Taking a welding test is hard enough. Nerves dont help.
Failing a welding test sucks. It can really mess with your head.
A few simple tips can increase your chances...stack the odds more in your favor.
Some of these are obvious and I am sure I left out a few but I really believe that following these tips can help your chances of passing.
Sometimes it means the difference between a really long ride home or a happy phone call to your significant other...paycheck or no paycheck.
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Here are 10 tips for the 7018 root pass portion of a welding test ... or more specifically, an AWS D1.1 Structural welding test.
gap it wide enough....
a full 1/4"
Straight from the AWS D1.1 welding code book, a standard qualification test is 3/8" plate beveled 22 1/2" gap 1/4" with 1/4" thick backing strap.
this test is not the only one. there are others like a 1" thick plate that is used for unlimited thickness qualification.
Contractors select a welding test that represents common thicknesses and positions welded on the job. Sometimes this 3/8" thick test is simply a hire in test and other tests are giving once you are on the job.
Whether 3/8" or 1" thick , it is very important to get the gap right. IF the gap is too tight, its hard to get the rod jammed in tight enough to penetrate into the backing.
clean the mill scale
yes, stick welding burns thru mill scale but this is a test. Put your best foot forward and clean the metal on both sides.
plan your tie ins
Some might say you should be able to make good enough stops and starts to pass a bend test no matter where they are. That is true but its also true that welding defects like slag inclusions, porosity, lack of fusion , etc, are all more likely to happen on restarts....Every text book will agree .
So why ask for trouble? It only takes a small defect to open up on a root bend. IF possible, make restarts in an area that wont be bend tested.
use the angle to your favor and set the height where you can see the whole weld easily.
Tilting the plate even 5 degrees helps. But make sure it is ok with the test super.
take dry runs practicing body positions
making dry test runs with the machine turned off helps program your body. it really helps in getting familiar with how to position your body to be comfortable and steady for the whole run.
a file helps with restarts
7018 rods don't restart as easily as others like 6010 or 6011. Using a file to scrape the slag off the tip helps.
Dont do like me.
I recently did this while the file was grounded. Saw spots for a long time.
Be careful not to just barely nip the corners of the plates. you want to be sure you really consume the corners
bite those corners real good. concentrate the rod on those sidewalls with a tight arc to prevent undercut too.
rake , dont peck...a file works for this too
use a chipping hammer or even the corners of a file with a raking motion, dont peck like a chicken or you might put divots in the base metal and fail your welding test.
if allowed, use a grinder to feather tacks and clean weld...but just like Bon Qui Qui had said..."Dont get crazy!"