To weld thick metal one eighth of an inch or greater you have to bevel the material first.
What is beveling? A beveled edge is where you basically take a square (90 degree) edge and grind it down to a more rounded or sloping edge.
A beveled edge makes it possible to weld thick metal plates together
because the beveled edges create an area for your filler metal to be
deposited and joining your pieces properly together.
There's different types of beveled edges depending on metal thickness and material but one of the common types of bevels you will perform is the simple V bevel. It looks like a V after you bevel two thick pieced of metal and then put them together to weld (seem image below).
If you are welding steel plate that is more than 3/16 of an inch you should bevel the edges in order to get proper penetration, and therefore create a good weld at the joint. Some welders say 1/8 of inch or more.
You should also use the push welding technique when you weld thick metal 3/16 of an inch or greater.
When welding steel plate that is anywhere from ½ inch to ¾ of an inch you should use the U type bevel to properly prepare your metal joint. It is similar to the V bevel but it's a U shape (see lower left corner of the image below).
You should consider using the backhand method of welding for welding 1/2 to 3/4 inch plate and with a U type groove.
By the way, it is not a good idea to use oxy-acetylene welding to weld thick metal that is .5 inches to .75 inches.
What are you doing welding something that is over 3/4 inch? You must be an advanced welder if you are doing that metal thickness (just kidding).
So if you are welding 3/4 inch metal or more you should use what is called a double V beveled edge or a double U beveled edge on your plates. These are also commonly referred to as V joints or U Joints, just so you know...
If you are going to be welding from one side of your metal then a single V or U joint is the way to go. And that is for metal of any thickness.
As I inferred above, if you want to improve your speed and control of your welding of thicker metal, which is in the range of 1/8 inch or more, you should use the pull welding technique (otherwise known as backhand welding).
This has been studied and the result is that the pull welding technique (backhand) achieves good fusion at the root of the weld easier.
If you are having trouble stick welding thick metal here is some advice:
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