MIG welders are regularly among the top sellers at Baker’s Gas and Welding because they are easy to use and create clean, strong welds. MIG welders are great for anything from a household project, to a car repair, to a series of fabrication jobs in a welding shop. However, stick welders used to be the standard machine for most welding jobs. Is there a reason to keep an old-fashioned stick welder around?
There are certain things that a stick welder can do, and then there are certain perks that make a stick welder a wise choice in some situations. While no one can doubt that a MIG welder is a great way to go, there is something to be said for stick welders. Here are five reasons to keep a stick welder around in your shop:
Weld in Tight Spots
MIG guns are wide enough where the wire sticks out that you won’t be able to fit it in a narrow slot where you need to work. And if you have a TIG welder, it may be even harder to work in both your electrode and filler metal. A simple stick welder with a narrow electrode is the perfect choice for any tight spot.
Weld in a Variety of Locations
MIG and TIG welders tend to be heavy and have to be moved around the shop on a cart. If you have to weld anything outside, you’ll need to have a portable welder on hand. In that case, a stick welder is perfect since it’s light and doesn’t rely on shielding gas that can be blown by the wind. Stick welders have been the old standby of farmers for years because of their portability and reliability in the field.
Save on Prep Time
Sometimes your weld doesn’t need to look perfect. You could spend your time grinding and sanding your metal work pieces, or you could just strike an arc with your stick welder and be done with it. For many welders and welding businesses, the surest way to cut costs is to increase efficiency on the job. By realizing which projects work with stick welding, you can save significantly on prep time.
Save on Material Costs
A stick welder uses an electrode clipped into pliers that attach to a buzz box. On the other hand, MIG welding uses torch tips, nozzle gel, shielding gas, and electrode spools. TIG welding also uses shielding gas and requires both a filler metal and an electrode. While no one would argue that the results of a MIG or TIG welder look better than the work of a stick welder, you also can’t beat the cost savings that come with a simple stick set up.
Stick welders are simple, but they do offer some variety in their electrode choices. Generally speaking, the 7018 and 7024 make smooth welds and deposit a lot of material, while the more narrow 6010 and 6011 electrodes provide more penetration into the metal, burn through rust better, and make it easy to weld downhill. If you think stick welding means limitations, then consider the variety of electrodes available. You just may find exactly what you need.
The lesson is this: never rule out stick welding. It’s stuck around with us for so long for a very good reason.