I'm looking for an "idiot-proof" rod, and just got off the phone with perhaps the largest welding supply house in these here parts, who in fact carries an idiot rod, all-purpose, all position rod, called MG-500. A little pricey, at $9.15/lb list, for 3/32. Might get it for $7/lb, but still pricey.
The guy also recommended 7018 as a good all-purpose rod as well, and also6013 (at $3.50/lb) It seems most general welding is done with 60xx rod, at least around here. Any opinions on the best "universal" rod? I do mostly rough mock-up work in 1/8" HR, some 16 ga. tubing, occasionally an I-beam or channel for machine support. I prefer softer alloy rod, as I often have to break a weld, bend stuff, grind, etc.
HD sells a Lincoln 60xx rod for $10-11 for 5 lb, considerably cheaper than the welding supply, but it is absolutely awful. The rod sticks like crazy, the flux spatters furiously at heats where the rod is less prone to sticking. I'll actually have to return it, and get "real" rod from a welding supplier. I am a little surprised tho, as I didn't think Lincoln made crappy stuff. Might this be a "made for HD" Lincoln product? I never had this problem before.
Any standard brands out there, or is rod sort of a commodity, whose flavor varies by region?
Lastly, when is AC preferable to straight DC? I have a Miller Econotig, ca 1996, which puts out more heat on AC, but the welds seems crappier, so I stick with straight DC 99% of the time.