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6 Stick Welding Tips for Working in Multiple Positions

Stick Welding

Stick welding is the mainstay of shipbuilding and construction industries, and it’s also one of the most flexible welding processes for multiple locations. Depending on the material, location, and size of the weld, you can just swap out different electrodes, strike an arc, and get to work.

Stick welding

The best part about stick welding is that you can weld metals of various thicknesses in all positions: flat, vertical, horizontal, and overhead. By keeping a few basic tips in mind, you’ll be ready for just about any project or job that comes your way. Of course you’ll also need to keep a few specific tips in mind for each stick welding position:

Practice with 7018 Electrodes

One of the most versatile electrodes for heavy duty construction and building projects is the 7018 electrode. It can fill particularly wide gaps in your metal work pieces and can produce stacked welds if you can line up multiple passes that are fused together with proper tie-ins.

If you’re looking for construction or ship building job, practice with 7018 electrodes to make sure you’re ready for the largest welds that will come your way.

The Best Tip for Stick Welders

New welders will struggle to find the best power setting to ensure they get enough power to make a steady weld puddle without running ahead too fast and leaving the puddle behind. In addition, if you don’t have enough power you run the risk of your electrode sticking.

While each welder has preferences here, a good tip to keep in mind is that you want to run your welder on the higher end of your optimal settings so that you can keep a tight, highly controlled arc without sticking to the metal work piece. Unless you want to spend your day ripping electrodes off your metal and sanding down the tip over and over again, work on controlling your electrode with higher power settings.

Stick Welding Like the Pros

If you want to stick weld professionally, practice swapping directions and running your rods down so that you can learn how to start and stop in multiple positions. Welding instructors and inspectors want to see that you’re able to tie your weld beads together when you’re working on larger structures, so keep those rods burning and get better at stops and starts. If you have a hot start feature on your welder, you can add a burst of power to your starts to prevent sticking and to get a cleaner bead when you’re done.

Stick Welding Flat vs. Other Positions

When you’re stick welding flat, you don’t have to worry too much about your electrode angle, as something in the 30 degree range can work well. More extreme 90 degree angles come into play when you’re working horizontal, vertical, or overhead. Oftentimes you want a little drag angle for your 90 degree angles in overhead or horizontal positions.

Horizontal Stick Welding

Point the electrode upward rather than downward. Use the force of the arc to push the weld puddle in as you move across the weld joint. Point the electrode upward at a roughly 90 degree angle, adding a slight drag as needed. Keep in mind that angling the electrode downward will push the weld puddle down and potentially out of the joint. You’re already working against gravity in this position, so you need to give yourself every advantage you can get!

Overhead Stick Welding

Stick welding overhead isn’t just challenging, it introduces dangers from falling sparks and potentially getting tangled on your cables. Plan out your weld and the amount of movement you’ll need before you even strike your arc.

If possible, don’t hold your electrode in the clamp straight out so that you hand is directly under it. Stick the electrode in at a 90 degree angle so that you minimize the sparks that could potentially fall on your hand. Even if you’re wearing a glove, a steady exposure to large clumps of sparks can cause injuries. It goes without saying that you should wear long sleeves when stick welding overhead.

If you want to practice your stick welding or just stock up on stick electrodes. Take a look at all of the options Bakers has to offer here.

Ed Cyzewski


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