Most beginner welders find it hard to avoid their weld from dripping and splattering. The most frustrating welding activity is vertical and overhead welding. A lot of beginners find that the molten metal drips or slides a bit before hardening. I am sure you faced something similar and came here looking for help.
Grinding and sanding are some of the most common methods of fixing a weld drip. You can also use Anti-Spatter Spray if the drip scatters like droplets. It is ultimately better to avoid dripping in the first place by using proper weld settings and techniques.
Avoiding making a drip may sound easy, but there are many things one needs to consider. Different welding materials need different TIG and MIG welding settings. Contaminated particles can cause splatters, and TIG and MIG welders require unique techniques. With the basics covered, here’s what to do if your weld is dripping.
What Causes Weld Dripping?
Weld dripping is the molten welded metal that drips downward due to gravity. Splatter is the molten alloy that shoots off in every direction, but they also mix with the dripping to make the welded metal unsightly.
It happens due to multiple reasons. Sometimes it happens because of the innate deficiency of the base metal, like too many impurities or oxidization. Poor quality filler rods, wrong welding setting, low voltage, or bad technique could increase the weld drips and splatters.
How To Fix a Weld Drip?
So, what do you do after your weld ends up dripping all over the place? Don’t start having a headache over it because fixing a splatter or drip is far easier than you would think. Here are some of the most common techniques of fixing a drip:
1. Wire Brushing
Wire Brush is a fairly common tool for welders. People generally use it to remove surface contamination like rust, dirt, and grit. These are coarse brushes with stainless steel or aluminum bristles.
You can use it to reduce the isolated drips and splatters from the base metal, but it cannot remove it entirely. It works fine when handling tiny splatters and drips but loses effectiveness against larger stains.
2. Angle Grinder
Angle grinders are the bread and butter for removing errant splatters and dripping welds. You can use a grinder with a flap disc to reach every nook and cranny of welding material. It is a simple tool that works by grinding the weld to match the rest of the base material.
Angle grinders can handle sheet metal better than any other tool. You can use them to remove any uneven weld, drips, or splatters from any material. However, different materials need different grinding discs.
First off, you should avoid using any cutting discs for removing drips, as that can harm the base material. Flap discs are a collection of sandpaper flaps. This one is the most commonly used disc for smoothing out welds and removing drips. You could also use wire wheels to remove larder drips.
3. Sanding Belt
The sanding belt is an upgraded version of the angle grinder. Instead of friction discs, this tool uses a sanding belt. It also goes by the name power file. A sanding belt is a fantastic tool for reaching narrow places. That quality makes up for a lot of the shortcomings of the angle grinder.
Removing splatters and drips is a fairly easy job for a sanding belt, but you need to select the belts carefully. Industrial-grade sanding belts are usually made of aluminum oxide. There are also zirconium, ceramic grit belts for different base materials.
Getting material-specific belts are good, but you do not necessarily need them. Any sanding belt will work as long as your tool is good enough, and the belts are fresh. There are also a few funky belt sanders on the market that offer more flexible options.
How To Avoid A Weld Drip?
Getting harsh drips and splatters can be a pain in the backside. So most people would try to avoid them if possible. There are a few ways you could reduce the possibility of a drip, and I am going to share them with you down below:
Use Anti-Spatter Spray
Anti-spatter spray is quite possibly the best precaution against errant drips and splatters. It is easy to apply and a beginner-friendly product against drips. Most people will tell you to get better at handling the TIG or develop steady hands. But I know that is not a possible option in the short term.
Instead, using this spray you can reduce the damage of drips and splatters. The job of this spray is to make the surface of the base material more slippery for the molten metal, so the dripping metal won’t stick to the rest of the surface. It will reduce your sanding and grinding time because the droplet won’t spread as much.
Use Good Quality Material
Low-quality base material or filler is one of the primary reasons behind drips and splatter. You might have noticed by now that rusted metal tends to drip more than polished ones. Foreign material in the base can cause increasing amounts of drips and splatter because that does not react the same way as the rest of the base material.
The same is true for fillers. Not all fillers on the market are equal. Cheap fillers have bad material composition, and they make welding messier than it has to be. Doing enough research before buying fillers is a good thing. High-quality filler rods will reduce your drips and splatter even if you are lacking in technique.
Cleaning Before Welding
Dirt, dust, grit, rust are the sworn enemies of welders. Exterminate them as much as possible before getting your filler rods anywhere near the base material. The base material isn’t the only thing you need to clean. Your filler rods can also accumulate grit, oil and dust, so wipe them down before welding.
These contaminants have different melting points, so they often cause tiny explosions in the molten metal, creating a lot of splatter and drips. I suggest using a sander on the base material a couple of times before getting down to welding. Wipe the oils off with a paper towel or a rag to avoid more contamination.
You should also check the condition of your welding tool to make sure there are no issues. A lot of the time drips and splatters occur because of the incorrect setting on the welding tool.
Try to make sure if the shielding gas flows correctly or not. Check the nozzle condition to ensure it’s clean. The power setting is another concern because low voltage with amperage could cause excessive drips and splatter.
Better Welding Technique
I hate to break it to you, but the technique is still one of the ultimate counters to excessive dripping. It is not something a beginner can accomplish in the short term, but it isn’t that hard to develop good welding techniques through experience.
Welding is delicate work. The steadier your hands, the better your control over the base material. The ultimate answer to drip-free welding is to get good. It may take months or years, but you will eventually reach a point where your splatter and drips are almost nonexistent.
Here’s what to do if your weld is dripping. The best method of removing drips is using sand grinders to smooth out the metal. If that doesn’t work, use a rougher angle grinder to cut off the dripping bit entirely.
Thanks for reading till now. I hope this write-up helps you with your drippage situation.