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Gas Metal Arc Welding

Practice with Solid and
Metal Core Wire:
Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate)

The practice jobs outlined on the following pages include Chapter Objectives
GMAW practice on a variety of materials in all positions,
Fig. 22-1. Since you are already an accomplished welder,
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
having mastered the gas welding, shielded metal arc and
gas tungsten arc processes, it will not be very difficult to 22-1 Describe GMAW operating variables.
master this new process. It is estimated that most students 22-2 Describe GMAW weld defects.
will become competent in 30 to 45 hours of practice. Each 22-3 Describe GMAW safe operation.
job requires some of the skills already learned. This pro- 22-4 Describe and demonstrate proper care, use, and
cess and the jobs provided also require the learning of troubleshooting of equipment.
new skills and the application of the technical information
22-5 Describe and demonstrate welding techniques.
given in this chapter and Chapter 21. As with all previous
22-6 Make various groove and fillet welds with the various
practice, each job should be mastered before going on to
modes of metal transfer with both solid and metal
the next.
cored electrodes.

Operating Variables That

Affect Weld Formation
Welding variables are those factors that affect the opera-
tion of the arc and the weld deposit. Sound welding of
good appearance results when the variables are in bal-
ance. In order for you to develop a feel for the process
and understand the arc characteristics and metal forma-
tion, it is necessary to become familiar with all the vari-
ables and study their effect on the weld deposit through
experience. As an advanced student, you will be famil-
iar with some of the variables since they are present in
all welding processes to a certain extent. You will find,

Welding Wire

Resulting Bead

Ions Electrons

Low Penetration
(Just Opposite to Gas
Tungsten-Arc Welding)

Fig. 22-3 Gas metal arc DCEN welding: wire negative, work

in current increases the electrode melting rate so that at

relatively high current values the spray transfer of metal
is produced. Although current is the first requirement to
Fig. 22-1 This student is practicing gas metal arc welding. Note achieve a spray transfer, shielding gas and voltage are
the dual-digital wire-feeder in the back ground, the wire cutter and also very important. On carbon steel the shielding gas
practice coupon. Location: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College must contain a minimum of 80percent argon. The volt-
McGraw-Hill Education/Mark A. Dierker, photographer
age level must be high enough to just keep the electrode
from dipping into the weld pool.
Consumable The welding of ferrous metals with DCEP, solid or
Welding Wire
metal cored electrode, and pure argon causes the arc to
Resulting Bead
be unstable and introduces porosity into the weld metal.
Gas This condition may be corrected by the addition of 2 to
Ions Electrons 5 percent oxygen to the gas mixture.
Direct Current Electrode Negative (DCEN)Electrode
negative has a limited use in the welding of thin gauge
Deep Penetration materials. The greatest amount of heat occurs at the elec-
(Just Opposite to Gas trode tip. The wire meltoff rate is a great deal faster than
Tungsten-Arc Welding) with DCEP. The arc is not stable at the end of the filler
wire, and it becomes very difficult to direct the transfer of
Fig. 22-2 Gas metal arc DCEP welding: wire positive, work weld metal where it is desired. The erratic arc results in
negative. poor fusion and a considerable amount of spatter. Penetra-
tion is also less than with DCEP, Fig. 22-3.
however, that each electric welding process has its own The unstable arc can be corrected to a considerable ex-
arc characteristics. tent by the use of a shielding gas mixture of approximately
5 percent oxygen added to argon. The normally high elec-
Type of Current trode meltoff rate, however, is reduced substantially when
oxygen is added so that any advantage of DCEN is can-
Direct Current Electrode Positive (DCEP)Electrode celled out.
positive is generally used for gas metal arc weld-
ing. Because it provides maximum heat input into the Alternating Current Alternating current is seldom used
work, it allows relatively deep penetration to take place, in gas metal arc welding. The arc is unstable because cur-
Fig. 22-2. It also assists in the removal of oxides from rent and voltage both pass through the zero point many
the plate, which contributes to a clean weld deposit of times each second as the current reverses. Since alternat-
high quality. Low current values produce the globular ing current is a combination of DCEN and DCEP polarity,
transfer of metal from the electrode. A gradual increase the rate of metal transfer and the depth of penetration fall

Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate) Chapter 22 709
between those of both polarities. It has found some use for Titanium: argon. Argon reduces the size of the
the welding of aluminum. heat-affected zone and improves metal transfer.
Silicon bronze: argon. Argon reduces crack sensitivity on
Shielding Gas this hot-short material.
Aluminum bronze: argon. Argon reduces penetration of
Argon and helium were first used as the shielding gases the base metal. It is commonly used as a surfacing
for the gas metal arc process, and they continue to be material.
the basic gases. Argon is used more than helium on fer-
rous metals to keep spatter at a minimum. Argon is also Joint Preparation
heavier than air and therefore gives better weld coverage. Joint designs like those used with other arc welding pro-
Oxygen or carbon dioxide is added to the pure gases to cesses may be used with the gas metal arc process. Costs
improve arc stability, minimize undercut, reduce porosity, can be reduced, however, by employing somewhat dif-
and improve the appearance of the weld. ferent designs. Any joint design should provide for the
Helium may be added to argon to increase penetration most economical use of filler metal. The correct design
with little effect on metal transfer characteristics. Hydro- for a particular job depends on the type of material being
gen and nitrogen are used for only a limited number of welded, the thickness of the material, the position of weld-
special applications in which their presence will not cause ing, the welding process, the final results desired, the type
porosity or embrittlement of the weld metal. and size of filler wire, and welding technique.
Carbon dioxide is popular as a shielding medium, be- The arc in gas metal arc welding is somewhat more
cause of the following advantages: penetrating and narrower than the arc in shielded metal
Low cost arc welding. Therefore, heavier root faces and smaller
High density, resulting in low flow rates root openings may be used for groove welds. It is also
Less burn-back problems because of its shorter arc possible to provide a narrower groove angle for MIG/
characteristics. MAG welding. The angle in a single-V or double-V butt
joint is about 75 for shielded metal arc welding. For gas
Review Chapters 18 and 21 for additional information
metal arc welding, this angle may be reduced to 30 to 45,
regarding the shielding gases.
Fig. 22-4. These changes in joint design increase the
The following recommendations concerning specific
speed of welding, cut the time necessary for joint prepara-
metals are helpful:
tion, and reduce the amount of weld metal that is required.
Aluminum alloys: argon. With direct current electrode Thus they lower the cost of materials and labor. Typically
positive, argon removes surface oxide. the higher energy spray arcs are used with the narrower
Magnesium and aluminum alloys: 75 percent helium, groove angle and heavier root face joint designs.
25 percent argon. Correct heat input reduces the ten- The penetration achieved with shielded arc electrodes is
dency toward porosity and removes surface oxide. about 18 inch maximum in steel. With the MIG/MAG pro-
Stainless steels: argon plus oxygen. When direct current cess 100 percent penetration
electrode positive is used, 2 percent oxygen improves may be secured in 14-inch plate
arc stability. in a square butt joint welded
Magnesium: argon. With direct current, electrode posi- from both sides.
tive, argon removes surface oxide. For 60 single- or double-
Deoxidized copper: 75 percent helium, 25 percent V butt joints, no root face is
argon preferred. Good wetting and increased heat recommended, and the root Stick Electrode
input counteract high thermal conductivity. opening should range from 0 to
Low alloy steel: argon, plus 2 percent oxygen. Oxygen 3
32 inch. Double-V joints may
eliminates undercutting tendencies and removes have wider root openings than 45
oxidation. single-V joints. Poor fitup and
Mild steel: 15 percent argon, 25 percent carbon dioxide root overlap should be avoided.
(dip transfer); 100 percent CO2 may also be used with If the root opening is large, a
deoxidized wire. They promote high quality. It is suit- backing bar should be used.
able for low current, out-of-position welding. There is Plates thicker than 1 inch MIG Process
little spatter. should have U-groove prepara-
Nickel, Monel, and Inconel: argon. Good wetting in- tion. They require considerably Fig. 22-4 V-groove, butt
creases the fluidity of the weld metal. less weld metal. The root face joint comparison.

