Stick welding for a beginner - Part1
If you are looking for the most versatile welder to start your welder collection, one that will handle a lot of different situations, and not require an upgrade to another unit any time soon, take a look at a stick welder. A Shielded Metal Arc Welder (SMAW) as it is officially named, has stood the test of time, more than any other currently accepted welding process out there. One reason that stick welding has “stuck” around so long is that they got it right the first time, and left little room for improvement on the process. It was kept simple, and straight forward. Consider this. A stick welder requires no special lenses, nozzles, or gas.
A simple electrode that contains it’s on shielding agent on it’s exterior is all that is needed besides a power supply, and torch, and a work clamp. Simply, hook up the work clamp, open the jaws of the torch, slip a “welding rod” in, and start welding. By and large, no special skills are needed for elementary level welding. You can simply drag the electrode across the face of the metal as it flows together from the heat of the arc. Just chip away the slag when the metal cools. With advances in electrode technology, stick welding has maintained its popularity due to it’s speed, and capability of making high quality welds on almost any metal. It’s one relatively minor issue, is that is capability is generally limited on really thin materials. But even now, as advancements have been made in metallurgy and flux chemistry, even aluminum can be welded to some extent with the stick process. It’s not the process with the most finesse. In fact, it may seem sort of brutish compared to TIG, but in the right hands a good stick weld can rival a good TIG weld any day.