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Thread: Stick welding thin wall SQ tube

  1. #1

    Default Stick welding thin wall SQ tube

    Hi everyone,

    I'm working on tacking a 1/8" bar to some small (1/2" o.d.) square tube (tee joint). Knowing how thin that stuff is, I bought a small piece that I cut up and I've been practicing on it.

    Initially I started out with 3/32" 6013, running at about 70 amps and made a decent weld, but the second time I tried it I dug an enormous hole in the tube. I tried backing the heat down, but I can't keep the arc going much below 60, which is probably still too hot. I tried some 1/16" 6013, which seemed like a good plan around 40A. I've been pretty successful at not blowing a hole in the material this way, but after chipping off the slag I found the bead fused to the sq tube and the bar, but did not join them. I had to laugh, because the slag was the only thing holding the part in place . I noticed that Jody C said in one of his videos that lack of fusion is common with the 6013 ... I think it probably had more to do with the weldor .

    Any tips here? I'm thinking about picking up some 1/16" 6011 to see if I can do a better job with it. Would rod angle help? I'm trying to point the rod down into the heavier bar stock to direct the heat there, between 60 and 70 degrees.

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2

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    Let me start off by saying I do not stick weld much but I did alot in welding class...

    I like 7018 rods... easier to work with I think. 1/16th rod with a little more heat and it should be good!
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  3. #3

    Default

    7014 is the "sheet metal" rod and runs quite well on sheet metal. I've had good luck running 7014 3/32 on 12g sheet metal. Sometimes you may have to speed up a little keep from burning through your metal.
    Last edited by SeanMurphy265; 01-30-2012 at 04:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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  4. #4

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    I finally managed to run a couple of 7018AC rods the other day, after Jody C educated me on how to restart them. Very pretty beads, but I'm not sure that I have the skill yet to turn the amps down enough and still run this rod . I finally had a chance to check out some local welding shops, and I asked about 1/16" rod. You should have seen the look I got. Apparently you don't weld pipe with something that small, so I shouldn't have been asking for it .

    I'm going to check around with my standby places for welding rod (i.e. Ace hardware and Northern Tool) to see what they have for 1/16th rod, but I have a feeling that I was lucky to find what I did.

    Thanks
    Mike

  5. #5

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    Sean,

    Do you recall what settings you used with the sheet metal? I have been running DCEP with the 6013 1/16", which I thought should be putting less heat into the base metal. I don't have any 7014, but I'll try to find a small box and see how it runs.

    Thanks
    Mike

  6. Default

    when I stick weld thin metal I use 7018 1/16. They do a good job. I would turn them up to 50 if i was you. Little more heat is always good. I havnt had a problem with the 7018s breaking on anything either. You have to just go real slow and it prolly only gets an inch or so per rod. If you have a tractor supply anywhere close thats where i got mine. They have a ok selection better than a lot of places on specialty rods for sure.
    Gabe
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  7. #7

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    I managed to find some 1/16" 7014 at HF, thanks to a tip from DaveO. If that doesn't work for me, I'll make the drive out to TSC and see what they have ... the welding shops I've been to this week pretend like anything smaller than 3/32" doesn't exist.

    Thanks
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  8. #8

    Default

    keep a tight arc. longer arcs make the puddle more fluid and will blow out on you. watch your arc control as well. lower arc control will have a tendency to snub out your rod. higher though and it increases "dig" and will also blow out on you. your angle is very crucial as with all welds.
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  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by posixPilot View Post
    Sean,

    Do you recall what settings you used with the sheet metal? I have been running DCEP with the 6013 1/16", which I thought should be putting less heat into the base metal. I don't have any 7014, but I'll try to find a small box and see how it runs.

    Thanks
    Mike
    78-79 is the lowest I have ran, but you have watch your speed. Stick welding on sheet can put down a nice bead, but you may have to run fast.
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  10. #10

    Default

    What welder are you using? If it's one of the power arcs get a tig torch and some argon! That's the easiest way to go in my opinion, once you get your temperature set you can run a nice bead without blowing through!
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  11. #11

    Default

    Thanks, Jerky. That is good to know about long arcs, and I'm going to work on that a bit. I read somewhere yesterday that one method of controlling the heat is to actually dip into the puddle for a second to snub out the arc (like you said), and reduce the heat. Not sure how well that would work, but I might give it a try if I'm about to blow through.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  12. #12

    Default

    So, I tried out the 1/16" 7014's yesterday, and had the same issue as the 6013 1/16":

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is 1/2" square tube on top of some sheet metal (not sure of the gauge ... will have to check). You can see the gap where the radius of the square tube knuckles under. When using the 1/16" rod, I spend a lot of time putting down the bead, end up with a nice thick layer of slag, and it looks great. But when it cools, and I chip away at it, you can see that all of the filler stuck to one side or another. The picture looks like there is a gap between the pieces, but these were flat and solidly clamped together when I welded them.

    Anyways, I went back to the 3/32" rods, and I'm able to run the 6013 at about 60 amps now, which seems to be just cool enough to keep me from burning through. I don't know why, but the 3/32" deposits filler on both pieces pretty evenly (maybe it's the flux to filler ratio?). I can put down about 1" of bead before I run the risk of getting it too hot, so I'll probably just need to work in sections. If anyone has any idea what I might be doing wrong with the 1/16", let me know!

