I've been trying to get down running a horizontal bead for the week, and I
haven't had much success. Miller suggests using a work angle perpendicular
to the stock, with a 10 to 15 degree travel angle, but all that gets me is a
weld that droops down.
The best I've been able to come up with is to turn down the current a little
so that I don't undercut the top, and while running the 15 degree travel
angle, I have the work angle set with the tip pointing up about 20 degrees
They still aren't looking so hot, but they are a little better. I'm not
happy with them, though.
Got any tips for proper technique on running a horizontal bead weld? This
is with 7018AC.
Okay, I got ahold of the Navy welding manual, and they suggest a similar
technique (20 degree travel angle, 15 degree work angle). So I'm good
To cut down on the sag, they suggest a slight weave. However, here is the
one part that has me puzzled:
"As you move in and out of the crater, pause slightly
each time you return. This keeps the crater small and the
bead has less tendency to sag."
I have always read that when weaving, one is to pause momentarily at the top
and bottom. Are they (the Navy book) suggesting that I pause instead in the
middle of the weave, when I am in the puddle? Do they mean the puddle when
they speak of the crater?
Pause at the top, but not at the bottom of each weave.
like a series of U's (UUUUUUUU)
The weave should be narrow and slow.
Put 2 rods side by side.
The widest you should weave is from the center of one to the center of
Your angles sound fine at 20 and 15 deg.
Arc length at 1/8".
Amps at 105 to 115.
Yep! Much better description than I could give- this is the same
technique I use. Most common problem I've seen people struggle with is
keeping that short arc length. As the rod burns back, they forget to
move with it. It's a combination of motions- one to manage that arc
length, one to travel down the joint, one to work the weave, all while
maintaining those travel and work angles.
As you start out, your logical mind will know the motions you need to
make from reading the descriptions, but your muscles won't move right
until they've been trained how. Practice, practice, practice! Every
rod you burn will sprout new neurons in the motor-control part of the
I wish I could put two wires together, and bingo. Mainly Jon and Ernie.
I have been frustrated by the exact situation the OP has stated, just not
getting it, and burning pound after pound of rod.
I think that a good instructor will let you do that for a while, and then,
when you've JUST about got it, give you a live one on one demonstration that
ties it all together.
I have always said that I can teach a man more in one day about welding than
he can get in two weeks of bookreading or just trial and error.
I think it's a test of will. The instructors will weed out the ones who
will just NOT give up, and then finally appear one day with their hood and
make it look all so simple.
Those "AHA" moments in life. Just like the first time you rode a bike and
I usually find myself keeping it too close. I realize this when I'm in the
crater and the puddle comes back and covers my arc. That's when I pull it
back and speed up a little.
This horizontal is a whole different kettle of fish, though. When I'm too
close the only way I can tell is that I can feel the rod/flux start draging
on whatever I'm practicing on.
Aye. I don't see progress from day to day, but I keep going out there
anyway. I'm a lot better than I used to be.
Jon, intentionally vary your angles just a little and run a rod, then change
it and run another. If you're not doing something right, you don't want to
do the same thing with the next rod. You'll go through rod and pipe or
plate, but varying will give you different results which you can then
compare and go with the one that works. What I have done is taken rods in
my hand and set up just like I was going to weld, and looked at all the
angles and gotten into position so that when I did weld, I had simulated it
for about five minutes or so. Welding is repetition to the point of
boredom, and once you get it right, it's just like cruise control. Well,
Jon, your persistence is admirable. With welding, that is a good thing, as
a lot of people just give up. You ARE going to get this. And you will be a
better weldor for it.
I have been teaching welding for 14 years now.
My methods can seem pretty odd to somebody who has never welded before.
I like to give a quick demo of the process and machine settings, and
then walk away.
I want the student to simply burn a LOT of rod.
I DON'T want to see every weld they run .
In fact I don't want to see anything until at least their 50th rod.
Then I will see if they are on the right track.
I will comment and try to talk them through the improvements I want as
to angle, arc length and travel speed.
At around 100 rods I like to do the whole "Proxy weld" thing where I
move their hand while welding so they get a sense memory of the motion.
Until they have run about 100 rods they don't really have much of a
frame of reference for me to even help them.
Every month I get a new group of students and have to explain this
There are many students who are complete newbies who just don't
understand why I can't watch over their shoulder for every rod they
They think it would speed things up.
I know it won't.
There is no shortcut to learning welding.
You just have to weld and weld and weld.
Being a welding instructor means knowing exactly when to step in and
give a nudge here and there in the right direction, knowing when to
leave them alone to stew in their own juices, or stomp on a bad habit
before it gets ingrained.
Hehe, well to be honest, my motivation is that I don't get to play with my
new toy until I finish building it, and that means learning how to do
horizontal welds. Of course, then once I know how to horizontal weld, I can
think about other project I want to build also, and just generally be able
to build things that require a better weld.
Many people think that horizontal welding is easier than vertical or
overhead but in fact many people fail practical tests in this position,
mostly due to 'cold lapping' which is often caused by too large a puddle
flowing ahead over cold base material that has not had contact with the arc.
Low heat and slow travel speed as well as poor rod angle are often
I would not worry too much about holding too short an arc as (within reason)
there is really no such thing. Normally when welding with a drooping power
source the amps will rise as the arc shortens and this will just cause an
increased burn off rate which will require increased travel speed to stay
ahead of the puddle and prevent 'cold lapping'. The puddle is not where you
want to direct your arc as that material is already molten and really does
not need any more heat as that will again contribute to 'cold lapping'.
Concentrate your attention and arc on the base material at and just ahead of
the toe of the puddle and ensure that all are fusing smoothly.
Heavily fluxed rods such as 7018 and especially those containing large
amounts of iron powder in the coatings such as 7024 or 7028 ('JET' rods)
(especially in larger sizes) rods often work best when run at high heat and
lightly dragging the coating. When done right the flux will shrink like a
scorpion tail as it cools and will fall off with little other removal
required. When working at high heats in a deep groove it is sometimes
desirable to add a little twisting movement to encourage the flux to break
off especially if you are experiencing some fingernailing caused by uneven
coating thickness or arc blow.
Most pros like to run hot and short, as this increases production and
penetration and really is a lot easier. It is often possible to 'rest your
eyes' and almost sleep as the rod does its thing in a deep grove or fillet
and the weld progress can be judged by sound. The shipyard and heavy iron
guys using 24" rods do a lot of this.
Watch the arc to ensure fusion, and watch the puddle to control bead size
and shape and to prevent undercut or excessive convexity.
As others have said, the more rods you burn, the easier it gets. Don't get
discouraged, and don't be afraid to turn the heat up a little.
Good luck, YMMV
Ernie L's post:
I hope you don't mind, Ernie. I'm gonna save your post, print it, and
put it in my "Someday" file. I wanna be good enough and patient enough
to be an instructor, though I know it'll be about 350 more years of
practice from now.
What's that saying? Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery?
I don't know what your actual experiences were, but for me, it involved some
small light bulbs going on in balloons over my head ............... and a
subliminal ......... "OHHHHHHHHH" in the background .......
And way back there, "Why didn't I think of that?"