Pipe welding can be much easier if you follow two rules:
- Always set your machine correctly.
- Always make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Setting your machine correctly is a rule that you should never deviate from. When it comes to welding pipe especially, it is an absolute must! Pipe welding requires setting your machine to weld in any position without changing any settings. For Stick and TIG welding, you could always change the heat a little with your arc length. For example, if you are welding on the bottom of the pipe and need more heat you could long arc a little more. This would increase the heat and spread out the weld better. The vertical areas could be short arced to drop the heat a little. In general, you want the welder to run on a setting that allows you to weld in any position without needing to change the amperage or voltage.
Comfort is what separates a seasoned welder from a novice. Unfortunately for both the professional and the newbie, they will all inevitably have to weld pipe in many difficult positions. Pipes can be right against a wall, floor, or ceiling. They could be high up and many times underground. To weld pipe you need to be creative in how you position yourself. In many cases you need to find whatever is available to make the best of the situation. The easiest way to get comfortable is to lean on the pipe. It gives your body and hands a stable platform to focus on welding technique. Sometimes the objects that make a weld difficult could be used to your advantage. For example, if the pipe you are going to weld is close to another pipe it can be used as a place to lean on.
In the end, you want to set your machine correctly and find a comfortable position. Once you have these two key elements down all you need do is focus on your welding technique.