The different types of welding positions

Welding is often done on structures in the position in which they are found but various techniques have been developed to allow welding in any position. Some welds require all-position capabilities while others only require one or two positions but are important for a welder to understand.

The filler metal and welding process will determine the most suitable welding position. If you need to weld overhead or out of position, ensure that the filler metal is capable of this and then adjust the welding parameters to optimize out-of-position welding.

 The types of welding positions include:

Flat Welding Position:

Welding is performed from the upper side of the joint. In this position, the most common type of weld, you are not welding against gravity. The work pieces are placed flat. An electric arc is passed over the work pieces 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.

Symbol 1 refers to a flat position –1F (Fillet Weld) or 1G (Groove Weld

Horizontal Welding Position:

The weld axis is horizontal, but the weld type dictates the complete definition. For a fillet weld, welding is performed on the upper side of an approximately horizontal surface and against an approximately vertical surface. For a groove weld, the face of the weld lies in an approximately vertical plane.

Symbol 2 is a horizontal position – 2F (Fillet Weld) or 2G (Groove Weld)

Vertical Welding Position:

The axis of the weld is approximately vertical. When welding is done on a vertical surface, the molten metal tends to run downward and pile up. The flow of metal can be controlled by pointing the flame upward at a 45-degree angle to the plate and holding the rod between the flame and the molten puddle

Symbol 3 is a vertical position – 3F (Fillet Weld) or 3G (Groove Weld)

Overhead Welding Position:

Overhead welding is performed from the underside of a joint. The metal deposited tends to drop or sag on the plate, causing the bead to have a high crown. The molten puddle should be kept small to overcome this difficulty, and enough filler metal should be added to obtain good fusion with some reinforcement at the bead.

Symbol 4 is an overhead position –4F (Fillet Weld) or 4G (Groove Weld)

While practising welding in these positions, keep in mind that gravity and heat distribution affects the weld pools of each position. These factors make the skills needed for each position distinct.

The various welding positions can be applied to the welding processes as follow:

  • TIG welding can be done in all positions.
  • MIG can be done in all positions but spray transfer MIG is recommended for flat and horizontal welding only.
  • MMA welding can be used in all positions, but the choice of filler metal is the main factor to consider.

It is recommended to practice a few welds prior to performing the weld. A welder must be sure to complete the entire length of the weld in a comfortable position as an uncomfortable position can result in an inconsistent weld.


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