How To Use A Stick Welder – The 2021 Guide

These days, DIY has become even more of a trend, taking over the world like a storm. After all, it is indeed the pinnacle of creativity and skill. Among the skills that one would need to be a great DIY-er, welding is of the highest importance.

Welding itself is also quite a diversify topic as there are just so many techniques that one needs to know. For example, there are four main categories: TIG welding, gas welding, arc welding, and MIG welding.

Stick welding, also known as flux shielded arc welding, is a type of welding that produces a weld using a consumable electrode that has been coated with flux. By creating an electric arc between the metal electrode and your workpiece, the procedure is completed.

The metal electrode is subjected to an electric current, which causes it to melt into the workpiece and form a weld pool. The electrode is coated in flux, which melts and shields the weld from atmosphere-related contaminants. When you finish welding, you must chip off and brush down the flux coating that has formed on the weld bead.

Stick welding is used by outdoor welders because it is wind-resistant, simple, and adaptable, making it simple for beginners to learn. This article provides straightforward advice on how to start stick welding for beginners as well as some typical issues and solutions.

So, How to use a stick welder?

Today, let us talk about the most used type of welding, arc welding. Specifically, we will be learning how to use a stick welder, the most common arc welding form.

What Exactly Is Stick Welding?

We also call stick welding as SMAW, the shortened form of Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

This form of welding is actually the most popular out of all the processes of arc welding. It will be using electric current alongside electrode to join the metal.

We call this method stick welding due to the fact that the electrode is a solid metal stick or rod. This stick will be coated by metal powders and compounds bound through a special binding agent.

AC or DC electric current can be used to make the electric arc connecting the metals and the electrode.

This method of welding, despite being the earliest, still remains to be the most popular process of welding. One reason for its popularity can be attributed to its versatility and simplicity.

It is primarily seen in steel and iron welding. In addition, the repair/maintenance industry, as well as the heavy construction industry, extensively uses stick welding.

Understanding Stick Welding

Because the electrode used for welding is in the shape of a stick, stick welding got its name. The electrode or filler metal rod is melted throughout the procedure using electricity. The electrode and metal junction melt and fuse at the same time.

After that, filler metal is used to strengthen the junction. Due to heat, the flux covering the electrode melts, preventing atmospheric contamination of the weld pool. In TIG and MIG welding, the flux provides the same level of protection that the shielding gas does.

Stick welding involves a closed-circuit current flow that travels from the power source via the ground clamp and electrode holder. The electrode melts as a result, joining the metal pieces together.

Steel, including stainless steel and iron, is often joined via the welding technique. But you may also use it to join alloys of nickel, aluminum, and copper.

What You Need Before You Start Stick Welding

To succeed, you must have all the required tools and gear, as well as good stick welds. Some of the supplies you require are listed below.

Safety Equipment

When welding, safety must come first. Make sure you read and follow all safety instructions provided for every piece of equipment and tool you use during the procedure.

Make sure you are wearing body protection when welding to protect yourself from the heat, UV rays, and sparks from the arc. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes, long sleeves with fire retardant fabric to protect your body, and a welding helmet to protect your head.

Due to the fumes created, stick welding should only be done in a room with adequate ventilation. If you are welding outside, you are alright, but ventilation is crucial if you are welding inside. Additionally, you can install an exhaust to remove the fumes coming from the welding area.

Stick Welder

To produce solid welds, you need a good stick welder. A stick-only welder is an option that is more affordable. You may use versatile stick welders for other sorts of welding as well.

Ground Clamp

A welding device is included with the ground clamp. The clamp has to be attached to your workpiece and plugged into the stick welder.

Slag Removing Tools

Typically, stick welding results in a slag covering your weld. As a result, following welding, the workpiece has to be cleaned. To remove the slag, use a wire brush and a hammer to chip it.

How Exactly Does Stick Welding Work?

In stick welding, electric current will pass through the welding stick, arcing at the point connecting with the metal.

While this electrode begins melting, the coated flux around will create a gas cloud shielding the molten metal. This will prevent the oxidizing process.

It is this process that earns stick welding the name shielded metal arc welding.

The cloud of gases will settle on molten metal while cooling, turning into some sort of slag. You will have to chip this slag off after completing the welding process.

How To Use A Stick Welder

Setting Current

The kind of electrode you picked will determine if you need to use AC, DC negative, or DC positive.

Remember that a correct setting is always necessary for specific tasks. For instance, positive electrode gives more penetration power. On the other hand, the negative electrode works much better with thinner metals.

You need to the amperage depending on your electrode, too. In addition, you must also pay attention to the welding position. The ideal setting for amperage is commonly seen in the recommendation of the manufacturer.

However, from my personal experience, stick welders with 140 amps can weld almost everything.

Most of us get dragged into the propaganda of “maximum metal thickness” that the manufacturer pulls. Even in heavy fabrication shops, power plants, and shipyards, there is hardly a need for 130 amps.

Arc Length

There is nothing more important to stick welding than getting the correct arc length.

Each application and electrode needs a unique arc length, which will never exceed the electrode’s diameter.

For instance, a 6010 electrode of 0.125 inch needs to be held at around 1/8 inch from the metal.

Basic Safety For Welding

Remember, welding is the one profession where accidents are guaranteed to happen if one does not follow safety requirements properly.

First of all, you need some proper clothes as well as protective gears. In addition, if you are going to weld in confined areas, get a ventilation fan.

One big mistake that lots of people make is wearing sneakers. The molten metal falling will soon burn through them.

In the rainy weather, remember to be extra careful as you can easily be shocked. Of course, this can also happen if you sweat too much during the welding process.

Practice Makes Perfect

There is nothing more practical than dishing out time to practice the welding process. After some time, you will feel like it’s your second nature. I hope that this article can help you with creating more beautiful DIY projects!

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