fra0303 Fundamentals of Professional Welding

Welded Joint Design

The details of a joint, which includes both the geometry and the required dimensions, are called the joint design. Just what type of joint design is best suited for a particular job depends on many factors. Although welded joints are designed primarily to meet strength and safety requirements, there are other factors that must be considered. A few of these factors areas follows:

Whether the load will be in tension or compression and whether bending, fatigue, or impact stresses will be applied

  • How a load will be applied; that is, whether the load will be steady, sudden, or variable
  • The direction of the load as applied to the joint
  • The cost of preparing the joint

Another consideration that must be made is the ratio of the strength of the joint compared to the strength of the base metal. This ratio is called joint efficiency. An efficient joint is one that is just as strong as the base metal.

Normally, the joint design is determined by a designer or engineer and is included in the project plans and specifications. Even so, understanding the joint design for a weld enables you to produce better welds.

Earlier in this chapter, we discussed the five basic types of welded joints—butt, corner, tee, lap, and edge. While there are many variations, every joint you weld will be one of these basic types. Now, we will consider some of the variations of the welded joint designs and the efficiency of the joints.


The square butt joint is used primarily for metals that are 3/16 inch or less in thickness. The joint is reasonably strong, but its use is not recommended when the metals are subject to fatigue or impact loads. Preparation of the joint is simple, since it only requires matching the edges of the plates together; however, as with any other joint, it is important that it is fitted together correctly for the entire length of the joint. It is also important that you allow enough root opening for the joint. Figure 3-23 shows an example of this type of joint.

When you are welding metals greater than 3/16 inch in thickness, it is often necessary to use a grooved butt joint. The purpose of grooving is to give the joint the required strength. When you are using a grooved joint, it is important that the groove angle is sufficient to allow the electrode into the joint; otherwise, the weld will lack penetration and may crack. However, you also should avoid excess beveling because this wastes both weld metal and time. Depending on the thickness of the base metal, the joint is either single-grooved (grooved on one side only) or double-grooved (grooved on both sides). As a welder, you primarily use the single-V and double-V grooved joints.

Figure 3-23.—Butt joints.

The single-V butt joint (fig. 3-23, view B) is for use on plates 1/4 inch through 3/4 inch in thickness. Each member should be beveled so the included angle for the joint is approximately 60 degrees for plate and 75 degrees for pipe. Preparation of the joint requires a special beveling machine (or cutting torch), which makes it more costly than a square butt joint. It also requires more filler material than the square joint; how-ever, the joint is stronger than the square butt joint. But, as with the square joint, it is not recommended when subjected to bending at the root of the weld.

The double-V butt joint (fig. 3-23, view C) is an excellent joint for all load conditions. Its primary use is on metals thicker than 3/4 inch but can be used on thinner plate where strength is critical. Compared to the single-V joint, preparation time is greater, but you use less filler metal because of the narrower included angle. Because of the heat produced by welding, you should alternate weld deposits, welding first on one side and then on the other side. This practice produces a more symmetrical weld and minimizes warpage.

Remember, to produce good quality welds using the groove joint, you should ensure the fit-up is consistent for the entire length of the joint, use the correct groove angle, use the correct root opening, and use the correct root face for the joint. When you follow these principles, you produce better welds every time. Other standard grooved butt joint designs include the bevel groove, J-groove, and U-groove, as shown in figure 3-24.

Figure 3-24.—Additiona1 types of groove welds.


The flush corner joint (fig. 3-25, view A) is designed primarily for welding sheet metal that is 12 gauge or thinner. It is restricted to lighter materials, because deep penetration is sometimes difficult and the design can support only moderate loads.

The half-open corner joint (fig. 3-25, view B) is used for welding materials heavier than 12 gauge. Penetration is better than in the flush corner joint, but its use is only recommended for moderate loads.

The full-open corner joint (fig. 3-25, view C) produces a strong joint, especially when welded on both sides. It is useful for welding plates of all thicknesses.

Figure 3-25.—Corner joints.


The square tee joint (fig. 3-26, view A) requires a fillet weld that can be made on one or both sides. It can be used for light or fairly thick materials. For maximum strength, considerable weld metal should be placed on each side of the vertical plate.

