Learning how to vertical weld is a great skill to add to your welding toolkit. While most welding projects can be accomplished using the flat welding position, there will be situations where you will need to weld in a vertical position.
If you’re new to welding or want to expand your welding skill set, you will need to understand vertical welding and how to vertical weld. We are going to explore the vertical welding technique and when the vertical position is advisable.
What is Vertical Welding?
Before we can fully explore how to vertical weld, it is important to understand the vertical welding basics. There are a number of welding positions including horizontal, flat, overhead, and vertical.
While most welding is done in a flat position, as it is the easiest, there will be some circumstances where you won’t have this option. There may be situations where the metal you’re looking to weld is already vertically placed, so you’ll need to weld it vertically. You may also need to vertical weld during pipe welding or if you’re making structural welds on buildings. In these scenarios, the metal tends to be thick and heavy, so you can’t simply lay it down and move it later.
Due to gravity, welding in a vertical position is one of the hardest welding situations, but it is an excellent skill to learn. Whether you’re stick, MIG, or TIG welding, if you can perfect your vertical welding game, your skill set will be in demand.
Is It Better to Weld Vertical Up Or Down?
How to Vertical Weld Up
Welding Vertical Up is like building a wall by building a solid base and gradually moving up. So, this means you will start welding at the bottom, slowly moving upwards to create strong joint support.
This is a slow process that does require some patience. You’ll need to move only one step at a time, with each section or shelf acting as the base for the next.
Each shelf needs to be up to two times larger than your electrode diameter to create a puddle that will help you make the next shelf when you’re fighting gravity. You can use a weaving or zigzag technique, focusing on the joint sides to create a weld puddle. For better penetration, hold the electrode slightly uphill and use a shorter arc to better direct the arc towards the joint.
How to Vertical Weld Down
Welding Vertical down uses essentially the same movement, but you work from top to bottom. You are still fighting against gravity and there is a risk of the molten puddle moving into your work zone. You will need to always stay ahead of the slag with constant monitoring and careful amp setting to avoid burn through.
Tip #1 The vertical up technique is used for almost any joint unless the material is very thin or if you are worried about the molten metal falling off.
When Would You Use a Vertical Weld?
Vertical welding is often used if you have thick metals and want to get stronger joints by more deeply penetrating the base metals. As we touched on above, you will also need to learn how to vertical weld if you may be in situations where the metal is already in an upright position and cannot be moved.
Why Is Vertical Welding Hard?
Welding is typically done in a flat position as it is the easiest, but when you need to use a vertical position, the difficulty is that you are fighting gravity. You will need to concentrate on the molten puddle and whether it is being brought into the work zone. Vertical welding is also hard because of the risk of molten metal falling onto your feet!
What Is the Trick to Vertical Welding?
If you are interested in learning how to vertical weld, you’ll be interested in the tricks of this technique. Before you start, position the work in relation to your body position, so you are as comfortable as possible. Avoid having your hand above the level of your chest when you finish a weld, so you have improved arc visibility and stability.
Successful vertical welding involves being as steady as possible. This will allow you to precisely manipulate the puddle. You can make your own support with a vise grip or tack weld on a nearby piece of metal. Alternatively, you could use your free hand to steady yourself on a nearby surface. You can also improve stability by trying to work with your elbow close to your body.
3 Tips on How to Vertical Weld
While welding in a vertical position can be tricky, there are some tips that can help you find the technique easier.
Tip #1 Make Weld Shelves: Unless you are working with thinner metals, use a vertical up movement to create weld shelves and create the best results. While this is more time consuming, pooling the weld to act as a weld shelf will offer the best penetration.
Tip #2 Use Low Current and Low Power Settings: Although you may want to speed up your welding project, don’t be tempted to use a high-power setting. This can lead to a number of issues including undercutting. By reducing the current and power settings, you’ll slow down the welding and reduce the pool size, so you can have greater control.
Tip #3 Think Safety: Finally, as with any welding technique, make sure that you think about safety protocols. Since vertical welding involves fighting gravity, safety becomes even more crucial. You need to take special care when you are welding vertically, as you don’t want to get injured by molten metal falling onto you as you’re working. Work carefully watching out for the molten pool and ensure that you are wearing appropriate safety clothing and footwear, just in case you do miss a drop and it comes into contact with you.
How to Vertical Weld-in Conclusion
In most situations, you will be able to use the flat welding position. But sometimes you will need to know how to vertical weld, where the metal is too heavy to lift into place after welding. In these types of situations it will be to your advantage if you have already taken the time to learn how to vertical weld. Hopefully we have helped with tips and tricks to make welding vertically easier for you to learn.