OxyFuel Fillet Welding
The fillet weld is the most popular of all types of welds because there is normally no preparation required. In some cases, the fillet weld is the least expensive, even though it might require more filler metal than a groove weld since the preparation cost would be less. It can be used for the lap joint, the tee joint, and the corner joint without preparation. Since these are extremely popular, the fillet has wide usage. On corner joints, the double fillet can actually produce a full-penetration weld joint. The use of the fillet for making all five of the basic joints is shown by figure 11-6. Fillet welds are also used in conjunction with groove welds, particularly for corner and tee joints.
The fillet weld is expected to have equal length legs and thus the face of the fillet is on a 45 degree angle. This is not always so, since a fillet may be designed to have a longer base than height, in which case it is specified by the two leg lengths. On the 45 degree or normal type of fillet, the strength of the fillet is based on the shortest or throat dimension which is 0.707 x the leg length. For fillets having unequal legs, the throat length must be calculated and is the shortest distance between the root of the fillet and the theoretical face of the fillet. In calculating the strength of fillet welds, the reinforcement is ignored. The root penetration is also ignored unless a deep penetrating process is used. If semi-or fully-automatic application is used, the extra penetration can be considered. See figure 11-7 for details about a fillet weld.
Under these circumstances, the size of the fillet can be reduced, yet equal strength will result. Such reductions can be utilized only when strict welding procedures are enforced. The strength of the fillet weld is determined by its failure area, which relates to the throat dimension. Doubling the size or leg length of a fillet will double its strength, since it doubles the throat dimension and area. However, doubling the fillet size will increase its cross-sectional area and weight four times. This illustrated in figure 11-8, which shows the relationship to throat-versus-cross-sectional area, or weight, of a fillet weld. For example, a 3/8 in. (9.5 mm) fillet is twice as strong as a 3/16 in. (4.8 mm) fillet; however, the 3/8 in. (9.5 mm) fillet requires four times as much weld metal.
In design work, the fillet size is sometimes governed by the thickness of the metals joined. In some situations, the minimum size of the fillet must be based on practical reasons rather than the theoretical need of the design. Intermittent fillets are sometimes used when the size is minimum, based on code, or for practical reasons, rather than because of strength requirements. Many intermittent welds are based on a pitch and length so that the weld metal is reduced in half. Large intermittent fillets are not recommended because of the volume-throat dimension relationship mentioned previously. For example, a 3/8 in. (9.5 mm) fillet 6 in. (152.4 mm) long on a 12 in. (304.8 mm) pitch (center to center of intermittent welds) could be reduced to a continuous 3/16 in. (4.8 mm) fillet, and the strength would be the same, but the amount of weld metal would be only half as much.
Single fillet welds are extremely vulnerable to cracking if the root of the weld is subjected to tension loading. This applies to tee joints, corner joints, and lap joints. The simple remedy for such joints is to make double fillets, which prohibit the tensile load from being applied to the root of the fillet. This is shown by figure 11-6. Notice the F (force) arrowhead.
A different welding technique is required for fillet welding than for butt joints because of the position of the parts to be welded. When welding is done in the horizontal position, there is a tendency for the top plate to melt before the bottom plate because of heat rising. This can be avoided, however, by pointing the flame more at the bottom plate than at the edge of the upper plate. Both plates must reach the welding temperature at the same time.
When making a fillet weld, a modified form of backhand technique should be used. The welding rod should be kept in the puddle between the completed portion of the weld and the flame. The flame should be pointed ahead slightly in the direction in which the weld is being made and directed at the lower plate. To start welding, the flame should be concentrated on the lower plate until the metal is quite red. Then the flame should be directed so as to bring both plates to the welding temperature at the same time. It is important that the flame not be pointed directly at the inner corner of the fillet. This will cause excessive amount of heat to build up and make the puddle difficult to control.
It is essential when making a fillet weld that fusion be obtained at the inside corner or root of the joint.