First try with arc welder

Well today I finally hooked up an arc welder I got. Managed to wire it without
killing myself and so on.:)
Set up a piece of angle iron and began to try my hand. Countless attempts
to strike the arc, numerous rod stickups, on several ocassions I could not
free it quickly so the rod turned red hot and bent like an S, etc, etc.
I soon found that sratching to strike rather than tapping seems to work
better for me. And finally in a whole second of pure glory I managed to lay
half an inch of bead. It was shiny, no apparent porosity, had a bit of the
stack of coins look.
Now the question:
-In that second the half inch of rod (3/32" of 6013) consumed quite smoothly. My
feeling was that the mere weight of my hand pushed the rod into the pool.
I say "pushed" because I got the impression, I can't be sure, that I felt a
very slight up force countering my hand.
My understanding is that getting the rod tip into the pool will
extinguish the arc and cause the rod to stick. Is my first impression a
tactile illusion?
And yet another thing that surprised me is that one can't see anything
trough the welding glass but the rod tip, the arc itself and the hot bead.
How does people ever manage to follow a joint?
Thanks in advance.

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- "mongke" - spluttered in news:411d7f86_2@
For stick, 5/32 or smaller, try a #9 lense.
Reply to
Greg M
You typically maintain an arc length equal to the diameter of the rod.
Avoid bright light sources behind you if possible. I have good luck with a #12 lens.
Practice, practice, practice. People get paid good money to weld so you know it's not something you learn in 15 minutes.
Reply to
Rods such as 6013 and 7014 are also called contact rods. They can be dragged along with the flux coating touching the metal. The penetration is modest as well. Once the metal cools, it shrinks and the flux covering usually removes easily to reveal a very nice surface. Surface prep is very desirable.
Rods such as 6011 and 6010 have a greater "digging" action and penetrate better. They also work better with less than great surface conditions, reducing preparation time. The slag is more difficult to remove.
If you drag the rod, rather than push it, it is more difficult to follow the joint between the two parts. With practice, you will not watch the arc, not watch the tip and not watch the bead. It's the puddle of molten metal which must be perceived, even though you will "see" the other things as well.
Reply to
Thomas Kendrick
The rod will not stick once there is a pool of molten metal. It sticks to COLD metal which makes a tiny spot weld and then cools the rod. Once the end of the rod is good and hot, it will also be much more resistant to sticking.
If there is any force on the rod, it may actually be an electrical force pulling the rod in. But, that should be pretty small.
I usually like to weld near the open garage door, facing south. I get full sun on the work, so I can see a little of it through the hood, but I don't have full sun on me or getting in the back of the hood. Of course, auto-dark hoods are vastly better for this. Once the arc gets going well, and the metal heats up a bit, you should be able to see enough of the work to follow the seam. For these small rods you may need a lighter shade of glass.
Reply to
Jon Elson
E 6013 will allow you to drag the rod. Once the rod is hot and an arc is established you can drag the rod at about 30 degrees to the vertical resting the flux on the parent metal. The puddle will form behind the slanted rod. Slight wrist action will maintain ensure that the flux coating is resting on the parent metal as you progress along with your weld bead. You can also hold the rod about ten degrees off the vertical and hold a gap of about 1/8th inch above your weld pool. With this technique you can weave side to side to widen your bead. This method is often used to ensure that both sides of a joint are fused. Scratch start is certainly easier to do and good when you are beginning. Randy
Reply to
Randy Zimmerman
From my personal experience, I find the 6013 likes to be "pushed in" closer than other rods. This could be a characteristic of my welder, the settings etc.
The best tip is, practice & experiment.
Reply to
By pushing you mean forehand, with the rod slanted away from the travel direction?
Reply to
I'm learning too. I focus my eyes just a bit ahead of my weld rather than looking right at it and I can just tell where I'm headed. Then again, my welds look like crap, so maybe I should start looking at the weld. (:
Reply to
Where I worked many years ago, we had an arc welder that had been purchased for repairing sheet steel panels and doors on the photocopiers we were refurbishing. I quickly realised that it wasn't much use for that sort of thing, and we should have bought gas welding equipment. After about a day of trial and error, I managed to join pieces of steel fairly reliably and neatly. Haven't touched one since.
Reply to
Leon Heller
I'd consider 5/32" and #9 to be a bit light on the lens. More like 3/32 and #9 for me. I like the #9 for tack welding, even with the bigger rod.
Greg M wrote:
Reply to
Here's a picture for you. Read the rest of the tutorial, too.
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To see the joint, 1) weld in bright sunlight with your head in the shade, 2) grind "V"s on both sides to be joined so you not looking at a seam but a good indent in the surface.
I'd weld about 50 (no kidding) rods onto scrap at different angles, locations, etc. before doing anything for real. Another useful thing is too weld two pieces together for one inch, put in vice and twist until it breaks - should break on one side of weld not in weld. Should be very hard to break also.
Good luck
Reply to
Karl Townsend
That's an odd story to tell a new welder who is obviously excited about the prospect of welding.
Reply to
Jim Meyer
Well right now I'm practicing with thin sheet. I can lay now some beads and even without blowing too much holes ;-). One thing I just noticed is the closer to the work clamp one welds then there are small arcs leaping from the clamp to the work. Is that normal?
Reply to
Nice tutorial. Right now I'm practicing building a pad as they advise.
Reply to
Mongke, to start learning arc welding, I would suggest using some thicker stock -- at least 1/8". 1/4" would be even better. The reason is that the thicker metal will allow you to turn up the amps without worrying about burning through; turning up the amps will make it much easier to start the rod. After a year of arc welding, I think I am a not-too-bad hobbiest welder ... I can generally cleanly strike an arc without scratching if I'm running above 50-60 amps ... but below 50 amps, it can be a challenge to start the arc, and to get it well established without either sticking the rod or pulling it too far back. (Once the arc is well established, it is easier ... but still not as easy as it is when running at higher amps.) In the last couple of months, I have found myself welding some thin materials (.0625 or less), and it has been challenging ... but I'm getting better at it!
One mistake that I made, and that everyone I have taught to weld (all three of them) seems to make at first, is not keeping the tip of the rod close enough in to the weld. You have to wait until the puddle forms, but then you can and should run with the tip practically right in the edge of the puddle. (This is assuming 6013, 7014, or even 7018, and it is assuming thicker stock; with 6010 and 6011, you should keep the tip close in, but ideally you should probably be doing a stitch motion ... and if you're welding thin sheet metal, you've got to keep moving right smartly to keep from blowing holes.)
You mentioned that you were using 6013, but not what sort of machine you are using. Is it DC or AC? Inverter or transformer? 110v or 220v? I ask because, when I first learned, I was using a 110v buzz box ... and that led to some bad habits. It just didn't have the oomph that my "new" (actually, 50 years old) 220v monster has, so it was harder to start the arc and maintain the arc.
Have fun ... it is addictive!
Reply to
Andrew H. Wakefield
Just made some passes with 1/8" 6013. After some hours of practice I can do beads, not pretty but beads. One thing I notice with 6013 is that the molten pool grows so fast that one has to move fast to keep the rod tip from getting into the molten metal. 6011 is another story. So far I'm unable to keep the arc going. I got only one irregular bead but it looked very flat (with 3/32" rod).
A 110v AC transformer. BTW, is it possible to measure OCV without damaging the meter or killing oneself?
Reply to
50 Years of welding I say watch the puddle... Every so often look to see where you are going... But watch the puddle is what counts...
Reply to
Kevin Beitz
Placing a chunk/sheet of copper under the areas to be welded, on thin sheet is a big help, if it's practical.
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