Weld Symbols – The Definitive Guide

Weld symbols are one of the most critical elements for technical documentation and communication with the welder. Reading and understanding weld symbols the right way is essential to do a great welding job in 2018.

When I saw some weld symbols for the first time, I had no clue at all. And it took me some effort to find complete and useful information. Thus I created this massive collection to make things easier for you guys.

In this article, you will find the most basic weld symbols. Moreover, I will show you the difference between weld symbols and welding symbols. Of course, you will learn the differences between terms like “arrow side” and “other side”.

Table of Contents

Difference between weld symbol and welding symbol

Many people think a weld symbol is the same thing as a welding symbol. But it isn’t. In fact, there is a difference between the terms “weld symbol” and “welding symbol”.

Difference between welding symbol and weld symbol visualized

welding symbol vs weld symbol

The welding symbol describes the “whole thing”, while the weld symbol can be part of the welding symbol.

The welding symbol consists at least of a horizontal reference line, has an arrow line pointing to the joint area and can have a tail with additional information for the welding process.

The weld symbol gives you information of the type of weld and is usually a part of the welding symbol. The weld symbol is placed above the reference line of the welding symbol.

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Basic weld symbols

In the following chart you can see the basic AWS weld symbols, groove symbols and also supplementary weld symbols.

weld symbols

For further reference you can also check the handout on AWS here.

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How to draw a welding symbol?

A welding symbol consists at least of a horizontal reference line, has an arrow line pointing to the joint area and can have a tail with additional information for the welding process.

Weld information for the “arrow side” can be read below the reference line. Weld information for the “other side” is placed above the reference line.

welding symbol

Welding symbol – example

If you – for example – would like to create a not further specified T-joint you can define a fillet weld with the following welding symbol:

welding symbol fillet

Orientation

There are multiple orientations of the arrow possible, however the reference line must be oriented horizontally. In the following image you can see examples of how welding symbols can be arranged, but there are even more combinations possible.

Orientation of arrows in welding symbol

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Difference between arrow side and other side

Now, take a look at the image below. The position of the weld symbol clearly tells the welder where the weld seam should be.

The side at which the arrow is pointing at is called “arrow side“. The opposite side is the “other side“.

Welding symbol - Difference arrow side and other side

Overall, there are three different possible positions for a weld symbol in the welding symbol:

  1. If the weld symbol is on the bottom side, the desired weld seam must be placed on the arrow side.
  2. If the weld symbol is on the top side, weld seam has to be placed on the other side.
  3. If the weld symbol is on both, on the top and on the bottom side of the reference line, the weld seam must be placed on both sides.
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Weld all-around symbol

weld all around symbol

A circle around the intersection between the reference line and arrow line symbolizes to weld completely around something.

Weld all around example

In the following image you can see an example of what it could look like when you use the weld-all-around symbol.

weld all around example

But in many cases, you don’t just want to weld around completely but define a specific length and width of a weld seam.

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Defining the length and width of a weld seam

If you would like to further specify the length and the width of a weld seam, you can do it the following way:

Defining length and width

This symbol requires a 1/4 inch fillet weld with a length of 5 inch.

Example

The following example shows a 1/4 inch fillet weld with a length of 3 placed on the arrow side.

fillet weld length

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Welding symbol for intermittent and staggered welds

Intermittent welds or also called skip welds are weld seams with unwelded spaces in between.

In addition to the length, you also note the pitch of the segments.

weld seam length and pitch

 

Intermittent weld – example

In the following image, you see an example of an intermittent weld with 1/8 inch weld thickness, weld length of 5 inch and a pitch of 10 inch.

 

intermittend weld

Staggered weld – example

If you would like to have a staggered weld, you misalign the weld symbols inside the welding symbol.

 

staggered intermittent weld

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Abbreviations for weld/cut processes

According to AWS, you can use the following process letters in the weld symbol tail to further define the desired process. If you for example place the letters GMAW next to the tail it is clear that the weld seam has to be done using the GMAW process e.g. using a MIG welder.

ProcessAbbreviation letter
Brazing
Torch brazingTB
Twin carbon-arc brazingTCAB
Furnace brazingFB
Induction brazingIB
Resistance brazingRB
Dip brazingDB
Block brazingBB
Flow brazingFLB
Flow weldingFLOW
Resistance welding
Flash weldingFW
Upset weldingUW
Percussion weldingPEW
Induction weldingIW
Arc welding
Bare metal arc weldingBMAW
Stud weldingSW
Gas shielded stud weldingGSSW
Submerged arc weldingSAW
Gas tungsten-arc weldingGTAW
Gas metal-arc weldingGMAW
Atomic hyddrogen weldingAHW
Shielded metal-arc weldingSMAW
Twin carbon-arc weldingTCAW
Carbon-arc weldingCAW
Gas carbon-arc weldingGCAW
Shielded carbon-arc weldingSCAW
Flux cored-arc weldingFCAW
Thermit welding
Nonpressure thermit weldingNTW
Pressure thermit weldingPTW
Gas welding
pressure gas weldingPGW
Oxyhydrogen weldingOHW
Oxyacetylene weldingOAW
Air-Acetylene weldingAAW
Forge welding
Roll weldingRW
Die weldingDW
Hammer weldingHW
Other welding
Electron beam weldingEBW
Electroslag weldingESW
Induction weldingIW
Laser beam weldingLBW
Ulatrasonic weldingUSW
Arc cuttingAC
Air-carbon-arc cuttingAAC
Carbon-arc cuttingCAC
Metal-arc cuttingMAC
Oxygen cuttingOC
Chemical flux cuttingFOC
Metal powder cuttingPOC
Arc-oxygen cuttingAOC
Suffixes to indicate method
Automatic weldingAU
Machine weldingME
Manual weldingMA
Semi-automatic weldingSA

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