The secret of a neat fillet weld?

Hi all,
I've been using a stick welder for occasional hobby projects for about 9 years now (the welder is a Cytringan Bantam 180 amp oil-cooled unit).
I've mastered butt welds and can achieve an even bead with neat restarts, but I can't quite get fillets right. I've tried varying the current, moving the electrode slowly up and down, following the instructions regarding angle in my welding book etc., but my fillets still contain small slag inclusions. I'm using E 6013 electrodes and 3-5 mm thick 43A mild steel plate (these might both be British-only standards). Now I find that I'm designing my projects so as to avoid fillet welds. Can anyone suggest how to improve my fillet welds, or do I just need more practice?
Any hints would be much appreciated.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Hi all,
I've been using a stick welder for occasional hobby projects for about 9 years now (the welder is a Cytringan Bantam 180 amp oil-cooled unit). I've mastered butt welds and can achieve an even bead with neat restarts, but I can't quite get fillets right. I've tried varying the current, moving the electrode slowly up and down, following the instructions regarding angle in my welding book etc., but my fillets still contain small slag inclusions. I'm using E 6013 electrodes and 3-5 mm thick 43A mild steel plate (these might both be British-only standards). Now I find that I'm designing my projects so as to avoid fillet welds. Can anyone suggest how to improve my fillet welds, or do I just need more practice?
Any hints would be much appreciated.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

Isn't 6013 a drag rod? Try no weave at all, just a straight motion right down the axis. Watch the puddle, not the arc. Remember, a fillet weld requires a bit more current than a flat weld because the current has to flow two ways. Make sure your puddle flows evenly on both sides of the fillet. The best way to conquer this is not to avoid it, but rather to practice. You may find it easier if you support your left arm on an armrest and use it to support your right arm, assuming you're right-handed. Get your body comfortable, don't sway around. I often sit down when a weld is critical. Turn off the welder and do a dry run on the movement until you can support your hand throughout its range of travel -- don't forget, the electrode gets shorter! Flip up your filter and look through your hood and make sure you can see across the range too. Don't squeeze the electrode holder, that will make your muscles shake -- a light grip is all you need. I have to admit, I've little or no experience with 6013, I went from 6011 to 7014 to 7018 and now sometimes I use 6010. If 6013 isn't a drag rod, try 7014, it's a dead easy rod to run.
GWE
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Grant Erwin wrote:

I don't think 6013 is intended as a drag rod. It doesn't say so on the packet, and the flux is thinner than that on a 7018 rod. I was given some 7018 rods when I first started welding, but found them very hard to use, so I talked to the guy at the welding store and bought 6013. Apparently 7018 is best with a DC machine. I have about 10 kg of 6013 so I'd like to learn to use them for fillets.

Ah! A guy told me the opposite, because "you want to weld more slowly to give you time to spread the metal around", or some such argument. Maybe he didn't know what he was talking about? I'll try turning up the current a notch.

If one plate is horizontal and the other vertical, how do you stop the weld pool from forming predominantly on the horizontal plate due to the action of gravity? Roughly what horizontal and vertical electrode angles should I be using?
Many thanks for your advice.
Chris
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6013 is a piece of cake on clean steel.
For a fillet weld with one leg vertical and 6013 try these settings and angles: Rod tipped 15 degrees into direction of travel (dragging not pushing) Rod 30 to 35 degrees off of the horizontal surface (pushing the puddle into the vertical piece. Tip of the rod 1 diameter from the work 110 amps on 1/8" (3mm) rod) 75 amps on 3/32" rod length of weld should be 1/2 to 2/3rds the length of the rod consumed. no weave, watch the puddle, make sure it flows to both surfaces. Move that way if it doesn't.
Christopher Tidy wrote:

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RoyJ wrote:

