You have received some good advice here to find someone who knows how, and can SHOW you in a short time. "Stacked dimes" welds are over rated. They are pretty, but, as the rod has to be whipped in and out of the pool, fusion and penetration suffers.
With each joint, there are many variables ...... horizontal, vertical, angle, how strong does it have to be, how thick is the metal, lots of variables so it is tough to give you a one size fits all answer.
With a lot of my MIG, I don't do a lot of movement on thin beads. I like to push the wire, and have an angle that gives a larger puddle that I can push along, and up on to both pieces. When butt welding some pieces, and doing pieces that are going go be visible, I like to do a series of spot welds, so it looks like TIG, and only has to be hit with an electric wire brush.
Most of the time, if you are doing a wide enough pass, it is good to use a weave instead of a circular motion, pausing at the ends of the W's or C's to melt the parent metal for good penetration and strength. Just don't stay too long, or your puddle will fall, as with 7018. Or you will burn through.
Ah, 7018. As Iggy can attest, it is frustrating at first. The key to 7018 is a short arc, trying never to whip out of the puddle, as you can commonly do with 6010 and 6011 and come right back to it. 7018 is almost a submerged arc, as you want to keep the point of your rod under the slag cover. To get started on 7018, get some thick steel, crank up the heat to the max stated for the rod, and weld in the flat position. At first, just make straight lines, with a slow STEADY forward movement and no side to side. Pause when you first start to get a puddle, then slowly and steadily move in a straight line, with the goal to keep the size of the puddle the same, and when it is reached, to slowly move ahead in one steady nonstop fluid motion. No in and out of the puddle. Steadiness is the key, as it is easy to break the arc, and then you have to clean it off, start again ahead of the weld, and bring your puddle back to the end of the previous one.
As stated, someone can show you all this in a session, whereas thousands of words here might not convey the "aha" moments.
Good luck. If you can weld with 7018, you get to say you know how to weld. When you can run it vertical uphill, you get to brag a little.
Take some real welding classes, then, or find a real welder to tutor you. There's a lot of welding that you can learn by doing, but there's a lot more that you learn by watching an expert, or doing while the expert looks over your shoulder and comments.
If you have a community college system where you live, take advantage of it. You won't be sorry, except for the desire for better equipment at home.
Get some 6013 electrode; it is one of the easiest rods to run. I still can't run 6011 worth beans, but I can sometimes make a tolerable weld with the 6013. If you really want to use 7018, get the Lincoln 7018AC rod, it is a little easier to start/restart that regular 7018.
This all assumes you have a halfway decent welder, AKA not one that runs off of 120VAC.
Tim Wescott wrote: If you have a community college system where you live, take advantage of it. You won't be sorry, except for the desire for better equipment at home.
HA! I brought my own mach> You have received some good advice here to find someone who knows how, an= d
After learning how to weld them I tried it with solder, on the RF filter cans for a satellite terminal. There wasn't much difference in technique and results, though I could cheat and lift the iron out of the pool. Maybe solder is a good reuseable substitute to practiced on.
I learned 7018 from an expert, and it went well right from the start. The highly stressed and oil-tight tubular support frame for my hydraulic bucket loader was the first project.
My dad just bought a new gooseneck trailer. Looking at the welds, they were uggly! No fishscales and irregular welds everywhere. I guess a weld does nto need to be pretty to be strong.
One thing I wanted to ask. Your comment on moisture and 7018 got me thinking. I dont have an oven to put my electrodes in. They are in one of those screw on tubes you buy from the store. Could I by a cheap toaster oven. ( I think that is what they are called). nd bake them in that? It would take up a minimal amount of room. Can you make them more than once?
Rod ovens are not that expensive if you look for used ones. I bought my first oven (10 lbs) for $20. It served me well, but could not hold enough rod. I recently bought a 50 lbs Keen KT-50 rod oven for just $75, brand new.
Ive got a 10lb for $12, and a 50lb for $7 at second hand stores. The
50lb needed a new cord, and the 10lb didnt have one either, but it uses standard computer cords, of which Ive got a shitload. Took me 15 minutes to put a 15' cord on the 50 lber and 2 seconds to plug in the cord on the 5lb.
Cant remember the brand..stroke moment..but they are bright yellow.
Ebay says both are Phoenix. brand.
The big one stands upright, the little on has feet on it so it sits upright or at an angle. Both were filled with 7018,,,no..one had 30-40 lbs of 8018,....the other was filled with 7018
Gunner, dogged tired after working in Bakersfield in 100F heat
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Well, is this to say old 7018 is usless if you have no way to reheat it? Cant use for a trailer build?
reply: The problem comes from just as strong concrete weakens with freeze/thaw cycles, 7018 deteriorates from wet/dry and freeze/thaw cycles. If you find some old 7018, you will probably see discoloration on it, or white powder. Or even flux coming off. This is what causes the weld not to be 100%. On some critical jobs, rod that is not directly from a sealed can, or been transferred immediately upon opening the container to an oven and kept at a certain temperature may not be used. It is a good idea to keep all rod in containers. Even MIG wire will rust from room humidity.
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All errors, brain farts, misspelled words intentional because this computer is set to Spelchek French, and I can't get it to do any different.