The Good Old-Fashioned Stick Welder

If you’re a beginner, student, or hobbyist welder, using a good old-fashioned stick welder may be the best, least expensive choice for you, especially if you’re choosing a Miller welder from Sidney Lee Welding Supply in the Atlanta, GA area.

Stick welders may not be as versatile as newer TIG or MIG welders, but they can keep costs down and be easier to operate, especially if you are working with steel and iron. They’re portable, dependable, and are a great choice if you’re welding outdoors because they don’t require gas to regulate. For example, if your project includes joining big pieces of old iron, welding with a stick machine is a great choice because it melts through dirty old iron joints, whereas more versatile machines require a clean bond for the weld to hold. However, if your project includes thinner metals and materials, consider upgrading to a newer TIG or MIG welder.

As with any type of equipment, good technique is required when welding with a stick machine. More commonly known as arc welding, due to the arc of electricity that forms between the electrode and metal as you weld, learning how to handle the electrode (or stick) is an essential skill with this method, The metal electrode, with a consumable coating, is required for stick welding. Always check your equipment’s manufacturer’s recommendations for your electrode for the type of current and how much to use. Not using enough current will leave your electrode sticky, but using too much will yield a messy weld. It would be better to use AC or DC current, and the strength of the current required to weld will be calculated by the size of the electrode. Use the 1 amp per .0001 inch of diameter rule.

How do you determine the arc length? It is the distance between your stick and the weld puddle. You should begin with an arc length equal to the size of the metal core of your electrode. This takes practice, especially for new welders so keep improving your skills and see what works best for you.

Some additional pointers to keep in mind: Use the forehand method by tilting between 0 and 15 degrees when working on the vertical, and use the backhand method when welding flat by keeping the angle between 5 and 15 degrees away from perpendicular. And when manipulating the stick, straight lines work best on thinner material, and more creative techniques can be worked on thicker materials. Also, the quality of the weld bead will be determined by the speed of your travel, so try to stay in the first third of the puddle as you work the weld.

Sometimes old school is the best school; so if you’re a beginner or hobbyist welder, consider starting out with the good old-fashioned stick welder!

Need some expert friendly guidance and help selecting the right welding supplies? Give Sidney Lee Welding Supply a call or visit one of our stores near you in the Atlanta, GA area and we’ll be happy to help.