Continuing the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace’s series on welding, here is an introduction to the arc welding method of stick welding.
Stick welding is a method that relies on a welding rod or welding electrode (the ‘stick’) that is charged with an electrical current. This is typically AC or AC/DC. When the welding rod is held close to the piece of metal being welded, which is also charged, the current leaps between them and completes the circuit. The process heats the electrode material to the point of melting and allows the weld to be made.
Most stick welding projects are done with iron or steel, which react most favorably to the method. This makes it ideal for outdoor projects when coupled with its forgiveness of rusty or otherwise contaminated metals. While other methods, such as last week’s focus on TIG welding, are quite sensitive to contamination, stick welding has a lot of wiggle room. The most essential part of ensuring success for a stick welding project is to pick the right stick.
Welding rods come in a variety of sizes and metals. Each is covered in something called a flux coating. This coating ensures that the metal doesn’t burn up during the welding process. Athlon Outdoors but it well:
“Electrodes come in dozens of sizes and types, each for a specific job at hand. The 6010, 6011 and 6013 are common electrodes for welding steel. The first two numbers (60) identify tensile strength in pounds per square inch times 1,000, or 60,000 psi in these examples. The third number (1) indicates the position in which the rod can be used. A “1” indicates any position—flat, vertical, horizontal or overhead—and “2” indicates only the flat, horizontal position. The last two numbers together (“13” in 6013) indicate the type of flux, which will affect the amount of slag or corrosion that builds up around the weld, as well as the liquidity of the bead or puddle.”
Once you have the proper welding rod picked out, you’re ready to go! Just don’t forget your safety gear!