Thanks, Roy. I'll try those settings. One thing I think I've been doing wrong is to hold the electrode at too great an angle to the horizontal (probably 45 degrees). This is because the handle of the electrode holder or cable catches on the bench if I don't. I'll have to figure out a way around this.
Chris
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I do just about what Roy does with some modifications. I use the 45 degrees but the rod is pointed about 1/16th more onto the horizontal surface. I use a "J" motion. Imagine a letter "J" laying on its side. I move forward then back and up against the vertical surface watching the puddle form behind the rod. I move down and forward again and then hooking back. Each time I hook back I am hesitating and looking to see that the molten metal is piling up against the vertical surface properly. If you hook up too high you will burn into the vertical surface and create undercut. Randy
RoyJ wrote:

Thanks, Roy. I'll try those settings. One thing I think I've been doing wrong is to hold the electrode at too great an angle to the horizontal (probably 45 degrees). This is because the handle of the electrode holder or cable catches on the bench if I don't. I'll have to figure out a way around this.
Chris
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R. Zimmerman wrote:

Thanks. I'll try the J-method as well. I need to do some experimenting and see what works best for me. When you say "the rod is pointed about 1/16th more onto the horizontal surface" do you mean the tip of the rod is 1/16" closer to the horizontal surface than the vertical surface?
Chris
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The tip is not closer as in a closer arc. It is not pointing to the exact corner but 1/16 closer to you on the flat surface. This trick works for wire feed and even when pointing a flame in Oxy-acetylene welding. It helps to prevent accidental melting of the vertical surface and the resulting undercut. Undercut is the one thing you want to avoid.
Christopher Tidy wrote:

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6013 is indeed a drag rod. You do not use a whipping motion. And you should not weave more that about 2-3 times the diameter of the filler metal.
6013 should give you a beautiful weld. The reason you are getting inclusions is that you are moving the puddle back over flux that has already solidified. You can get away with this a bit with a rod like 7018 which is more penetrating, but not with 6013 which is designed for sheet metal.
The way to get equal length legs on bot plates is to favor the top plate. Instead of your electrode splitting the angle between the two plates, it needs to be laid a bit down toward the bottom plate so that the tip points more towards the vertical plate than the bottom plate. Gravity will bring the molten pool back down towards the bottom plate.
If a simple drag motion does not make a big enough bead, just make multiple passes.
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footy wrote:

Can you get 6013 drag rods and 6013 non-drag rods? My 2.0 mm 6013 rods have a flux coating which is perhaps 2/3 the core diameter, but my 3.2 mm 6013 rods have a coating which is only about 1/3 the core diameter. I wasn't sold these as drag rods. Mostly I weld angle sections, tubes and channels with a wall thickness of 2 to 5 mm. How suitable do you think 6013 rods are for this work?
By the way, is there a good site anywhere which gives information about the different types of electrodes? I couldn't find much by doing a Google search.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Christopher,
I run a lot of 6013 rod, and love it ... most of the time. There are situations where it can be terrible for slag inclusions. Poor fit-up can trap slag; if fit-up is an issue, do an initial pass with 6011 (using a whipped motion) to "seal" the gaps. Even if the fit is good, I find that if I don't get the 6013 started well on both sides of the fillet, I inevitably get slag trapped, and it is hard to overcome this mid-weld. (Well, let me be clearer -- there is no way to go back and take care of the problem without stopping and grinding, and if you're not careful the problem will propagate down the rest of the weld.) Two things that I have found contribute to the problem is failure to keep the tip of the rod steady and right down at the weld -- too long an arc gap tends to invite slag to get trapped, as does accidentally backing up because I didn't have my hand steadied adequately. The other thing is not running quite hot enough -- I find that the hotter I run it, the less trouble I have with slag ... though of course, then burn through can become an issue!
Have you used much 6011? I find that to be an essential complement to 6013 (or 7018 or 7014, for that matter). Not only does it deal nicely with fit-up issues (if you learn the whip motion), but also it can be a fast fix of sorts where there is a slag inclusion that you just don't want to bother grinding out -- i.e., the weld is already more than strong enough, and you're wanting just to improve the cosmetics. Or at least that is how I treat it, but then again I'm still relatively new to welding, so maybe that's a major no-no -- Roy? Randy?
One last word -- you seem to be objecting to the idea of 6013 as a "drag rod" because of the thickness of the flux. Yes, the flux on 6013 is thinner than on 7018, but on the other hand, it is thicker (and an entirely different composition) from the flux on 6011. More importantly, it leaves a relatively thick slag behind, whereas something like 6010/6011 leaves only a very, very thin "scum" of a slag. You can, as a previous poster noted, do some weaving (such as the J motion), but you do have to use the proper technique -- this would be equally true for 7018. If you try to weave back and forth in the direction of travel -- i.e., back over the weld puddle -- you are asking for slag inclusions. If you keep the tip of the rod just ahead of (and pointed into) the weld puddle -- i.e., the tip never gets back into the weld puddle, but leads it -- then you can do some weaving *perpindicular* to the direction of travel to get a wider bead. The J motion is somewhat contrary to what I've just said, but the motion is designed to push the slag where it needs to be (at least that's what I was taught). In any case, the point is that you never want to let the slag get ahead of where you're welding.
Contrast all of this with 6010 or 6011, for which it is routine to "whip" the tip back and forth *along* the direction of travel -- these rods leave a very thin slag coating, and are very aggressive, so they can go back on top of the weld puddle and burn through the little bit of slag and float it to the top.
HTH,
Andy

