Skip to content

How Welders Utilize Abrasives

How Welders Utilize Abrasives

Throughout fabrication and welding processes, abrasives are employed to prepare surfaces. They ensure solid welds, correct imperfect welds, and enhance final weld aesthetics. Read on as we address the following issues if you are interested in abrasives in manufacturing and welding:

  • Why are grinding and abrasives so crucial to fabrication and welding?
  • What kinds of abrasives are ideal for each stage of welding and fabrication?
  • How can I utilize these abrasive materials in this fabrication and welding process safely and effectively?
  • How do grinding and abrasives affect joining and welding prices?
  • In what ways are abrasives more cost-effective than alternatives?
  • What stores carry the abrasive products I require?


The various parts must first be constructed before welding. At the joints that need to be welded, gaps and misalignment will likely appear if the components do not fit together correctly. Accurately forming, cutting, and shaping stock materials into pieces with the proper forms and dimensions is necessary to achieve a better fit.

Abrasive cut-off wheels and metal saw blades are helpful tools for quickly cutting and shaping components for a welded assembly - especially for brittle metals like alloy steels and thicker metal pieces. Thin tube stock and soft metals can be sliced with shears, snips, and reciprocating saw blades.



A clean surface is necessary to ensure a solid bond when joining components using non-mechanical techniques, such as adhesive bonding, brazing, soldering, or welding.

Oxide scale, rust, oil, grease, coatings, paint, dirt, and other contaminants will likely cause a weld to have a weak junction. In addition, several manufacturers offer stop-offs, anti-splatter coatings, or masking compounds that can be sprayed or coated onto particular parts to stop metals from adhering to the workpiece during soldering, brazing, or welding.

Part washers, pressure washers, acid pickling baths, solvent baths, and abrasives can all be used to clean metal surfaces. However, these choices have restrictions.

  • Oil, grease, and grime may be removed using pressure washers and detergent baths, but paint, rust, and organic coatings will not be removed.
  • Paint, grease, and organic coatings can be removed with solvent or stripping baths, but oxide scale or rust cannot.
  • Acid pickling baths can remove rust, oxides, and mill scale. However, they struggle to remove organic coatings and can weaken some high-carbon steels.

The health risks of handling these chemicals and the limitations imposed by environmental rules on using and disposing of used cleaning agents are just two disadvantages of washing techniques. Chemicals are expensive and difficult to find in home shops. Only pieces small enough to fit in the tank can be welded if a parts washer or solvent bath is used.

Compared to chemical procedures, abrasive cleaning and surface preparation techniques like wire brushing, grinding, and abrasive blasting offer the following benefits:

  • can eliminate practically any surface contaminant.
  • can handle parts of any size.
  • portable to distant locations.
  • lower costs for consumables and equipment.
  • Consumables are conveniently available, safe to use, and unrestricted in the disposal.

Abrasive fiber discs, abrasive belts, wire power brushes, flap discs, and bonded grinding discs are just a few examples of the many different abrasives that can be used to clean and prepare surfaces before welding.


Abrasives can also prepare workpiece geometry for joining and cleaning them.

For instance, many passes are used for welding thick bars, plates, and heavy-walled pipes in the field because the heat input and material input is too high for single access. A large weld might result in significant distortion and warping on a project with hefty parts. One or more of the workpieces' joint edges must beveled at an angle to enable the electrode to reach and deposit material at the weld's root.

The weld joint is formed with multiple welding passes, gradually filling up and closing the triangle weld gap. Alternate the keys on the front and back side plates to reduce distortion. The workpiece edge is ground to create a beveled edge using fiber discs, flap discs, abrasive belts, and depressed center grinding wheels. Another choice is to angle-cut the edge to create a bevel or bevel using a disc or cut-off wheel.


The flux in the weld wire's core or the coating on the welding electrode sticks creates a molten slag. This shields the weld metal from oxidation during welding.

Grinding between passes, also known as interpass grinding, removes oxidation, slag, and flaws on thick section welds, pressure vessels, and pipelines that need to maintain structural integrity. You might not need to worry about grinding between passes if your product is more aesthetic and does not have to bear weight.

The rear root of the first or front weld is back chipped, back-gouged, or background to give a clean surface for the second weld pass when grinding a weld with only two keys or a front and rear weld. Before applying the second back weld, the material must be removed since the rear root surface of a weld is not shielded from oxidation by a flux or slag covering.


When a connection is prepared for welding, small gaps, and misalignments can be accommodated during welding. The pieces may need to be trimmed, reshaped, or repaired with extra abrasive cutting or sawing. This is if the misshaped or oversized portion results in huge gaps or mismatched sections at the joint. To ensure the adequate spacing and proper alignment of the parts before welding begins, it is imperative to rectify any oversized details. Replacing or adjusting any undersized parts and fixing any large parts is essential. A distorted welded assembly or project might result from severe joint misalignment, poor joint fit, and high heat input during welding.

Due to distortion, welding joints may need to be cut, ground, relocated, and rewelded. Welds on the project may fail if there is too much distortion during welding. Overstressing during service can also break welds. Large fractures, porosity, burn-throughs, inclusions, and other welding faults must be fixed for structural or aesthetic reasons.

In most alloys, only the affected areas of the weld can be ground out and rewelded if the flaw only affects a tiny percentage. In some situations, cutting through and rewelding a weld joint could be necessary. This is to fix distortions or warping brought on by excessive welding heating.

It might be more effective to cut the joint apart, remove metal to re-prep the surfaces, or start over with fresh components if there are flaws throughout the entire length of the weld.

The following are typical fabrication-related weld flaws that can be fixed by abrasive grinding or by cutting, grinding, and rewelding:

  • LOF, or lack of fusion.
  • Weld undercut.
  • excessive overbearing or drop-through.
  • Insufficient or absent penetration (LOP).
  • inclusions of slag.
  • voids or porosity.
  • Underfill, arc-strikes, melt-through, spatter, and craters.
  • Sugaring.
  • root pass oxidation.
  • Cracks.
Previous article Choosing The Right Flap Disc For Your Project: A Step-By-Step Guide
Next article What Are The Applications Of Twisted Knot Cup Brushes?

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare