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Up Topic Welding Industry / Technical Discussions / Which stick electrode to cut?
- - By DaveSisk (**) Date 01-17-2003 21:15
I realize that cutting with a stick electrode would be slower than a plasma torch, but not all of us have a plasma torch...<g>. Which electrode would be the best choice? Or would just an uncoated rod be a better choice? Any other suggestions? Just curious...

Parent - - By TimGary (****) Date 01-17-2003 21:51
You can't really cut with a stick electrode. You can however melt away an enlongated chunk of metal in order to separate one piece from another, but it sure does make a terrible mess.
The bigger the electrode, the better.
Do you have a torch? (I can hear Dee now...)
Or even a grinder with a cutting disk?
Both would work much better.
Parent - - By DaveSisk (**) Date 01-17-2003 22:21
No oxy-acetylene torch...wife won't approve an explosive canister being stored in garage...she doesn't care if I electrocute myself with an arc welder, as long as I don't burn down the house...(just kidding).

I've got a grinder with a cutting disk. I'm wanting to non-delicately disassemble a tractor attachment I made a while back, and a plasma-torch would sure do the trick, but I don't have one...

I'd seen someone on Junkyard Wars cutting something with a stick welder once, and I was primarily just curious...thanks for the post!

Parent - By TimGary (****) Date 01-17-2003 23:47
Got any money left after your new welder purchase?
Check out this link for a great multi-use tool.
Good Luck!
Parent - By dee (***) Date 01-20-2003 23:18
Your wife's fears, if unsupported by statistics, are well founded; the supply shops store the tanks outside in usually a chain-link cage covered with a simple shed roof. Ventilation is the point. If you said barn and not garage you might be OK.

Try renting the plasma cutter?

Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-18-2003 00:21
E-6010 or 6011 work best in my opinion. The arc is penetrating and I have hot rodded a many a pieces. Special cutting/gouging electrodes are available but I don't think they are worth the money.

The bigger the better. I have soaked mine in water before to keep the flux from catching on fire as quickly but I don't know if it helps.

G Austin
Parent - - By jwright650 (*****) Date 01-20-2003 15:17
I have used a rod to gouge with in a pinch, but like everyone has already said, it is a crude way of cutting. I would only use it as a last resort option. I gouged two plates apart that were rusty and I was going to replace them anyway. Makes a big mess and you still will need a grinder to shape things up.
Just another opinion,
John Wright
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 17:00
I have only hot rodded items for demo. Never for cutting and prepping. If I have a grinder that can clean the slag. Than I have a grinder that could have cut to begin with.

G Austin
Parent - - By RonG (****) Date 01-20-2003 17:06
Get or buy an Air compressor and try Carbon arc rods. (Air Arc)(gouging).
Parent - - By DGXL (***) Date 01-20-2003 17:14
There are SMAC electrodes.

I would not waste the money. Have tried a few myself. Their expensive and I can cut the same with an E6010 or E6011 (and have in the past when too lazy to drag the torch hoses out).

Your significant other will love the carbon arc (CAC-A). So will the kids. You can celebrate the 4th of July everyday.
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 18:02
I think that ARC gouging is the best metal removal process ever! I'd rather gouge a mile as grind a foot. And with carbon steel, clean air, proper amperage, no grinding needed around the house type work.

Good day

G Austin
Parent - By jwright650 (*****) Date 01-20-2003 18:06
Someone with a Carbon arc rod and a steady hand can make a nice prep job on a joint and never pick up a grinder. I agree with Gerald I don't care for riding the grinder when I have the other available.
John Wright
Parent - - By DaveSisk (**) Date 01-20-2003 18:38
I have a decent air compressor. Is there a stick-electrode holder type contraption that I can plug into the ESAB power supply, stick a carbon arc rod in and plug the compressor into? Sounds like I might be onto something here...cheaper than a plasma cutter...details please!

