teach me to arc weld in 10 simple steps?

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teach me to arc weld in 10 simple steps?

i have a 150amp arc welder ready to blow holes in anything i touch.

how do i use it? are there any idiots guides to it?

any relevant advice which i should heed?

im about to go look up 'welding rods' as apparently it uses them and then find out what the symbols on it mean... i assume one is ampage and the other is rod thickness?

That'll be stick welding then (or Manual Metal Arc as the posh people call it).Not really suitable for metal less than about 2mm thick unless you are very very good.Depending what you are doing, you can get brazing rods for stick welders- since braze has lower melting point than steel you can run at lower current & not blow holes in things. This is good for exhausts (not too near the headers) and car body panels, not brilliant for anything structural (but then making your first weld something that matters isn't wise)First LessonFind some scrap steel of about the thickness you'll be playing with. Try and avoid galvanised- the fumes are not good.Clean it up (WITH AN ANGLE GRINDER)- bright metal welds much better than shitty old scrap.Make sure you wear a mask & gloves and ideally long sleeves- you can get very bad sunburn if you leave exposed flesh. Best to have a hands-free mask but the crappy one you got free with the welder will do.Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy and that all pets & other unprotected persons are (a) well out of the way (b) know what you are up toClamp your bit of scrap to something (not metallic probably).Put the earth clip on the piece of scrap (big bulldog clip)Put an appropriate sized stick in the other electrodeSet whatever controls you have to medium(Holding on to the mask with one hand) move the rod tip towards the piece until it touches, then move it away so you get an arc.Move the rod tip around your piece of scrap maintaining the arc- try and write your initials is a good one.After about 5 seconds or so, take the rod tip away from the piece (breaking the arc), put it down NOT ON THE SCRAP METAL, take your mask off, clean the slag off (small hammer, wire brush- careful, it'll be HOT) and have a look at what you've done.If you have the power and movement speed right you'll be able to see the Heat Affected Zone (where the matal has coloured) on the top of the workpiece spreading about 10mm from the line of the weld and on the bottom.Too much power= big holes. Moving too slowly= big proud weld bead. Moving too fast- little beads looking like water drops sitting on the piece. Too little power- similar to moving too fast except prbably bigger beads.If you can't see HAZ from the back then you are either moving the tip too fast or the current is too low. Play with the tip speed (ie how fast you move your hand) and the current setting until you get the hang of it.Second LessonJoin 2 bits of scrap together.Clean up the joining edges and chamfer themClamp them together (with the chamfered edges facing upwards flat on a bench) with a gap between them of 1 or 2mm (there is a formula for thickness v gap but I can't remember it.)Put the earth clamp on both pieces (makes it easier to strike the arc- won't matter as soon as you have a join of any sort)Weld them together.For a successful weld you need to get both bits of metal red-hot (near molten)- the rod is also melting at the same time and the metal from the rod fills the gap. The coating on the rod is flux- keeps oxygen away from the jobI'm sure you know what a good weld looks like- clue to a strong weld is HAZ on the reverse spreading by about 10mm with root penetration (when you turn the piece over there is no gap on the bottom)Have fun. MIG is more expensive but much easier for thin sheet or tubeAny real expert out there please feel free to contradict.......

Sell it and get a mig welder. Stick welding is a lot more difficult.Supply me with beer and I'll teach you (I used to be coded)

hehe cheers lads. i havent bought it, i borrowed it. need to weld a trailer up so ive got a few bits to try it out on. al, ill bear it in mind mate if i simply cant do it.

More info than you could possibly digest:www.khake.com/page89.html

oldbutnotdead wrote

move the rod tip towards the piece until it touches, then move it away so you get an arc.

v.good!IMHO 'striking the arc' is a little hard to get the hang of. Going straight in can result in the rod welding its self to the plate, to get it off, you'll try pulling and twisting it, this'll break the flux (stuff surrounding the rod). To get a feel for it, you can kind of sweep the rod in at an angle... but, yes, lots of practice striking the arc on a bit of scrap will stand you in good stead.Some people strike the arc by doing a quick 'tap'...


Too much power= big holes. Moving too slowly= big proud weld bead.

... with bubbles in the seam... and these will be points of failure in the join.Not mentioned; the flux will leave a 'crust' (slag) over the weld as you go. When it cools, this should be chipped away with a little hammer. If it comes off in nice scabby chunks, it's a good sign. if you've got 'bubbles/holes' it'll come off more messily (sorry to get so technical!)If you tidy up the seam with an angle grinder*, you will also be able to see holes/pits if the weld was poorly done. Occasional ones can be 'patched up' but they are a sign that there are ones you can't see.So, try grinding down your practice welds to see how good they are word to the wise: Don't arc-weld in the rain Do ensure that there is no circuit between you and the work cable (earth)/piece coz otherwise, when you change the electrode, it may get a little interesting.*People who don't do this are called Chinese.

