has to be performed from the underside of the joint; you see why it is the most complicated. The two metal plates are located above, and the welder has to adjust his and the welding electrode’s angle to reach up there and carry out the weld.

The issue and danger here lie clearly in the dropping of the molten metal over the welder’s head, along with the flying sparks. That’s because the welded metal sags from the joint, forming a droplet hanging over. To avoid this, point the electrode at an angle of 10 to 25 degrees towards the direction of the weld and weld rapidly.

That way, the metal will solidify quickly, and the puddle created will be small, eliminating the chances of it dropping over. If the molten puddle gets too large, stop the heat for a few moments letting the metal cool down. For overhead welding, using a short electrode with a diameter of not more than 3.15 mm is recommended. The current used is also suggested to be 20 to 25% less than the other welding positions.

FAQs

What are the main types of welds?

There are two main types of welds that decide the position of the joint to carry out any one of all the positions of the weld. Those are Fillet weld and Groove weld. Fillet weld is most commonly used; the two metal plates are held at a right angle, 90 degrees, to each other to execute a fillet weld. Then comes the groove weld with the second number in popularity in use. The weld is performed right in between the two metal plates, welding the edges together.

What are the main types of weld joints?

Joint is where the two metal surfaces are combined; there are 5 primary types of weld joints.

1. Butt Joint: It’s the type when the two metal pieces simply join at their edges with no special shaping.

2. Lap Joint: The two surfaces overlap, placed on top of each other, partially or fully.

3. Corner Joint: The two pieces are joined at a 90 degrees angle, forming a corner.

4. T Joints: The edge of one piece joins at the center of the other piece forming a T shape, a type of fillet weld.

5. Edge Joint: The flat even sides of the two metal pieces are joined together.

What is the 5G welding position?

5G is a pipe welding position; it’s much like the 1G (flat) welding position; the only difference is that the pipe does not rotate; it is fixed. The pipe is placed on a horizontal axis, and the welding is carried out on the outer side of the pipe on a vertical axis, either upwards or downwards.

Conclusion

This elaborative yet easy-to-understand guide is at your disposal to get a strong understanding of the 4 four main types of welding positions, which is extremely crucial to carry out welding well. There is also a FAQs session to address the other common questions that might be confusing you when it comes to welding. So, here’s hoping that you read and understood the article thoroughly, and don’t forget to refer to it whenever you are skeptical about the welding positions in the future.

About Dave Walker

Dave Walker, a professional welder who has been welding from an early age. Now aims to help others by making them learning skills and finding them new opportunities. He has written for many welding blogs and helped many pursue their welding goals by helping them in choosing the best welding tools of the time.

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