McHone Industries Blog

3 Basics of Welding Design for Product Engineering


Welding design matters. Welding is usually an "out of sight, out of mind" manufacturing process - if the product works great, you don't think about it. However, if the product fails, weld design is quickly called into question.

Because they're so important, specifying weldments is usually left to an experienced design engineer. However, every engineer starts somewhere. If you're just starting out, here are the basics of welding design to optimize time, costs, and product quality.

Basics of Welding Design 

1.  Overwelding

In some situations, going above and beyond creates a higher quality output. Welding is not one of those. 

Overwelding can create serious problems for your final product, including:

  • Inflated costs
  • Thermal distortion
  • Buckling and failure
  • Decreased life span
  • Increased repair costs
  • Secondary strengthening fabrications

As you may be aware, increased costs trickle down through the supply chain and end up in consumers' hands. Consumers are also more likely to catch weld failures and defects than a manufacturer's quality control department. Ultimately, overwelding creates a poor customer experience with your product.

Avoid overwelding issues by specifying:

  • Intermittent welds
  • Fewer passes
  • Balanced welds
  • Backstep welding
  • Alternating sequence

In general, you'll want to get familiar with how to size a weld. That means factoring in material thickness, bend direction, and joint design.

2.  Joint Design

The most common join designs include:

  • Butt
  • Corner
  • Edge
  • Lap 
  • "T"

Your joint design will impact the final weld quality, no matter how experienced your welder is.  Joint design should take into account:

  • Material characteristics
  • Welding sequence
  • Weld size and length
  • Grooves
  • Dimensions
  • Possible distortion
  • Accessibility

In practice, a good joint design will decrease the chances of overwelding, enable a high-quality weld, and maintain material characteristics.

3.  Process Selection

Here's a list of standard weld types:

  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW or TIG)
  • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW or MIG)
  • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW or stick)
  • Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) 
  • Submerged arc welding (SAW)

Not to mention the options of hand welding, robotic welding, and different gases and flux to create the weld. The best welding option depends on your material, application, and product - that deserves an article of its own. (Coming soon!)

Process selection can play a big role in your design success. The wrong process can create distortion and failure of your material.

Still overwhelmed by welding choices? We're happy to help you sort it out. Check out our full set of capabilities below:

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