Welding gaps and "Just weld it"

Topics: Laser welding


One of the most dreaded phrases we can hear on the welding job shop side is “Just weld it.”

This is a trap, no matter the good intentions behind it.  It's also a recipe for disappointment and hurt feelings. To avoid that disappointment and save some time, money, and aggravation on your welding project, let me explain.

“Just weld it” is a phrase that often comes up after a lengthy discussion about parts in-house that just don’t fit together well.  By that, I mean gaps in the weld joint.  I’ll leave that term vague for this post, because the details of gaps and their specific effects will be touched on at some point in the future.  (Maybe even linked to at the end of this blog, if you’re reading this in the future).

Why is “Just weld it” so bad?  Well, quite simply, I’ve yet to encounter a scenario where that didn’t also have an unspoken “….and make it perfect” tacked onto the end.  It’s that unspoken caveat that creates the hard feelings.  Here’s the general flow:

  1. Parts received and inspected.
  2. Conference call with customer discussing fit-up issues and gaps in the weld joint where there should be none.
  3. Customer: Good natured – “Just weld it.”
  4. Part(s) welded – various defects/anomalies in weld due to fit-up, but they are “just welded.”
  5. Parts shipped to customer.
  6. Conference call discussing the unusable part(s), and how anybody with weld experience should have known how to make a good weld.
  7. Us: Mad at customer for their ignorance.
  8. Customer: Mad at us for our incompetence.
  9. Us and customer: Both worse off for the experience.

This is not a finger pointing exercise – both parties messed up.  We should have pushed back and said no.  The customer should have considered the implications of ignoring best practices.  A slight delay to address the issue would have prevented hard feelings and ultimately saved time and money.

Was this blog a touch vague overall?  Yes, I know.  That was intentional – I guess it’s really more of a parable encouraging open dialogue between customer and service provider. 

The moral: unless you’re a large sneaker manufacturer, don’t utter the phrase “Just do it” about anything unless you’re ready to “Just deal with it.”

Need advice about dealing with welding gaps, or any other welding challenges? Talk to one of our experts.

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