7 MIG Welding Patterns for Clean and Strong Joints – Guide With Pictures


Updated: 27 Nov 2023

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MIG(Metal Inert Gas) welding is an arc welding process used widely for versatile welding, creating solid and durable welds. Most people like this welding due to the following;

  • Easy to learn and applicable 
  • Create high-quality welds
  • Cosmetically pleasing weld 

You must understand and apply various welding patterns to become a skilled MIG welder. So, we have covered seven (7) different MIG welding patterns that will help you understand and master these skills for your welding journey.

Remember that mastering these patterns is essential for getting high-quality welds, whether you are a beginner or an experienced one. Without further delay, let’s get deep into it.

Why Welding Patterns Matter

Welding patterns are the paths and movements the MIG welder follows to deposit the filler metal onto the workpiece. Patterns are essential for getting the weld’s quality appearance and efficiency. Proper welding patterns can help you control heat input, ensure good fusion, and minimize defects like burn-through and distortion.

Common MIG Welding Patterns and Techniques: 

Here are the seven essential MIG welding patterns that will lead you to become an experienced welder. 

1. Stringer Welding Pattern Weave

mig Welding stringer pattern Weave
Stringer Pattern
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It is also called a steady motion welding pattern, a fundamental MIG technique used to create a straight-line weld bead. In this method, the welder follows a consistent and straight path along the joint to deposit the filler metal in a continuous line. 

Position the MIG gun approximately 1/4 inch (6mm) above the workpiece. Pull the trigger to start the welding arc with a consistent travel angle, typically around 5-15 degrees, depending on the joint configuration.

While maintaining a steady forward motion, follow a straight path along the joint’s length. This should result in a continuous, straight-line bead of molten metal being deposited along the joint.

Move the gun at a consistent speed, ensuring the arc is maintained in the center of the joint.

Keep the tip of the wire close to the work surface (typically about 1/8 inch or 3mm) to ensure good penetration. Clean the weld area of any spatter, slag, or debris. Use a wire brush or grinder to smooth and finish the weld for a clean appearance if necessary.

Whire Wheel for cleaning stainless steel
Use a wire brush or Wire Wheel to smooth and finish the weld

Strength:

Comparing the strength of stringer welding, we can say stringer offers precise control and deep penetration compared to weave welding, which fills wide gaps.

Benefits
  • Precise control 
  • Deep penetration
  • Minimal distortion 
  • Easy to learn
Weakness
  • Narrow weld bead
  • Limited coverage 
  • Less suitable for thick materials

Stringer Welding Pattern is Best for:

Stringer welding is particularly well-suited for welding thin materials like sheet metal or light-gauge metals.

2. Zigzag Welding Pattern Weave

Zigzag mig Pattern for Welding
Zigzag Pattern
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A zigzag welding pattern is a welding technique in which the weld bead is deposited in a zigzag motion rather than a straight line. This welding pattern is often used in various welding processes, such as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), to achieve specific welding objectives. 

For starting zigzag welding, all you have to do is start from the beginning point of the joint and move the electrode in a back-and-forth or zigzag pattern. Maintain a steady travel speed, monitor the weld puddle, and control the width pattern. Stop welding at the desired endpoint and inspect the weld for defects.

Strength:

Zigzag welding offers greater strength and reliability when compared to other welding patterns, such as straight lines or circular designs. Maximum joint strength and quality are the primary objectives of this welding.

Benefits
  • Even heat distribution 
  • Improved penetration 
  • Better control 
  • Create a strong weld joint
Weakness
  • Slower process 
  • Less suitable for beginners
  • Higher heat input

Zigzag Welding Pattern is Best for

Zigzag welding can be advantageous when joining thick materials because it provides better penetration and fusion, ensuring a solid weld joint.

3. Whipping Welding Pattern Weave

mig Whipping Welding pattern weave
Whipping Pattern
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The word “whipping” welding pattern refers to the “whip” or “whip and pause” technique in which the loop patterns are created to weld the joint of two metal slats. It involves moving the welding electrode in a controlled, rhythmic pattern that resembles a whip-like motion. 

To initiate this process:

  1. Position the electrode and carry out a rhythmic whip-like motion along the joint.
  2. Continue the whipping pattern and overlapping each whip.
  3. Finish the weld and allow for proper cooling and inspection. 

Strength:

The whipping welding pattern excels in heat control, penetration, versatility, and reduced porosity risk compared to common welding patterns like the weave and stringer patterns.

Benefits
  • Control input heat
  • Stronger and more consistent weld
  • Enhanced control of weld bead shape
  • Better fusion and mixing
Weakness
  • Requires skill 
  • Slower progress 
  • Not suitable for all materials 
  • Risk of cracking

Whipping Welding Pattern is Best for

Whipping is well-suited for welding thin materials because it allows for precise heat control, minimizing the risk of burn-through and distortion in the base metal.

4. Circular Welding Pattern Weave

mig Welding Circular Weave Pattern
Circular Pattern Weave
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A circular welding pattern is a process or technique to create a circular or spiral-shaped weld bead. This pattern involves moving the welding electrode in a circular motion while maintaining a consistent distance from the workpiece.

