Stick welding problem(s)

I just bought a Miller 225/150 AC/DC stick machine. I'm using 3/32 6013 recommended by the sales person to weld 1/4 thick
steel. When I butt it together I grind the ends to form a V about 45 deg to about half the metal thickness. This is 4 x 4 x 1/4 tube and at some point I will also be welding it butted side by side where the rounded corners will form sort of a V. I started out running at 80 amps DCEP and have been playing with various settings up to 100 amps. The problem I'm having sometimes is that I get pockets of flux trapped down inside the weld. Cranking up the current seems to make it less of a problem but I suspect that operator error is really the culprit here. I don't want to get into the habit of fixing everything with maximum amps. Also when I try to run a first bead "root pass??" without weaving I get a weld that looks like a worm laid on the metal. The metal is used and painted but I grind the weld area clean. I suspect that this will be difficult without being able to see what I'm doing but any help would be appreciated.
Thanks Neal
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With quarter inch wall you should be using 1/8 th electrode. E 6013 can be used AC or DC any polarity. I would try AC to avoid arc blow. At around 125 amps you should be able to use a drag technique if you like. If you are doing a side by side ( double flare preparation) I would be up around 140. Slag inclusions indicate improper electrode manipulation or arc blow. With 3/32 diameter the rod would require a weaving motion in order to ensure the puddle covers the joint and fills properly. Randy

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On top of what Randy said I would add that 6013 is a low penetration rod that is best suited to thin materiels. I would prefer 7014 over 6013 for what you are doing. It is better at penetraion and leaves very pretty welds. It is best suited to pipe and tube fabrication of clean metal. And definitely move up to 1/8" rod. The work will go faster and you will have fewer inclusion problems.
A good selection of rods to have:
6013 - 1/16", 3/32" Low pen all position, very ductile weld, great for sheet metal seams.
6010 - 3/32", 1/8" The king of penetration, extremeley agressive will weld through paint, grease, rust, dirt, zinc...anything.
6011 - 3/32", 1/8" The best general purpose rod around. Good penetration, very good at dealing with dirty metal. Requires a whipping motion to get pretty welds, but works either way.
7014 - 3/32", 1/8" An excellent rod for simple pipe and tyube structures. Better penetration than 6013, with a little more strength.
7018 - 3/32", 1/8" For critical structural welds where it really matters. Must be stored sealed and dry or heated.
6013 and 7014 are the easiest to make pretty welds with. 6010 is your best friend when dealing with repairs on old rusty or painted junk. 6011 takes some practice to make pretty , but is an excellent rod for most work.
Buy 7018 is small packages and leave it sealed until you need it.
All of these rods are all position.
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Thank you both for all the help. Looks like I will be buying some 7014 and 6011 at least. Ernie, you said that all of the rods you listed are all position. Are they also both AC and DC? Randy, when you said you would use 140 amps for the side by side I assume that was with 1/8 rod. I would rather learn to maintain the proper arc length than go to a drag technique. I know my technique needs work and lots of practice. Right now I start at the right side of the joint (I'm left handed) and tilt the rod holder to the left about 15 to 20 deg (by my estimation) and weld from right to left. I was going through the manual that came with the welder and it suggested using a 30 deg angle (60deg included) when Ving a joint. I will give that a try as even with the 3/32 rod I didn't get the feeling there was enough room to get the rod to the metal that was butted together. Also is taking the V down to where there is still 1/8 inch of metal that butts together ok or should I make the butt portion thinner? Finally (for now) what is arc blow and if you can see it when running a bead what should I look for?
Thanks again Neal
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Neal) wrote:

6010 is DC only. The rest are AC/DC.
--
Cats, Coffee, Chocolate...vices to live by

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You get arc blow when running DC. The DC current flow through the piece creates a magnetic field which causes the arc to wander and in extreme cases can cause it to be extinguished. I have had it on occasions with TIG because that what I do with DC. I would try repositioning the return somewhere else and see what effect it has.
Neal wrote:

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Double flare groove joints don't need any grinding. They are what is called a "natural preparation" Your thirty degree bevel on both sides is good enough in most cases for butt joints. If for some reason you feel the need to get 100 percent penetration on a butt joint you would bevel at 30 degrees down to a 1/16 inch land then set a gap of at least 1/16 at the root. You install a short ring on the inside of the tube before tack welding together. Open roots with no backing ring are required for piping carrying fluid. For structural a backing ring is common practice. Your rod position is about right. My 140 amps suggestion is on the high side and suited for drag technique with 1/8th. Arc blow is a magnetic filed effect that bends the arc as if a breeze is blowing it around. The problems is aggravated by holding a long arc. repositioning the ground clamp sometimes helps. Other tactics such as wrapping the ground lead around the work can be tried. You don't get arc blow with AC current since the magnetic field is constantly changing. I noticed that you are using electrode negative on DC. I prefer it for E 6013 but many people do all their stick work with electrode positive. Randy
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The only one that is DC only is 6010, and 6010 is one of the toughest rods for small machines to run well because it prefers a very high open circuit voltage.
Here is a nice webpage with more info on each rod
<http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/consumableseries.asp?browse 4|2030|>

