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  1. #1
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    Default Why do I suck? (at stick welding)

    I've been doing some arc welding lately, and have been having trouble with 2 things. First off, I struggle with getting the arc started. The tap method seems to work better than striking it for me, but I usually have to try 2-3 times to get an arc started. Sometimes it takes 10-15 attempts. The other problem is that I keep blowing holes in the material I'm welding.

    My limited knowledge on stick welding says that I'd have a lot better luck getting my arc started if I crank the amps up a bit, but that seems to go against the fact that I'm blowin' holes in everything. Anyone got some sage wisdom for me?

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    more details and Ill offer what I can. What machine and settings, what stick and size, what material and thickness, what position are you welding? Are you having issues when re striking a rod or fresh rods too?

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    A friend asked me for help with the same problem. Turned out he was trying to weld painted metal. Doof.

  4. #4
    JoeInPA
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    Off the top of my head, I was going to suggest making sure you have a really good ground before thinking about upping the amps. But I am hardly a welder, more of a grinder.

  5. #5
    Wolfie
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    ...The 120V buzz boxes are a pain to get an arc goin...a 220/240 is pretty easy...I used to just run the tip at a 45 over and over until the rod tip itself was warmed up...seemed to ease shit....I switched over to fluxcore since, gonna get a MIG soon...if ya wanna keep tryin the stick, get yerself some "contact rods"...they tend to arc a lot easier than a standard...7014's I think they are ?...could be wrong, been a long time...and Im a senile old fuck, lol...but I welded up my '68 Beezer hardtail with a 120V stick...never broke...and I had the ol lady on the back often...

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    I'll go with 'clean your metal'. Like, really clean it, both by sanding and maybe with acetone, in the whole weld zone and and ground area.

    Stick isn't easy at low power, and anything that can potentially disrupt the arc (off-gassing of surface contaminants) or cause changes in voltage (scale under the clamp) is gonna mess you up.

    I hated running stick for anything under 3/16". But its great for thick stuff, penetration to spare.

  7. #7

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    Try sliding the stick across the steel kind of like lighting a match. In time the distance of " slide will get shorter and shorter .

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    Could be a lot of things. What rod..diameter.. amps? Some rod is pulled while others are whipped or weaved. 6011-13 is a great rod to mess with..

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    Rod size / amps / material thickness - the relationship is important.

    Watch this guy run beads with the old Lincoln "tombstone" AC welder:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGkkCpKkM7g

    He has many good videos to help you improve your skills. Blowing holes in things is usually too much rod on thin stuff.

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    are your rods fresh??? old rods could be problem, I know a guy that would keep his in the fridge

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    I used to keep my rods in a PVC tube with a light bulb inside to keep them warm and especially dry. The flux coating absorbs moisture, and they ain't worth shit if they ain't dry.

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    I like to drag the end of the rod across something rough (like concrete) to get the flux off the tip and then get to welding.

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    Visit the Weldingweb and Miller forums for a shitload of useful info. Both sites are noob-friendly but always lurk, use search and look before posting to get the most out of them.

    http://weldingweb.com/forumdisplay.p...y-Fuel-Welding

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...-skills/stick/

    Stick takes considerable practice but it's well worth it.

    Always post SPECIFIC info. Your machine make/model, your settings, electrode type and diameter and brand, thickness of material to be welded and so forth.

    That helps others help you.

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    as other have said, the type of electrode you are using matters more than you think.

    dont start on thin stuff.... even when you are an expert its still hard as fuck

    before you put the electrode in the lead try tapping the striking end solidly on a hard surface or using some course sand paper on the end.

    not all electrodes are super sensitive to atmosphere but some are very sensitive.... if you have 7018 and you dont have them in an oven you are just asking for headaches.

    welding is alot of muscle memory and motor control, just because you cant get it now doesnt mean you wont get it eventually. Get good info, get good practice.

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    Same thing they all said about specifics. I'll add that for some people stick just takes a while to get the hang of starting, stick was the first welding I learned and it took me a couple of full days practicing before I got the hang of it, now it's not even a thought just one of those things I just do. If your rods are good and the machine is set right and has enough juice I don't know if I'd suggest knocking the flux off the tip because that would probably suck to have to do every time you grab a new rod, just keep practicing and practicing.

  16. #16
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    you dont knock the flux off, just uncover the tip bro.

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    At times I do a lot of welding outside in the yard at work. Steel plate shoring type of shit. Taking the rod and sliding it across the concrete is not even a thought its just one of those things I do. And why do I do it? Because it about gaurantees an arc. Something you said you have a hard time starting. Of course all the other factors play a part also. When I first started with the stick I used to cut the rods in half cause I'd be waving that stick all over the fuckin place. I also hold the lead with both hands. Which helps after 6 hours of welding. On a side note: anyone ever weld in the rain?

  18. #18
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    I'm running the Harbor Freight 91110, material is 16ga steel and 1/16" wall, 1" OD tube. I've been using both Harbor Freight 1/16" 6013 and some Lincoln 3/16" 6013. I've used the "scratch the end of the electrode" trick, which helps a bit. I've been using Diablo 40 grit flap discs to get shit clean before welding, so I don't think that's an issue. I've been grinding down to bare metal, for both the area I'm welding and the ground clamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendulum View Post
    I'm running the Harbor Freight 91110, material is 16ga steel and 1/16" wall, 1" OD tube. I've been using both Harbor Freight 1/16" 6013 and some Lincoln 3/16" 6013. I've used the "scratch the end of the electrode" trick, which helps a bit. I've been using Diablo 40 grit flap discs to get shit clean before welding, so I don't think that's an issue. I've been grinding down to bare metal, for both the area I'm welding and the ground clamp.
    Ok, that little welder will run the 1/16" 6013 pretty well.
    The 3/16" rod? - not at all. If you meant 3/32", that machine will run short beads wide open, but that rod is too big for .065 wall tube.

    Turn the welder down to 35 amps or so with the 1/16" rod. That machine needs a light touch when striking an arc. A circular motion at the tip when striking works well. Looking at the rod from the side, imagine drawing an "O" with the tip - where the very bottom of the "O" is where the tip of the rod touches the work. Practice the move with the power off and no helmet.

    You want the arc to start as you touch, then lift the rod and pull it toward you. As soon as an arc is established, you are moving the rod back to where you started the arc - but at the right distance to hold an arc rather than making contact.

    Butt Welding .065 tube with 1/16" rod is best done in short beads. The rod is as thick as the parent metal, and heat builds quickly. If you blow a hole, it is too hot. Wait a minute and continue.

    One more little trick...
    A hot electrode (red or nearly red on the end) is easier to start. Re-striking after a short bead always seems to start the first try. Clamp a piece of thicker scrap at the ground clamp with the work. Like a 2x4 inch piece of 1/4" scrap. Strike a cold rod there & hold an arc for a couple of seconds. Stop, and move directly to the actual weld & proceed. Keeps the ugly "practice stikes" off of the part.

    .

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    i forget if its 6010 or 6011 (im sure somebody will chime in), i think its 6011..... but its easy as fuck and alot of fun. Then you grab some 6010 and learn whipping and rage some more lol.

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