Maintaining an arc in less than ideal situations
Early on in the learning process, many people typically learn to weld in the down hand position. Officially referred to as the 1G position which means it is flat position, with some sort of groove for the joint, the down hand position is very easy to master. Many people master the 1G position, but find difficulty in changing positions when trying to expand their welding repertoire. One of the difficulties experienced is muscle control and inability to keep a steady arc when going from a flat welding position to something like an overhead (4G) weld. One obvious answer to the problem is practice, of course. But even with a lot of practice, some people still have issues, because of the lack comfort and muscle control. One of the biggest help is learning to brace off and steady the body. Just as bracing off and muscle control is important to a sniper on a long range shot, a welder needs to learn to position his body in the most comfortable position as possible. While welding out of position can offer little comfort at times, experimenting, and moving about trying to find a relatively good and stable position is key to making a good weld. Supporting the welding hand with the free hand is also a good idea to keep the "shakes" down and the arc going along smoothly. A few other techniques can help that aren’t so obvious, such as plenty of rest, and even stabilizing blood sugar a few minutes before starting to weld. Eating a pack of crackers or even some beef jerky a little while before eating, especially in the late afternoon can help improve muscle control and improve focus. Another is getting a good, comfortable welding helmet with plenty of viewing area to allow for good visibility at odd angles. A cheater lens which acts as magnifying lens for bad eyesight can improve weld accuracy as well. All in all alot of it requires personal experimentation, and as mentioned earlier, practice. But learning and employing as many techniques as possible is an important key to success.