Vertical Up MIG Welding

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Vertical Up MIG Welding Question: 

Dear markthewelder,

I work at a small fab shop and have been welding for about 8 years and feel as if I have a good grip on all the welding types but have been unable to learn vertical up mig welding.
  I have been told it produces a stronger weld and my only problem is that everyone in my shop has no idea about the process of vertical up mig welding.

Can you try to explain the process.

  Thank you for your time.


....So I Replied as usual


Sir, I apologize for the delay in my reply. 

Due to technical problems I have been unable to retrieve my e-mail as usual. 


Your vertical up MIG welding question.

As you already have good MIG welding experience, you will find that welding vertically upwards, or all position (6G), is really easy once you know how to do it.

But first of all Jay, so that I can best advise you on how to do this using your existing MIG welding equipment, could you please answer the following questions? 

  • Exactly which make and model of welding machine are you using?
  • Does your welding machine have digital amperage and voltage display meters/dials on the front control panel?
  • What MIG welding wire diameter are you most comfortable at using?
  • What thickness of material are you used to welding?

There are basically two ways of welding vertical up with a MIG.

    1. You can run any diameter of standard solid mig wire with any gas shield for vertical up using short circuit transfer.

However, if you look closely at the regular solid MIG wire analysis chemical composition data, you will see that MIG wire contains the following approximate ‘ingredients’: Carbon 0.07%-0.12% CO2, Sulphur 0.025% max, Silicon 0.70%-1.00%, Phosphorus 0.025% max, Manganese 1.30%-1.60%, Copper 0.400% max. ( the Manganese and Silicon are also excellent de-oxidizers)

The quantity of Silicon, may look to be minimal, but this gives the molten weld pool it’s fluidity and arc stability . 

So if you imagine you are welding upwards, gravity and Silicon content will cause your weld metal to try and move downwards, not a good thing!

So to get started, choose any MIG filler wire with a silicon content preferably

Less than 0.70%. The above example is for ER70S-6 grade MIG wire, which I use as an excellent all round welding wire, but not too good for the vertical up!

Select your favorite shielding gas and MIG wire, and start practicing the technique by doing this:

Take two bits of regular mild carbon steel, say 100mm wide by 6mm thick by 300mm long.

Use your angle grinder to remove any mill scale from the edges that are to be welded together, but don’t weld prep the edges, just leave them square.

Tack weld them to your workbench at about 6mm apart, (a simple vertical butt joint).

Tack both ends to stop gap distortion.

Set your welding amps to the lower end of dip/ short circuit transfer, and wire feed to suit, and simply start welding upwards using the ‘weave’ technique.

You will find it works best if you hesitate the weld pool on the material, inside the gap, and quickly flick the arc across the gap between the material square edges, then hesitate the weld pool on the opposite material.

As your weld metal builds up, you can judge exactly when to move the arc just before the point of the weld pool collapsing and running out of the gap.

The reason for the square edges on your test parts, is to make it much easier for your weld pool/metal to develop and stay in place.

You will quickly appreciate that you need a good welding helmet and lens to be able to see your weld pool in detail.

I keep my welding lenses immaculate and I personally use a top of the range Speedglas 9002X welding helmet, but it is absolutely no use for overhead welding.(due to plastic/acrylic parts)

If you are still struggling to fully fill the gap with weld metal, or you have large lumps of weld metal sticking out of the gap, try practicing exactly the same procedure but with the gap between the parts at about 8mm apart.

This will concentrate your practice on maintaining the arc at the material edges and not in the center of the gap.

As soon as you get to grips with the ‘flick technique’, and you can fully control your weld metal deposit, you can rapidly apply the same principle to fully weld prepared gaps.

Once you master this basic technique, you will be able to weld in any situation with solid wire, just don’t try vertical up using spray transfer!

And here’s a couple of torch tips:

  • As you are welding at short circuit amperages, you can safely allow your copper contact tip to stick out past the end of the torch bezel. (try 8mm past the bezel)
  • I have various ‘cut down/shortened’ bezels for these very situations!
  • You will also quickly realize that torch angle is critical, do a quick test with the torch pointing downwards, then pointing upwards, and you will rapidly find your best torch angle!
  • If you have any bad burn backs of welding wire during practice, don’t scrap the contact tip, just touch the tip end with your angle grinder, twist the torch and the fresh wire should release through the tip.
  • When teaching begininners, I run 1.00mm wire through 1.2mm tips until they get the hang of it, then I give them 1.00mm tips!