The single-bevel tee joint (fig. 3-26, view B) can withstand more severe loadings than the square tee joint, because of better distribution of stresses. It is generally used on plates of 1/2 inch or less in thickness and where welding can only be done from one side.

The double-bevel tee joint (fig. 3-26, view C) is for use where heavy loads are applied and the welding can be done on both sides of the vertical plate.

Figure 3-26.—T ee joints.



The single-fillet lap joint (fig. 3-27, view A) is easy to weld, since the filler metal is simply deposited along the seam. The strength of the weld depends on the size of the fillet. Metal up to 1/2 inch in thickness and not subject to heavy loads can be welded using this joint.

When the joint will be subjected to heavy loads, you should use the double-fillet lap joint (fig. 3-27, view B). When welded properly, the strength of this joint is very close to the strength of the base metal.

Figure 3-27.—Lap joints,


The flanged edge joint (fig. 3-28, view A) is suitable for plate 1/4 inch or less in thickness and can only sustain light loads. Edge preparation for this joint may be done, as shown in either views B or C.

Figure 3-28.—Flanged edge Joints.

Welding Positions

All welding is done in one of four positions:

  1. Flat
  2. Horizontal
  3. Vertical
  4. Overhead

Fillet or groove welds can be made in all of these positions. Figure 3-29 shows the various positions used in plate welding. The American Welding Society (AWS) identifies these positions by a number/letter designation; for instance, the 1G position refers to a groove weld that is to be made in the flat position. Here the 1 is used to indicate the flat position and the G indicates a groove weld. For a fillet weld made in the flat position, the number/letter designation is 1F (F for fillet). These number/letter designations refer to test positions. These are positions a welder would be required to use during a welding qualification test. As a welder, there is a good possibility that someday you will be required to certify or perform a welding qualification test; therefore, it is important that you have a good understanding and can apply the techniques for welding in each of the test positions.

Figure 3-29.—Welding positions—plate.

Because of gravity, the position in which you are welding affects the flow of molten filler metal. Use the flat position, if at all possible, because gravity draws the molten metal downward into the joint making the welding faster and easier. Horizontal welding is a little more difficult, because the molten metal tends to sag or flow downhill onto the lower plate. Vertical welding is done in a vertical line, usually from bottom to top; however, on thin material downhill or downhand welding may be easier. The overhead position is the most difficult position. Because the weld metal flows downward, this position requires considerable practice on your part to produce good quality welds.

Although the terms flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead sufficiently describe the positions for plate welding, they do not adequately describe pipe welding positions. In pipe welding, there are four basic test positions used (fig. 3-30). Notice that the position refers to the position of the pipe, not the position of welding.

Figure 3-30.—Welding position-pipe.

Test position 1G is made with the pipe in the horizontal position. In this position, the pipe is rolled so that the welding is done in the flat position with the pipe rotating under the arc. This position is the most advantageous of all the pipe welding positions. When you are welding in the 2G position, the pipe is placed in the vertical position so the welding can be done in the horizontal position. The 5G position is similar to the 1G position in that the axis of the pipe is horizontal. But, when you are using the 5G position, the pipe is not turned or rolled during the welding operation; therefore, the welding is more difficult in this position. When you are using the 6G position for pipe welding, the axis of the pipe is at a 45-degree angle with the horizontal and the pipe is not rolled. Since the pipe is not rolled, welding has to be done in all the positions— flat, vertical, horizontal, and overhead. If you can weld pipe in this position, you can handle all the other welding positions.


There is no 3G or 4G test position in pipe welding. Also, since most pipe welds are groove welds, they are identified by the letter G

We will discuss more about the techniques used for welding in the various positions later in this course, but for now, let’s talk about the effects of heat on metal.

Expansion and Contraction

When apiece of metal is heated, the metal expands. Upon cooling, the metal contracts and tries to resume its original shape. The effects of this expansion and contraction are shown in figure 3-31. View A shows a bar that is not restricted in any way. When the bar is heated, it is free to expand in all directions. If the bar is allowed to cool without restraint, it contracts to its original dimensions.

