There are many people out there who claim to be able to do welding; however, it is critical that a welder do the job correctly. A bad welding job not only looks ugly but could lead to joins failing. This could lead to costly repairs and, in the worst-case scenario, catastrophic damage to equipment, as well as injury and even loss of life. Bad welding has made headlines in South Africa over the past few years because it has led to load shedding. Eskom’s boilers at Medupi were badly welded, resulting in the boilers failing and perpetuating the country’s energy crisis, costing the economy billions.
Good welding, therefore, is critical, as so much can depend on it. A bad weld might look secure on the surface, even though it’s a little ugly, but don’t be fooled. It could be hiding significant weaknesses underneath. Here are some things to look out for when identifying a good weld from a bad one.
A good weld will almost always show a straightness and uniformity in the weld pattern. It will be neat and tidy, with a consistent bead width throughout. Generally, a good weld, no matter the method used, will be quite smooth and, at worst, illustrate a controlled and consistent pattern.
If the weld is inconsistent, lacking in a distinct pattern, and has an erratic bead width, it is not a good weld and could be hiding some structural weaknesses.
A good weld will be a thing of beauty – clean and neat.
A bad weld will have a lumpy bead, filled with erratic bumps and craters. A bed weld will also have slag splatter around the welded area, potentially ruining the aesthetic and smoothness of the metal – which can be a problem in cases where the weld will be visible. Bad welds also show signs of burnout on the metal.
While some of this mess can be ground and polished off afterwards, it’s a waste of time and manpower to do so. A good weld upfront is always better.
A good weld will be a solid, unbroken line along the join. This will result in a much stronger bond.
A bad weld will have cracks and gaps in the weld, resulting in a significantly weakened join. In cases where the join needs to be water or airtight, these cracks can compromise the integrity of the product being fabricated.