710 Chapter 22 Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate)
thickness should be less than 332 inch, and the root spacing wires with small diameters are recommended for weld-
should be between 132 and 332 inch. ing in the vertical and overhead positions. Large diam-
In multipass welding, the absence of slag ensures easier eter wires are desirable for those applications in which
cleaning and so reduces the problem of porosity in the penetration is undesirable. Hard-surfacing, overlays, and
weld metal. buildup work are examples.
In making fillet welds with
f = Fillet Size Electrode Extension
t = Throat Coated
the MIG/MAG process, ad-
Electrode vantage is taken of the deeper Electrode extension is that length of filler wire that
t= Throat CO2 penetration by depositing extends past the contact tube, Fig. 22-6. This is the area
smaller weld beads on the where preheating of the filler wire occurs. Electrode ex-
surface of the material. The tension is also called the stickout. It controls the dimen-
throat area of the weld is not sions of the weld bead since the length of the extension

reduced since a greater part affects the burnoff rate. Electrode e xtension exerts an in-

of the weld bead is beneath fluence on penetration through its effect on the welding
the surface of the base metal, current. As the extension length is increased, the preheat-
Fig. 22-5. ing of the wire increases and the current is reduced. The
Certain types of joints are current reduction in turn decreases the amount of penetra-
f backed up to prevent the weld tion into the work. Stickout distance may vary from 18 to
from projecting through the 114 inches.
Fig. 22-5 Comparison of back side. The usual mate- Short electrode extensions (18 12 inch) are used for the
penetration in a fillet weld: rials include blocks, strips, short circuit mode of transfer, generally with the smaller
carbon dioxide shielded MAG and bars of copper, steel, or diameter electrodes (0.0230.045 inch). For stainless steel
weld versus coated electrode ceramics.
favor the shorter electrode extension because of its higher
resistivity (18 14 inch). The longer electrode extensions are
used for spray arcs (12 114 inches). These are generally
Electrode Diameter done with the larger diameter electrodes. Excessive long
The electrode diameter influences the size of the weld arcs with active gases reduce the mechanical properties
bead, the depth of penetration, and the speed of welding. in the weld, because of various alloys being burned out as
As a general rule, for the same current (wire-feed speed the metal is transferred across the longer arc.
setting needs to be increased), the arc becomes more pen- The relationship that exists between electrode exten-
etrating as the electrode diameter decreases. At the same sion and current and electrode extension and penetration
time, the speed of welding is also affected because the should be understood, Table 22-1, page 712. Tests have
deposition (burnoff) rate also increases. indicated that when electrode extension is increased from
When welding with wires below 0.045 inch, the smaller 3
16 to 58 inch, the welding current then drops approximately
wire operating at a given current density burns off faster
than the larger wire. To get the maximum deposition rate
at a given current density, use the smallest wire possible Gas Nozzle
that is consistent with an acceptable weld profile.
With wires 0.045 inch and larger for a given welding Contact Tube
current, the next size larger wire provides a lower depo-
sition rate. This is because the effects of preheating on
the larger wires are less. Large wires deposit wider beads Consumable
than small wires do under identical conditions. Electrode

As in all welding, the selection of the type and size Electrode

Contact Tube-to-Work
of wire is important. Generally, filler wires should be Distance and
of the same composition as the materials being welded. Standoff Distance
Average Arc Length
The position of welding or other special conditions may
affect the size of the electrode. For most purposes, how- Workpiece
ever, filler wires with diameters of 0.023/0.025, 0.030, and
0.035 inch are best for welding thin materials. Diameters
of 0.045 inch or 116 inch are used for medium thickness, Fig. 22-6 Nomenclature of area between nozzle and
and a diameter of 18 inch is best for heavy materials. Filler workpiece.

Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate) Chapter 22 711
Table 22-1 Effect of Electrode Extension on Weld Characteristic
Increased electrode extension Increase deposition bead height
Decrease welding current penetration bead width
Decreased electrode extension Decrease deposition bead height
Increase welding current penetration bead width

60 amperes. The current is reduced because of the change

in the amount of preheating that takes place in the wire. T.A.
As the electrode extension is increased, the preheating of Axis of Weld
the wire increases. Thus less welding current is required
from the power source at a given feed rate. Because of
the self-regulating characteristics of the constant voltage
power source, the welding current is decreased. As the
welding current is decreased, the depth of penetration
also decreases. (Increased electrode extension also in-
creases the weld deposition rate.) On the other hand, if
the electrode extension decreases, the preheating of the Work Angle
filler wire is reduced, and the power source furnishes (W.A.)

more current in order to melt the wire at the required

rate. This increase in welding current causes an increase
in penetration.

Position of the Gun

The position of the welding gun with respect to the joint
is expressed by two angles: the travel (gun) angle and the Travel Angle
work (gun) angle, Fig. 22-7. (T.A.) (Drag) Travel Direction
The bead shape, as well as the penetration pattern, can (Push) Travel Direction
be changed by changing the direction of the wire as it
goes into the joint in the line of travel as well as the loca-
tion of the wire in the joint.
Travel Angle The travel angle can be compared to the
angle of the electrode in shielded metal arc welding. The
drag and push nozzle angles are shown in Fig.22-8. The
drag technique results in a high, narrow bead with relatively
deeper penetration. The penetration is deeper because the
Axis of Weld
arc tends to run into the pool and create a greater con-
centration of heat. The force of the arc pushes the molten Fig. 22-7 Travel and work gun angles.

metal back for therounded-bead contour. Maximum pen-

S H OP TAL K etration is obtained when a drag angle of 10 is used. As
the drag angle is reduced, the bead height decreases, and
the width increases.
A wall painting in an ancient tomb in
Thebes, from 1475 b.c., shows how brazing The arc in the push technique strikes cold base metal
was done. so that penetration is shallow. The force of the arc pushes
the metal ahead of the bead and flattens the contour of the

712 Chapter 22 Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate)
Direction of Travel Arc Length
Gun The constant voltage welding machine used for gas metal
A arc welding provides for the self-adjustment of the arc
length. The power source supplies enough current to burn
off the filler wire as fast as it is being fed to maintain the arc
B length appropriate to the voltage setting.
If for any reason the arc length is shortened, the arc
voltage will be reduced. This increases the current so that
the filler wire melts at an increased rate until the correct
Drag Angle 90 Push Angle arc length is reestablished. But if the arc length is length-
(Backward Pointing) (Forward Pointing) ened, the arc voltage will be increased. This reduces the
current and slows down the melting rate of the filler wire
Fig. 22-8 Drag and push travel angles.
until the correct arc length is reestablished. No change in
the wire-feed speed occurs. The arc length is corrected
by the automatic increase or decrease of the burnoff rate
bead. Increased travel speeds are a characteristic of the of the filler wire. The welder has complete control of the
push technique. welding current and the arc length by setting the wire-
feed speed on the wire feeder and the voltage on the weld-
Work Angle The work angle refers to the position of the
ing machine.
wire to the joint in a plane perpendicular to the line of
travel, Fig. 22-7. For fillet weld joints, the work angle is Arc Voltage
normally half of the joint angle between the plates form-
ing the joint. For butt joint the work angle is normally 90 In the gas metal arc process, the voltage remains constant
to the surface of the plate being joined. as set by the person doing the welding. Furthermore, the
The work angle utilizes the natural arc force to push burnoff rate of the metal electrode is constant at a given
(wash) the weld metal against a vertical surface to prevent voltage setting.
undercut and provide good bead contour. This has partic- In the gas metal arc process, the arc voltage has a decided
ular significance in welding lap and T-joints. High travel effect upon surface heating, weld profile namely in, bead
speeds usually require greater work angles to ensure the height, and bead width. The chief function of voltage is to
proper washing action. stabilize the welding arc and to provide a smooth, spatter-free
weld bead, Fig. 22-10. Thus, for any given welding current
Wire Location The wire is typically located in the root of there is a particular voltage that will provide the smoothest
the joint. However, on heavy weldments and/or mechanized possible arc and the best weld profile with little or no spatter
welding in the horizontal position, offsetting the wire loca- or undercut.
tion by 1 to 1.5 diameters onto the bottom plate helps reduce A higher or lower arc voltage causes the arc to be-
undercut by allowing the weld pool to flow up on the vertical come unstable and affects the surface heating. High arc
plate. Incorrect wire location can lead to unequal leg fillet voltage produces a wider, flatter bead. Excessive volt-
welds, Fig.22-9. age also increases the possibility of porosity in the weld
Arc Length