Parent - - By TimGary (****) Date 01-20-2003 18:51
Everything said about CAC is true and under-stated. I use it every time I can, and yes you would need to purchase the special holder from a company called "ARCAIR".
However, I would not recommend gouging with your new Yellow 161.
Gouging requires at least 200 amps for the smallest rods and is very rough on machines. Think about it like running your pretty new yellow 6 cylinder sports car around a track as fast as it would go while stopping and starting every minute. It would do it for a while, but why burn it up so quick?
You would be better off buying some old, cheap, heavy duty stick welder to use for gouging.
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 19:06
Mr Gary you and I may disagree a little on this issue. The amperage rating is often abused when people arc gouge. a 5/32" gouging electrode will operate from 90-150 amps on DCRP. Even lower amperages can be used however the skill required increases.

Power sources for air carbon arc can be most constant current power sources. I would check with the manufacturer. I think some of the extra wear and tear on the power source comes from the surges that result from improper settings and technique.

When we received our first POWCON inverters when I was in the Navy, the salesman came. I asked. Can it gouge. He said yes, dead shorted the electrode holder to the ground, set the amperage at 200 or more and left it. I tig welded with it the next day after sitting all night. No problem.

I do agree that caution is warranted here.

G Austin
Parent - - By TimGary (****) Date 01-20-2003 22:38
DAMN! Proved wrong again... Oh Well... :)
You probably should double check with ESAB though Dave as there might be some small print in the Warranty contract.

I remeber those old POWCON's. Man did I ever get tired of lugging those things up and down ladder wells.

Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-21-2003 04:00
The part that I hated was the way they would scream every time you stuck a rod. You could hear it all over the boat(submarine).

We had 300 ST's with the capacitor discharge start. If that thing hit you, it would tighten muscles in places you never knew you had.

G Austin

Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 18:51

I have an ARC Air K4000 that is un used. I can send you pictures of said contraption if you like.

G Austin
Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 19:26
Here is a picture of the arc gouger at

I think some smaller models are available from various manufacturers. IF you really wan't to try it I would suggest finding someone that may be a little more familar with the operation and having them give you a few pointers.

If you decide you wan't to try it and don't know if you wan't to buy an Arc Gouger, I can send you mine and you can try it out.

Have a nice day

G Austin
Parent - - By jwright650 (*****) Date 01-20-2003 20:25
Do they make an Aire-arc for an AC stick welder? We run ours off the SMAW(CC) side of our FCAW machines(DCEN). They probably do I just haven't seen one in use.
John Wright
Parent - - By DGXL (***) Date 01-20-2003 21:03
A few years back I was told by a former Miller rep. that their inverters did not like being shorted as with CAC. Some of their inverters are actually rated for this process, but that was his advice.
Parent - - By DaveSisk (**) Date 01-20-2003 21:44
So, it sounds like I should probably check with ESAB to see if the Heliarc 161 is rated to do this type of work, eh?

Parent - - By Tim Buyle (**) Date 01-21-2003 07:17
Your Heliarc is a sophisticated electronic device. Arcair gouging can damage the inside electronics. Gouging produces peak currents that are not always filtered by the machine. A GTAW device is designed to do smooth and nice work and NOT to do some heavy stuff.
Don't forget : arcair gouging will also produce a lot of dust, smoke and a hell of noise !

First try the ESAB Chamfer Rod : an AC/DCSP straight, all-position electrode developed for high speed chamfering, gouging, beveling and removal of unwanted metal in any metal that conducts electricity. No air or special equipment is needed. Chamfered areas are ready for welding with little or no additional cleaning. You don't need to worry about your Heliarc machine in this way ! It's also cheap ...

Parent - By DaveSisk (**) Date 01-21-2003 16:09
Cool. Thanks for the info, I will check it out...

Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 01-20-2003 21:54
There are AC gouging rods available.

G Austin
Up Topic Welding Industry / Technical Discussions / Which stick electrode to cut?

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