Surface Buildup or Building a Pad on a VRTEX 360

by Chris Gandee

 One of the most cost effective ways to train welders is to teach them how to properly run a bead on a single piece of plate steel. It is commonly referred to as “building a pad” or “surface buildup.” Building a pad or surface buildup can be trained on the VRTEX® 360. Below is our tip on how to use the VRTEX® 360 for this purpose:


  1. Log-in to the VRTEX® 360. Continue the set up process by pressing the green “Continue” button located on the user interface panel.
  2. Select a “Practice Plate” then press the green “Continue” button NOTE:The practice plate is the first joint highlighted on the “Joint Selection” screen in the top left corner of the available joint images.
  3. Select the process which the user wants to use to practice and press the green “Continue” button.
  4. Select the table settings that best fit the user’s needs.NOTE:Set the actual stand up making sure the user can properly perform the entire weld with little or no interference in movement.
  5. Set the virtual table setup screen to match the numbers of the actual stand and press the green “Continue” button.
  6. Select an environment and press the green “Continue” button.
  7. Set the machine to the proper equipment settings using the Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) for the joint and process.  
  8. Once in the welder screens, have the user run the first bead down the center of the plate and press “End Pass”.  This will allow the instructor to score the weld and the user to understand how the weld should be done.
  9. To weld again, press “New Coupon.” Repeat as needed until the user has an understanding of how to properly run a bead.Moving on to building the pad:
  10. Once the user has a firm grasp on how the weld is to be performed, reset the plate by pressing “New Coupon.”
  11. Start building a pad on the edge of the plate away from the user using the same technique as the practice welds.NOTE: For safety reasons, it is best to start on the edge of the plate furthest away from the user and then work towards the welder in progression. This will prevent the user from placing their hands over the hot welds for long periods of time during the real welding process.
  12. Run the first bead of the buildup.NOTE:DO NOT press the “End Pass” button.  This will prevent the user from continuing welding on the same plate.
  13. Clean the weld if using a slag process (SMAW, FCAW).
  14. Continue the next weld overlapping half of the first pass. Repeat welding using this process until the plate if full.
  15. Once the pad is full, visually inspect the pad and look at the LASER screen to see if there were any discontinuities.
  16. Repeat as needed.

Instructor Tips:

  1. For grading purposes, watch the LASER screen for any unnatural movements. 
  2. The VRTEX® 360 graph will show discontinuities, and the instructor can provide corrective position and operations as needed.
  3. Turn on the Visual Cues, but keep in mind the “Positioning or Aim” cue will be off.
  4. The user can reset the stick after each pass if desired. However, letting the stick burn down completely will give the user an idea of how many electrodes are used to build a pad.