Figure 3-31.—Effects of expansion and contraction.

When the bar is clamped in a vise (view B) and heated, expansion is limited to the unrestricted sides of the bar. As the bar begins to cool, it still contracts uniformly in all directions. As a result, the bar is now deformed. It has become narrower and thicker, as shown in view C.

These same expansion and contraction forces act on the weld metal and base metal of a welded joint; how-ever, when two pieces of metal are welded together, expansion and contraction may not be uniform throughout all parts of the metal. This is due to the difference in the temperature from the actual weld joint out to the edges of the joint. This difference in temperature leads to internal stresses, distortion, and warpage. Figure 3-32 shows some of the most common difficulties that you are likely to encounter.

Figure 3-32.—Distortion caused by welding.

When you are welding a single-V butt joint (fig.3-32, view A), the highest temperature is at the surface of the molten puddle. The temperature decreases as you move toward the root of the weld and away from the weld. Because of the high temperature of the molten metal, this is where expansion and contraction are greatest. When the weld begins to cool, the surface of the weld joint contracts (or shrinks) the most, thus causing warpage or distortion. View B shows how the same principles apply to a tee joint. Views C and D show the distortions caused by welding a bead on one side of a plate and welding two plates together without proper tack welds.

All metals, when exposed to heat buildup during welding, expand in the direction of least resistance. Conversely, when the metal cools, it contracts by the same amount; therefore, if you want to prevent or reduce the distortion of the weldment, you have to use some method to overcome the effects of heating and cooling.


You can control the distortion caused by expansion and contraction during welding by following the simple procedures listed here.

Proper Edge Preparation and Fit-up

As discussed earlier in this chapter, proper edge preparation and fit-up are essential to good quality welds. By making certain the edges are properly beveled and spacing is adequate, you can restrict the effects of distortion. Additionally, you should use tack welds, especially on long joints. Tack welds should be spaced at least 12 inches apart and run approximately twice as long as the thickness of the weld.

Control the Heat Input

You should understand that the faster a weld is made, the less heat is absorbed by the base metal. As you gain welding experience, it will become easier for you to weld a seam with the minimum amount of heat by simply speeding up the welding process.

Regardless of your experience, it is often necessary to use a welding technique designed to control heat input. An intermittent weld (sometimes called a skip weld) is often used instead of one continuous weld. When you are using an intermittent weld, a short weld is made at the beginning of the joint. Next, you skip to the center of the seam and weld a few inches. Then, you weld at the other end of the joint. Finally, you return to the end of the first weld and repeat the cycle until the weld is finished. Figure 3-33 shows the intermittent weld.

Figure 3-33.—Intermittent welds.

Another technique to control the heat input is the back-step method (fig. 3-34). When using this technique, you deposit short weld beads from right to left along the seam.

Figure 3-34.—Back-step welding.

Preheat the Metal

As discussed earlier, expansion and contraction rates are not uniform in a structure during welding due to the differences in temperature throughout the metal. To control the forces of expansion and contraction, you preheat the entire structure before welding. After the welding is complete, you allow the structure to cool slowly. More about preheating and postheating is discussed later in this training course.

Limit the Number of Weld Passes

You can keep distortion to a minimum by using as few weld passes as possible. You should limit the num-ber of weld passes to the number necessary to meet the requirements of the job. (See fig. 3-35.)

Figure 3-35.—Weld passes.

Use Jigs and Fixtures

Since holding the metal in a fixed position prevents excessive movements, the use of jigs and fixtures can help prevent distortion. A jig or fixture is simply a device used to hold the metal rigidly in position during the welding operation.

Allow for Distortion

A simple remedy for the distortion caused by expansion and contraction is to allow for it during fit-up. To reduce distortion, you angle the parts to be welded slightly in the opposite direction in which the contraction takes place. When the metal cools, contraction forces pull the pieces back into position. Figure 3-36 shows how distortion can be overcome in both the butt and tee joints.

Figure 3-36.—Allowing for distortion.

There is more to being a good welder than just being able to lay a good bead. There are many factors that must be considered. Later, we discuss additional techniques that you can apply to specific welding situations.

