Every welder, you know, will tell you that one of the biggest issues encountered during the welding process is spattering. For newbies out there who want to know what welder spatter is, and the best techniques to address this issue, then keep on reading.
- 1 What is Weld Spatter?
- 2 How Spatters Affects the Welding Process
- 3 Causes of Weld Spatter And Ways to Eliminate Them
- 4 How Shielding Gas Affects Spatter
- 5 The Quality of Materials Used in Welding
- 6 How the Filler Wire Affects Spatter
- 7 Machine Settings That Affect Spatter
- 8 How Welding Methods Affect Spatter
- 9 Additional Ways to Limit Spatter
- 10 What’s the Difference Between Spatter and Splatter
- 11 Small Summary
- 12 Final Thoughts
What is Weld Spatter?
What is the first picture that comes into your mind when you are thinking about welding? I am pretty sure that you might imagine sparks flying in every direction. The sparks are small balls of soft but extremely hot metal, which is split from the welding seam. As we will see in the following lines of this article, spatter can cause numerous problems. So, keep reading to find out how to solve them.
How Spatters Affects the Welding Process
The issue with weld spatter is that it can harm your skin. It can cause burns as it goes through the clothes and gets to the skin most, especially if not wearing welding sleeves that are OSHA recommended. Weld spatters stick on the area you’re working on and leaves an unpleasant and nasty mess behind. Those are the major problems that spatter is responsible for. However, they are not the only ones.
Spatter can lead to various issues in a lot of manufacturing processes. It has considerable effects on the quality of weld as well as on the entire process. So, the most usual and common issues you may encounter is some of the following:
- Spatter balls which attach to welding tool as well as workpieces
- Spatter can burn the clothing of the welder and his or her skin as well
- Loss of material from the weld and arc
- Too much clean up of spatter that can delay the whole process of welding
- It can increase the rate of corrosion on the seam
Weld spatter doesn’t constitute a serious structural issue. It will considerably affect the look or appearance of the weld. Aside from that, it can also pose a threat of skin and bodily harm if present on things like handrails. In most cases, a weld spatter might also boost the threat of corrosion eating away at the metal base.
A lot of manufacturers strive to lessen the level or amount of spatter produced. The only way to effectively address the issue, you have to know why this is happening. So, let’s check the causes.
Causes of Weld Spatter And Ways to Eliminate Them
There are lots of reasons why takes place. The vital factor is an interruption in the mold weld tool when transferring the wire into it. Normally, this is due to the connection between the voltage and amperage. Usually, this is witnessed in cases where the voltage used for the procedure is low or the amperage is extremely high for a given wire type. In this case, the arc is extremely cold to keep the wire as well as the pool softens and results in a stubbing effect of the wire. This can take please at both low and high current ranges.
Also, the shielding gas may affect this phenomenon. It is not uncommon for spattering to appear due to the chosen gas. In GMAW, the application of oxygen boosts the arc energy and is extremely cost-efficient. On the other hand, it creates lots of welds spatter. Welders usually make use of argon to offset the spatter produced from using oxygen or CO2.
There are many reasons why weld spatters takes place. Some of the most notable causes are:
- The quality of the materials used in welding
- Type of welding process
- Type of filler material
- Shielding gas
- Welder’s technique
A very important question is finding out which of those causes is the culprit. However, a more important one is after finding which is the best way to deal with the cause. Let’s answer those questions for each one of those causes.
How Shielding Gas Affects Spatter
This is another vital factor in weld spatter problems. The kind of gas you utilize is able to have a massive impact on how flawless the weld is, which will affect the intensity of spatter you generate. There are different gases you are able to utilize to protect your MIG welding. However, Co2 and Argon are the most popular and considered the most appropriate to use.
All types of gases do what they’re alleged to do. However, the outcomes are different. Aside from pure Co2 and Argon, welders also utilized a combination of the two gases. So, what is the difference between CO2 and Argon, and how does it affect weld spatter?
Basically, argon is utilized to weld aluminum or for TIG welding processes on stainless steel. This gas is notorious for generating quite some weld spatter. Once you utilize pure argon then you will definitely see some spatter but don’t expect an extensive due to Argon. So, this gas type could still be the culprit in certain base metals.
Pure Co2 is relatively popular due to its low price. This facilitates shield and deep penetration relatively well. The only con is that it generated lots of spatter compared to pure argon. Therefore, again once you hold all the other aspects constant, and still you notice spattering, oxygen may be the number one reason.
CO2 and Argon Mixture
This is a hybrid gas that comes in various combinations, with every mixture being best for particular types of MIG welding. If the steel is thick, then the higher the level of CO2 in the gas utilized to weld the material or metal.
