When it comes to welding parameters, the relationship between amperage and step (as far as bead placement goes) doesn’t have to be a mystery. Let’s examine how using different amperage and rotation speeds can affect step size.

Typical welding parameters for a bore welder would be 18 volts, 130 amps, 20 inches per minute (508 mm per minute) travel speed, and a step of approximately 0.130 inches (3.3 mm). These parameters would require approximately a 0.130 inch (3.3 mm) step size to place the wire directly in the “toe” of the previous bead and the base material on your next revolution; this results in the perfect placement of the following bead.

Now, let’s increase our amperage to 170 amps, maintaining the rest of the above parameters except for slightly more voltage. What happens? Our bead now becomes much wider. So, to achieve that same “perfect placement” scenario, we need to increase our step size so that our wire lands in the “toe” of the previous bead and base material again; using the previous calculation process, our step now needs to be approximately 0.170 inches (4.3 mm). Remember that the “step size equaling amperage” formula only works when traveling at 20 inches per minute (508 mm/minute).

The same concept (but not the formula) holds true when keeping “weld” parameters the same and changing rotation speed. Let’s run at 18 volts, 130 amps, 16 inches per minute (406 mm per minute) travel speed; what happens to our step now? Well, slowing down rotation speed increases bead width. So, the step size also needs to increase for “perfect placement.” Our step size may now need to be 0.180 inches (4.6 mm). Ultimately, watching where the wire is landing and adjusting step size to achieve the “perfect placement” is the best practice.

Remember, anytime bead width changes, step size changes.

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