ARC Welding Tips for Beginners

Welding is a process in which heat and electricity is used to join pieces of metal.

Electrodes

Arc welding requires practice to achieve good technique.Arc welding requires practice to achieve good technique.
The “arc” in arc welding in the electric current that jumps from the electrode to the work piece that melts the metal to form the joint. Arc welding is also known as “stick” welding though other types of welding use an arc. Arc welding is not difficult to learn, but requires some time learning the techniques to make a good, clean weld. It is important to wear safety equipment when welding, such as a welding helmet with face shield, gloves and clothing protection.

Common electrodes used include 6010, 6011, 6013, 7018, and 7024, according to Millerwelds.com. The 6010 electrodes penetrate more deeply than the 6013. Better bead appearance can be achieved with the 7018 rod. The 7024 rod is the easiest to use because it automatically maintains the correct arc length. Electrodes should be kept clean and dry.

Cleaning Techniques

Though arc-stick welding is known as a forgiving method of welding that can be used on dirty surfaces, it’s best to brush or grind off rust and remove oil with a solvent to avoid slag, cracking and fusion problems.

CLAMS

CLAMS is an acronym for several techniques to keep in mind when stick welding. The initials stand for “current settings,” “length of arc,” “angle of travel,” “manipulation” and “speed of travel.” These five considerations are learned by beginning arc welders to help them remember the important techniques in creating a good weld.

Controlling Spatter

Weld spatter does not affect the strength of the weld, but it does create a messy appearance and more time required for cleaning. According to TheFabricator.com, lowering the current and shortening the arc will help to control the spatter. Keep the amperage in the correct range for the type and size of electrode used. You should also make sure the electrode is not wet and change the electrode angle if spatter is a problem.

Preventing Cracks

Cracking of a weld can occur due to a number of problems. It can be both unsightly and lead to the failure of the weld. High carbon or alloy content can contribute to cracking in welds, as well as high sulfur content. To prevent cracking, LincolnElectric.com recommends using low hydrogen electrodes, using high preheat for heavier place or rigid joints, reduce penetration, fill each crater before breaking the arc and bead to a convex shape. Rigid parts are more likely to crack, so welding should be done toward the unclamped end. You should also allow a 1/32-inch gap between plates to allow for shrinkage as the weld cools.