Welding Procedures

There are many factors involved in the preparation of any welded joint. The detailed methods and practices used to prepare a particular weldment are called the welding procedure. A welding procedure identifies all the welding variables pertinent to a particular job or project. Generally, these variables include the welding process, type of base metal, joint design, welding position, type of shielding, preheating and postheating requirements, welding machine setting, and testing requirements.

Welding procedures are used to produce welds that will meet the requirements of commonly used codes. The American Welding Society (AWS) produces the Structural Welding Code that is used for the design and construction of steel structures. Another code that is used for the construction of steam boilers and pressure vessels is published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). These codes provide a standardized guide of proven welding practices and procedures.

While you are probably not directly responsible for developing welding procedures, you could be assigned to a welding job that requires you to follow them. For example, when a job is assigned, it is accompanied by a set of drawings and specifications. When there is welding required for the job, the specifications normally require it to be accomplished according to a specific code requirement.  The unit is then responsible for ensuring that the welders assigned to the job are qualified to produce the welds according to this welding procedure specification.

Using the Structural Welding Code, along with the project drawings and specifications, the welding inspector develops a welding procedure specification that meets the requirements of the job. The importance of this document is that it assures that each of the variables can be repeated by qualified welders.

Once a welding procedure specification has been developed and qualified, welders are then required to perform a Welding Performance Qualification test. After the test is complete, the weld specimens are tested according to the requirements of the Welding Procedure Specification. You may use either destructive or nondestructive tests. One example of a destructive test is the guided-bend test. An X-ray test is considered nondestructive. Testing is discussed in greater detail later in this course.


When you are assigned to do a welding job, make a thorough examination of the drawings and specifications.

Look carefully at the notes on the drawings and Section 5 (metals) of the specifications. If specific codes are cited, inform the project supervisor so that you can receive the training needed to perform the required welds.


Drawings or sketches are used to convey the ideas of an engineer to the skilled craftsman working in the shop. As a welder, you must be able to work from a drawing in order to fabricate metal parts exactly as the engineer has designed them.


To read a drawing, you must know how engineers use lines, dimensions, and notes to communicate their ideas on paper. In this section, we briefly discuss each of these drawing elements.


Figure 3-38 shows many of the different types of lines that are used in drawings. You can see that each line has a specific meaning you must understand to interpret a drawing correctly. Let’s discuss a few of the most important types. A visible line (sometimes called object line) is used to show the edges of an object that are visible to the viewer. For example, if you look at one of the walls of the room you are in, you can see the outline of the walls and (depending on the wall you are looking at) the outline of doors and windows. On a drawing, these visible outlines or edges can be shown using visible lines that are drawn as described in figure 3-38.

Figure 3-38.—Line characters and uses.

Now look at the wall again. Assuming that the wall is wood frame, you know that there are studs or framing members inside the wall that you cannot see. Also, the wall may contain other items, such as water pipes and electrical conduit, that you also cannot see. On a drawing, the edges of those concealed studs and other items can be shown using hidden lines (fig.3-38). These lines are commonly used in drawings. As you can imagine, the more hidden lines there are, the more difficult it becomes to decipher what is what; however, there is another way these studs and other items can be “seen.” Imagine that you “cut away” the wallboard that covers the wall and replace it with a sheet of clear plastic. That clear plastic can be thought of as a cutting or viewing plane (fig.3-38) through which the previously concealed studs, piping, and conduit are now visible. Now those items can be drawn using visible lines, rather than hidden lines. A view of this type is called a sectional view, and a drawing of the view is called a section drawing. Section drawings are commonly used to show the internal components of a complicated object.

Many times, you will see lines drawn on the visible surfaces of a section drawing. These lines, called section lines, are used to show different types of materials. .Some of the types of section lines you are likely to encounter as a welder are shown in figure 3-39.

Figure 3-39.—Section lines for various metals.

Another use of lines is to form symbols, such as welding symbols, that are discussed later in this lesson.


While engineers use lines to describe the shape or form of an object, they use dimensions to provide a complete size description. Dimensions used on drawings are of two types: size and location. As implied by their names, a size dimension shows the size of an object or parts of an object and a location dimension is used to describe the location of features. Examples of both size and location dimensions are shown in figure 3-40.

