Aspects Of Choosing The Right Stick Electrode
The basic advantage of stick welding is the initial investment is low as you may get more amps for the money you pay as compared with MIG welding. But stick welding has quite a few disadvantages as well. Stick welding is more time-consuming than MIG welding. The Stick welding is unsuited for welding thin material. You must clean slag off the weld, which can be a messy job.
Stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding, is the widely practiced form of arc welding, but unlike wire welding where you basically point and shoot, stick welding has a higher skill level and requires mastery of certain techniques. Of course, all common materials can be welded with a Stick machine, provided you select the appropriate stick.f
Stick welding is a somewhat difficult skill that calls for constant practice to attain perfection and selecting the correct electrode stick for the job can be equally challenging. Stick electrodes are of many types, each having different mechanical properties and operates with a specific type of welding power source.
A stick welder can produce better welds if he concentrates on the five basic parameters known as CLAMS -current setting, length of the arc, angle of electrode, manipulation of electrode, and speed of travel.
Factors you should pay attention to when selecting a stick electrode include base metal type, joint fit-up and welding positions.
Before choosing an electrode stick, ascertain your base metal composition. You should match, as far as possible, the electrode composition to the base metal type, to create a strong weld. Besides, to prevent cracking or other weld disruptions, match the minimum tensile strength of the electrode to the tensile strength of the base metal. You can identify a stick electrode's tensile strength by referring to the first two digits of the AWS classification printed on the side of the electrode.
Please know that some electrode sticks can be used with only AC or DC power sources, while other electrodes are compatible with both. To determine the correct current type for a particular electrode, refer to the fourth digit of the AWS classification.
You should assess the joint design and fit-up. If you plan working on a joint with a tight fit-up, use an electrode that provides a digging arc. For materials with wide root openings, select an electrode that creates a concave weld face suitable for bridging gaps and making groove welds.
To determine what position a particular electrode is designed for, refer to the third digit in AWS classification. Here's how you decipher the qualified electrode position - 1 means flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead positions and 2 means flat and horizontal only. It is also necessary to position yourself in a way you get a good view of the weld puddle. Maintain a comfortable stance so that you can support and manipulate the electrode with ease.
It is essential to check for welding specifications particularly when you are working on critical applications such as pressure vessel or boiler fabrication. These welding specifications will require you to use specific types of electrodes. These are some of the factors that will help you determine the correct stick electrode for a given application. However, given the wide range of electrode sticks available in the market, several solutions may exist for the same application. If you are confused, it is prudent to consult your local welding supply distributor or a manufacturer's representative.