top of page

WeldTips #5: Mastering MIG Welding Out of Position

Updated: May 6

Precision MIG Welding: Mastering AWS Positions with Robotic Efficiency


This article examines the specifics of MIG welding positions, referencing AWS (American Welding Society) official designations, recommended gun angles, and the advantages of robotic assistance.


Understanding AWS Terminology

The AWS standardizes welding positions with specific terms to streamline communication. Knowing these terms and their meanings removes confusion and boosts productivity.


Welders categorize positions into four types: flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead. The AWS assigns a number to each—1 for flat, 2 for horizontal, 3 for vertical, and 4 for overhead—combined with a letter for the joint type: ‘F’ for ‘fillet’ and ‘G’ for ‘groove.’

Recommended Gun Angles


1.  Flat and Horizontal (1F/1G - 2F/2G):

These positions are relatively straightforward, often allowing the welder comfort and protection from sparks. An earlier article, Optimal Torch Angles in Robotic MIG Welding, provides a more detailed overview of this gun angle.


Torch angle is crucial to achieving high-quality welds in MIG welding, especially when working out of position, which is what we are focusing on here. While our recommendations suit most scenarios, it’s important to recognize that different wires may require a different approach. Please consult your filler metal provider’s online data sheet for detailed guidance on wire-specific attributes, recommended techniques, and parameters.


2.  Vertical Position (3F/3G)

For vertical welding, a “push” with the gun tilted 5-15 degrees uphill and a 90-degree work angle is advised. This technique allows for proper penetration and control of the weld pool. When welding on thinner material, a downhill progression is often used. This requires much faster travel speeds due to gravity, so proper penetration on anything over 3/16” thick can be difficult to achieve.


3.  Overhead Position (4F/4G)

For overhead work, maintain a 90 degree work angle, with approximately 15 degrees of travel angle. Achieving this is easier said than done for human welders due to discomfort from the hazard of falling sparks, often leading to inconsistent angles and contact tip distance. Unfortunately, suffering the occasional burn is an accepted part of the process when learning overhead welding. Few come away without a scar or two.


Zigzag weaving is a common technique, especially in vertical and overhead welding. This involves a steady gun movement across both joined elements. This weave technique allows the weld pool to cool more effectively, preventing gravitational drag.


Embrace Robotic Precision

This wouldn’t be an article from Productive Robotics if we didn’t bring up robots, right? 

Adding a robot to handle out-of-position welding dramatically improves safety and makes the job much easier for the operator. Robots stay consistent throughout the job and perform precise weaves when necessary. Plus, robots remain unfazed when being showered with sparks.


Robotic MIG welding has transformed the industry, enhancing precision and adaptability, making the field more attractive than ever to the next generation of workers. Mastery of out-of-position welding, including vertical and overhead welding challenges, recommended gun angles, and strategic weaving, are crucial for achieving high-quality welds. By mastering these techniques, welders can confidently tackle welding tasks in challenging positions, ensuring the integrity and durability of the final product.

From the Productive Robotics Weld Team

This article was written by our Weld Team. Productive Robotics is the leading American manufacturer of collaborative robots for welding, CNC machine tending, and more. All of our welding robots feature the following;


·         Zero programming. No robot experience needed

·         Teach a weld faster than it takes to weld by hand

·         Repeat the same weld perfectly every time.

·         7 Axis robot: More maneuverability for less fixturing

·         Online Support by experienced, degreed welders


Have a question or need more information? Talk with a welding and robotics expert: 805.244.9300 or download this guide to the world's largest range of welding cobots.



Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page