How Do You Know if a Weld Is a Good Weld?

Most things made of metal have some kind of weld on them these days. This is especially true for larger industrial components and structural steel. Welding is a fantastic way to hold together pieces of metal, and it is essential in many types of construction and machine building—but a bad weld can spell disaster if not caught in time.

Fortunately, there are ways to know the difference. Welding inspectors have ways to check for this using specialized tools, and there are specialized certifications that companies offering welding services can apply for to ensure they understand and adhere to the proper procedures for different types of welding with different types of materials.

Here are some ways to spot a bad weld, as well as some ways to spot a good weld:

How to spot a bad weld

A bad weld could mean the pieces are not as strong as they need to be or that the whole thing could end up coming apart completely. Bad welds can sometimes be easy to spot with just a casual glance. There are several different types of welding, and each has its own indicators of what makes a bad weld.

For example, one of the most common types of welding is MIG welding, which stands for metal inert gas. This is where a metal wire is fed by a welding gun as filler material to join two metal pieces. Signs of a bad weld with this type of welding include cracking, lack of uniformity and thin weld beads.

Another common type of welding is TIG welding, which stands for tungsten inert gas. This requires more skill than other types of welding to master, but the result is a very clean and strong weld. A bad TIG weld will show signs of burnout and also contain wide, erratic weld beads. It will also look wide, with no distinct pattern.

How to spot a good weld

A good weld will not only look pretty, but it will also hold up to pressure tests and X-ray examinations by welding inspectors. We will stick with MIG and TIG welding here since these are commonly used in industrial applications.

A good MIG weld will be straight and uniform, with no cracking, holes or slag. It will not show dips or craters in the weld bead, resulting in a smooth weld with no visible pattern. The smoother it looks, the better the weld.

With TIG welding, a good weld will look like a pattern of tiny welds neatly layered atop each other. There will be no slag or burnout visible, and it will have a consistent pattern that can be described as visually appealing.

The key to getting a good weld is experience and patience to do the job right the first time. When you need welding services from an experienced shop, contact Metal Works Corporation today. Not only have we been in business since 1956, but our shop is certified to work with all alloys, and we are certified by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) with the S-Stamp and the U-Stamp, as well as authorized by The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) for the R-Stamp.