the 5 parameters of welding

The five key welding parameters are current (40-200 amperes), voltage (18-29 volts), travel speed (8-18 inches per minute), electrode type (e.g., E6013, E7018), and shielding gas mix (e.g., 75% argon, 25% CO2).


Current Current is among the prime aspects determining welding, as it directly influences heat input and the quality of the weld. Different materials need certain currents because only in this way they can result in the best weld, optimal in terms of strength and appearance. As an example, welding stainless steel 0.1, or thinner, mm thick, may require a current as low as 40, or 50, up to 70 amperes not to be burnt through and keeping a razor edge due to clean strong joints.

At the same time, a thicker, steel section may be done at 120-200 A, meaning that low currents might not be able to provide the needed penetration to ensure the joint is strong and high. As for percentage coefficients, the current largely depends on what one welds, or what type of metal he uses and its thickness. A common indicator utilized to determine current amperage is about 1 1A per 0.001 inch of metal. When dealing with two metals of the same thickness: steel and aluminium, the current for the latter is usually higher due to a high thermal conduction of the latter. At the same time, the penetration with the unit current also may be different; it may be lower with aluminium when the two metals are of exactly the same thickness.

At the same time, setting the current is also a prime consideration as it always means the speed of welding. In large production families – the automotive industry, shipbuilding, etc., the choice of current may greatly facilitate the process, which results in improved productivity. In such scenarios the speed of operation is most important as any production process is interest that the faster in it is done the better.

Speed, especially when dealing with multiple passes, may also compromise the final quality, increasing costs. As for smaller applications, the current fluctuations within the range of 30 – 150 A, characteristic of common multiprocess welders, are good enough. They already account for almost a zero penetration level with thin metal material and are quite enough for suing it for finer applications. At the same time, the latter type of material allows for application in construction when one needs to fill thicker materials such as a crucible on a casting ladle, a metal garden gate or repair a broken tool middle that is strong.



Welding’s effect on the arc characteristics, particularly the resulting weld bead’s width and appearance, is significant. Thus, the proper management of voltage settings is important to ensure smooth, aesthetically acceptable finishes for all types of welding. For example, slightly increasing the voltage can achieve a longer, wider arc, which might be needed to apply fillet welds to piece corners and parts which are hardly reachable.

When welding MIG on steel,  voltage might vary around 18-22 volts for thin materials that are less than 1/8 inch thick. In contrast, on thicker materials, it might be raised up to 29 volts to ensure adequate heat penetration and create strong connections. Additionally, when dealing with some types of projects, especially, among those which require the completed product to be highly aesthetical, such as custom motorcycle frames or fine steel sculptures, it is necessary to adjust voltages to achieve a more accurately-sized bead.

Such adjustments can greatly facilitate post-weld cleanup; reduce the number of beading effects; and enhance the at-weld appearance of the bead, in general, thus, improving the aesthetical qualities of the completed item. Finally, voltage adjustments can be directed at minimising spattering, a problem, which is pervasive in welding. Particularly, lower voltages are viewed as acceptable for most applications because they reduce spatter; automotive repair is one industry where spatter is damaging for many parts.

It is because spatter compromises sensitive components and, without the use of a curtain/box, the welder has to spend a lot of additional time in grinding it off. This increases the resulting production costs, among others. Thus, welders who work in this field should aim at creating low spatter connections by using lower voltages. DIYers or home welders also need to carefully consider the voltage issue given that, particularly, portable welders operate within narrower voltage limits. For instance, they almost never require more than 110-140 volts of welding, thus, being limited to very thin materials. At the same time, they usually work in an almost endless variety of steel DIY applications, from the creation of the wheel to the swing set, and are cost-effective.

Travel Speed

The travel speed in welding is the rate at which the welder moves the gun along the workpiece’s length. This parameter directly affects the heat input to the workpiece, which in turn influences weld penetration and bead appearance. While being a critical welding parameter, travel speed is a particularly important variable that welders must learn to manage effectively. For example, this phenomenon is typical in pipeline welding. Here, welders must control the travel speed to produce high quality, uniform beads along the length of the pipe.

In the case of residential plumbing, the pipe that is being welded is relatively thin. To avoid warping the pipe, the travel speed should be at 12-18 inches per minute. Indeed, this speed is slow enough to ensure proper fusion but fast enough to prevent heat buildup. Another example, when the travel speed matters is in automotive bodywork. Here, the heat input must be precisely controlled when working with thin sheet metals. The travel speed should be slow enough to avoid excessive heat input, which might cause warpage and burn-through. On the other hand, it should be sufficiently fast to ensure proper fusion.

