Selection of process parameters has great influence on the quality of a welded connection. Mathematical modelling can be utilized in the optimization and control procedure of parameters. Rather than the well-known effects of main process parameters, this study focuses on the sensitivity analysis of parameters and fine tuning requirements of the parameters for optimum weld bead geometry. Changeable process parameters such as welding current, welding voltage and welding speed are used as design variables. The objective function is formed using width, height and penetration of the weld bead. Experimental part of the study is based on three level factorial design of three process parameters. In order to investigate the effects of input (process) parameters on output parameters, which determine the weld bead geometry, a mathematical model is constructed by using multiple curvilinear regression analysis. After carrying out a sensitivity analysis using developed empirical equations, relative effects of input parameters on output parameters are obtained. Effects of all three design parameters on the bead width and bead height show that even small changes in these parameters play an important role in the quality of welding operation. The results also reveal that the penetration is almost non-sensitive to the variations in voltage and speed. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.