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On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 01:47:04 +0000 (UTC), Christopher Tidy

Hey Chris, Two hints from another "wish-I-could-weld-like-that" guy. First, loop the cable over your shoulder(s) to take the "weight" off it and stop it dragging and catching; and second, when you put the rod in the stinger handle, take and bend the rod right at the handle to an angle that suits what you are doing. Have you ever seen a weldor do that? He inserts the new rod in the best angled "groove" in the stinger clamp handles, then with one hand he grabs the very end of both the clamps right at the rod and squeezes hard, to hold it shut (so it won't slip), and then with the other hand grabs the rod "up short" and bends it to suit. If you don't grab it up short, you'll crack all the flux. It has to bend right where their is no flux.
Ohhhhh....and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wear gloves when you do it!! Always!! Owwwwwwwchhh... Yes....ALWAYS!! You'll get a poke or a burn if you don't.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
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Brian Lawson wrote:

Thanks for that suggestion. I've never seen anyone bend a rod before and, believe it or not, I'd never thought to try it. It's easy with my welding set as the stinger screws down hard on the rod, instead of just holding it with a spring clamp. I'll try it next time a weld seems awkward.
Might get chance to try out a few of your suggestions tonight. Will let you know how it goes.
Best wishes,
Chris
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On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 01:21:54 +0000, Christopher Tidy wrote:

If it is practical to lean the structure so that you are welding into the bottom of a V (i.e. rotating the fillet joint into the flat position) it should make things easier. It might also solve your cable snagging problems too.
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On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 00:16:48 +0000 (UTC), Christopher Tidy

Late entry: Don't forget to play with the heat setting a little.
I burned a little 6013 yesterday. Geez, I haven't done any stick welding for a while, but it came back quick enough.
I needed to stick a 1/2" dia rod to some 1 x 1 x 1/8" angle to form a brace to quell a vibration on my air compressor. It was in kind of an awkward place on a job I really didn't want to move to the wirefeed but it happened to be near the TIG/stick machine. No way I'd get in there with TIG but.....well, golly, I could reach it with a stinger. Scrounged around, found a stick of 1/8" 6013.
Things weren't working well until I turned up the heat, running pretty hot for 1/8" rod. I could see it really digging into the 1/2" rod, but I didn't blow any holes in the angle. I focussed the heat on the rod, carried the puddle near the angle and let the puddle (not the arc) fuse into the angle.
Slag chipped off, it looks like it grew there. Compressor is back in service. I'd had to cut that brace and move it a bit to clear the new (slightly bigger) motor.
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