How To Use A Stick Welder

How To Use A Stick Welder - The process of Stick Welding (SMAW also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding) is among the most well-known welding methods in conjunction with MIG as well as TIG.

How To Use A Stick Welder

It's a straightforward process that is popular among outdoor welding because it's not being affected by wind, contrary to MIG or TIG welding, which employ gas cylinders. 

The complete guide will teach you the benefits and drawbacks of stick welding, including how to set up your equipment for stick welding, how to set up for stick welding procedures and troubleshooting techniques.

What is Stick Welding (SMAW)?

The process involves creating an electrical arc through an electrode of metal and the workpiece. 

A current of electricity is passed through the electrode and then melts it into the workpiece and creates a weld pool. 

The electrode is covered with an insulating layer of flux that melts and shields the weld pool from contamination by the environment (in the same way that a shielding gas shields it from contamination when using MIG or TIG).

The flux creates the slag layer that will be deposited on top of the bead. 

This will have to be removed and then brushed off once the weld has been completed.

Advantages of Stick Welding

The stick welding process is portable. 

A small-sized stick welder is able to be used on heavy metal It's not heavy and doesn't require an electric wire feeder or additional equipment such as gas cylinders.

Welding with sticks is your most suitable option for outdoor environments. 

Gas welding will not produce excellent results in conditions with wind.

It's much more simple to learn than welding with TIG, however it isn't without some experience.

It is possible to weld metal using mill scale or corrosion.

Disadvantages of Stick Welding

It is more difficult than MIG because you must maintain the electrode at a certain distance away from the metal while it melts.

It creates a lot of melt and spatter.

The longer cleanup time leads to reduced effectiveness.

The weld may not be as precise or of the same quality as the TIG.

Getting Started - What You Need

Safety Equipment

When you are welding, the primary factor is safety. 

It is essential to read and follow all safety instructions and guidelines included in the instruction manual for every piece of device you are using for welding with a stick.

If you are welding, you'll need protection from the UV radiation and sparks created by the welding arc.

Wearing long sleeves with a fire retardant material can protect your body along with safety glasses as well as a welding helmet ensure your eyes and head are protected.

It is best to only use welding in areas with adequate ventilation because of the fumes released. 

If you're outside with an air breeze, you'll do safe, however when you're inside, you'll need ventilation.

A vent is the most efficient method to eliminate any odors that are present from the space.

Stick welder

It is impossible to conduct any welding using sticks without the use of a stick welder. 

You could either choose a multipurpose welding device that can permit multiple types of welding like MIG, TIG and Stick. 

You can also use an only stick welder which is much less expensive.

There are numerous welders available on the market.

Ground Clamp

The ground clamp is likely to be supplied along with the welding. 

It is to be connected to the stick welder, and then fixed to the workpiece.

Slag Removing Tools

Stick welding produces slag over your weld. 

This is why you'll have to clean the weld after doing it. 

The best method is to use the slag chip and Hammer to chip the slag out, the next step is to scrub using wire brushes.

Choosing your Electrode

There are a myriad of kinds of stick electrodes on the market, and you'll have to pick the one for your welding needs. 

The most well-known are 6010, 6011 7014, 6012, 6013 and 7024. 

If you're working with mild steel the either an E60 or E70 electrode will perform the job. 

7018 is probably the most well-known electrodes out of these, and they produce very strong welds, however 6013 is a great option for those who are just starting out.

To determine the best electrode for you, one must know what each of the four numbers means.

The first two numbers indicate the minimum strength of tensile. 

For instance an 60,000 psi high electrode with tensile strength will begin with 60. 

This must be in line with the strength of the base metal.

The third digit is the indication of which locations the electrode can be used in when welding. 

The first number indicates the capability to use the electrode in any position, whereas number 2 is only used in flat positions.

The fourth number tells you the amount of current you can apply to the electrode and also the coating you can apply to the electrode. 

The chart below is a reference to help you with that.