Figure 3-40.—Elements of an orthographic drawing.

While on the subject of dimensions, it should be noted that large objects are seldom drawn to their true size. Instead, the engineer or draftsman reduces the size of the object “to scale.” For example, when drawing a 40-foot tower, the drawing may be prepared using a scale of 1/2"= 1'-0". In this case, the height of the tower, on paper, is 20 inches. The scale used to prepare working drawings is always noted on the drawing. It maybe a fractional scale, such as discussed here, or a graphic scale, such as the one shown in figure 3-40. Often both numerical and graphic scales are usually shown on construction drawings.

When you are using a drawing, the dimensions of an object should never be measured (scaled) directly from the drawing. These measurements are frequently inaccurate, since a change in atmospheric conditions causes drawing paper to shrink or expand. To ensure accuracy, always use the size and location dimensions shown on the drawing. If a needed dimension is not shown on the drawing, you should check the graphic scale, since it will always shrink or expand at the same rate as the drawing paper.


Drawing notes are used for different purposes and are either general or specific in nature. One example of how notes are used are the two notes shown in figure 3-40 that give the inside diameters of the holes. As you can see, these notes are used for size dimensioning. They are specific notes in that, by using a leader line, each note is referred to a specific hole or set of holes.

A general note is used to provide additional information that does not apply to any one particular part or feature of the drawing. For example, the drawing shown in figure 3-40 could contain a general note saying: “All holes shall be reamed using a tolerance of ± 1/64 inch.”

Drawing Views

Look at the drawing shown in figure 3-41. This type of drawing is called a pictorial drawing. These drawings are frequently used to show how an object should appear after it is manufactured. Pictorial drawings are used as working drawings for a simple item, such as a metal washer. For a more complex object, as shown in figure 3-41, it becomes too difficult to provide a com-plete description in a pictorial drawing. In this case, it is common practice to prepare orthographic drawings to describe the object fully.

Figure 3-41.—Pictorial drawing of a steel part.

Assume you are holding the object shown in figure 3-41 in your hands. When you hold the object so you are looking directly at the top face of the object, the view you see is the top view. A drawing of that view is called an orthographic drawing.

Obviously, an orthographic drawing of only the top view of the object is insufficient to describe the entire object; therefore, additional orthographic drawings of one or more of the other faces of the object are necessary. The number of orthographic views needed to describe an object fully depends upon the complexity of the object. For example, a simple metal washer can be fully described using only one orthographic view; however, an extremely complex object may require as many as six views (top, front, left side, right side, back, and bottom). Most objects, such as the steel part shown in figure 3-41, can be sufficiently described using three views: top, front, and right side. For the object shown in figure 3-41, orthographic drawings of the top, front, and right-side views are shown in figure 3-42.

Figure 3-42.—Three-view orthographic drawing of the steel part shown in figure 3-41.

Notice the placement of the views shown in figure 3-42. This is a standard practice that you should be aware of when reading orthographic drawings. By this standard practice, the top view is always placed above the front view and the right-side view is placed to the right of the front view. When additional views are needed, the left side is always drawn to the left of the front view and the bottom is drawn below the front view. Placement of the back view is somewhat flexible; how-ever, it is usually drawn to the left of the left-side view. When reading and understanding the different orthographic views, you find it is sometimes helpful to prepare a pictorial sketch.

Think of drawings as a form of communication. They are intended to help you understand all the necessary information you need to fabricate and assemble an object regardless of the complexity. It is important that you learn to read drawings.

Handling and Care of Drawings

Special care should be exercised in the handling of drawings. When they are not being used, keep them on a rack or in another assigned place of storage. Drawings are valuable, and they may be difficult or impossible to replace if they are lost or damaged.

Now, we will discuss some special symbols. These are symbols a welder must be able to read and to understand how they are used to convey information.


Special symbols are used on a drawing to specify where welds are to be located, the type of joint to be used, as well as the size and amount of weld metal to be deposited in the joint. These symbols have been standardized by the American Welding Society (AWS). You will come into contact with these symbols anytime you do a welding job from a set of blueprints. You need to have a working knowledge of the basic weld symbols and the standard location of all the elements of a welding symbol.

