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Each welding position requires different techniques, preparation, and parameters. Understanding the welding positions will help you choose the right filler metal and welding process.
Welding position is a technique of joining metals in the position in which the component will be used.
There are 4 main types of welding positions which include:
Also known as the downhand position, the flat position is the easiest of all the welding positions. A flat position is the common type of weld. It is the first weld that beginners learn. In this position, you are not welding against gravity. The workpieces that are to be welded are placed flat. An electric arc is passed over the workpieces in a horizontal direction. The top surface of the joint is welded allowing the molten metal to flow downward into the joint groove or edges. A flat position can be welded with any welding process. Make sure to follow the recommended techniques for the process.
A horizontal weld is considered an out-of-position weld. It is more challenging to perform than vertical and overhead positions and requires higher skill. In the horizontal position, the weld axis is roughly horizontal. The position is executed based on the type of weld. For a groove weld, the weld face is along a vertical line. In fillet weld, the weld bead is done where the horizontal and vertical surfaces of the metals meet at a 90°. Horizontal weld has many similarities with the flat position.
The weld and plate lie vertically in the vertical welding position. Vertical welds can be done in two ways:
Vertical up is mostly used on thicker materials and on large weldments where it is difficult to move to flat or horizontal position.
One of the major challenges of vertical welding position is that the force of gravity pulls the molten metal downward and piles up the metal. Welding in a downhill or upward vertical position can help prevent this issue.
When working on vertical weld make sure you are comfortable in a position. You can initially practice on scrap material to ensure the techniques and parameters that you are using produce the required result. This way you can make the adjustments before welding on the workpiece.
The overhead welding position is done from the underside of the joint. It is the most difficult and complicated position requiring a high skill level. In this position, the welding is done with the metal pieces above the welder. Therefore, welders mostly find themselves lying on the floor for overhead welding. Make sure to find the most comfortable position to gain easy access to the joint for welding.
Overhead welds are mostly used on metals or fixed equipment that cannot be moved. One of the major issues in the overhead weld is that the deposited metal to the joint tends to sag on the plate. This results in beads with higher crowns. To prevent this, make sure to keep the molten puddle small. If the weld puddle is large, the welder needs to remove the flame for a moment to allow the molten metal to cool.
When welding in an overhead position the sparks dropdown. Make sure you have extra protection such as a bandana under your welding helmet. Stick welding produces more sparks and splatter. Using a full leather welding jacket offers protection from sparks and splatter.
When you start working on a welding position, it is always a good idea to perform a few practice passes before welding to ensure you complete the entire weld length in a comfortable position. Being in a comfortable position is pertinent to achieving a consistent weld.
The filler metal you choose, and mode of transfer determine the welding position you should go for. If you want to weld overhead, then make sure the filler metal is capable of it and adjust your welding parameters to help optimize the overhead welding position.