Just beginning

Hi all,

I just started out with some test- metal arc welding (stick welding) to get aquainted in order to build a frame for something.

I'm welding 2mm iron profiles with a 2.5mm electrode. At 60A I get the feeling I'm not welding deep enough, at 70-80A it's deep enough but the weld has too much material and I need to grind off a lot.

Could it be I'm not welding fast enough or would my electrode be too thick? Is the distance between my parts too close : I'm keeping a 1mm gap between the profiles.

Advice ? Thanks

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for the current range. A 3/32" electrode has a range of 40-120 amps.

That's fairly thin material that you are welding. There are several other factors that could account for the results.

  1. 60A current, no excess material, not deep enough? How do you know?
  2. 80A current, excess material, deep enough? How do you know?

It is possible to overweld and still not increase the penetration. Different electrode types have different penetration characteristics.

6010 - deep penetration - pipe welding 6011 - deep penetration, fast freezing 6013 - moderate penetration, good for thin material, contact rod

If you are testing, get a hammer and vise - try to bend the joint apart. Cut test strips with a saw before bending. Look at a cross section. Do you have drop-through of weld material?


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Tom Kendrick


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That's sound advice. Another factor I'm considering is the fact that I might be making my arc too long. I'm a bit afraid to have it stick really bad.

I'm just not entirely comfortable with the process yet. But then again practice makes art....

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That's a common problem for beginners. But the result of too long an arc is mostly just splatter and inconsistent welds. Your work gets covered with little drops of metal.

Yeah, you just have to practice. Stick welding isn't easy. It takes lots of practice to produce consistent quality welds. It's something you can spend years learning. Every new type of weld, new type of stick, new position, brings with it a whole new learning experience. Though you can make things stick together ok in only a few hours of practice, to be make quality consistent welds just takes a lot of work.

However, arc welding thin stuff like that is not easy. I spent a couple of nights experimenting with 18 gauge (1.2 mm) and 1/16" (1.5 mm) electrodes and could never get a consistent weld. I got a few sections that worked, but mostly I would either just blow through the metal making holes or just get a lot of cold lap. I decided to stick with Tig or Mig for the thin stuff. If you practice enough however, some people seem to be able to make it work.

Using DCEN for thin metal is said to help. (didn't do much for me. :)). It's also suggest a smaller rod for what you are trying to weld if you can find one.

If you are trying to learn arc welding, it's far better to start off with something thicker - like the 1/4" range (6mm) - if you can find some scrap of that size to play with. When doing a butt weld with thicker material, you will need to bevel the edges and make multiple passes (cleaning all slag off between passes).

You also mention the weld being too thick. Welds are expected to have a profile that is thicker than the work you are welding. The amount that sticks out above the metal is called the reinforcement for a butt weld. For something thin like that, I'm guessing the reinforcement is probably going to be at least as thick as the metal you are welding (it's hard to not make it that thick). If you are trying to make it flat, that just won't happen. You want to make sure the weld is at least as strong as the metal you were welding which means the weld is normally thicker than the metal you weld to make sure you don't have any low spots. If you want it flat when you are done, you are expected to have to grind it flat.

You also didn't mention what type of rod you were using. As the other person who answered your post pointed out, each type of rod is different in how it welds, and in how much current you need to use.

Reply to
Curt Welch

I've been practicing a few hours again and it seems like some of the problem was indeed due to a too long arc. "Dragging" it along made it considerably easier.

One of the most hindering problems now is having it stick rather frequently. It seems like striking an initial arc is much more difficult then doing so when the material and electrode are hot. (Which makes some sense in the physics department)

It doesn't have to be "flat" but a nice even consistent weld is what I'm after. Sounds a bit like the holy grail now but then again, I'm not on any deadlines here. I've been playing with the current, going from about 60 to 80 but it's hard to figure out what's serving me better. Around 70, 75 seems to work "easier". As you mentioned yourself, I experience that I'm either not penetrating the metal enough to "merge" it or, I blow through it and make a gap.

Since I'm in europe the electrode does not hold an american welding association standard number. It holds some data however (which might as well be chinese): R= 47/57 h bar E = 41/50 h bar A = 23/30 % /5d KCU=8/11 daJ cm^2 Current recommentation: 60-100A , It has a red dot on the bare end. (I read this was a colour code ?) Note that I have the distinct feeling that it melts too quickly. It feels like I'm soldering and just feeding too much solder-wire. I'm only using these since I have an enormous amount lying around for free, which makes cheap practice.

Thanks for the useful info.

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hey Webhead

Regarding beginning metal arc welding, Smartlfix.com has a bunch of great DVDs. A few favs include:

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Thanks, hope this helped!

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