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Welding and Welder Basics (page 2)

Common Welding Terms and Types of Welds

Common Welding Terms

Arc Length -- Refers to the gap between the end of the electrode and where the arc makes contact with the surface of the metal.

Backup Strip -- A section of metal that is butted-up to an open gap between two workpieces. Often times, backup strips are used behind a gap to avoid blowing through the metal. The backup strip can either be welded into place, or a metal with a high melting temperature can be held behind the gap while welding.

Brazing -- A process in which a filler metal that is above 850°F but lower than the melting temperature of the parent metal, is used to join pieces together.

Duty Cycle -- The number of minutes out of a 10-minute period in which an arc welder can operate the maximum-rated output.

Electrode -- A coated metal wire that has the same composition as the metal that is being welded

Flash Burn -- This is when the radiation produced by the ultraviolet rays from the welding arc burn your skin or your eyes. This is commonly called “welder's flash”. Flash burn will have similar effects to sunburn on your skin, and will feel like you have sand in your eyes within 24 hours of being exposed. ALWAYS wear your welding helmet and protective clothing when you are welding, or near someone who is!

Flux -- The coating on arc-welding rods and flux-cored welding wire. It is consumed in the arc to produce a shielding gas.

Ground Lead -- The conductor cable between the welder and the metal you are welding.

Hard Facing -- Welding electrode or wire that is designed to add surface to an area rather than join two pieces of metal together. This is often times used on high-wear areas to allow for the surface to last longer when in constant contact with another surface. Commonly used on the buckets of excavating machines.

Rated Output -- The amps and voltage the power source in the welder will produce for a given duty-cycle period.

Shielding Gas -- Protective gas used to prevent contaminants from the atmosphere against getting in the weld pool. Normally this is a mixed gas or CO2.

Slag -- A layer of flux soot that protects the weld's contaminants while the weld is cooling (or solidifying). Slag must be removed after the weld cools.

Spatter -- Metal particles that are thrown while welding. Spatter often sticks to, and cools on, the workpiece and must be removed.

Stick Electrode -- A stick of metal filler that has had the electrode covered by the necessary chemical or metallic chemicals to shield the weld from the atmosphere when welding. The stick also completes the electrical circuit and creates the arc necessary to weld with a stick welder.

Tungsten -- A metallic element with an extremely high melting point used for manufacturing TIG electrodes.

Weld Pool -- This is the molten metal that is seen when welding metal together.

 Wire Feed Speed -- The amount of filler metal fed into a weld. The higher the wire feed speeds, the higher the amperage.

Common Types of Welds.

The most common types of welds or joints are listed below. These are usually the best to choose from when welding 2 pieces of metal together.

Butt Weld

butt weld
This weld is a joint between two plates or sections where the components are butted together and do NOT overlap or interlock. This is the most common joint used in the welding field. Sometimes jointing plates are fixed or welded to the panels to add additional strength.

Lap Joint

lap joint
A joint in which the two metal parts are overlapped in a parallel plane.

Corner Joint

corner joint
A joint where the two metal parts are to be joined at right angles to each other. These joints normally require a large amount of weld metal to create a strong weld.

Edge Joint

edge joint
This is a joint in which the surfaces of the two metals that are to be welded are parallel to one another, and the weld is made on the now-common edge when they are butted together.

Plug Weld

plug weld
A joint where the weld is made through a circular hole that is in one of the pieces into the other part that is placed directly behind the hole.

Seam Weld

seam weld
A continuous weld that is made between or on top of two overlapping metal parts.

Stitch Weld

stitch weld
A weld made between or upon two overlapping parts. Often times these are referred to as “spot welds”, although technically incorrect.


t joint
A type of joint that is produced when two metal parts are perpendicular to each other and form the letter “T” when welded.