How to Reduce Spatter With a Wire Welder

by C.L. Rease

Welding with a wire welder, known as a MIG welder, results in spatter. Spatter is the remnants of the wire electrode that do not fuse with the weld puddle and splatter on the surface surrounding the weld joint. High amounts of spatter can ruin a metal's finish. Properly setting your MIG welder will reduce the amount of spatter the weld produces, but there will always be some spatter thrown onto the metal during the MIG welding process. The key is to not allow the spatter from the weld to stick to the surface of the metal.

Adjust the MIG welder to weld a prepared test weld joint. Put on your welding helmet. Lower the welding helmet and make a short stitch weld in the weld joint.

Examine the area around the weld joint. Look for excessive amounts of large spatter. If you have excessive spatter, turn down your wire speed slightly and perform another stitch weld. Examine the new stitch weld and compare the amount of spatter with the old stitch weld. Lower the wire speed a bit more and raise the voltage slightly. Perform another test stitch. When you have reduced the spatter and can still maintain a solid weld, proceed to Step 3.

Shake the can of anti-spatter for 30 seconds. Spray the area around the weld with the anti-spatter. Do not spray a lot of anti-spatter onto the weld joint itself. The anti-spatter will cause small defects in the weld that look like pinholes. This is referred to as porosity. It reduces the strength of the welded joint.

Weld the prepared joint with the wire speed and voltage settings that you set in Step 2. Observe the amount of spatter coming from the MIG wire electrode as it flows into the weld puddle.

Attach the wire wheel to the 4-inch grinder. Plug in the grinder. Place the thin edge of the wire wheel onto the weld, with the wheel tilted 15 degrees from the surface of the metal. Clean the weld and an area 1 to 2 inches on each side of the weld. Follow the tracks made by rolling spatter and wire wheel spatter that have landed away from the immediate area of the weld. Spatter that has not been removed from the surface of the metal will look shiny.

Slide the chisel along the surface of the metal where the spatter is located. The majority of the spatter will pop from the weld and the surface of the metal. Rest the sharp end of the chisel against any spatter that is stuck to the metal. Hit the blunt end of the chisel with the hammer to remove the spatter.

Run your hand over the weld after the weld has completely cooled to feel for small spatter that is not easily seen. Use the chisel and hammer again to remove any of the small spatter from the weld joint.

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