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Unread 01-20-2006, 06:31 AM   #1
Matt in TN
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Welding - full penetration vs. welding both sides

Which is stronger, or does it make a difference? I bevel both sides on thicker stuff (say 1/4") where I can't get full penetration, run very slowly with slow wire speed and as hot as I can to penetrate as much as possible, but still come back and weld the opposing side as I never get full penetration (I only have a 110V welder). Unfortunately, buying a 3-phase true MIG is out of the question right now

Is there a major drawback to welding both sides (making the weld brittle)? I know on our steel natural gas pipelines (0.188" - 0.312" wall) they use stick welders and lay a root bead with two filler beads on top of that, so multiple beads can't be THAT bad, can they?

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Unread 01-20-2006, 07:37 AM   #2
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When properly done, you can lay many more than 3 beads and not be a bad thing. With a 110 machine and beveling you should be able to get full penetration. I would suggest picking up a welding handbook from HD or Lowes and reading up. Welding on both sides is not a bad thing at all. I usually try to weld both sides of something.
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Unread 01-20-2006, 07:53 AM   #3
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I can't say that I've ever beveled both sides of a joint nor can I see how doing so would give you better penetration or make the weld stronger. You could certainly weld both sides, though. I'd probably run a single bead on the beveled side then stitch weld the flat side then come back and run your additional beads (I agree with being able to run more than three) on the beveled side. Of course all that depends on the type of weld and the application for the 1/4" steel piece.
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Unread 01-20-2006, 12:14 PM   #4
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Keep your wire speed up. Voltage is controlled by the wire speed. The extra voltage will help your penetration and tie in.
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Unread 01-20-2006, 12:24 PM   #5
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a full penetration weld means that there is physically a gap between the two pieces to be joined with a backing plate, the gap width is a function of piece thickness, one side of the joint to be welded is usually bevelled for electrode access, the angle of bevel is dependent upon type of welding process to be used, then the gap, bevel, and joint thickness is completely filled with weld material (multiple passes usually req'd). When done correctly, a full penetration weld as described above is stronger than the material joined.
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Unread 01-20-2006, 02:15 PM   #6
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1/4" is about the upper limit for a 110V welder. I'd just completely bevel (at about 45 degrees) one side of the joint and fill with a weave. That'll help keep from piling weld up at the joint. Any thicker than 1/4" and I think the metal sinks away (absorbs) too much heat for a 110V welder to be effective.
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Unread 01-20-2006, 03:27 PM   #7
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I agree with Besrk,but i would run a stringer bead for the root and cap with a weave with a 110 welder on 1/4"
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Unread 01-20-2006, 10:15 PM   #8
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i have a question as well i have acess to a hobart mig welder but not a stick welder and would i be alright building a rear bumper with a swingaway and a recovery point or do i need to use a arc.
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Unread 01-21-2006, 07:54 AM   #9
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A mig is fine. It would be nice if the welder was 220V.. it would burn in everything easy. If it's 110V, you might want to think twice about doing the thick clevis mounts. Otherwise, build it out of 3/16" stock and just bevel everything.
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Unread 01-21-2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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Always remember...a couple tricks for doing 1/4" and thicker material with a 110vac unit:


As mentioned before....taper the meeting edges....this is kind of like when you glue two pieces of wood together with good wood glue...the wood will break beside the glue line 9 times out of 10....the weld is stronger than the steel you are putting it on....remember not to cool the weld in water...this tempers the weld and steel...let it cool naturally.

Also...if you have 1/4" and thicker...simply heat both pieces up with a torch before you weld....you will see a big difference on penetration


I wouldn't hesitate to weld 1" thick steel with a 110vac unit, if it was pre-heated, tapered, and a couple of passes....no problem
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Unread 01-21-2006, 04:48 PM   #11
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1"thick steel + 110v unit = hot glue gun
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Unread 01-21-2006, 07:03 PM   #12
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nah...It will work fine....follow the tips I said.....especially the pre heat...it will penetrate like a mo-fo!

and of course...multiple passes....I am not saying one pass....
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