    Sean,

    I have the PowerPro 256, and I'm still a few pay checks (and probably a tax refund) away from being ready to try TIG . Still, this job is going to be on a steel gate that is already installed outdoors, so I would probably have to wait for a still day to TIG it. That's why I'm trying to stick weld.

    Thanks
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  13. #13

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    Do you have a magnifier lens in your helmet? My experience isn't really enough to give advice, but I'd guess it's just stick control. Watch the puddle, not the arc. Some of my best beads were nowhere near the joint, until I got a lens in there. The occasional spark down behind your ear is good, builds character, get in closer for a good look.
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  14. Default

    When ya weld it you will have to concentrate your heat on the thicker peice. When using the 3/32 keep it angled more towards the thick peice weaving into the thin piece. That sould help with the blowing through. And with the 1/16 rods you really just have to move slow. Also have too have a bigger weave to get the weld wide enough to hold on both sides. As before giving the thicker piece more heat. If your welding quite a bit of it then maybe look for some 5/64. They are hard to find but prolly bout the right thickness.
    Gabe
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  15. #15

    Default

    Fellas,


    Sorry for neglecting the thread ... I've been traveling, and I just got back in town last night. I finally had some time to take another crack at it today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake98 View Post
    The occasional spark down behind your ear is good, builds character, get in closer for a good look.
    Jake, you must have been looking over my shoulder I have my head close enough that I get 3 or 4 in my helmet on every rod I burn

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake98 View Post
    Do you have a magnifier lens in your helmet?
    I don't, but I think I'll look into getting one ... on a couple of the beads I ran today, I was able to see a distinct puddle (like a bubble in the slag), so the magnifier might help me keep it in view.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobwills View Post
    And with the 1/16 rods you really just have to move slow.
    Gabe, I tired moving really slow today (with the 1/16") and increasing the weave, and I was able to get better fusion between the pieces. But, it was still incomplete ... I think the slag is getting between puddle and the base metal, so I end up putting down a irregular bead instead of fusing the pieces. I ran a couple of flat beads with the 1/16" just to check out the speed:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I thought these looked pretty good. I ran these one after another, each is about 1.5" long and each consumed a 1/16" rod. When welding into a "tee" joint, I've been slowing down ever further, laying down maybe 1" of bead and weaving.

    I'm not sure why, but I have fewer problems with slag inclusion if I use 3/32" rods. I've been able to back the amps down to 52 with the 3/32", which I think will keep me from blowing a hole in the tube. I need to get out there and practice some more .

    Thanks
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  16. Default

    The beads look good. Not sure why you are still getting lack of fusion and a broken weld. Maybe get some 6011 or 7018. They always work good. When ive used 1/16" rods I usually keep is pretty high. A lot of the time when running a whole rod the last 1" or something will just melt the rest of the way all at once. Its a bit waistful but can be prevented by letting the rod cool once while welding.
    Gabe
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  17. #17
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by posixPilot View Post
    I'm working on tacking a 1/8" bar to some small (1/2" o.d.) square tube (tee joint).
    Back to post #1 in this thread... 1/8" square bar and 1/2" od square tube... where did you get your practice pieces? I have 1/16" 7014 and 1/16" 6013 in the inventory, and I'd like to give it a try. What's the wall thickness on the square tube?

    You've varied weld speeds and amount of weave... tried any stringer beads, or does that just melt through?
    DaveO
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  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobwills View Post
    The beads look good. Not sure why you are still getting lack of fusion and a broken weld. Maybe get some 6011 or 7018.
    Thanks Gabe ... I picked up some 1/16" 6011, and I had problems with it ... But I did not give it effort. The 3/32" seems to run so much better, so I tried 6011 3/32" at 50amps and I am much happier with the results. I also did some research, and apparently slag inclusion is fairly common with the 6013 rod.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Back to post #1 in this thread... 1/8" square bar and 1/2" od square tube... where did you get your practice pieces?
    The sq tube just came from the hardware store, and I think it's 16ga. I may have my terminology wrong for the other piece ... It's about 2" wide and 1/8" thick (14ga?).


    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    You've varied weld speeds and amount of weave... tried any stringer beads, or does that just melt through?
    Tthe stringer bead seems to stick to either one surface or the other ... Weaving gives me more coverage, but not complete. I think the 1/16" rod just puts down too much flux for my limited skill to deal with . Since I'm able to work the 3/32" rod at 50A now, I'm going to go that route.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  19. #19
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    Default

    Could the lack of pentration be a weld polarity issue? So far you've been working with 6011, 6013, and 7014 rods; 6011 is DCEP; 6013 and 7014 are DCEP/DCEN. DCEP gives slightly more penetration, according to the Miller site. Do you recall what polarity you used? It just seems odd that the bead sticks to one surface or the other but not both.
    DaveO
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  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Could the lack of pentration be a weld polarity issue?
    I've been using EP mostly, but I have tried EN ... however, I've been testing out different rods, so I do not remember where I tested EN. I'll give it a shot with the 1/16" 6011 and see what happens.

    Here's a picture of what I think is going on (the scale is a bit off):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The filler puddle likes to stick to the side, but not really in the corner. I think some of this has to do with the way the sq tube knuckles under away from the filler. The flux fills in the gap and flux repels the filler, so I have to try and fill in the gap with the electrode. When I can see this happening in the puddle, some times I'm successful dropping filler into the gap. As an analogy, I think this is like putting two drops of oil in a glass of water, and trying to join them using a toothpick. I think this is also why the 3/32" works better for me, as it puts out more filler and less flux, relatively speaking.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

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