The “Rules” for Welding


This is a plug, or Rosette weld. This month’s column covers many other commonly used weld types.

Q. I’ve been in this business for many years, and there doesn’t seem to be much agreement about the terms used for common weld types. Can you clear up the confusion, and give me accurate definitions for the following types of welds?

Intermittent Weld, Skip Weld, Stitch Weld, Plug Weld, Rosette Weld, Tack Weld, Continuous Weld.

Any other pointers on welding would be appreciated.

“Radio” Bob Falini
Radio Active Auto Body
Van Nuys, California

A. Thanks for the great questions, Bob. I’ve heard many people misuse these terms, but fortunately, there are standard definitions used in industry which describe them clearly. Let’s go through your list:

Intermittent Weld, Skip Weld, or Stitch Weld: (These all mean the same.) A weld whose continuity is broken by recurring un-welded spaces.

Rosette Weld, or Plug Weld: A circular weld created by making a hole in one section of metal, and welding through the hole to join it to a second piece underneath.

Tack Weld: Joining pieces of metal with one small weld, or several small welds spaced some distance apart.

Continuous Weld: A weld that runs continuously from one end of a joint to the other. This term is used even if the welder stops several times, or starts in different places, as long as the completed weld is continuous.

There are many more types of welding, but the above list covers the types of welding generally used by automotive hobbyists.

In addition, there are many types of joint configurations, such as fillet welds, butt welds, lap welds, and others. If any readers are interested in learning more about these, let me know, and we can cover them in more depth in a later column.

I meet a lot of talented people in this business. One fellow I’ve met, Carl Heideman, at Eclectic Motorworks in Holland, Michigan teaches classes on welding, metalworking and performance tuning. Carl has put together some “rules” on welding that are fun, helpful, and easy to remember. Here are some of my favorites:

1. You can’t weld dirt
The metal needs to be clean, the gas needs to be clean, the table needs to be clean, the welding rod or wire needs to be clean, your gloves need to be clean, etc.

2. You can’t weld air
The fit of the panels to be welded is critical. Often a tightly-fitted joint is best. If you prefer to have a gap between the panels, it’s important that the gap is consistent, and usually not wider than one material thickness.

3. If you can’t see, you can’t weld
It’s extremely important to do whatever it takes to give yourself a good view of the welding area. Moving your body to a more favorable position, adding more light, cleaning your welding lens, selecting the proper shade of lens, and using glasses and magnifiers can be immensely helpful.

4. Do a Practice Run
You may be surprised how beneficial it is to move your hands, arms, and body through the path you’ll navigate when you actually make the weld. Sometimes a small adjustment in your body position (like moving your supporting elbow a little) can allow you to move the torch or gun with better control, or to follow a longer path. Also, you’re building up ‘muscle memory’ which will give you better control when you’re actually making the weld.

5. Get comfortable
Making a good weld requires precise body control, and this is hard to achieve if you’re not comfortable. It’s best to be seated when welding, or if this is not possible, look for support from anything you can lean against, or prop your hand, arm, or shoulder against as you make your weld.

6. Be in a good mood
Trying to fill a hole immediately after you burned it may not work very well. It might be better to wait until the aggravation has passed.

7. Position matters
Horizontal is easiest, vertical is more challenging, and upside down is never ideal. Sometimes you have to do ‘out of position’ welding, but it’s always good to look for a way to avoid it.

8. Read the Manual
The manufacturers who make welding equipment want you to use it in the best way possible. Be sure that you at least start with the settings recommended by the manufacturer.

I’ll bet that many of you may benefit from adopting some of Carl’s “rules”.

You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at covell@cruzio.com, or mail to: Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Blvd., Suite 105, Freedom CA 95019; you’ll receive a personal reply! Ron Covell has made many DVDs on metalworking, and he offers an ongoing series of workshops across the nation. Check them out online at covell.biz, or call for a current schedule of workshops and a free catalog of DVDs. Phone (800) 747-4631, or (831) 768-0705. You’ll also enjoy Ron’s YouTube channel; www.youtube.com/user/covellron

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