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I Forge Iron

When should you choose Arc Welding?


Glenn

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First, the reason you would choose stick over any other process is it's cheap to run and not that difficult. In regards to the thickness, you can weld 1/8 inch up. All you need to do is know the proper procedures in welding thicker sections.

I appreciate the questions. It keeps me on my toes so I stay sharp. Keep 'em coming!!! :)

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Minimum thickness depends on skill and machine. It is possible to weld 16 guage vertical up. I had to prove it to myself. I used 6010 1/16" rod at about 20 amps. My welder has infinate amperage ajustment from 5 to 200 amps. The main reason I use stick welding is that I can work in most weather conditions, working in the wind. Tig and mig welding don't work well if the shield gas is being blown away. Flux core (FCAW) is a diffrent story, no shield gas to blow away but there is the same clean up afterward.

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MIG with solid wire also requires a gaseous shield, but does not stand up well in the wind. Usually a mixture of argon and 10 - 25% CO2 or straight argon and in some cases, straight CO2. Typically, MIG is easier to learn than than stick, which is why, besides it being cleaner and cheaper to run, it is the common practice in commercial welding including DOT products. It still remains however, that done properly, stick welding yields better penetration hence a stronger weld.
I've welded auto body metal with oxy/acet because thats what I had, although I had to deal with the heat distortion. With the right equipment, however, I'm comfortable with stick or MIG on most any steel thickness, down to exhaust pipe where I would then opt for MIG, TIG, or gas (oxy/acet or oxy/mapp)

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While I do NOT have the helmet ( goggle ) time that Scott or Junior have, I do know that stick is yes, stout. The experience I have with clean new metal ( welda-hubs for example ) is that 7018 dc welds are what I want. Power shafting ( yokes etc ) 7018 drag rod is what I want. Rusty old junk, yes 6011 is what I want. With this in mind, fusion welding with acetelyne works exceptionally well on rusty stuff as well but as Scott mentioned, heat distortion is an issue. I truely wish I had a TIG machine but will have to wait a bit for that. An industrial grade MIG will absolutely give you the penetration needed with multi pass welds. If you do not believe this, ( this is not directed at you Scott or Junior )take a gouge to a recent built car crusher with 3 to 6 pass welds. Speed and user friendliness, the MIG will win the battle. These are 3 phase 100% duty cycle units I speak of. They will not replace the stick welder BUT I know people in industry that have years of stick welding experience that praise MIG for speed and friendliness ( outside in wind with dual shield wire and cover gas ). I also know folks that TIG weld industrial carbon and stainless. Needs will dictate process no matter the cost of course. I know for a fact that a lot of shops build and repair with 250-251 Millers ( or ESAB or Lincoln compatible ) and they will yes have some issues with bad welds. Junior and several folks have repaired these welds for long time. Skill level and machine make the difference. I have a rack on my old pickup. 1 1/4 11 ga square tubing. Welded with a Lincoln weld pack 100 and 1 lb spool of flux core wire. Built outside in the wind. Had to wait several times for the internal circuit breaker to re-set. Do I own or would I own one of these welders ? Not a chance. I formerly worked at a place that had one. Rack is 11-12 years old. I have hauled a lot of stuff on it.

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  • 3 months later...

I have welded the cut edge of a 55gal drum with a 1/16" stick/welding rod. I use mostly 7018 rods here in various sizes from 1/8" to 3/8". 7014 rods have an iron coating/flux and work better than 7018s on used metal/slight rust. I do use 6011 and 6013 rods, but as the first 2 numbers designate tensile strength 60,000 (60 series) vs 70,000 (70 series) I usually try to use the 70 series more.

As far as max thickness, There are no limitations; just "V" out the joints prior to welding and chip all slag between passes. I have a 400 amp Hobart DC welder and a 500amp Hobart AC. Still have my old reliable Lincoln 225 tombstone too.

As a machine job shop/fabrication shop, many of my welds had better totally disappear after machining operations are complete.

