Work Safety

What Causes Welding Spatter And How to Reduce It?

By October 17, 2020December 16th, 2020One Comment
Updated: Jun 06, 2021
A welder is very much like an artist. They want the weld they create to look immaculate. For it to be sensational in every way. Unfortunately, these welds can lose their luster when tiny metal balls mar the appearance of the weld. It can be extremely frustrating.

Common Factors Causing Welding Spatter

However, it is quite common. After all, I temperatures are being generated to create the welds, causing metal to melt. As it melts, this metal can spatter, ruining an absolutely beautiful joint created by the welder. So what causes this, and what can be done to reduce it from occurring? These are questions we look to answer in this article.

Welding Metals

First of all, it is important to understand that certain metals or materials are perfect for welding. Steel is one such example. Many products, including cars and buildings are put together using a welding process. Here are some common causes of spatter.

Metal Composition

It is also important to understand that these materials play a significant role in how much spatter is produced. Some metals are far more likely to spatter, which depends greatly on the metal composition.

There are other metals that are not designed for welding at all. One of the properties of these metals is that they are not weldable. You are likely to find that there are going to be some circumstances where metals are sold as weldable when they are not.

If the composition of the metal is the problem, then the solution is an easy one. Maybe you just need a new material. There are several different kinds of materials that can do the same job and greatly reduce the spatter. You may be working on a project where spatter does not matter much but, if it does, then consider using a different material to get the best look for your project.

Metal Coating

There may be some instances where you are required to use a material that has a metal coating. This coating was required prior to the weld. This can include such things as galvanized coatings, chrome, paint, rubber, or metal plating. Anything that may cover the surface of the metal.

Most welders recognize that the purer the material that is being used, the better the weld they are going to get. It will be much cleaner and far less likely to spatter. Unfortunately, there are many instances where a coating is used, creating a nightmare scenario.

If this is the case, the most sensible thing to do would be to grind away the coated area where you intend to weld. While the coating is important for the overall look, it is not going to be visible in the welded joint anyway. Removing it is the only sensible thing to do.

Dirty Metals

One of the most common causes of spatter is dirt or debris. This can be oil, dirt, dust, grease, even the markings from pens. If this is the case, a thorough cleaning is important before welding. This will help to remove the potential for spatter.

How to Reduce Welding Spatter?

Reducing the welding spatter is quite hard but possible. You just need to be careful and take a few steps as shown below:

The Right Weldable Filler

One way that you can decrease the amount of spatter is through the use of a quality filler. However, if you use the right metals to make the weld but your filler, either wire or rod, is of poor quality, then you are going to have spatter issues. Here are some of the common filler issues that result in spatter.

Low-Grade Filler

This is probably the most common issue related to spatter. People try to save themselves a block and wind up having a major issue with spatter as a result. If you want good clean welds, then you need to make sure that you have a filler that is of good quality. This is one of those instances where you truly get what you pay for.

Contaminated Filler

Like with contaminated material that is being welded, contaminated filler can also be an issue. Oil, dust, dirt, or other debris get in the filler, it will lead to an excess amount of spatter being produced.

One thing you need to do to prevent this is to make sure that you are properly storing your filler when not in use. This not only prevents it from getting rusty, but keeps dust and dirt from getting on the filler. To be stored in an airtight container and kept at a constant temperature to prevent degradation.

Welder Settings

The welder settings is also extremely important. If you are wanting to prevent spatter, the wrong settings can factor in helping you to accomplish that.

MIG Settings

One of the most common causes of spatter in MIG welding is excessive speed irregularity in the continuous wire feed. In this type of weld, spatter occurs as the filler wire is added to the weld pool. The wire melts because of the extreme heat that is generated. This causes the filler to turn into a liquid, which creates a pool.

The right feed will make it so that the filler melts as it is entering the pool. He generated from the pool causes it to melt so that spatter does not occur. However, if the melting occurs prior to the wire hitting the weld pool, this will cause it to splash or pop, creating spatter.

The welder settings need to be created so that this wire melts just as it is entering the pool. Having it dude this too soon will create a significant amount of residue and buildup caused by the spatter.

You also want to make sure that the rate at which is fed remains at the same speed. If it is feeding in faster even for a second or two, then slows down, you were going to have a significant amount of spatter, especially if this intermittent speed happens on a continuous basis.

SMAW Settings

This principle is exactly the same when performing an SMAW weld. The heat needs to be just the right temperature and the rod fed at the right rate to ensure that you get the perfect well. If the weld is too cold you were going to find a significant amount of excessive spatter is produced. This creates a very ugly appearance. If it is far too hot, that it will create a lot of spray, leading to spatter across the material.

One of the things you can do to help prevent this type of issue is to spend some time practicing this welding technique. The better you get at this, the less likely you are to have spatter occur. This is an additional step to take beyond ensuring that the feed rate and temperature are correct.

Welding Gas

Two gases play a significant role in the amount of spatter that is produced. These are Argon CO2. These two gases are used to create a shield that protects from atmospheric conditions affecting the integrity of the weld. They are most often used in MIG welds.

CO2 is a commonly used gas because it is far cheaper than argon. However, it also is more likely to produce spatter than argon is. A common solution to this problem is that many welders use a mixture of argon and CO2. In the right amount of each, the welder can save some money and still get a quality shield to protect against spatter.

How Else You Can Protect Against Spatter?

There are some additional things you can do to prevent spatter from occurring. There are products you can purchase that are extremely reliable and can help to act as the perfect solution.

Anti-Spatter

This is one such product. This is an oil-based spray that you apply directly to the welding area. It has no effect on the quality of the weld whatsoever but prevents spatter from sticking to the metal. Instead, loose balls are formed on the project area, which can easily be brushed or chipped away. It is important to note that this is not a perfect product, you still may have some spatter, but it will be greatly reduced.

Welding Tape

Welding tape is another good product to use. This is made of aluminum and is applied anywhere on the material where you need to keep spatter from building. You cannot apply this directly to the welding area, but it can be placed in the surrounding areas. As spatter is produced, and lands on the welding tape. This allows you to simply pull off the tape, thus removing the spatter.

This is a very good option, but it is an expensive one as well. Because of its cost, it should only be used when the overall appearance of the material is critical.

Chisel or Grind

When all else fails, you may be left going back to the basics. Your only solution to the problem could be to grind or chisel away any spatter that is produced. This time-consuming and may not give the best appearance overall, but it works. Welders have been using this for decades, because it is the one thing you can be sure that will work

Derrick Irvyn

Derrick Irvyn

A passionate researcher and marketing manager. He made hundreds of reviews on various safety products for the last decade. He is fond of blogging and also likes to hear from the curious people about their experiences and opinions. Derick had a lot of expertise and knowledge, but did not have a lot of experience in writing, although this was something he had longed to do. The opportunity to join the team at DefenseHacks was a dream come true of sorts, as he not only could share his insights with us, but with the world as a whole.

One Comment

  • Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for pointing out that the kind of gas that I use will determine the amount of splatter my welding might produce. I’m thinking about stocking up on welding supplies soon because I might need to do a lot of welding for my metalworking projects in the future. Perhaps I should also buy welders’ anti-spatter coating.

Leave a Reply