Arc blow is when a magnetic field in the base metal causes your arc to wander way from the weld area. It is quite obvious when it happens. A common cause is the use of magnetic right angle clamps too close to the weld joint. Only use them while tacking, then remove. A lot of things can cause arcblow, AC arcs are unaffected.

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I hesitate to add anything to what Randy and Ernie have said; they both know far more than I do. But it sounds as though you are just starting with stick welding, and I have been on that learning curve over the last year or so, so perhaps I can add a couple of cents worth --
I have found that 6013, while a beautiful, easy-to-use rod on a flat surface, easily produces the the kind of problems you describe with any sort of fillet (particularly the slag inclusions). Like you, my initial response was to turn up the heat, and that did help ... but as I've learned more I've realized that the problem had more to do with technique. If you do not stay ahead of the puddle--if you jiggle back a little--you can easily get slag into the puddle, and that slag acts like crayon on an easter egg -- all the weldment parts around it. Likewise, just the other day I learned something from Randy (thanks, Randy!) -- if you pull the rod too far back (too long an arc), it results in insufficient shielding and that leads to inclusions. Finally, if you do not have good fitup, you can get slag building up in the nooks and crannies, with again the problem of weldment separating around the slag.
Here are some additional suggestions to deal with the problem: More than anything else, good welding depends on smooth control. The one thing that has made the biggest difference in my welding was learning how to use my other arm as a brace so that I could position the rod and move it through the weld smoothly, evenly, with no jiggles. If you are right handed, put your left elbow down on the table and rest your right wrist on top of your left hand (don't hold your wrist; just brace it on top of your hand). By allowing your left elbow to pivot downward, you will be able to move your right hand, and thus the electrode, forward and down smoothly -- exactly what you want to be able to do as you move along the weld and as the electrode is consumed. Your right hand is free to pivot and to keep the electrode right where you want it, but it is braced so that it doesn't jiggle all over the place.
Second, make sure you keep the rod tip right down at the edge of the puddle. My own early tendency, and the tendency of everyone that I have ever taught to weld (all three of them!), is to keep the arc too long. Partly this is a matter of learning how to move the rod to keep up with the consumption; partly this is a matter of learning how to control the rod smoothly. When you are burning 6013 at an appropriate amp setting, you will be surprised how close you can and should be with the rod tip. One way that helps me to think about it (though I don't know if it is an accurate understanding of the actual physics) is that you want to keep the rod tip close enough, and angled just so, so that the puddle can't run out from under or ahead of the rod tip. *You* want to control exactly where that puddle is; you don't want it to go wherever it pleases, while you chase after it with the rod tip!
A third suggestion has to do with your joint preparation. It sounds like you have made an effective 90 degree fillet when you butt the pieces together; you might want to try a somewhat shallower angle, more like 60 degrees. This makes the joint easier to get into, and less likely to trap slag.
Finally, while I agree with Ernie and Randy that 1/8" rod is appropriate for 1/4" material, and will certainly make it easier to fill the entire joint in one pass, I don't think the problems you are having are simply a matter of selecting the wrong rod. If you practice on getting a good, smooth, continuous bead down the center of the joint, you may not fill it completely using a 3/32" rod, but you shouldn't be getting slag inclusions either.
I hope this helps! (Corrections from those with more knowledge and experience are welcomed and expected!)
Andy
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004, Ernie Leimkuhler wrote:

