You pick up a welding machine and decide you are going to try your hand at learning this trade while working with some metal pieces in your garage. Welding is definitely a cool skill to have, but it is also one that is definitely not easy to learn if you have had no formal training. One of the hardest parts of learning to weld is learning how to create a nice even bead when you are welding.
If you were to work with a professional welder, you would see that the weld lines on what they put together are uniform, evenly distributed, and almost perfect. You can tell a lot about what you are doing wrong just by looking at the weld you make. Here is a simple guide to help you see what you could be doing wrong by looking at the weld bead you make.
Your weld bead is wide and the sides are uneven.
If your weld comes out really wide and bubbly, almost layered in appearance, there is usually a good explanation for why this is happening: you are possibly moving too slow while you weld. If you move to slow, the bead will grow wide as it is applied to the surface of the metal. Likewise, the melted material will pile on top of itself as it goes down, which will give the bead a layered texture with bumpy sides that are uneven. To rectify the situation, try getting more comfortable with your movements so you can pick up the pace a bit.
Your weld bead is really flat and has a lot of air holes.
Welding at the proper temperature is extremely important to achieve a proper weld bead. If the temperature of the current is too high, which means the current is turned up too much, you will get a more melted looking weld bead that is flatter and often has tiny air holes. This type of weld does not bond very well, so you must adjust your current settings to keep the temperature of the welding material lower.
Your weld bead is thick and bumpy.
If you are trying to weld too far away from the surface of the metal, the bead will not go down onto the surface of the metal in a smooth fashion You will end up with a bead that is thick and bumpy, but even worse, it will not look even at all. Adjust your stance and position and try to weld closer to the surface of the metal you are working with.