Stick Welding...Which process should I try first? Part 4
Stick Welding, Which Process Is Best For You?
Now as good as stick welding is at being an all-around team player and an excellent first “machine” , there are draw backs. One of the biggest issues is that you do not get the same transfer efficiency as you would with MiG or stick. This means for every pound of welding rod consumed, that you have more “unusable” filler metal than you would with MIG welding or TIG welding processes. Whether it’s from spatter, slag, or the left over stub, you just cannot get as much out of a pound of welding rods and you can a pound of TIG wire, for instance. This can make it more expensive to operate. Also you’ll find difficulty with getting the same welding speed as MIG. It’s definitely slower, though welding speed varies by rod type and diameter. Some welding rods do approach MIG welding speeds, but generally their uses are more limited. As transformer machines gradually disappear, inverter stick welders are taking their place. But many economical choices exist in the transformer market, which makes them more appealing. This is troublesome because of space and weight concerns. Transformers stick welders generally require larger moving equipment, and most are not portable, which affects overall appeal of the transformer stick welder. The initial cost of a small stick welder is very inexpensive in comparison to a MIG welder or TIG welder, but as far as power is concerned, many stick welders are quite greedy, requiring heavy duty wiring, and soak up the power. Inverters are much more refined though and power bills are much less significantly affected. Overall, inverters do make better choices for most people as stick welders. Anyone with an inverter based stick welder would be making an excellent, if not indepsensible choice for the first welding machine in the garage.
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