I have a sip 140 hobby welder which you can have for £20 if you pick it up, about 8 years old but not used really, cos i have an oxford oil cooled 400amp which i use to be fair.

if you find it difficult to strike the arc then i drag the stick across the earth clamp (not recommended if not your welder ) drag it across the surface it will spark a bit. this seems to heat the rod that then makes it a lot easier to spark an arc on your workpiece.

ZRX61 wrote

More info than you could possibly digest:www.khake.com/page89.html

Handy link- ta. Brings back too many memories of Strength of Materials on Tuesday mornings but it was a long time ago.

Honestly, see if you can get on a night college course.You won't learn how to weld properly as there won't be enough time but you will at least learn your limitations which is better than nothing.Oh and done my old welding instructor said to me if your doing it right it sounde like bacon frying Scott.

thanks again lads! so much to look at! gonna make some interesting nighttime reading for when i get up the shop on tuesday to buy some rods.cheers again!ill take pics of my first attempt for a laugh!

CBR6DC wrote

ill take pics of my burned down shed for a laugh!

yup, it'll be nice to see how you get on

yer stick welding is pretty damm hard! being a good child i was taught how to weld with a stick welder at the age of 9 or 10 :O and i welded a bench togeather for myself.but if you can get a mig they are far easier to make good quality welds with and alot neater when you are finished. and you dont have to hammer the flux off Trevor

just out of interest is it technically safe (or even legal?)to weld outside the front of your house on the drive?im thinking of small kids and passersby looking at the welding etc and being blinded.

yeh... Don't know the law but really don't do that unless you can put up screens.It won't blind anyone from any distance... it'll dazzle them, maybe enough to cause a driver some problems & upset kids. a bit closer and they can get a bit of welders-eye (from the UV)... so can you... it feels as if you've got sand in your eyes.Which reminds me - one reason for striking the ark by dragging the electrode across the surface a bit as jjones says, is so you can see where to put it once your mask is down... First the mask, then the arc

My 9yo daughter:& when you said "welding on a trailer"...... what exactly are you going to be doing to it???

who said child labor was a thing of the past

You'll find most welder's workshop benches have got huge buildups of weld on the legs where people have preheated the rods prior to welding. Personally, I find swiftly striking the tip across these buildups gets an arc going nicely.A little tip:Buy dissimilar metal rods. They are a bit more expensive than the usual rutile iron ones but for a cack handed monkey (ie me) they are easier to strike, penetrate better and leave neater welds. The welds look stainless too which is nice. I'm pretty sure (though willing to be corrected if otherwise) that the welds will be as strong as ones down with normal sticks and may resist cracking more. The slag also pings off in nice big scabs so it's worth wearing goggles.

Quick question, would a stick Arc welder be strong enough for welding a motorcycle frame? Is it that much weaker than a TIG weld that it just won't do the job?

Rahb wrote

Quick question, would a stick Arc welder be strong enough for welding a motorcycle frame? Is it that much weaker than a TIG weld that it just won't do the job?

The welds would be strong enough assuming that you could lay them properly and assuming you didn't blow big holes in the metal. I assume you're talking about a steel frame here.

Rahb wrote

Quick question, would a stick Arc welder be strong enough for welding a motorcycle frame? Is it that much weaker than a TIG weld that it just won't do the job?

most frame builders use mig , the more skilled ones use tig....not heard of any frame builder attempting to use stick in years ...you're not thinking of attempting to build a frame before you've learnt to weld are you ???if you are can i watch it flex/fracture ??

LOL, no. I learned how to Stick weld about a year ago. I only have access to a stick welder, and I SUCK with TIG welders. I work in the maintenance department of our county jaila nd have welded things from Steel Sally Doors, to Food Carts. Metals include Black pipe, Stainless Steel, Steel, and Galvonized. I can never get a straight answer from our welder. All he will say is stuff like, we mainly use SS rods, and that's too brittle. Of course it is...I was wondering if I used steel rods, with a steel frame.Also I'm not planning on building the frame, just extending it, and making it a Rigid.Rahb

was chatting about this just this afternoon... it occurred to me no one mentioned:Don't wear contact lenses!Actually, don't know about soft ones; but there where a pile of cases, a while back, of people with hard contact leans 'welding' them to their eyes as the tear layer can evaporate from between the leans and the eye.. yeach!

kyot wrote

... no one mentioned: Don't ware contact lenses!

Selling the things is quite ok, although I'd go to Specsavers, and not kyot. Just don't wear them while welding....

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