The Quality of Materials Used in Welding
Newbie welders may misguidedly believe that all materials used in welding are the same. Well, that is not true. Actually, a very good criterion for determining the weldability of a material to a certain method is the amount of spatter that is produced. It’s not the only criterion but still an important one. When it comes to the quality of the material, the material’s composition and microstructures in its grains play a vital role.
Weld Material Composition
Keep in mind that not all materials made for welding are the same. Some of them have some molecular structures which aren’t ideal for welding. Also, you may use some cheap materials available labeled as weld material, but in reality, they are not. Instead, such materials have cheap additives included in manufacturing processes.
The best solution to this problem is to avoid using this type of material. Instead, buy a new one which will release a less amount of spatter. What occurs if these are just materials you need to use to finish the task? Keep on reading and get some other solutions listed below to assists in making the most out of your situation.
Low-Quality Metal Coatings
You might be having the best metal. However, you still produce many spatters. The issue could be the coating material utilized to line the metal. Chrome galvanized coatings, rubber, zinc as well as other types of coating will certainly result in weld spatter.
So, make sure to keep away from using coated metals. Sad to say, this isn’t always the case. On the other hand, keep in mind that materials like pre-primed steel are intended without these impurities and, for this reason, will not add the issue of weld spatter to the welding process.
The best thing to do is to make use of a grinder to eliminate such coatings. If you do this before the process then, it will definitely generate less spatter. Ideally, you want to weld upon pure metals without visible traces of coating. Also, I would recommend using weld through primers after removing a coating. Those little products can work miracles. For your safety and at the same time to obtain the best results, you need to grind at least ¾ or three-quarters of an inch around the area you are welding.
Dirty or Grimy Metal
Aside from coating, other contaminants on the surface of the material or metal will result in too much spatter. It does not matter if the offending compound is dust, grease, or pen lines provided the fact that it is on the material; it will result in spatter.
A grimy weld is an issue. Therefore, make sure your weld is dirt free prior to starting the job. This doesn’t require a detailed cleaning process. A simple wipe with the use of a clean cloth will work in reducing the pain and suffering from annoying spatter.
You have made sure the superiority of the material is taken care of, but that doesn’t assure you won’t get spatter once you start welding.
How the Filler Wire Affects Spatter
Superior and high-quality welding materials produce quality welds, and this leads to less spatter. Once you buy the best material, but not superior filler rods or wire, you will experience spatter problems.
If you want to eliminate spatter, it is worth a lot to pick a superior and high-quality filler component. The composition of the filler is an important factor for creating clean welds. Depending on the metal and process some fillers perform better than some commonly known good fillers. There are examples in which, it is cheaper for industries to make filler products by just putting in components that are not associated with welding. Still, they serve their objective in being weldable and making an okay weld. However, you should expect some spatter and a sloppy connection as an outcome of this compromise.
What to Look Out Before Buying
Provided the fact that you utilize low-grade filler, you’re not yet out of the woods. You need to be aware of when buying a weldable filler its quality, the metals that you want to weld, and the method that you are using. Some manufacturer generates cheap or low-cost filler that doesn’t have been created for welding processes.
You have to make sure that the weldable filler you utilize comes from reliable and renowned brands, as well as has the best composition to provide clean welds. Never mind the cost; what matters a lot is that you get rid of the spatter since it can be dangerous and risky.
An issue with the filler may not be related to the manufacturer or composition of it. As a matter of fact, the contaminants on the filler may be the main problem. Once you let the filler without any covering when you take a break, then it will get polluted and tainted with dust, oil, as well as other contaminants present in the surroundings. Sometimes bad habits of some welders create this problem. All these unnecessary substances will make contact with the material.
Cleaning And ProtectionTips
The best thing you can do to avoid weld spatter is to keep the filler as well as other consumables covered each time you are done using or not in use. This will keep the pollutants at bay from damaging the filler. One type of filler that may not stress you a lot is stainless steel rods, as they don’t rust easily. Now in cases that you forgot to cover them, you can still solve (at least partly) this problem. Before making the weld, make sure to clean the filler.
Dust can cause stainless steel rods to develop rust and taint the welds. Such contamination will have a remarkable and unwanted effect on the performance of the machine that you are using. In order to avoid this from taking place, it is wise to keep the rods away from dust. You can grind a bit stainless steel rods that are polluted with rust.
So, let’s assume that you have taken good care of the material as well as issues with filler, but the question is, are these actions enough to avoid weld spatter? Well, there are so many things that you still need to think of.
Machine Settings That Affect Spatter
Welders have definite settings that are utilized in regulating how the welding machine functions. Paying attention to the guides for welders, you will see suggestions for gas flow rate, wire-speed as well as power settings.
A common problem of weld spatters as much as the setting is an abnormality with the wire feed in the machine or too much speed. Once too much filler wire makes its way, then spatter becomes inevitable.
