Stick is a welding process that’s been around for decades and it’s primarily used on construction sites or for larger projects that require a tougher weld. It rose to an all new level of popularity when the bare wire electrodes fell out of favor with the introduction of the flux coated electrode. This electrode totally changed welding forever, making it safer, more reliable, and the result was tougher welds that were easier to achieve. Our stick welding tips and tricks will show you exactly why stick welding is a process that’s here to stay and one that can come in handy if you’re looking for a faster, cleaner welding process.
Key Takeaway: These stick welding tips and tricks will discuss how you can avoid many of the common mistakes that the beginner makes, what areas you need to focus on in terms of practice, and how to achieve the type of clean, solid welds that stick is known for. Remember, stick welding is the perfect welding process if you’re working on a larger metal workpiece, on a construction site, or any type of outdoor project.
By following our welding tips and putting in serious practice time, you can quickly and efficiently get your work done, regardless of workpiece size.
Why Stick Welding is Here to Stay
Some welders consider the stick welding process obsolete. However, it’s still commonly used on construction sites or for repairs and maintenance. Why? Because this is a simpler welding process and one that provides nice, clean, strong welds.
But while stick may seem simple, it’s really not a process a beginner should use. However, for the experienced welder, stick offers a number of advantages that can speed up the entire welding process.
- Unlike other welding processes, with stick you won’t have to deal with shielding gas, so it’s a great choice if you’re working outdoors and don’t want to worry about wind.
- Stick welding is also very portable, and more affordable, and incredibly versatile compared to other processes.
- If you’re a beginner and learning how to weld brass, steel, aluminum, and copper, then it’s definitely the go-to process. With stick, simply change the rod and you can weld a variety of metals.
- You don’t have to worry about the condition of the material you’re working on. You can easily weld on dirty or wet surfaces.
- This process also allows the user to weld metals in all positions including overhead.
So, if you’re new to welding and you want to take advantage of this versatile welding process, keep on reading to learn some great tricks that many pros use for the cleanest, strongest welds.
Finding the Ideal Setting
As a beginner, you will probably struggle to find the right power setting that can ensure you’re getting enough power to make a solid weld without getting ahead of yourself and leaving behind a puddle. Additionally, if you don’t have enough juice then it can result in the electrode sticking.
All welders will have their own preference when it comes to settings, however, as a beginner, you should consider running your welding machine on a higher setting in order to keep a highly controlled tight arc. This is the best option if you want to avoid spending your time ripping electrodes off your metal workpiece, then having to sand down the tip repeatedly. Instead, focus on controlling the electrode using a higher power setting.
Working in the Field
If your goal is to be a professional welder, then you need to spend a lot of time practicing running rods down and swapping directions. Doing so can make you a more versatile welder. Most welding inspectors want to see that a potential hire is able to easily tie their weld beads together when they’re working on a larger workpiece. Practice keeping your rods burning in order to achieve better starts and stops. If your welding machine has a hot start feature then you can easily add some juice to your starts in order to prevent any sticking while also achieving a much cleaner bead when you’re finished.
What Angle Do You Need to Use when You’re Stick Welding in a Flat Position?
When you’re welding flat you really don’t have to focus too much on the angle of the electrode. A thirty-degree angle should work just fine. When you’re working overhead, vertical, or horizontal, you’ll need to use an extreme ninety-degree angle.
What Type of Helmet Should I use for Stick Welding?
We recommend the Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Mojo, a versatile model that comes equipped with variable shade control. This is an auto darkening helmet that works well for most welding processes, but it will also be an excellent option for stick welding since it features a lightweight design that helps to promote user comfort for those longer, tougher jobs. To learn more about welding helmets, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Is Overhead Stick Welding Dangerous for Beginners?
Yes. We don’t recommend trying your hand at overhead welding alone if you’re a beginner. Only do so under the guidance of a skilled welder or your welding instructor. Welding overhead can cause serious injury due to falling sparks or even the fact that it’s pretty easy to get tangled in your cables. Before you even strike your arc you’ll need to carefully plan your movements and your weld. Again, only practice this welding position under the supervision of a more skilled welder.
By following these stick welding tips and tricks, you’ll find that the end result are welds that are clean, fast, and tough. Stick welding may not be as commonly used as other welding processes, but on construction sites, it’s still widely used and it’s the perfect option for any type of outdoor project. As you can see, in order to achieve a clean, tough weld using stick, you’ll need plenty of practice. But once you get the hang of these techniques, you’ll find yourself relying on stick welding for a variety of projects.