Weld Spatter Vs. Splatter

Are you a fan of welding? Then you must be aware of some of the issues you may face in the process of fusing metals. Some forms of welding, such as MIG, are often characterized by sparks.

Most people describe some sparks as spatter while others call them splatter. Though these words are sometimes used interchangeably, research shows that they are not the same. Such sparks may look great when you see them in a movie, but when you are welding, you will realize that they are not so good. They give you more work since they tend to increase the cleanup time. If you don’t put on adequate protective items, excessive sparks can burn you. Read on to find out more!

Comparison table

Weld spatter
Weld splatter
Involves small drops
Involves large particles of viscous liquid that build up on the welding surface
You cannot get rid of them entirely
Easy to eliminate through the use of particular tools
Caused by excess stick out, low voltage, or poor quality equipment
Caused by long arc length or too much wire

How do weld spatter and splatter compare

According to the grammatical definition, spattering means scattering small particles of a particular substance. During welding, you may realize that some small drops tend to fly and land on the surface. These are referred to as spatter. When these drops fly out as you weld, some tend to stick on the equipment and work pieces. Spatter leads to a lot of waste material. When it accumulates on the contact tip or weld nozzle, you have to replace these parts so that you can continue producing quality welds.

Splatter, on the other hand, is often used to describe the action of liquid drops flying during welding and striking different surfaces. While spatter refers to small drops, splatter in welding describes a trail of viscous liquid that is splashed over a large surface.

Though both spatter and splatter are a bad thing when it comes to welding, you can quickly solve them through different techniques. One of the best solutions for eliminating splatter while welding is using anti-splatter before you begin the process. Though you cannot eliminate spatter completely, you can minimize it through different techniques. You need first to understand what causes it so that you can find the most appropriate solution to your problem.

Weld spatter

If you are trying MIG welding for the first time, you probably will have to deal with weld spatter from time to time. Sometimes, using poor quality equipment can lead to the production of weld spatter. If you don’t have the funds to buy a piece of advanced equipment, you can still minimize the level of spatter in other ways.

One of the possible causes of spatter is using incorrect settings. You have to know the right settings needed when working on each type of metal. For instance, the wire feed speed determines the amperage. Running very high amperage tends to result in spattering. You can correct this by increasing the voltage or reducing the wire feed speed.

A very low voltage also leads to an increased level of spatter. As you conduct MIG welding, try to raise the voltage until you notice a reduction in the spatter levels. You should also focus on the distance between your work piece and the contact tip. Experts call this the electric stick out and recommend that it is around 3/ 4″. Excess stick out can lead to an increase in the spatter levels. In some cases, it can also cause severe issues such as porosity. This results from the lack of penetration and the absence of shielding gas.

Some people have differing opinions regarding dragging or pushing when it comes to MIG welding. No matter what you prefer, you should ensure that your push or pull angle does not go beyond 15 degrees. Steep angles are known to generate too much spatter. The surface you are working on can also determine the level of spatter you should expect from welding. MIG welding should be done on a clean surface to minimize high spatter levels. If the surface you are working on has contaminants such as oil, rust, or paint, it can lead to increased spatter.

Ensure you prepare the metal you intend to weld adequately to minimize such issues. The mode of transfer you choose can also have an impact on the levels of spatter you should expect during welding. Globular transfer, as well as short arc mode, are known to create too much spatter. You can, however, minimize spatter by choosing spray transfer. You should also ensure no feeding issues can lead to high spatter levels.

Be careful with the shielding gas you choose since a poor quality one can increase spatter levels. Choosing one that has high argon content enables you to enjoy a smooth arc. Though high percentages of carbon dioxide in shielding gas enhance penetration, they lead to high spatter levels.

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Spatter balls tend to stick to the welding tools
  • Can lead to loss of material
  • It can burn your skin or clothing
  • Leads to excess cleanup

Weld splatter

Splatter tends to form on the welding table since it involves the liquid splashing and spreading over a large surface area. It can, therefore, be more problematic compared to small drops that tend to fly out during welding. In the process of welding, the molten liquid may splash and stick on the working surface.

Though the development of splatter may be inevitable during welding, you can easily take care of this problem. Experts prefer using anti-splatter before they start welding to reduce this occurrence. If you did not use this product before and your working station accumulates splatter, you can get rid of it by getting a few supplies and tools such as an angle grinder, chisel, hammer, or a flap disc.

The frequency and severity of the splatter, should help you determine the right technique to use to clean it up. When you are dealing with small splatter, a chisel or hammer can help you get rid of it easily. If you, however, have a large surface area to clean up, then you may spend a lot of time working on it.

For this to work, you need to focus on the edge of the splatter then place your chisel point on it at a 35-degree angle. Observing precision prevents you from digging through the working surface itself. After placing it appropriately, you can tap the end using a hammer. Start with a light tap, then a stronger one if the splatter does not break off easily. You should only do this while wearing some safety glasses to prevent any piece from getting into your eyes.

If you are dealing with medium-sized splatter, you can eliminate it by using a flap disc. Attach this device to an angle grinder and then use the grinder to skim the affected surface. Ensure that the grinder remains in constant motion as you lift off the splatter from the surface. Once you have eliminated splatter from the welding surface, you can now do some cleanup. Sweep any debris on the surface of your table then store the tools you used well. You can now proceed with welding.

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • It can build up fast
  • Excess splatter can affect the quality of MIG welds negatively
  • It causes a big mess on your welding area

Verdict

Both professionals and enthusiasts find welding to be a rewarding and exciting activity. As long as you have the right welding tools, you can transform any metal piece into the design or shape that you desire. One of the challenges that you may face during welding is the development of spatter or splatter. Though some people use these two names to imply the same thing, they are not the same.

Spatter refers to the small particles that tend to fly out during welding, while splatter refers to the molten liquid that splashes and builds upon the welding surface. Knowing how to handle both cases can lead to a better welding experience. Both spatter and splatter are a bad thing when it comes to welding.

FAQs

Why do beginners prefer MIG welding compared to other forms?

Most people find it simpler to learn compared to the rest of the types. The high electrode efficiency in this form of welding also leads to a reduction of waste. By cleaning up your metal before welding, you also minimize the levels of spatter. It enables you to enjoy the process due to reduced fumes.

Can a poor quality welding wire lead to increased spatter?

Yes. This factor increases the likelihood of spatter during welding. You should try to compare different welding wires so that you can choose a quality one that does not lead to such issues.

Can splatter cause visibility issues?

Yes. When you fail to address excess splatter, it can affect your sight, especially if during welding, there are too many sparks and excess smoke.

Spatter and splatter are common in which forms of welding?

Most welders reveal that spatter and splatter tend to develop when you are dealing with MIG and stick welds. They are less common in TIG welding.

 

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