Try using the same amperage for overhead that you use for flat, and
oscillate the rod more if need be. If need be, try turning down your
heat 5 or 10 amps, but only if you just cannot get it to run. This will
give you a smoother, flatter weld.
Get as comfortable as you can, and avoid long-arcing. Keeping a tight
arc will help keep the puddle up where it belongs, rather than dripping
it on you.
I find that if I'm eye-level with the weld, I try to get at a bit of an
angle to the joint so I can see not only where I'm going, but also see
the sides of my puddle instead of trying to see around the arc or
blindly trusting to a steady travel speed. I know people who are steady
enough that their welds look like a machine laid them in, but I just
cannot seem to move with such precision.
Try using a shade one step darker than you usually do, as that will help
you see the edges of the puddle.
Practice, practice, practice.
Wear your personal protective clothing. Have you got a flame-retardant
flash-hood? Nomex and PBI work well and are easily washed....
First of all, make sure your protective equipment is in order- a spark
going down a shirt pocket is bad enough, but when they fall in your ear
you're gonna hate it like heck..
Work with a very short arc, and quite hot. Don't be afraid to turn the
machine up a little, you'll find that more problems come from too little
heat than too much. Slag falling is no big deal, don't let it bother you.
Traveling slowly allows the heat to spread along the surface of the
metal, giving a wide and relatively shallow puddle that will fall out.
If you're having trouble with losing the puddle then it's more likely to
be a case of moving too slowly than too much heat.
Overhead stick welding honestly isn't hard. If you can weld acceptably
on a flat surface then you can work overhead.
A spark in your ear can end your welding career. I use the ear plugs on a
clamp. I have always been very protective about my ears. I once met a
welder whose head was odd shaped. He had had operations on his skull after
a dingleberry went into his ear. He was a pipeline welder out of Tulsa,
making good dough. And that was that.
I have burn scars and hot dingleberries that are white dots that are left
after more than twenty years. The third degree ones don't hurt as much, but
are a pain to debride every day. When you are going for an x ray, and
having a cut out might get you a chopper ride to the beach, you let it burn
until it quits burning.
Old saying, "That will probably feel better after it quits hurting."
I always wear plugs when my head is going to be, even remotely, in a
drop zone. IOW almost always. A good buddy lost *poof* one ear drum.
I always heard it as "It'll feel better when the pain goes away". Told
to me by someone who heard it amongst three piano movers mid-stair-
flight. (Insert appropriate dancing moves, while holding your toe.)
Yeah, I've gotten bits of hot just about everywhere, been on fire and
all, never bad enough for permanent damage though (for which I am quite
thankful). Used to know an old guy, he was so scarred from a fire that
his lips wouldn't close, he didn't have any ears, that whole story.
Great guy, sure wish that could have happened to someone who deserved it
a lot more instead of him.
I was scrapping an old asphalt plant one time, lots of pipe, 2" inside
of 3", that sort of thing (they carry the asphalt in the inner pipe with
hot oil in the outer pipe, keeps the asphalt runny) and I watched the
guy I had put cutting up the pipe stand straddling a tee in the pipe he
was putting the torch to. When he hit the oxygen a big plume of fire
came out of that tee, right between his legs. Eight or nine feet of
fire, nice jet, we've been seeing them all day like that in this bunch
of pipe but he just quit thinking for a minute. He hopped around all
wide-legged while I laughed, it was funny as hell, I had to sit down but
he waited a while before he did.
Another thing about getting burned, I've seen guys get hurt when they
overreact to a little burn. Gotta keep cool, not be all jumpy.
I agree. I think that is the number one tip that works for all rods.
Because of the angle of attack, the puddle is blocked at times, as mentioned
by another poster. It's all just doing it for long enough to figure it out,
iggy. You can learn anything after you have done it for several hundred
If you could only watch someone who already knows, you would learn more in
five minutes than you can doing it for a week on your own. How far do you
live from Ernie? Maybe you got an Ernie near you.
I've constructed all sorts of leans, rests, props, whatever you want to
call an ad-hoc assemblage of junk to help get comfy for overhead TIG
jobs. That's usually the biggest problem, finding something to brace
The hardest thing about out of position TIG is just arm strain.
As long as you are using a sequencer or thumb control, it is pretty
easy, just tiring.
I have welded many a brew tank by sliding under it.
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