AC vs. DC Stick Part 1

We get a lot of questions about why our DC Power Arc stick welders don’t have AC on them. That’s a good question: Why DC? But it’s also a question that would resolve itself through brief hands on experience with both processes.

Typically this question comes from new welders or from guys with some experience with buzz box (cracker box) welders. In fact more of the questions probably come from guys with buzz boxes than do from guys with no experience at all. It seems that a lot of guys who cut their teeth on AC buzz box welders are a little afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new.

They are usually looking for an AC/DC stick inverter so they can safely make the transition (or go back to AC if they don’t like DC)…which becomes sort of a snipe hunt for them.  I can’t think of any inverter based stick welders that are purposely made for AC and DC use. I often try to assure guys that once they try DC, they’ll never switch back to AC, but it’s not an easy sell. I really have tried to figure out why.

Thinking back to my early childhood experience with welding, and all the early experience I had with AC, the thing that comes to mind is the noise and spatter.  At the time I did not know technical words to describe what was happening while I was welding or that there was such a thing as a DC welder, but I sure felt like welding with was a violent and angry sort of thing.