A standard welding symbol (fig. 3-43) consists of a reference line, an arrow, and a tail. The reference line becomes the foundation of the welding symbol. It is used to apply weld symbols, dimensions, and other data to the weld. The arrow simply connects the reference line to the joint or area to be welded. The direction of the arrow has no bearing on the significance of the reference line. The tail of the welding symbol is used only when necessary to include a specification, process, or other reference information.

Figure 3-43.—Standard welding symbol.

Weld Symbols

The term weld symbol refers to the symbol for a specific type of weld. As discussed earlier, fillet, groove, surfacing, plug, and slot are all types of welds. Basic weld symbols are shown in figure 3-44. The weld symbol is only part of the information required in the welding symbol. The term welding symbol refers to the total symbol, which includes all information needed to specify the weld(s) required.

Figure 3-44.—Basic weld symbols.

Figure 3-45 shows how a weld symbol is applied to the reference line. Notice that the vertical leg of the weld symbol is shown drawn to the left of the slanted leg. Regardless of whether the symbol is for a fillet, bevel, J-groove, or flare-bevel weld, the vertical leg is always drawn to the left.

Figure 3-45.—Weld symbols applied to reference line.

Figure 3-46 shows the significance of the positions of the weld symbols position on the reference line. In view A the weld symbol is on the lower side of the reference line that is termed the arrow side. View B shows a weld symbol on the upper side of the reference line that is termed the other side. When weld symbols are placed on both sides of the reference line, welds must be made on both sides of the joint (view C).

Figure 3-46.—Specifying weld locations.

When only one edge of a joint is to be beveled, it is necessary to show which member is to be beveled. When such a joint is specified, the arrow of the welding symbol points with a definite break toward the member to be beveled. This is shown in figure 3-47.

Figure 3-47.—Arrowhead indicates beveled plate.


Figure 3-48 shows other elements that may be added to a welding symbol. The information applied to the reference line on a welding symbol is read from left to right regardless of the direction of the arrow.

Figure 3-48.—Elements of a welding symbol.


In figure 3-48, notice there are designated locations for the size, length, pitch (center-to-center spacing), groove angle, and root opening of a weld. These locations are determined by the side of the reference line on which the weld symbol is placed. Figure 3-49 shows how dimensions are applied to symbols.

Figure 3-49.—Dimensions applied to weld symbols.

Figure 3-50 shows the meaning of various welding dimension symbols. Notice that the size of a weld is shown on the left side of the weld symbol (fig. 3-50, view A). The length and pitch of a fillet weld are indicated on the right side of the weld symbol. View B shows a tee joint with 2-inch intermittent fillet welds that are 5 inches apart, on center. The size of a groove weld is shown in view C. Both sides are 1/2 inch, but note that the 60-degree groove is on the other side of the joint and the 45-degree groove is on the arrow side.

Figure 3-50.—Dimensioning of welds.


Supplementary Symbols

In addition to basic weld symbols, a set of supplementary symbols may be added to a welding symbol. Some of the most common supplementary symbols are shown in figure 3-51.

Figure 3-51.—Supplementary symbols.

Contour symbols are used with weld symbols to show how the face of the weld is to be formed. In addition to contour symbols, finish symbols are used to indicate the method to use for forming the contour of the weld.

When a finish symbol is used, it shows the method of finish, not the degree of finish; for example, a C is used to indicate finish by chipping, an M means machining, and a G indicates grinding. Figure 3-52 shows how contour and finish symbols are applied to a welding symbol. This figure shows that the weld is to be ground flush. Also, notice that the symbols are placed on the same side of the reference line as the weld symbol.

Figure 3-52.—Finish and contour symbols.

Another supplementary symbol shown in figure 3-51 is the weld-all-around symbol. When this symbol is placed on a welding symbol, welds are to continue all around the joint.

Welds that cannot be made in the shop are identified as field welds. A field weld symbol is shown in figure 3-51. This symbol is a black flag that points toward the tail of the welding symbol.