Short Circuiting Spatter Spray

Acceptable Unacceptable Unacceptable
(Too High) (Too Low)
Fig. 22-9 The wire should be pointed at the root of the joint, nei-
ther too high nor too low. Unequal leg fillet welds can affect quality Fig. 22-10 Adjust the arc voltage appropriately for the mode of
and productivity of the welds. metal transfer being used.

Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate) Chapter 22 713
metal and also increases the spatter. In fillet welds it in- penetration. Conversely,
creases undercut and produces a concave fillet subject if excessively low volt-
to cracking. Low voltage causes the bead to be high and age is used, the wire may Droplet
narrow. Extremely low voltage causes the wire to stub stub into the weld pool
on the plate. Therefore, changes in voltage have opposite and produce a poor weld
effects on bead height and bead width. As the arc volt- profile. However, pene-
age increases, bead height decreases and bead width in- tration will be increased.
creases. (See Figs. 22-11 and 22-12 and Table 22-2.) This A general analogy about Shallow Penetration
does not change the overall size of the bead, as in the voltage is that it heats
case of welding current and travel speed, but it changes the plate. The higher the
the profile of the bead. voltage, the more heat
Generally speaking, high arc voltages result in globular goes into surface heating
transfer of metal from the wire to the weld pool. Globular the plate. This is good to
transfer is spatter-prone and reduces deposition efficiency. remember when trying
High arc voltage also reduces burnoff rates because of to control the weld pro- Smooth
greater radiation losses. files; however, its effect Profile
For a fixed deposition rate, low arc voltages allow faster on penetration must also
travel speeds and downhill operation. High arc voltages ne- be considered.
cessitate slower travel rates
to allow the weld deposit to Wire-Feed Speed Good Penetration
accumulate properly. A long The special wire feeder
arc may also cause contami- and the constant volt-
nation of the gas field since age welding machine
the shielding gas may not be constitute the heart of

V AL completely contained, and the MIG/MAG welding Excess
the contaminating air is per- process. There is a fixed Reinforcement
mitted to enter the gas shield. relationship between the
The proper arc voltage for rate of filler wire burn-
the short circuit transfer has a off and welding current.
sharp crackling sound, while The electrode wire-feed
the spray arc will have a hiss- speed determines the Fig. 22-12 Shallow penetra-
Electrode ing sound like paint being welding current. Thus tion results when arc voltage is
too high for travel speed. Excess
sprayed out of a spray gun. current is set by the wire- reinforcement and overlap occurs
An occasional crackle with feed speed control on the when arc voltage is too low for
the spray arc is a good indi- wire feeder. The weld- speed. With proper arc voltage for
cation minimum voltage is ing machine supplies the speed, smooth profile in center

