American Welding Society Forum
I'm trying my hands on arc welding but am having difficulty minimizing my electrodes from sticking to my work. I use 6013 and/or 7018 rods.
Which is more ideal in terms of prevention of rods sticking to the material - AC or DC straight?
Your help is greatly appreciated.
It should be easier to weld with a 6013 electrode than a 7018 electrode. I would therefore start with the 6013 untill I have some more experience.
E6013 can be welded with AC, DCEP or DCEN. Mostly people use it with DCEP. (If you only have one of the cheap AC machines, then obviously you do not have a choice!) DCEP is the same as DC reverse polarity.
Typically the problem with sticking electrodes can be:
1) Amperage is set too low.
2) You have a machine with a low open circuit voltage. (OCV)
3) You have electrodes with flux problems. (e.g. the flux falls off the rod, reducing the shielding effectiveness.)
4) You have the incorrect technique.
Here is my advice:
1) Make sure your electrodes are of a reasonable quality and not degraded. To check this, look at the exposed end of your electrode where you are about to strike the arc. It must not be rusted. Also, if it is relatively easy to remove the flux with your bare hands, then you may have a flux problem.
2) Make sure your machine has been set to the correct current setting. The box in which the electrodes are supplied usually has this info. on. At any rate, just keep adjusting the current higher till it stops sticking. If it is then too high, you have excessive weld spatter, which would then be a sign to lower the current.
3) Make sure you have a good ground connection. If it is not good, the resistance becomes high, making the OCV very low. This makes it difficult to strike the arc.
4) The arc strike technique is rather important. Make sure the end of the electrode is exposed, (but not too much, because then you get shielding problems again.) and then "scratch" the electrode accross the area where you want to strike the arc. If you "jab" the electrode, it will tend to stick. Once you see the arc igniting, immediately pull the electrode away from the work piece about 5mm. This takes a bit of practice, but is not so difficult.
5) Once you have a stable arc, keep the arc length relatively short, but do not push it into the weld pool too much, or else you can get the elecrode sticking. With 6013 electrodes you will be able to actually rest the elecrode against the work piece, as long as it is the flux comming into contact with the work piece. Some electrodes have a conducting flux, which makes this impossible.
I am sure that I would have forgotten something, so you experienced welders please add to what I have said.
Thank you for taking the time out to describe the proper techniques. I appreciated it very much.
Does it matter if use DCEP or AC?
DCEP should be easier to start an arc with.
Your reply looked pretty thorough to me Niekie!
Noel, that is right that 6013 is much easier to strike and maintain an arc with than 7018 is. 6013 should work even with the cheaper, AC only machines that typically have low open circuit voltage.
My suggestion is to obtain a 2 foot long practice piece of steel, set your machine at the higher range for your electrode size (say, 130 - 140 amps for 1/8 diameter rod). Drag the electrode across the steel a bit faster than you would to weld. Keep the rod in motion and gradually lift up to increase the gap while slowing your travel down a bit. You should be able to establish a stable arc that way and start to get the "feel" for it. Bring your amperage down a bit and work on maintaining your arc.
Eventually, you should see that 6013 almost welds by itself with the right settings.
If you still can't get everything to work, then I would try to borrow the use of a different machine, and try your rods on that. If you can now get good results, you likely have a problem with your welder (not enough capacity, not made for your application, wiring problems, or something like that). If you can't get your electrodes to work, then try a batch of fresh ones.
Don't overlook that fact that most welding supply distributors can give you guidance. Often, they will help out even if they aren't making a sale because if you succeed then they will eventually.
You might also trya a 7024 electrode(drag rod) if your machine is capable. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Hope this helps.
Brian is right, a 7024 just fires off and is the rod we teach new guys to start with then move them over to a 7028 and finally to the 7018. They will test with the 7018 and will have learned by then to control the rod enough to run 2G and cap it off with out the beads drooping.
I used to use a little buzz box a friend had. It wouldn't start a 7018 for love or money but worked fine with 6013. Try a smaller rod, it's easier for a small machine to get going.
Sorry but I just can't help my self.
Thats why they call it "STICK ROD"
You're right Ron...
I usually call it a "#%$@*!! Stick Rod!"
Touche' Ron G.
I'm still snickering...
Higher Open circuit voltages makes ac or dc welding easier. Use what manufacturers of electrodes commonly call "ac" electrodes. They are really low open circuit voltage electrodes. What open circuit voltage does your welding machine have. Check this with a voltmeter. It should be 60 to 80 volts ac or dc depending on the weld output. This should be plenty to get the arc started with the techniques listed by the other replies. If you have a variable range selection for the ac output you will probably find a low range with a high amperage fine current adjustment will give you the high open circuit voltage. The high range with a low amperage setting will probably be a low open circuit voltage setting. Use your voltage meter and check it out.
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