What Are the Different Welding Positions?

welding position

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The American Welding Society identifies four primary welding positions:1

  1. Flat position
  2. Horizontal position
  3. Vertical position
  4. Overhead position1

What is a welding position? Why are there different welding positions? And how do you know which position to use?

Keep reading for answers.

Why Are There Different Welding Positions?

Those who’ve never taken welding classes or fused metal in the field might assume a welder simply sits at a workstation and fuses the metal components in front of them, moving freely around the table and repositioning the workpiece as needed.

But in everyday work environments, joining metal can be much trickier. Workpieces may be attached to the ceiling, the corner or the floor.1

Welders need techniques to be able to weld in any position.1 So the four common welding positions were developed.1

What Is a Welding Position?

different welding position

A welding position is a technique that allows a welder to join metals in the position in which they are found or the position in which a specific component will be used.1

There are four main types of welding positions:1

1. Flat position

Also referred to as a “downhand” position, the flat position weld is the easiest and often the first weld that new students learn. The metals to be joined are placed flat, and the welder passes the electric arc over them, moving across the workpiece in a horizontal direction. The joint’s top side is welded together allowing the molten material to move downward into its edges or groove.2

2. Horizontal Position

The horizontal position is considered an out-of-position weld. Along with the vertical and overhead, the horizontal position can be more challenging to perform and require a higher level of skill.2

The weld axis is horizontal. How the position is executed depends on the type of weld. For a fillet weld, the weld bead is placed where a vertical and a horizontal piece of metal meet at a 90-degree angle. When performing a groove weld, the weld face will be along a vertical plane.1

3. Vertical Position

For a vertical position weld, both the weld and plate will lie vertically. One of the major problems when performing this weld is the molten metal flowing downward and piling up. Welding in a downhill or upward vertical position can prevent this issue.3

4. Overhead

The overhead position weld is the most difficult position to work in. The welding will be performed with the two pieces of metal above the welder, and the welder will have to angle him or herself and the equipment to reach the joints.3

One major issue can be the metal sagging from the plate. When the metal sags, it creates a crown. To avoid this issue, the puddle of molten metal should be kept small.3

As you can see, the welding position is essentially the location of the welder in relation to the workpiece. One of the major considerations with each position is the direction the welding consumable will flow due to gravity.3

The position of the welded joint on the plates or sections to be joined forms the basis for all welding classifications, which are represented by welding symbols.1

Before we discuss the different welding classifications, it may help you to first understand the types of welds and weld joints on which these positions are typically performed.

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What Are the Main Types of Welds?

Two main types of welds can be used with any of the four positions:1

Fillet Weld (F)

Often considered the most popular type of weld, a fillet weld fuses two pieces of metal at an approximate right angle to each other.4

Grove Weld (G)

Grove welds are the second most common type of weld. A grove weld is formed when filler metal is deposited in the groove between two pieces of metal.4

What Are the Primary Types of Weld Joints?

When joints and welds are combined, you get weld joints.4 The location where two or more pieces of metal are joined is what sets weld joints apart. Below are 5 common types of weld joints.5

Butt Joints

Butt joints occur when two pieces of metal in the same plane are joined with their edges meeting.5

Lap Joints

This weld joint is where the two pieces of metal partially overlap one another.5

Corner Joints

The corner joint weld is where the two pieces are fused at a 90-degree angle.5

T Joints

This weld joint occurs when two pieces are joined at right angles. The weld joint forms a “T” shape.5

Edge Joints

Edge joints occur when the flat sides of two pieces of metal are welded together.5

What Are the Welding Symbols for the Different Positions?

Let’s bring all of these concepts together so you know which welding position to use when reading the welding symbols on an architect’s blueprints:

Welding Symbol Welding Position Weld Type
1 F Flat position Fillet weld
1 G Flat position Groove weld
2 F Horizontal position Fillet weld
2 G Horizontal position Groove weld
3 F Vertical position Fillet weld
3 G Vertical position Groove weld
4 F Overhead position Fillet weld
4 G Overhead position Groove weld


How to Choose the Right Welding Technique

Now you know more about the different welding positions. Deciding on which one to use can be just one factor to consider before welding.

Check out these tips on how to choose the right welding technique.

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