Specifying Additional Information

It is sometimes necessary to specify a certain welding process, a type of electrode, or some type of reference necessary to complete a weld. In this case, a note can be placed in the tail of the reference line. (See fig. 3-53.) If additional information is not needed, then the tail is omitted.

Figure 3-53.—Specifying additional welding information.

Multiple-Weld Symbols

When you are fabricating a metal part, there are times when more than one type of weld is needed on the same joint; for example, a joint may require both a bevel groove weld and a fillet weld. Two methods of illustrating these weld symbols are shown in figure 3-54. Note that in each welding symbol, the bevel groove weld is to be completed first, followed by the fillet weld.

Figure 3-54.—Representing multiple welds.

Applying a Welding Symbol

Figure 3-55 shows an example of how a welding symbol may appear on a drawing. This figure shows a steel pipe column that is to be welded to a baseplate. The symbol tells the welder that the pipe is to be beveled at a 30-degree angle followed by a bevel groove weld all around the joint. This is followed by a 1/2-inch fillet weld that is also welded all around the joint. Finally, finish the fillet weld by grinding it to a flush contour. As the field weld symbol indicates, all welds are to be accomplished in the field.

Figure 3-55.—Example of welding symbol in use.


Mishaps frequently occur in welding operations. In many instances, they result in serious injury to the welder or other personnel working in the immediate area. In most cases, mishaps occur because of carelessness, lack of knowledge, and the misuse of available equipment. Precautions that apply to specific welding equipment are pointed out in the chapters that cover that equipment. In this section we are particularly interested in such topics as protective clothing, eye protection devices, and practices applicable to the personal safety of the operator and personnel working nearby.

Proper eye protection is of the utmost importance. This covers the welding operator and the other personnel, such as helpers, chippers, or inspectors, who are in the vicinity of the welding and cutting operations. Eye protection is necessary because of the hazards posed by stray flashes, reflected glare, flying sparks, and globules of molten metal. Devices used for eye protection include helmets and goggles.


In addition to providing eye protection, helmets also provide a shield against flying metal and ultraviolet rays for the entire face and neck.

Figure 3-56 shows several types of eye protection devices in common use.

Figure 3-56.—Eye protection devices.

Flash goggles (view A) are worn under the welder’s helmet and by persons working around the area where welding operations are taking place. This spectacle type of goggles has side shields and may have either an adjustable or nonadjustable nose bridge.

Eyecup or cover type of goggles (view B) are for use in fuel-gas welding or cutting operations. They are contoured to fit the configuration of the face. These goggles must be fitted with a shade of filter lens that is suitable for the type of work being done.


The eyecup or cover type of goggles are NOT to be used as a substitute for an arc-welding helmet.

For electric arc-welding and arc-cutting operations, a helmet having a suitable filter lens is necessary. The helmet shown in view C has an opening, called a window, for a flip-up filter lens 2 inches by 4 1/4 inches in size.  The helmet shown in view D has a 4 1/2-inch by 5 1/4-inch window. The larger window affords the welder a wider view and is especially useful when the welder is working in a confined place where head and body movement is restricted. When welding in locations where other welders are working, the welder should wear flash goggles beneath his helmet to provide protection from the flashes caused by the other welders’ arcs. The flash goggles will also serve as eye protection when chipping the slag from a previous weld deposit.

Helmets and welding goggles used for eye protection are made from a nonflammable insulating material. They are fitted with a removable protective colored filter and a clear cover lens.


The purpose of the clear cover lens is to protect the filter lens against pitting caused by sparks and hot metal spatter. The clear lens must be placed on the outside of the filter lens. The clear lens should be replaced when it impairs vision.

Filter lenses are furnished in a variety of shades, which are designated by number. The lower the number, the lighter the shade; the higher the number, the darker the shade. Table 3-1 shows you the recommended filter lens shade for various welding operations. The filter lens shade number selected depends on the type of work and somewhat on the preference of the user. Remember, a filter lens serves two purposes. The first is to diminish the intensity of the visible light to a point where there is no glare and the welding area can be clearly seen. The second is to eliminate the harmful infrared and ultraviolet radiations coming from the arc or flame; consequently, the filter lens shade number you select must not vary more than two shades from the numbers recommended in table 3-1.