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Lots of great info; thanks. Randy; I have been running the 6013 on DCEP which I assume is electrode positive but I will give it a try on AC. Thanks all for the info on arc blow and Ernie thanks for additional info of 6010. Andrew; Thats great info coming from another beginner. I have no doubt that a lot of what is happening is due to technique or the lack of it. The 6013 seems to be a nice rod when I get it right but I think for this roject I will switch to something with more penetration. Its also why I put a V on the joint. I want to make sure I get good penetration given my learner status and also I plan to grind all the welds flush with the surface so I can paint and have a nice smooth finish. On the fit of the joint. What I do is cut the tube on a band saw and check that the joint fits tight when butted together. Then I V out the joint to where the material that is left is only 1/8 inch thick. This allows me to butt the joint back together for alignment using the remaining material and still have my V for better penetration. I was trying to make each side of the V about 22 1/2 degrees (by eye) so the finished joint was 45 deg. I'm going to open that up to 60 deg total as you and the miller book suggest and see what happens. I was planning on that with the 3/32 rod anyway but it will be a must with the 1/8 or the rod will not fit down into the V. I don't think I will try to leave a gap to get full penetration, as someone suggested, because at this stage I don't have enough control to keep the alignment from getting pulled all out of shape by the weld. What I do now is to use the fit provided by the material that is not V out for initial alignment while I tack at each corner. Then I finish by welding opposite sides. I don't know if all this is necessary but I don't think it can hurt. I will try using different angles on the rod to see if I can see what you are talking about on the puddle and also try positioning myself for a more steady hand. The "local" welding supply is about an hour away and isn't open on Saturdays so I have to wait until I can get off work to go. However I managed to ge a small package of 1/8 6010 from a guy at work and will give that a try keeping in mind what Ernie said about it and small machines. If I have to much trouble with it I can put this aside until I can get to the store. Thank you all for the help. I'm sure I will be back many more times with many more questions.
Neal
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Neal,
When you get the 6010, be sure to do some practice on scrap first. This rod is very aggressive, and you can't just run a stringer (well, you can try ... but you won't be happy when you start blowing holes through!). With this rod, you will need to use a "stitch" motion: Start your arc, and position the rod where you want to begin the weld. Count to two, watching how the puddle forms. Quickly move the rod along the weld about 1/2", and hold for about a half a count or so. Keep your eye on the original puddle; you should see it quickly "freeze." As soon as it starts to freeze, flick the rod back to the edge of the puddle and start over (count to two, move, freeze, flick back ...). If you do this right, you will generate a weld that looks distinctly like a stack of dimes (after you remove the slag, which is much thinnner and much harder to remove that 6010).
When you perfect the technique, you can use it as a first pass in welding your project, but you will then need to come back with 6013 or 7014 (or 7108, for that matter) and lay on a cap pass ... but only after grinding off some of those nice ridges you created with your "stack of dimes"; otherwise, you may trap slag in the ridges. (If you're going to grind, you also don't have to worry about getting all the slag out of the ridges.) Why generate a stack of dimes if you're going to grind it off? Well, as I understand it (or perhaps misunderstand it :), the stack of dimes is not the goal; the goal is to allow the rod to penetrate, but keep it from blowing through. The stitching back and forth allows you to accomplish this; when you get a good puddle formed, you "freeze" it, and then come back and do the next puddle, and so on.
With respect to your project, note what you will have accomplished by doing the above: You will have gotten "more penetration" -- but not all that much more if you do not leave a gap (and I agree that a gap is not a good idea at this point given your newbie status). You will only have joined maybe a millimeter more depth (if that much? I'm guessing here -- what say the experts?) -- not enough to make that big a difference in the strength of the final weld. 6013 may not penetrate very much, but given the joint preparation you are doing, if it penetrates even 1 molecule deep, you will have formed a continuous fusion of metal throughout the veed out area. I would tend to guess that if you need more strength than that will provide, you need to do a full penetration weld by grinding a deeper vee, leaving a gap, sliding in an inner tube to back the weld, and running a 6010 root pass followed by 7018 to cap it.
The best reasons to use 6010 are rusty or dirty metal; poor fit-up; full-penetration welds using a gap (because of the fast-freeze characteristic of the rod, it is good at filling up a gap -- thus also good for poor fit-up). The downside is more steps and more time to complete the weld.
Have fun learning -- I certainly have, and continue to do so!
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004, Neal wrote:

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Hehe... If you manage to get anything that resembles a real weld with 6010, please upload a pic - I'd love to see it. Either I have shitty 6010 rod (ESAB), or I'm just a shitty welder, cause I can barely get, and keep a 6010 rod running, much less making anything that even "looks" like a weld. Funny, I can master 7018 with no poursity bubble holes and such, but not 6010. :(
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Problems running 6010 -- you mentioned in an earlier post that you prefer using AC most of the time. You're not by any chance using AC with the 6010, are you? (That will definitely make it hard to run and produce rotten welds!) Have you tried running 6011 (AC or DC)? Do you have similar problems with that rod? One more thought: What is the OCV of your welder? (6010 needs a high OCV ... but then so does [most] 7018.)
Sorry if I'm repeating things you already know!
On Thu, 24 Jun 2004, Mr Wizzard wrote:

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Thanks to all for the advice. I was hoping by now to post my progress but work has picked up and my tractor started acting up so the welding project has been set aside for now. I did manage to get some 6011 and 7014 so I will have plenty tor try out when I get back to it.
Neal
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Neal) wrote in message

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