A weld occurs when metal parts are fused together using heat and a filler material, various welding processes exist like MIG/ MAG, TIG or MMA/ STICK welding.
Depending on the skill of the welder, the need may arise for cleaning and blending of the weld bead after welding.
There are several products on the market to assist in achieving the desired finish. A wide range of abrasive discs, points, burrs, and wheels are available depending on the application. Selecting the correct abrasive consumable will always depend on the available power tool.
When selecting an abrasive product, always use a product for the power tool you feel comfortable with and select a product that is manufactured specifically for the material you intend working on. This will limit excessive heat or discolouration and ensure that the material is not contaminated, reducing the possibility of further welds being required.
In many cases an angle grinding disc would be suitable if stock removal is required, but to achieve both a high-quality finish and stock removal, an abrasive flap disc should be considered.
If your tool is limited to a hand-held drill, spindle mounted flap wheels would be a suitable alternative. If you opt for Tungsten carbide burrs or abrasive Mounted points, you’ll have finer control when finishing small welded areas especially when working in difficult to reach areas, however it needs to be noted that these products operate at higher speeds and will require a die-or-pencil grinder as they do not work on a hand-held drill. Specialist abrasive products like dual purpose cut-and-grind discs are also available making both cutting and grinding applications possible with one product.
When making use of coated products to blend welds, depending on the thickness and size, care should be taken to start with the finest possible grain if a good surface condition is required. The next coarsest grain should be selected only if the stock removal rate is insufficient. This reduces the steps in achieving the desired finish.
When it comes to the decision of what finish would be best, one needs to consider the base type material used and determine if the welds need to be removed. In some cases where the welds are not visible or being painted, they need not be removed.