How to Weld Faster
Welding faster may sound appealing, but aside from practice, there are few shortcuts when creating a strong weld. In fact, unless a situation calls for a fast-moving weld, there’s a good chance that slow and steady is the way to go.
An online search for ways to weld faster, will yield either descriptions of the ways automated welding has increased welding speed or press releases from companies who claim their gas or electrode holds the key to improving welding speed. In other words, it can seem like spending a lot of money is the only way to weld faster.
However, for those looking for some ways to save time on their welding projects, there are some ways to weld faster for certain projects. While it’s not always a good idea to find a way to weld faster, there are situations when welding faster may produce a better product or a few simple changes can speed up the time on task.
Set Up Correctly in Order to Increase Welding Speed
The welding setup, welder settings, and electrode selection will impact how fast welders can work. Industrial welders invest time in planning the size and shape of their welding areas, how parts are laid out, and how they supply their shielding gas. Testing settings or an electrode on a piece of scrap metal, especially for a beginners, will save time in the long run. Learn more about setting up an efficient shop here.
Welding Downhill Increases Welding Speed
While welding downhill is a faster way to weld, it’s not as strong as welding uphill. On most projects it’s not worth sacrificing strength and durability for the sake of welding speed. However, if the metal is thin enough, then welding downhill won’t make the weld weaker and may even be the correct technique for the job. Learn about uphill and downhill welding and see these diagrams of vertical and downhill welding.
Flat-Position Welding Increases Welding Speed
It’s common knowledge that welding in a horizontal position will be the easiest and fastest way to weld. A flat position is not as taxing to maintain and the welding puddle will stay in place. Take some time to evaluate each project before beginning in order to make sure the majority of welds can be completed in this position. If a job calls for vertical welding, see this article about vertical welding.
Core Wire Feeder Increases TIG Welding Speed
For professional welders hoping to speed up TIG welding, a core wire feeder will add filler metal through an automated process. Watch this video on how it works. This enables welders to work with both hands and to maintain a constant flow of wire into the welding puddle.
Ed Craig at the Frabricator writes about the wire feeder process first developed in Europe, saying it is “suitable for all-position welding on materials of any thickness, the process addresses traditional GTAW limitations and can enhance both manual and automated TIG weld quality and productivity."
Helium Shielding Gas Increases Welding Speed
Though using helium as a shielding gas makes it difficult to strike an arc and produces a lower quality weld because of the varying arc length, welders use helium in order to increase their speed and penetration into the metal. One of the ways around the unstable arc caused by helium is using an argon-helium mixture, especially for GTAW welding when it’s important to control the heat input.
An argon-helium mixture will improve the quality and speed when AC welding aluminum. In addition, the mixture makes it easier to strike an arc.
Preheat Certain Projects for Increased Welding Speed
When TIG welding aluminum or magnesium, preheating the work area after it is cleaned will improve both welding speed and the penetration of the weld.
Pulsed-Current TIG Welding Increases Welding Speed
TIG welders can increase the speed and quality of their welds by working in pulsed-current mode. This method allows them to fuse the metals together using the higher pulse current and then cooling and solidifying the weld by switching to the lower level background current.
MIG Welding Increases Welding Speed
In addition to welding aluminum and other softer metals, MIG-welding works faster, provides cleaner welds, and handles many different types of metals. The downside is its complexity. MIG Welders need direct currents, a steady stream of inert gas, and precise control of their torches.
The amount of heat generated from MIG welding provides the deep penetration required for a strong weld, while also melting the feed wire rapidly enough to maintain a higher welding speed than other techniques. Given the inert gas required for MIG welding, keep in mind that this technique cannot be conducted in windy areas.
The Right Stick Electrode Increases Welding Speed
There are three kinds of electrodes used for stick welding: fast-fill, fill-freeze, and fast-follow. While each electrode has its advantages, the fast-fill electrodes melt quickly and allow welders to work faster.
Welding at the Right Speed
Sometimes welding faster is the solution to problems caused by welding too slow. Welding at too slow a speed will cause sloppy, wide welds and provide limited penetration into the work pieces. While welding too fast can also lead to weak, narrow welds, sometimes learning to weld faster is the key to a high quality weld.
Practice and Learn from Experts
Beginning welders should focus on perfecting their technique and creating strong, clean welds. By taking classes, watching tutorials, reading articles on the Baker’s Resource page, and subscribing to Baker’s Weld My World blog, greater speed and efficiency will come over time.
Additional Articles and Resources
- Ten Tips to Reduce Your Welding Costs
- Causes and Cures of Common Welding Troubles
- Proper Welding Gear and Safety Clothing
- How to TIG Weld
- How to Stick Weld
- How to MIG Weld
- Browse Welding Products at Baker’s Web Site
Written exclusively for Baker's Gas and Welding by Ed Cyzewski