Stick Welding Setup

The process of welding with sticks is simple setup that can be similar to the photo below. 

Keep in mind that your settings for polarity will be based upon the type of electrode that you're working with. So ensure whether it's DC/AC-/DC+. 

For a start, try 6013 electrodes DCEN on 3/16 inch steel plates.

How to Lay Your first Stick Weld

Once you've got everything set up now you're ready to put down a weld. 

Make sure that the settings are in order and grab a few bits of metal and set them in an a butt joint.

Stick welding takes a bit of experience and experience, so it's better to practice using scrap metal before you dive in and attempt to weld on your own project.

Striking the Arc

After the complete electrode is inside the electrode holder turn to the welding device. 

To create the arc put the tip of the electrode over the metal, and swiftly move it across the metal like you're striking a match. 

When the arc has formed then lift the electrode to a certain extent, then the electrode can be pulled towards the metal. 

The electrode will stick with the metallic, you can break it by making one or two twists. 

If the arc is able to cut out in a way, then you've elevated the electrode to high off the surface, and you should be lower. 

When the arc is lit, it will make a sound similar to bacon being cooked If it makes a loud sound and is fast, you should reduce the amp.

Moving the Electrode

After you've lit your arc then you need to transfer the electrode to the joint to make the welding. 

Before moving the electrode, make sure you ensure that it's at the proper angle, which is between 15-30% to the vertical.

Once you've found the correct angle, you will need to gradually move the electrode towards the direction you are. 

It isn't possible to push the electrode as the slag can be trapped in the pool, causing porosity. 

It is essential to maintain your hands steady, by placing your other arm on the table, and using the hand in the position of holding the electrode in order to hold it. 

Check it out several times before attempting to solve the issue following the troubleshooting guideline at near the bottom of this article.

Other Welding Positions

If you fillet-weld an upside down T-weld, make sure to adjust the angle around 35% upwards from the horizontal. 

It is due to the fact that your weld will begin falling a little because of gravity's force when the angle isn't adjusted to push the bead back against the gravity force.

The more slag produced, the bigger angle you'll require. 

If the angle you choose is not enough, debris will be deposited into the pool of your weld and cause weld imperfections.

Common Mistakes & Troubleshooting

When you first begin sticking welding, you're likely to make a few mistakes, regardless of whether you're familiar with TIG or MIG. 

The most frequent errors I've seen are using too much of an arc, using the wrong drag angle or welding at an incorrect rate, or the incorrect temperature.

Lots of Spatter

There are a variety of reasons to have too much spewing when welding. 

One of the most prevalent is that the arc is too long. 

The electrode should be held just a bit above the workpiece, otherwise the arc will not be able of focusing and can move around randomly and not be smooth.

If you notice that there is a lot of spatter, and the arc emits an intense screeching sound, it's likely that the amp at a high level and you should lower it.


One of the primary causes of porosity within the stick weld is that it has the electrode set at too high an angle. 

If you do not keep the slag in the rear of the water pool and pull the electrode backwards at an angle, the slag will be mixed into the puddle and create porosity.


Undercut can be described as having a tiny crack at the top of the weld that is between our welding and plate, making the weld more fragile. 

If you've had an undercut and your weld seems burnt, you can lower the amperage to avoid burning.

Thin Weld Bead

An ideal weld stick beads is approximately 2.5 times the size of the electrode. 

If the weld is too thin, then it may not be able to provide enough perforation. 

Try slowing it down to about half of the speed at which you initially pulled the electrode. 

You should get better results.

Lumpy Weld Bead

If you pull the electrode too fast the filler metal could build up and become uneven. 

Another reason is that you have the amperage set too low, that will restrict the flow which will cause the filled material to rest on the top of the joint.

Trouble Starting Arc

If you're having difficulty getting the arc to start, it's because it's cold enough, producing an unsteady arc. 

You can increase the voltage to 15 amps or more then see if you can make it simpler.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you enjoyed our tutorial on welding with sticks We'd be grateful If you rate and share it with others.

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