being used. The proper volt- amount of current (am- illustration is obtained.
AL age has a sharp, crackling peres) necessary to melt
sound. The narrow short arc the electrode at the rate required to maintain the preset
produces good penetration voltage and resultant arc length.
W and fusion, and the weld An increase in the electrode wire-feed speed requires
W = Bead width at high bead formation is excellent. more electrode to be melted to maintain the preset volt-
voltage Arc voltage is generally age and arc length. Increased wire-feed speed causes
W = Bead width at low not set to control penetra- higher current to be supplied by the welding machine,
V & V = Volume of bead
tion. Voltage is a much bet- and the melting rate and deposition rate increase. More
V = V ter control of weld profile weld metal and more heat applied to the weld joint pro-
AL = Arc length and arc stability. However, duce deeper penetration and larger weld beads. If wire-
= Included angle of arc if the arc voltage is exces- feed speeds are excessive, the welding machine cannot
sive, the energy is spread put out enough current to melt the wire fast enough, and
Fig. 22-11 The relationship over a larger weld pool area. stubbing or roping of the wire occurs, Fig. 22-13. An
of arc length to weld bead This will reduce the focus excessive wire-feed speed causes convex weld beads
width. of the energy and reduce and poor appearance. A decrease in electrode wire-feed

714 Chapter 22 Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate)
Table 22-2 Recommended Variable Adjustments for GMAW
Change of Welding Variables Effect on Weld Deposit
Variables Increase Decrease Penetration Deposition Bead Height Bead Width
Voltage X Increase 1
Decrease Increase
Voltage X Decrease1 Increase Decrease
Current 3
X Increase Increase Increase Increase2
Current X Decrease Decrease Decrease Decrease
Travel speed X Decrease Decrease Decrease
Travel speed X Increase Increase Increase
Stickout X Decrease Increase Increase Decrease
Stickout X Increase Decrease Decrease Increase
Travel angle (dragmax. 25) Maximum High Narrow
Travel angle (push) Decrease Decrease Increase

Up to an optimum arc voltageraising or lowering beyond this point reduces penetration.


Up to an optimum current settingraising or lowering beyond this point reduces bead width.

Adjusted by wire-feed speed control.


speed results in less electrode being melted. The welding Since the sheath of the metal cored electrode is the con-
machine supplies less current and so reduces the deposi- ductor and the arc jumps and oscillates around the sheath
tion rate. Less weld metal and less heat are applied to of the electrode, current densities are much higher with
the weld joint so that penetration is shallow and the weld the metal cored electrodes than the solid wire. Generally
bead is smaller. speaking, if you are going to maintain a given amperage
Generally, for a given filler wire size, a high set- and switch from solid wire to metal core, you can either
ting of the filler wire speed rate results in a short arc. A jump one wire diameter size and keep the wire-feed speed
slow speed setting contributes to a long arc and possible the same or you can keep the same wire size and increase
burnback. the wire-feed speed. This higher current density of the
burnoff around the sheath of these metal cored electrodes
Welding Current accounts for their higher deposition rates at a given heat
The setting at the wire-feed input.
speed control determines the Each type and size of electrode has a minimum and
amount of current that will be maximum current density. The best working range lies
delivered at the arc. The term between them.
current is often related to cur- The depth of penetration, bead formation, filler wire
Correct rent density. Current density burnoff, speed of travel, and the size and appearance of
is the amperage per square the weld profile are all affected by the amount of welding
inch of cross-sectional area of current.
the electrode. Thus, at a given There is a direct relationship between the welding cur-
amperage the current density rent and penetration. In general, for any change in welding
of an electrode 0.035 inch in current, there is a corresponding change in penetration.
diameter is higher than that As the welding current increases, the penetration in-
of an electrode 0.045 inch in creases, and as the welding current decreases, the pen-
diameter. etration decreases. Increasing the current also increases
The area of the cross sec- the wire meltoff rate and the rate of deposition. If the cur-
tion of a solid wire is easy to rent is too low for a given electrode size, metal transfer is
calculate. However, the area sluggish, and poor penetration and poor fusion result. The
of the current-carrying sheath bead is rough, and excessively convex. If the current is too
Fig. 22-13 Effect of of a metal cored electrode is high, penetration may be too deep. Excessive penetration
wire-feed speeds. more complex to calculate. causes burn-through and undercut. The weld bead has a

Gas Metal Arc Welding Practice with Solid and Metal Core Wire: Jobs 22-J1J23 (Plate) Chapter 22 715