5F Welding Test – Not Common – And Not Easy

What is a 5f welding test? The American Welding Society has one crazy numbering system for welding positions and welding certification tests.

A 5F welding test means that a pipe is welded to a plate and the axis of the pipe is running horizontal and the plate is vertical.

The reason a 5F welding certification test is even used is because it makes the welder do a fillet weld in the overhead, vertical, and horizontal positions..all with one welding test. This test qualifies for all positions and its kind of hard. You know why? Because it makes the welder reposition his or her body a lot. In order to keep your stick rod angle right, you have to move that body. Old welders with rickety knees have to figure out how to reposition themselves while remaining steady. It sounds easier than it is. The trick is to have as few stops and starts as possible because you never know if your stops and starts will be the cross section that will be cut and inspected. On small diameter pipe, it is even more difficult because rod angle changes so quickly as the welder navigates the pipe. If you are about to take a 5F test, and are serious about passing, pay attention to these tips:

  • remove any mill scale by grinding the weld area to bright metal
  • make your tack welds smaller than the final weld will be and feather the tacks with a grinder before welding
  • keep all your arc strikes where the weld will consume them and none will be visible on the final weld
  • set the amperage to where a tight arc can be held without the rod sticking
  • hold a tight arc
  • try to hold close to a 90 degree rod angle all the time

Good luck welder.

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