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Stick Welding Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Stick welding, technically called shielded metal arc welding, is an old school type of welding that many newbies learn as they are just starting to train how to weld. This is an important and in-demand skill because many people need this help whether they're dealing with iron and steels or repairing boilers. It makes use of an electric current flowing between a gap in the metal and the stick electrode that is chucked up in a holder that looks like a jumper cable clamp. The rod is struck like a match to produce arc, allowing it to mix with the metal and form the weld.

Stick welding has been the most common method for many home-shop welding projects for a long time. However, creating a good weld can be very complicated for beginners. The name of the game in stick welding is experience. To be able to master the art of it, you need a good view of the weld puddle.

Here are some few tips and tricks to help improve your stick welding skills:

Choose the right electrode. Many welders are not sure of the type and size of the electrode that should be used in stick welding. The size of the electrode you choose should match the situation you are welding within and the kinds and thickness of metals.

Polarity matters. If you purchase an A/C only welding equipment, then you need to get stick welding rods that are specifically created to weld on A/C. Bear in mind that not all stick welding rods are created the same. 6011, 6013, and 7018, for instance, will weld on A/C, but 6010 wont.

Don't use odd sizes for your metal. Most metals come in specific sizes that are common. These metals are a lot easier to find and you can weld them faster and more effectively. You don't need to experiment on your metal selection when it comes to stick welding. To be sure that you have what you need, stick with the ones that are AISI-SAE 1015 to 1025.

Know your arc length. For a successful stick welding job, you need to use an arc length that is the same distance from the metal as the thickness of your electrode. For example, if you own an electrode that is ½ inch thick, then have your arc ½ inch thick as well. Don't forget that as you use the stick electrode, you will need to move it closer to the metal.

Using a good auto darkening helmet makes you a better stick welder. A good auto darkening helmet is very important in stick welding. Most experts recommend a welding helmet that darkens in 1/20000 seconds, can be adjusted from 9 to 12 shade, and has delay and sensitivity features. You need a good welding helmet for you to see visibly where you are striking your arc and that alone will make you a much better stick welder. Aside from that, it can also protect you from the harmful UV and IR emissions from the arc.

Andrei Smith writes for Midwest Metal Products Company, one of industry's leaders in providing wire-formed, sheet metal fabricated and tubular metal products such as fan guards, custom store fixtures, trash bag stands.


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