Strength:

The strength of a circular welding pattern, in comparison to other welding patterns, lies in its ability to provide even heat distribution, improved penetration, and suitability for circumferential welds. It reduces the risk of lack of fusion and can create aesthetically pleasing welds.

Start at the joint, maintain the correct electrode angle and distance, and move in a circular motion, overlapping each pass. Maintain steady hands and consistent travel speed. Complete the weld, withdraw slowly, and inspect for defects.

Benefits
  • Low risk of distortion 
  • Provide deep penetration 
  • Excellent for circumferential welds
  • Reduced risk of lack of fusion
Weakness
  • Slower travel speed
  • Consume more filler material
  • Risk of undercut
  • Good skill requirement

Circular Welding Pattern is Best for

Circular welding is best for welding round or curved components, such as pipes, tanks, and structures with circular shapes. It is particularly advantageous for circumferential welds.

5. Weaving Welding Pattern Weave

mig Weaving Welding Pattern Weave
Weaving Pattern
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This pattern is similar to the zigzag pattern, but it creates a wider and stronger weld joint compared to the zigzag pattern. It can be done by moving the welding electrode in a wide weaving or zigzag motion to penetrate the metal and create a strong weld.

You can follow this technique simply by starting from the first point in a vertical position at 90 degrees and moving through the whole joint in a zigzag motion. If you do, let weld for cooling, and now your new and strong pattern is ready. 

Strength:

The weave welding pattern creates solid and reliable welds by promoting enhanced fusion, even stress distribution, and improved load-bearing capacity.

Benefits
  • Increased weld width
  • Improved fusion
  • Better control 
  • Enhanced heat distribution
  • Fill small gaps 
Weakness
  • Complex technique 
  • Inconsistent bead shape 
  • Risk of overlap 
  • Slower welding speed

Weave Welding Pattern is Best for

This pattern ensures better fusion and a wider weld bead, contributing to the strength and stability of the structure.

6. Figure 8 Welding Pattern Weave

Figure 8 Welding Pattern Weave mig
Figure 8 Welding Pattern Weave
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The Figure 8 welding pattern is a specific technique used in welding, primarily for applications in the shipbuilding and pipeline industries.

This pattern is characterized by the welder’s movement in a figure-eight or an infinity symbol (∞) shape during welding. It is often used in situations where high-quality and consistent welds are required. 

Strength:

The Figure 8 welding pattern’s strength lies in its consistent quality, structural integrity, and reduced residual stresses. It offers advantages over other welding patterns, particularly in applications requiring a strong, reliable, and visually appealing weld.

Benefits
  • Reduced Residual Stresses
  • Enhanced penetration
  • High-quality fusion
  • Even the distribution of heat 
  • Enhanced aesthetic appearance
Weakness
  • Skill dependent 
  • Slower welding speed
  • Limited applicable 
  • Consumption of filler material

Figure 8 Welding Pattern is Best for

The Figure 8 welding pattern is best suited for applications where the welding process must deliver high-quality, strong, and reliable welds.

7. J – Welding Pattern Weave

J Welding Pattern Weave Diagram
J – Welding Pattern Weave
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This pattern or technique is quite similar to the whipping welding pattern; the only difference is the loop. This pattern has a large loop at one side and takes more time at this loop. This pattern is specific for strong welding at the sensitive joints. 

Strength:

The J welding pattern helps heat control, penetration, and versatility and creates a long loop on one side compared to other common welding patterns like the weave and stringer patterns.

Benefits
  • Essential for open root weld joints
  • Effective for wide weld joints
  • Thinner materials supportive
  • Slower process
Weakness
  • Slag entrapment can occur when the loop is too long.
  • Ineffective for horizontal welds.
  • Inconsistent results appear

J – Welding Pattern is Best for

J welding is best for welding thin materials because it allows for precise heat control, minimizing the risk of burn-through and distortion in the base metal.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How should a good MIG Weld look?

A high-quality MIG weld should be free from cracks, slags, or holes in the bead, ensuring a structurally sound connection. The weld should also present a smooth and consistent appearance without any visible patterns or discoloration.

Why do my MIG Welds look so bad?

There can be several reasons why your MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welds may need to turn out as expected. The reasons are;

  • Incorrect Settings
  • Poor Technique
  • Inadequate Shielding Gas
  • Equipment Issues
  • Lack of Experience

Final Thoughts: 

The MIG welding patterns are essential in achieving high-quality welds and effectively joining metal materials. Selecting the correct pattern, such as weave or stringer patterns, can significantly impact the strength and solidity of the weld. 

These patterns give you reliable results based on specific requirements and welding projects. Moreover, you can easily acquire these patterns by practicing and practicing. Yah! Some of these are easy, but for a great experience in welding patterns, you have to practice them intensively. 

If you have any issues related to this topic, you can contact our team, who will contact you as soon as possible. Be consistent, do not lose hope, and do your best. Take care of yourself and your family, and spread love by sharing this article. You can also revisit this website because we purely share welding knowledge. Thank you for visiting our website.


Abu Bakar

Abu Bakar

Hello, Abu Bakar here, the Mastermind Behind Welding Villa. Test my years of experience through my well-written blogs, where I have covered the overall experience of welding materials and shown all the aspects of Welding, their types and equipment.

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