What are the different welding positions?

Infographic Welding Positions
March 8, 2022

Welders are much needed and respected the world over. Their valued work is there to see in almost every facet of life. With such a varied and diverse range of projects that a welder could fulfil, it’s vital that they know which weld is best for them. In the past, we’ve written about welding types (as seen in our becoming a welder guide), but this time, we are looking at the different welding positions.

Why do we need different welding positions?

The different welding positions represent the way in which the welder will produce the weld, and they are analysed according to the rest of the parameters studied when performing a weld. The welding position is key to defining the level of skill required of the welder, this is why they are such an important part of Welding Certification.

The second key element that defines the welding position is the set of physical parameters of the weld to be performed. The welding position chosen must be perfectly coordinated with the rest of the parameters in order to guarantee the quality and resistance of the weld.

How many different positions are there?

The designation of welding positions is standardized, and the most commonly used standards are ASME and EN. The main welding positions are:

Flat (PA)

Angle (PB)

Horizontal (PC)

Vertical (Could be ascending or descending)

Overhead (PE)

What more do we need to know about the four different welding positions?

The four welding positions are techniques that allow welders to join metals regardless of where the metal or component is found. 

We’ve listed them in order of difficulty, which is the same order in which you should learn and practice them.

Flat Position:

This is the easiest weld to do and is the first welding position you will learn when you enter this industry. The metal is placed on a flat surface and a welding arc (the flame) passes over the weld in a horizontal manner. The top side of the joint is thus welded as the molten material passes downwards into the edges and grooves. 

The weld should be performed in a controlled motion, melting the plate walls to create a small puddle. Overheating the puddle can cause metal burns that reduce the strength of the weld.

Angle Position:

The PB position can be converted to one of the positions described above, with a geometrical particularity. This position can be converted to a flat weld with a relative geometrical position of 90°. Due to the particular geometry to be melted and welded, only higher electrical values are used in this kind of position than in the other positions described so far.

Horizontal Position:

In this situation, the weld axis is horizontal, and how you execute this weld position will mostly depend on the type of weld you choose to do. A fillet weld or a groove weld is recommended, but both are handled quite differently, and with some skill and challenge involved.

One issue you may encounter is that the molten metal may fall to the lower side of the joint. This causes heat to rise to the upper side and create a uniform deposit. A skilled welder will distribute the heat more evenly to prevent the metal puddle from running down.

Vertical Position:

In this case, both the weld and the plate are laid out vertically, however, as you can imagine, this can cause molten metal to flow downward and collect in one spot at the bottom. The solution is to weld in an upward vertical position, angling the torch by around 45 degrees. You should also consider holding the rod between the flame and puddle so that you ensure a good weld with minimum runoff.

This type of weld can be tricky and is not advised for complete beginners.

Overhead Position:

The most complex of all, the overhead welding position involves performing a weld on the underside of a joint. There will be two pieces of metal above the welder, requiring them to angle themselves in an intelligent way to reach the joints. One potential challenge is metal sagging, which creates a crown. Of course, this is undesirable, but it is avoidable, as long as the welder doesn’t allow the puddle of molten metal to become too large. This issue can be navigated by performing the weld patiently and allowing the metal to solidify if the puddle starts to grow too large

Application limits of the different positions

All this angle theory and information are key for the determination of the welding positions, however, when push comes to shove, the real orientation of the weld may vary up to some degrees, so how does this affect the welding position?

For example, it is possible to find joints that should be welded in a flat position (i.e. at 0° to the horizontal plane) with an inclination of 10°/15°. How are these joints considered and what position is referred to in these cases?

The regulations that manage the applicable limits of the positions, will guide us on the correct reference to be used for the correct reference to be used for the welded joint in question.

PositionAxis TiltRotation
Flat0º – 15º150º – 210º
Horizontal0º – 15º80º – 150º
210º – 280º
Overhead0º – 80º0º – 80º
210º – 360º
Vertical15º – 80º
80º – 90º
80º – 280º
0º – 360º
Welding Angles

Understanding the different welding symbols

Architects may leave welding symbols on their blueprints to help the welders. It is advised to familiarise yourself with these codes.

Welding SymbolWelding PositionWeld Type
1 F Flat positionFillet weld
1 GFlat position  Groove weld
2 F   Horizontal positionFillet weld
2 G Horizontal positionGroove weld
3 F  Vertical position Fillet weld
3 GVertical positionGroove weld
4 FOverhead positionFillet weld
4 GOverhead position Groove weld

Dealing with complex welds

Over time, as you become more and more experienced, you will not only learn the different welding positions, but you’ll find that as you approach real-life welding situations, you’ll instinctively know what to do. What’s important is that you practice each of the welds in a safe setting so that you have the knowledge and experience to perform them successfully. 

With Soldamatic, the first AR-powered welding simulator in the world, you can train all the different welding positions with no restrictions. The Augmented Reality technology allows practising without wasting any materials or consummables, and it also allows creating many different welding practices that will help you dominate all the welding positions and requirements, you can learn more about it here.