Stick welding machine – What should I look out for?

An Stick welding machine is a device that is used to join metals such as steel. The process 111 is also known as electrode welding or manual metal arc welding. An electric arc is generated between the electrode and the workpiece, which melts the material. Electromagnetic forces (-> Lorenz force) are used to transport metal spatter from the electrode to the workpiece. During the arcing process, a coating is burnt, which leads to the formation of fumes. This gas cloud serves as protection for the molten metal to keep harmful gases out of the air. The burnt/molten coating forms a layer of slag on the surface of the weld seam, which continues to protect the weld by protecting it from the oxygen in the air and from cooling too quickly.

The manual electric welder is often a handy device that is used both professionally and privately. It enables rather slow welding of metals and is suitable for both thicker and thinner workpieces. This welding process makes it possible to produce high-quality weld seams. However, the disadvantage for beginners is that this welding process requires a lot of practice and does not work straight away without practice. A MAG welding machine may be more suitable for beginners without experience.

Different types of electrodes and their properties

There are different types of electrodes that can be used in welding technology. The basic electrode contains an alkaline coating which, like other types, forms a shielding gas atmosphere during welding and thus protects the weld seam from oxygen and nitrogen.

Acid electrodes, on the other hand, have an acid coating and are particularly suitable for thinner sheets as they enable a higher welding speed and produce less spatter. A rutile electrode is ideal for unalloyed steels and provides a good optical quality of the weld seam. Cellulose electrodes, on the other hand, are used for high-strength and thick-walled materials.

It is also important to consider the diameter of the electrode. A diameter of 2.5 mm is suitable for thin sheets of 2-5 mm, while a diameter of 3.2 mm can be used for thicker materials of 5-10 mm.

Overview of different coating types:

  • Acid (A): Offer high arc stability.
  • Cellulose (C): Stable arc, high melting rate and little slag as it burns.
  • Rutile (R): Rutile type electrodes offer ease of use and excellent weld seams, but poor gap bridging.
  • Thick rutile (RR): They offer flat welds and easy handling.
  • Rutile cellulose (RC): These have similar properties to type R and RR electrodes, but can also be used for drop welds.
  • Rutile acid (RA): Gap bridging is poor, however
  • Rutile basic (RB): These electrodes are similar to RA electrodes.
  • Basic (B): These electrodes can be used for welding in various positions and are excellent for high-strength joints.

How does manual metal arc welding work?

In MMA welding, a consumable rod is used to create a bond between the base materials. The power source supplies the required current, which flows through the electrode and ignites an arc, causing the filler metal to melt. The molten metal drips onto the workpiece, forming a joint.

The characteristic curve of the power source provides information on how the current behaves during welding. It is particularly important to select the correct amperage in order to achieve the desired properties in the weld metal.

Rule of thumb for set amperage:

A=30…50x core rod diameter in mm

For beginners, it is advisable to start with lower amperages in order to develop a feel for handling the welding machine. In addition, it is important to hold the rod at the correct angle to the workpiece and to perform a smooth movement in order to produce a clean weld seam. With a little practice and patience, manual metal arc welding can be learnt and carried out precisely.

The advantages of electrode welding over other welding processes

The stick welding machine offers various advantages over other welding processes. One of these advantages is that it is well suited for outdoor work. It can also be used in wind and weather without any problems.

Another advantage of manual electric welding is that it is comparatively inexpensive. This makes it a good choice for DIY enthusiasts or smaller workshops. What’s more, electrode welding equipment is very versatile and suitable for many applications. It can join different materials together and is suitable for both repairs and new installations.

Overall, the low cost, versatility and suitability for outdoor use are good reasons to favour this technology over other welding methods in some cases.

Welding steels with electrode welding equipment

Welding steels with a stick electrode, also known as electrode welding or MMA welding (Manual Metal Arc), is an important process within welding technology and has established itself in many areas of industry due to its versatility, robustness and ease of use.

The stick electrode, a metal electrode coated with auxiliary materials, serves as a consumable or filler metal. During welding, an arc is ignited between the rod electrode and the workpiece, which melts the electrode and the base material and creates the weld seam.

As electrode welding can be used for high and low-alloy steels as well as stainless steels, nickel-based alloys, cast iron and many other materials, it enables a wide range of joining processes and applications, such as constructions in plant and steel construction, repairs or the manufacture of components.

The high current density and high heat input, which ensures excellent weldability of different material thicknesses, are particularly advantageous. The process is also insensitive to wind and other environmental influences and can therefore also be used outdoors or under adverse conditions.

However, welding steels with the stick electrode requires a certain amount of experience and expertise to achieve good welding results due to the manual handling and high temperatures involved.

Basics for successful work with the stick welding machine

Certain basic principles must be observed in order to carry out successful manual metal arc welding. The equipment required plays an important role here, consisting of an electrode holder with welding power cable, a welding power source and an earth cable.

In addition, a slag hammer, a welding helmet and welding gloves must also be available in order to carry out the work effectively and safely. Adequate protection against UV radiation is also very important to avoid injuries caused by the strong radiation during welding.

Overview of minimum equipment:

  • Suitable welding power source
  • Automatically darkening welding helmet or shield
  • Welding filler material
  • Gloves
  • Welding jacket
  • Electrode holder and earth cable
  • Slag hammer
  • optimal: welding fume extraction, otherwise ensure extraction of welding fumes!

What should be considered when welding with a stick electrode?

As with other welding processes, attention should be paid to various aspects to ensure a smooth process and optimum results. One important point is the correct polarity of the electrodes. Attention must be paid to the correct polarity of the electrode, as there are differences between different types of electrodes. The polarity of the electrodes influences the heat distribution and welding speed and can therefore affect the quality of the weld seam and work safety.

Type of coatingPole on electrode

During the stick welding process, slag is produced, a refractory layer that protects the welding area from unwanted contamination or oxidation. However, this slag must be removed after welding in order to achieve a clean and flawless welding result. However, care should be taken when doing so, as flying slag can be a danger to the eyes. It is therefore essential to wear safety goggles when removing the slag to prevent injuries.

What are the most common problems with electrode welders?

The most common problems with stick welding machine are varied and relate to both operation and safety. One of the first problems is the current setting, which is crucial for a successful weld. Insufficient or excessive amperage (amps, A) can lead to poor fusion of the welding material, resulting in an unsightly weld.

Another problem is incorrect polarity, which is crucial in relation to the desired weld joint and material.

Finally, injury from UV or heat radiation is a serious risk that should be considered when working with electrode welding equipment. Insufficient protection or inadequate safety equipment, such as safety goggles and gloves, can lead to serious burns or other injuries.

Therefore, it is imperative to familiarise yourself with the safety precautions and apply them consistently to avoid such problems.

Welding stainless steel with a stick electrode

When using stainless steel welding electrodes for manual metal arc welding, it is important to know exactly which base material is to be welded. There are a variety of chrome-nickel steel grades, and choosing the wrong filler material can negatively affect the positive or special properties of the base material. For private use, V2A or V4A are common designations. For V2A, welding electrodes made of stainless steel with the designation 1.4316 (308) are often used. For V4A, either the 1.4430 (316) or the even more resistant 1.4576 (318) electrode is recommended.

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