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New Here - Stick Welding Advice?

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  • New Here - Stick Welding Advice?

    Hey Everybody,

    First of all I would just like to introduce myself. My name is Brendan, I am fourteen years old, and I drive and tune race karts professionally in the USA and Canada. I am fairly young, but I assure you my mechanical ability rivals most adults I have met. When I'm not racing I am working at a race shop or working in my own garage at home. My setup at home is pretty complete with all the tools and equipment I would ever need, but I am looking to add a welder to my collection soon to first of all make a welding table and second of all to use occasionally on whatever projects I have on the go at any given time. I have used TIG and MIG welders before with decent results. I had a chance to use a stick welder today and I liked it a lot, and so far I am fairly good at it. I have done some research and a stick welder seems to fit my needs perfectly. Inexpensive, easy to use, no shielding gas, etc. So I think that is what I am going to go for unless you guys can convince me otherwise, hahaha.

    I have a few questions about the process itself. When I was using the stick welder today I laid down some very nice beads once I got my speed down (as far as I can tell). My first question is, once I have striked the electrode and begun to weld, do I lift up on the electrode slightly or do I press it directly against the metal? My second question is, during the last weld I did, the slag actually lifted off the bead and curled up at the beginning of the weld and continued to do so until I stopped welding. Is this a sign of anything bad, or a sign of anything good? Thank-you very much.

  • #2
    I have only been welding for about a year, but i'll tell you what i know. when the slag lifts off, it is because the beed you just laid down was very smooth (a sign of good control-your age helps that) you actually want to keep feeding the rod into the "crack" any more than 1/8" away is too much. Think of it like keeping it close in there will make it stick. (best way i can explain it)
    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Slag lifting off the weldment is usually good. This means the voltage or heat is correct for the application and other welding variables are in check. Some SMAW electrodes are better used with a short arc length, and some run better with a medium to long arc length. Finding the right amperage to run an electrode at depends on your welding style and your level of comfort pushing liquid metal. Controlling your arc length is crucial depending on the rod you choose to use, and, arc length = control of voltage. Arc length plays a big part in the consistancy of your weld, and in maintaining the proper voltage / amperage. Position of the weld also plays a factor in this. Vertical welding for example can benifit from a different arc length as opposed to flat or horizontal.

      My best advise for stick welding mild steel is to burn as hot as you can while maintaining control of the puddle and producing a sound weld without defects.

      Dynasty 300DX
      Esab PCM 1000


      • #4
        The basics covered so far are correct. When you weld with stick the 12" you want to make about a 6" weld with it. The weld bead should be fairly symetrical appear to be in the metal but not sunken in. About half as high as the width of the bead but it differs in different applications and different materials. If you can post pics of you welds we help.
        In my opinion a transformer stick welder is the best way to learn, is the most versitile, easiest to maintain.
        [email protected]


        • #5
          howdy folks just jumped over here from the hobart forum so this is my first time on miller (looks the same i guess). anyway, lemme ask you this: what are you going to be welding mostly?? go carts and things of that nature?? if thats the case i believe id go with a good mig welder. alot of joints on small projects such as a cart are easier to weld with a mig. no slag to clean up, its faster and cleaner, and you dont have all that stub loss. dont get me wrong i love SMAW, its basically all i use in the shop and out in the field. but whenever the chance arises im right into usin the mig or even flux core. hope that helped ya any
          sigpicLincoln SA200 Pipeliner, Lincoln Weldanpower 225, Hobart Bros. D-300 diesel welder/gen., Hobart Stickmate LX235, Sears Craftsman 200 Stick welder, Victor O/A, Miller Elite Roadster hood, Jackson Auto dark hood, and too much other stuff to list


          • #6
            all things said already are very true and all I can add is that with an ac/dc/dc rev stick welder you could also set up a scratch start tig for very little $ good luck.
            [email protected] trail blazer 301g with all the fixins:delta band saw dewalt chop saw craftsman drill press, sp-135 mm251 spectrum 375 suite case mig, tig w/hi freq. one welding truck.