The high temperature softens the wire, and in its course, the wire softens. The filler creates a pool which then solidifies. The question is what happens once too much stainless steel which is cold reacts to the high temperature. That’s how easily unwanted spatter takes place.
In SMAW which is Shielded Metal Arc Welding, there are a couple of settings that could create a lot of spatter. The temperature needs to be right and appropriate for the welding rods as well as the thickness of the material. Once the seam is colder than it should be, then the result will be an unstable and inconsistent welding process.
The settings of speed could create a vital problem that every welder must keep in mind.
In order to avoid this from taking place, first, you have to get clean scrap metal and then practice as you alter the settings to an extent they do not add unwanted spatter. Keep in mind the recommendations of the manufacturer may not always lessen spatter in this event; therefore, trust the trial and error technique to get the most convenient settings for the welding job.
How Welding Methods Affect Spatter
Even if getting the whole thing in the right manner, you still have a vital job that you need to do. Many people believe welding is just a matter of pointing the machine to the metal, and that’s it. Well, this is not the case. How you weld make a huge difference whether you get full-scale splattering or get minimal to almost no spatter at all. Understanding and making use of the best and appropriate welding methods is vital if you need to deal and contend with weld spatter. Let us give you an insight into the two types of methods which can assist a lot in obtaining a minimal or no spatter at all.
If you are welding with a MIG torch at a 25-degree angle or more, you can anticipate a lot of spatter. Getting the right angle not just alters the penetration as well as the shape of the weld. That’s why angles play an important role. On the other hand, the steeper your angle is, for instance, 10 degrees, you will produce full-blown splatter.
As stated, consistency in the speed of filler wire reduces the spatter. The same way, consistency in travel accuracy, together with a consistent and stable hand, make sure a flawless weld. If you are consistent with the method your welding needs, the less weld spatters with produce. So, it is highly advisable to look for the best angle, as well as speed. Then the key is to make sure that during the weld all those parameters are stable and in your control.
You need to ensure the method you are using is appropriate for the kind of material. One good example is pulling or pushing the weld pool. The welding seam needs consistent and high-temperature input, pulling the weld along is the best way to go. Once the weld needs more heat dispersion, instead of localized heat input, pushing is the perfect approach to follow. If you use the wrong method for the specific requirement of the weld, then it will generate too much spatter.
There are a few welding parameters in SMAW that affect the amount of spatter. However, as for instance, pulling produces more spatter compared to pushing. If you are able to push, then pushing is your best option. Having the best technique for the right weld is also vital with SMAW to reduce weld spatter. So, your technique has to be adjusted depending on the conditions that the welding takes place.
In this type of welding travel speed is still very important. Make sure the travel speed is stable enough because if you go faster then chances are that you will create more spatter than you should have. So, the best thing to do is to look for a perfect rate and then stick with it again and again to obtain the best outcomes.
When you start in the workshop, maybe your supervisor set the welder up with the perfect settings for the task. You have prepared all the pieces thoroughly to weld and cleaned them right away. Yet, as you jumped in self-assuredly with the job, the weld spat away towards you, which cause mess all through the frame.
You had the whole thing right except understanding the best methods to weld. The lesson is never to forget the importance of the right welding methods. You must prepare the whole thing well. But, knowing the right techniques is equally as essential as the other factor that we have previously addressed.
Additional Ways to Limit Spatter
If you follow the solutions mentioned above to lessen weld spatter from the welding will have considerable results. Usually, there will be some spatter. No matter what the project is for, weld spatter looks unsightly and have to be eliminated.
However, what happens when you can’t use the solutions that I provided above. Either you don’t have the right technique or you lack the equipment for handling this situation, there are some other methods that you can use for eliminating spatter.
Spatter from stainless and steel welding is hard and difficult to eliminate. In metals like aluminum, it is much easier to handle this phenomenon.
You can find below the three final solutions that can help you reduce spatter. I am pretty sure that my suggestions will keep you from damaging your work as well as throwing money down the drain and wasting time.
Additional Tools for Handling This Problem
The techniques highlighted above will surely assist in minimizing splatter effectively. On the other hand, these are not the only methods available that you can use. Once utilized with other methods with the same power, you can bring down the level of spatter your produce. You have to think of the following:
The latest developments in the technology of weld equipment have allowed welders to lessen or almost eliminate spatter. Actually, some of them are becoming more and more popular. Ultra-high-speed electronics made it possible to create welding power sources, which concentrate on the reduction of the spatter. However, you don’t necessarily need high-tech and expensive systems. I am just letting you know that these technologies exist. Now, let’s check other alternatives with equipment that most workshops have.
The humble grinder is a very useful tool for any welder. You can use it in various welding applications. If you wish to grind away reside during the welding process, a grinder that has a flapper wheel can assists you in eliminating spatter out of your work. There are many high-quality grinders available in the market that you can use for spatter related projects.
