Conventional metal manufacturing techniques are suitable for mass production. However, cheaper and faster alternatives are preferred for small batch sizes and individualized components. Directed energy deposition (DED) processes allow depositing metallic material in almost arbitrary shapes. They are characterized by cyclic heat input, hence heating and cooling every point in the workpiece several times. This temperature history leads to distribution of mechanical properties, distortions, residual stresses or even fatigue properties in the part. To avoid experimental trial-and-error optimization, different methods are available to simulate DED processes. Currently, the wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) is the most competitive DED process. In this work, a simulation method for the WAAM process is established and validated, which should be capable to calculate global effects (e.g. distortions, residual stresses) of real WAAM-processes with duration of hours and thousands of weld beads. The addition of beads and layers is simulated by the element birth and death technique. The elements are activated according to the movements of the heat source (arc). In this paper, the influence of the time step, the mesh size and the material properties of the inactive elements in hybrid implicit / explicit and fully implicit solutions are evaluated with respect to the computation time and stability. This investigation concludes several recommendations for AM-modelling. For example, a low Young’s modulus (100 N/mm2) for the inactive elements show nearly no influences on the welding simulation, but introduces numerical instabilities in case of multiple welding beads. The Young’s modulus should be increased to 1.000 N/mm2 for small mesh-sizes, small step-sizes and many beads, even when it introduces unwanted stresses.