Welding beads are an essential part of any welder’s skill set, providing a secure and reliable connection and fine levels of precision when assembling components together. Nearly 5 million welders and cutters were employed in the United States in 2011 alone, making welding a popular specialization for many professionals and do-it-yourselfers.
Understanding how to successfully produce a good weld bead is important for precise and effective welding projects, and knowing the basics of bead welding will go a long way to helping you achieve great results from your welding endeavors.
What is a Welding Bead?Welding is a process of joining two or more metal pieces together by applying intense heat and pressure. The welding process results in a weld joint, which is a fused connection between the two pieces.
A welding bead is the visible result of a welding process, which is often referred to as a weld bead or weld bead pattern.
Types of Welding BeadsThe most common types of welding beads are bead weld, slot weld, plug weld, fillet weld, and butt weld.
Bead weld is a type of weld created when a weld metal is repeatedly deposited in one area to create a round bead. Slot weld is a vertical slot welded into an object to enable the welding of one piece of metal to another. Plug weld is a type of weld that is designed to secure two pieces of metal together by securing one of the pieces in a hole.
Fillet weld is a very common type of weld which uses one continuous wire to join two objects. Butt weld is a type of weld that is created by joining two pieces of metal together, usually along their edges.
Durability of Welding BeadsThe durability of a welding bead depends on the quality of the weld and the type of metal being welded together. In general, the higher the quality of the weld and the stronger the metal being welded together, the more durable the weld bead will be. The type of welding process used also affects the strength of the weld bead.
Certain welding processes such as stick welding and MIG welding, can create very strong weld beads, while other processes such as oxy-acetylene welding may not be as strong.
Uses of Welding BeadsWelding beads are commonly used in various fields such as automotive, construction, and shipbuilding.
In automotive welding, the weld bead is used to form a strong bond between the frame and body of a car or truck. In construction, weld beads are often used to join metal frames and beams together. In shipbuilding, weld beads are used to join metal components such as propellers and hulls.