I am a Lloyds approved coded welder, and the above techniques do not satisfy any welder approvals or weld procedures.

However, vertical up with solid wire is used throughout industry and I see this on a regular basis.

I do not personally use these methods for any structural, pressure vessel, or load bearing principles.

    1. Flux Cored MIG Welding  (FCAW)

This is the ‘bees knees’ of vertical up welding and there is a full range of flux cored filler material specifically designed for this mode of welding.

Flux Cored MIG welding is the standard application for welding requiring a high integrity of quality, and I recommend this for zero weld defects.

The essential difference with this kind of MIG welding is that the filler material is really a stick welding rod inside out, if you understand, albeit in a small diameter.

It is relatively simple and straightforward to change your MIG wire feed drive rolls, to accept this tubular wire, but most workshop welding companies seem to have a welding machine specifically set up for FCAW alone.

I actually believe that this is because welders seem to have so many problems in setting up the correct welding parameters.

But like everything else in welding, if no one shows you how to correctly do something in the first place, then obviously it is a struggle to try and guess.

I have studied this in-depth over the years, taken professional welding training instruction, practiced and practiced extensively, to the extent that I can now take any material, in any position, correctly select my welding parameters and filler materials, and produce first class welding every time first time.

I am talking about welding parameters here, and I could write volumes on this subject alone.

This is why, Jxx, I started this email reply by asking about your current welding situation.

I can easily advise you on your specific requirements, or enough to get you started one way or the other, but to generalize about welding parameters for vertical up would be another separate story entirely.

Back to FCAW for vertical up:

  • Flux Cored electrodes are either self shielded, which means no shielding gas is required,
  • or they are gas shielded Flux Cored electrodes which needs CO2 or a mix of Argon & CO2.

Neither the self shielded or gas shielded Flux Cored electrodes are considered to be the same as solid MIG wire electrodes.

& Dont confuse these with Metal Cored electrodes which are primarily designed for very high deposition rates!

I have tried my best to keep this explanation to you as brief and uncomplicated as possible, while at the same time giving you an insight into exactly how I do it.

In all honesty Jxx, it would only take me a few hours hour to teach you how to do this if you were standing in my workshop, from setting up the feed rollers to setting your welding parameters.

I have extensively used fully self shielding MIG wire and I would honestly rate this as being one of the most difficult to use for lots of reasons.

In fact I’m going to produce a DVD specifically for fully self shielding MIG welding, as I get the same questions asked time and time again.

I believe that I can teach you better by letting you see me welding and showing you how to do it in real time instead of explaining it in writing.

One of my favorite Flux Cored MIG welding electrodes is called Corofil R58 by name & its classification is E70T-1.

I use this as a good all round fcaw, although I admit to using it with argon mix shielding gas and not straight CO2.

Technically, FCAW is deposited in the spray transfer mode, but I would term my actual practices and experience as closer to the globular transition, which is the very bottom end of the spray mode parameters.

Fortunately, when the Flux Core melts and it becomes a slag, the weld metal is supported by this fast freezing slag, & your weld metal solidifies exactly where you put it.

Once again, I could show you easier than explaining it!

I’ve read, studied & practiced the technicalities & specifications for solid MIG (GMAW)  (AWS 5.18/5.280) & Cored Wire (FCAW) (AWS 5.20/5.29), for regular mild steels, (carbon and low alloy steel), but it would be pointless to preach these to you as it is really heavy going.

I am working hard to make my markthewelder.co.uk web site an excellent source of self help information, with genuine practical explanations and professional video clips so that you can actually see how it is done.

In fact, one of my web site visitors sent me this video url, and I think it is what you are looking to see. 

This is one of the easiest vertical up welds to perform, but it should give you an idea of how easy this is to accomplish once you have grasped the ‘flick technique’.

This first one, looks like an initial vertical fillet, and you will probably appreciate that the sidewall fusion will be minimal, hence the reason I do not personally use this technique for structural or coded welding requirements.


In this one, you can clearly see that this is the final vertical up pass.


 In the very near future, you will be able to find some excellent video and DVD opportunities that you can watch, on my markthewelder.co.uk web site.

Should you have any further questions or queries, no matter how small or incidental, please ask at the bottom of this page

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