Understanding the four basic welding positions can help you chose the right filler metal and welding process for whatever project or job you’re tackling. Each welding position may require different techniques, parameters and preparation to achieve the best results.
Learn more about the different welding positions and get some best practices for welding each type.
What are the 4 basic welding positions?
Fillet and groove welds are performed in these basic positions:
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To help operators understand the type of weld joint (fillet or groove) and the weld position, each weld is given a number and a letter — 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G or 1F, 2F, 3F, 4F — to indicate the position and the type of weld required. Welds with a 1 are flat position, 2 is horizontal, 3 is vertical and 4 is overhead. F stands for fillet weld, while G is a groove weld. A fillet weld joins together two pieces of metal that are perpendicular or at an angle. A groove weld is made in a groove between workpieces or between workpiece edges. Using this system, a 2G weld is a groove weld in the horizontal position.
Welders are likely to see these designations in a welding procedure specification (WPS) or on filler metal data sheets, which use them to call out the positional capabilities of specific filler metals.
The filler metal you select, along with the welding process and transfer mode being used, dictate which position you can weld in. Regarding filler metal selection, some are designed to be used in all positions, while others are restricted to flat and horizontal welding only. The filler metal type will include a designation that denotes in what positions it can be used in. For example, there can be a flux-cored electrode designated as an E70T-XX or a E71T-XX. The zero in the E70T-XX designates that the electrode can only be used in the flat and horizontal positions, where the 1 in E71T-XX indicates a filler metal that can be used in all positions.
Regarding processes and modes of transfer, here are some general guidelines:
- TIG welding can be done in all positions.
- Short-circuit MIG can be done in all positions.
- Spray transfer MIG is recommended for flat and horizontal welding only.
- Pulsed MIG can be used in all positions.
- Stick and flux-cored welding can be used in all positions, but the choice of filler metal is the main driver in this.