Table 3-1.—Recommended Filter Lenses for Various Welding Operations

Rule of thumb: When selecting the proper shade of filter lens for electric-arc welding helmets, place the lens in the helmet and look through the lens as if you were welding. Look at an exposed bare light bulb and see if you can distinguish its outline. If you can, then use the next darker shade lens. Repeat the test again. When you no longer see the outline of the bulb, then the lens is of the proper shade. Remember that this test should be performed in the same lighting conditions as the welding operation is to be performed. Welding in a shop may require a shade lighter lens than if the same job were being performed in bright daylight. For field operations, this test may be performed by looking at a bright reflective object.


Never look at the welding arc without proper eye protection. Looking at the arc with the naked eye could lead to permanent eye damage. If you receive flash burns, they should be treated by medical personnel.

A variety of special welder’s clothing is used to protect parts of the body. The clothing selected varies with the size, location, and nature of the work to be performed. During any welding or cutting operation, you should always wear flameproof gauntlets. (See fig. 3-57.) For gas welding and cutting, five-finger gloves like those shown in view A should be used. For electric-arc welding, use the two-finger gloves (or mitts) shown in view B.

Figure 3-57.—Welding gloves and mitts.

Both types of gloves protect the hands from heat and metal spatter. The two-finger gloves have an advantage over the five-finger gloves in that they reduce the danger of weld spatter and sparks lodging between the fingers. They also reduce finger chafing which sometimes occurs when five-finger gloves are worn for electric-arc welding.

Many light-gas welding and brazing jobs require no special protective clothing other than gloves and goggles. Even here, it is essential that you wear your work clothes properly. Sparks are very likely to lodge in rolled-up sleeves, pockets of clothing, or cuffs of trousers or overalls. Sleeves should be rolled down and the cuffs buttoned. The shirt collar, also, should be fully buttoned. Trousers should not be cuffed on the outside, and pockets not protected by button-down flaps should be eliminated from the front of overalls and aprons. All other clothing must be free of oil and grease. Wear high top-safety shoes; low-cut shoes are a hazard because sparks and molten metal could lodge in them, especially when you are sitting down.

Medium- and heavy-gas welding, all-electric welding, and welding in the vertical or overhead welding position require special flameproof clothing made of leather or other suitable material. This clothing is designed to protect you against radiated heat, splashes of hot metal, or sparks. This clothing consists of aprons, sleeves, combination sleeves and bib, jackets, and overalls. They afford a choice of protection depending upon the specific nature of the particular welding or cutting job. Sleeves provide satisfactory protection for welding operations at floor or bench level.

The cape and sleeves are particularly suited for overhead welding, because it protects the back of the neck, top of the shoulders, and the upper part of the back and chest. Use of the bib, in combination with the cape and sleeves, gives added protection to the chest and abdomen. The jacket should be worn when there is a need for complete all-around protection to the upper part of the body. This is especially true when several welders are working in close proximity to one another. Aprons and overalls provide protection to the legs and are suited for welding operations on the floor. Figure 3-58 shows some of the protective clothing  available to welders.

Figure 3-58.—Welder’s protective clothing.

To prevent head burns during overhead welding operations, you should wear leather or flameproof caps under the helmet. Earplugs also should be worn to keep sparks or splatter from entering and burning the ears. Where the welder is exposed to falling or sharp objects, combination welding helmet/hard hats should be used. For very heavy work, fire-resistant leggings or high boots should be worn. Shoes or boots having exposed nailheads or rivets should NOT be worn. Oilskins or plastic clothing must NOT be worn in any welding operation.


If leather protective clothing is not available, then woolen clothing is preferable to cotton.

Woolen clothing is not as flammable as cotton and helps protect the operator from the changes in temperature caused by welding. Cotton clothing, if used, should be chemically treated to reduce its flammability.

The publisher makes no representations or warranties of any kind, including but not limited to, the warranties of fitness for particular purpose, nor are any such representation implied with respect to the material set forth herein, and the publisher takes no responsibility with respect to such material. The publisher shall not be liable for any special consequential or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the user’s application of, or reliance upon, this material.

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