Typically, in such cases, inappropriate travel speeds range around 8-10 inches per minute. Metal hobbyists might be working on small projects,  making a metal bench or a garden gate IT project. The travel speed also matters as it affects the quality of the projects. One of the projects, slowing the travel speed is a critical element is tacking the handrail onto some staircase treads at 5-6 inches per minute. Finally, in ammonia, the travel speed has to be synchronized with production timelines. If the speed is too slow, spaces, and equipment will be idle and labor costs will increase.

Electrode Type and Size

One of the primary factors in welding is an electrode type and size. It plays a role in the ease of use, welding quality, and characteristics of the weld. The best choice of electrode depends on the material, with which a person suppose to weld, the expected strength development, and welding position.

One such example in stick welding is a universal choice of E6013 electrode, which is widely used on mild steel. It is the best electrode for making a smooth weld, while being capable to remove slag effectively and easily, and it is a nice choice for novices. An optimal range of electrodes’ diameter oscillates between 1/16 inch for welding thin sheet metal and 1/4 inch for thick plates. An 1/8 inch E6013 electrode is able to carry out the majority of general-purpose maintenance and repair tasks with the optimal balance of penetration depth and welding ease.

E308L electrodes are more preferable if a person is about to weld stainless steel, as they are corrosion-resistant. It is available in sizes that best fit the corresponding thickness of the material, with the most convenient size of electrodes, being no more than 1/16 inch for sheets no thinner than 0.048 inches with minimal warpage and excellent surface finish and quality.

A building frame or pieces of heavy equipment, those being repaired by a worker, or production sheets should be welded by an E7018 electrode, which is optimal for achieving high-strength welds with a tremendous margin of tensile strength. They are usually available in sizes between 1/16 inch and 5/32 inch thick with a maximum penetration depth on thick materials, which range is crucial to implement for the structural integrity.

The electrodes with average diameters of approximately 1/8 inch, such as E6011, and can undergo AC or DC current and multipositional welding, such as vertical welding up and overhead. If a person’s task of house welding is such things as the production of a sheet metal table or fixing up garden tools, the best idea is to purchase an electrode, Those size and depth perfectly match with varying thicknesses and metal types assist to vividly differentiate from a remote depth from the weld.

Shielding Gas

One of the primary aspects of the welding process is the type of gas used since it affects arc stability, the resulting weld, and the levels of the atmospheric contaminants. Naturally, the selection depends largely on two general factors, which are the type of material to be welded, with some gases being more suitable for specific types of metal, and the desired quality of the weld. The common choice for MIG welding of mild steel is a mixture of 75% argon and 25% carbon dioxide. This mix is reasonably inexpensive, pleasant to work with, and results in a smooth bead of good quality, with minimal spatter. When welding demands a higher interest in cleaning and presentation, such as in works on car bodies or artistic cut metal, a mix containing 95% argon and 5% carbon dioxide is perceived as more beneficial. However, the latter is costlier, albeit increasing the admixture of argon beyond 95% is not recommended due to the arc becoming excessively unstable.

The presence of even small amounts of carbon dioxide makes the arc more stable, which means there is still some additional cleaning post-process. TIG welding of all materials, including aluminum and stainless steel, would use 100% argon due to the inertness of the gas and a very stable arc forming. It results in a highly non-corrosive weld of an outstanding quality with a high strength and precisely controlling.createClass applications, such as welding of aerospace components or cutlery entirely from stainless steel. The gas is also reasonably inexpensive and nearly universally used. The questionable choice offering additional penetration at a very low expense is pure carbon dioxide for 30 rubles per l of the gas.

As for carbon dioxide’s downsides, the spatter becomes significantly more noticeable, and the L*A*P*S* values of the process worsen beyond degenerate cleaning. This means that, while the gas might nominally be cheaper after every conceivable cost, the savings would be similar to or nonexistent, as magnesium was commonly used in the CO2 refinement process. Finally, when welding works of relatively modest thickness and the highest possible quality are required, but the cost is not an issue, Argon is used even in small amounts, with the third commonly used gas being Helium due to the increased penetration. An example of this could be welding of one-inch plates of non-ferrous metal.

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