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Welding Bead – Kinds Of Weld Beads & Torch Movements

Welding bead is the basic type of welding taught to a new welder. The welding bead is formed by operating the filler metal between the two metal plates to cover the grooves, leaving a bead shape.

Let’s move deeper into it without further ado to know what is a welding bead, how it is made, and how it works.

What Is a Weld Bead?

Welding bead is the joint-forming technique primarily used in the initial stages of welding. It is made by filling the metal filler between the two metal plates where grooves are left.

These beads can be narrow or broader depending on the transverse oscillations used by the welder. The narrow bead is called a Stringer, made by slight vibrations or drag movements. In contrast, the wide bead is made with more vibrations.

You can quickly identify a good bead from a bad one by analyzing its straightness with no cracks and slags.

Why Utilize Various Torch Movements?

The Bead welding process seems to be changing. Like tailors sew the cloth in different positions, a welder does it in awkward positions. Unlike tailors, welders have face masks and gloves to protect themselves.

You are welding the world differently with different settings. If you have set your machine according to a particular position, you must only use this setting in that position and not others.

For instance, if you have set your welding machine for an overhead position, you must keep the process fast to avoid dripping the filler metal on your face mask instead of filling the joint.

Gravity plays a crucial role in it. It decides where the filler metal will be deposited between the plates and the

Pipes or flows away. It is also advisable to ensure what kind of filler metal you’ll be using. Either it would be a stick or a rod.

Kinds of Weld Beads and Torch Movements

Manipulating your torch movement changes the bead formation. You’ll get different bead types each time you change your torch’s movement.

Here are the most common types described below.

1. Stringer Beads

Stringer beads are a narrow type of bead. They are formed by either pushing or pulling the torch in a straight line, keeping it to avoid side-to-side movements.

The pushing or dragging technique is used in horizontal cases where the dragging causes the most penetration. Always ensure the filler metal reaches the toe to cause maximum penetration.

While in the case of vertical welding, the torch is pulled back and forth to give the filler metal enough time to drop down. It helps in avoiding heat and pure solidification of the filler metal.

Make sure that the filler metal gets fused between the metal plates, as this is the fundamental purpose of welding.

Always make the side-to-side manipulations slight to avoid the formation of the weave bead.

2. Weave Beads

A weave bead is a comprehensive type of welding bead. It is mainly used when the welders have a short period. In this bead, the filler metal is moved in a criss cross manner by moving side to side.

Weave welding is usually done for fillet metals as they efficiently perform the filling of grooves. You can make different designs on weave depending on your mood. Some welders do it in a curlycue, crescent, or zig-zag manner.

While performing the weave bead, you must be efficient enough to do things quickly so that gravity cannot interfere with the molten metal.

3. Whip Motion (for Stick)

Whipping bead is the most daunting type of welding. Professional welders perform it with a lot of experience to avoid disrupting the weld.

The stick welders whip weld on open grooves by moving their wrists. The initial task to perform is the fusion of the metal plates at the bottom by forming a flat bead.

You get a complete penetration in this welding by moving the electrode up and down. It leads to the formation of the keyhole at the opening.

The size of the keyhole matters a lot. If it is 2x more extensive than the diameter of the rod, it’ll not let the plates fuse. Therefore you must take care of the size of the keyhole to avoid getting disqualified for the whip bead.

The heat must be constant while welding as it plays a key role. The beads are not formed in the initial stages but appear at the end when the heat rises and you start twisting your wrist to a constant angle.

4. Whip Variation – The J-Weave

The combination of crescent and whip beads leads to a new variation called the J-Weave. This uses a long arc to be formed.

5. Walking The Cup (for TIG)

Tig or the walking cup technique is often used in welding root passes of pipes. It is because of its cleanliness and preciseness that can’t be achieved with Mig or any other welding.

It is called walking the cup due to a specific hand action involved in welding.


Bead welding has different appearances depending on the different factors. You have to look for what will go best with your metal pieces. We’ve described five different types above and their usage. You can find the best one for your next weld. But if you still have some queries, ask us in the comment section below if you’ve got any queries.

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