I bet that if you are using welding for your projects there is no chance that you don’t have a toolbox. You can still observe some spatter on your work even if you have used and followed each solution we discussed in your effort to generate the ideal and flawless weld. You can add a nice finish to your work material with simple tools like a hammer, a chisel, or a screwdriver. With the last two tools, you can chip away all the mess created during the welding process. You can apply force on those tools with the help of a hammer or anything small and heavy. It’s a job that needs patience and attention to detail. You have to be careful not to damage the metal behind the spatter and your very own hands.
If you want to avoid spatter from attaching on the surface, anti-spatter sprays provide a great solution. When it comes to these sprays, all you need to do is apply them to the area that you wish to weld. It’s definitely not rocket science. The best thing about it is that you are able to weld over it with no effect on the result of the weld. Also, you can easily brush it off or chip it away. However, don’t be too sure that most of the spatter will not scatter into your work area. That’s why I would recommend buying products for heavy-duty welds.
Welding tape isn’t typical or ordinary plastic tape. In general, a welding tape is made of aluminum material and is utilized to any place you want to keep weld spatter away from. However, it can’t be utilized straight where the weld like the product mentioned. It is a cheap option; however, for vital parts of jobs, such as machined surfaces or any surface which cannot be harmed, this is the best choice.
You can utilize other materials or tapes for a fraction of the cost. Always remember that majority of the tapes will burn, melt, or catch fire. However, the aluminum tape will not allow any spatter without worrying too much about these problems that you might encounter by using normal tape.
The issue with this technique is that the welding tape can be expensive. If your budget is greatly disturbed by an expense like this one, still you can use other kinds of tapes, but ensure to take extra care since a lot of materials can melt easily or catch fire once exposed to weld spatter.
Finding use out seemingly useless objects is a great virtue for a fabricator or welder. You can use old and rusty pieces of metal that you cannot use for any other project for protecting your work. It’s a method that you might not have thought of that could still work miracles. So, you can take a look around the area you are working for metals that you can use for this purpose. Then all you have to do is clamp them in place and start working.
What’s the Difference Between Spatter and Splatter
A lot of people express some sparks as spatter, while others named these as splatter. Even if these “terms” are sometimes utilized interchangeably then, by taking a closer look at what they are describing, you will notice that they have disparities. Usually, fabricators don’t pay attention to the words that they are using. However, in this case, the difference between spatter and splatter could create misunderstandings about how the welding process is going.
Comparison Table of Weld Spatter and Weld Splatter
|Weld spatter||Weld splatter|
|Consists of small drops||Consists of huge particles of thick and gooey liquid that upsurge on the surface of the welding materials|
|It is hard to eliminate spatter totally||This is easy to get rid of by means of using a specific tool or device|
|Spatter is created due to the too much stick out, low-quality equipment and low voltage||This takes place due to a long arc length as well as too much wire|
More Details About Differences
Spattering refers to the scattering or spreading of tiny particles of a specific substance. During welding, you might think that a number of tiny drops are likely to fly as well as land on the surface. Once these small drops fly out during welding, some are likely to attach on the tool as well as workpieces. Once it accumulates on the weld nozzle, you need to replace the parts in order to keep on generating high-quality welds.
Weld splatter is often utilized to express the stroke of liquid drops splattering during welding as well as hitting different surfaces. Spatter, on the other hand, refers to the splashing of tiny drops of molten metal. Spattering in welding expresses a trail of thick liquids that is splattered over a big and huge surface. So, there are many differences between the two methods. The biggest difference is the scale between those two phenomena.
Even if both splatter and spatter are not a good thing with regards to welding, you can instantly address these issues by following different techniques mentioned above.
Even if you are not able to get rid of spatter totally, you are able to reduce it by different methods. First, you need to know the causes of the spatter, so you are able to look for the best and right solution to the issue. One remarkable solution to get rid of both splatters and spatter when welding is to use anti-splatter. Use this product to starting the welding job.
Both enthusiasts and professionals find welding to be an exciting and rewarding activity. Provided the fact that you have the best welding equipment, you are able to change any piece of metal into the shape or design which you want. One challenge that you might encounter during the welding process is the occurrence of splatter or spatter. Though many people or welders utilize these two terms to entail one thing, they are totally different meanings.
Spatters are tiny particles that are likely to throw out during the welding process, while weld splatters are softened liquid, which splatters and builds on the surface of welding material. Knowing the proper way of handling both cases can result in an improved welding experience. Both splatter and spatter are bad occurrences that come to welding that need to be addressed.
It’s true that spatter is a challenge you will encounter doing a welding task. However, you can still fix these spatter problems, while at the same time make welding assignments enjoyable.
At its heart, welding is a very simple procedure. By keep practicing on different welding scenarios, before you know it you will have the experience to handle even the most difficult projects.
You can learn more about welding by reading other articles on this website.