As for a mig welds, I am strongly opinionated. They were designed as sheet metal welders and industry has pushed them past their limits in many cases. I have repaired/ re-welded many industrial mig weld failures.

As an industrial engineer I know as a fact that a robot can mig weld, but none have successfully been programmed to stick weld...yet.

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smallest elecrode (stick rod) I have ever used is 3/32, in my younger years, I used to weld my dad and uncles prince albert pocket cans together with it. on the other hand the larges 7018 rods I have ever used were japanese 3/8 inch 7018 equivalent rods building up cat rails in Thailand, had 2 600 amp Libby portables hooked together just before the stinger with both machines set at 400 Amps. had to let them cool down for 15 minutes every hour.

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What are the best reasons to choose the arc (stick) type of welding over other types.


Because it's what I have in the shop. I also have oxy/fuel (not that talented or patient with that) and a little mig (which I have to fiddle with every time I use it, cause it doesn't get used much unless we're doing body work). So yeh... my best reason is because it's set the dial, flip the switch and weld.

-Aaron @ the SCF (loves his old lincoln buzzbox!)
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One thing to consider is the wide availabilty of filler metals in stick rods. You can get rods, in various sizes, in things that can not even be made into wire for MIG. One example is cast iron fill rods. And you can get them in small amounts, as low as one pound.

Another point is the size range of rods, from 1/16" to 3/8". Changing wire size means changing tips, guides, rollers, and sometimes liners in MIG. Your only size limitation in stick is the machine and stinger amp rating and jaw opening. Spin the dial, change a rod, get to work.

Plus, on a machine with an AC setting, you can weld magnetized structures such as conveyors that have terrible arc blow on DC.

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Glad you mentioned about AC machines and magnetized material. Not many folks know this and it sure comes in handy sometime!

There is a wire for cast iron, made by X-RGON, IIRC. It is a flux cored wire and works really well. It's been awhile but I seem to recall it comes in 1# and 10# spools and maybe the larger spools also. Personnally I would rather braze the stuff.

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There is a Tig rod for cast iron that has been on the market for many years, I got a couple of samples, but have never used it as yet as I only tigged Alum, SS, Magnesium and one large Brass Bell from a Steam Locomotive.

As far as wire for Cast iron, a nickel wire for cast iron has also been on the market for many years. Nickel or SS on cast was a last resort for me to use and only when someone had daubed a bunch of nickel on something to start with. Cast rod or Bronze with the oxy/acet torch was my choice for repairing Cast. They say you can't repair Nodular Cast, but any old time shopman has repaired it many times by brazing.

The shopmans nightmare is when a Rockmont or other high priced rod salesman comes around and peddles Super Missile weld to the farmers at $30 + a pound and tells them it will weld anything. 309 SS rod is basically the same thing for a lot less money. The repair price just almost doubles after someone daubs it full of missile gunk.

As far as Arc Blow with DC, there are several simple proceduress that can eliminate the Arc Blow when using DC and you can get it when doing any DC welding.

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John, You just lost me. I am not a welder but I do it as a hobby. I have an AC/DC Hobart stick and a Hobart mig. I have no idea what you are tlaking about when you talk about magnetized structures and arc blow. Could you please enlighten the uninformed? Thanks.

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Irnsrgn,
A trick I learned is to take a nickle stick rod and knock off the flux and polish clean with sand paper then tig as if welding mild steel. Heat to smoking and grind out to prepair. I've taught this to several people and they all swear it's the best for cast.
Travis

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tom, arc blow is a magnet phennomenum that can happen occasionally when doing welding with a DC welder as the poles do not alternate when actually welding. The 3 counter measures are in order of simplicity:

1. move the ground to a different location.

2. change the direction of travel.

3. wrap the ground cable around the item several times.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

assets to using stick welding

-startup equipment can be had for <$150.00 (used)
-the reach, you can use really long leads.
-out of position welding is more manageable.
-visibility is often better than with shield gas methods.
-fast and dirty.
I started my business with a lincoln tombstone and a grinder.

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