When comes right down to it, the successful completion of any project, welding or otherwise, begins with the right tools.
It stands to reason, right? You can’t tighten a screw with a hammer, no more than you can pound in a nail with a screwdriver – well maybe in a pinch, but it’s less than an ideal solution.
The same goes for welding – a successful welding project always begins with the right tools. And after your safety gear, the two most important tools you need to successfully complete a welding project are your welder and your filler metal.
Selecting the right welder – Stick, MIG or TIG – for your project depends largely on the process best suited to the metal you’re welding or the constraints of the particular project at hand. When selecting the right filler metal, you also need to consider several important factors in addition to the type of metal you’re welding – obviously that’s an important issue (perhaps the most important in your selection process); however, welding position and the condition of the base metal also rank among the chief concerns governing the filler metal selection process.
All Purpose Filler Metals Classified By Welding Process
Despite the importance of the factors outlined above, if you’re making welding repairs on the fly while in the field, you often find yourself in uncharted territory, in which it’s impossible to predict what type of filler metal you might need for the type of weld you need to make.
Well, it just so happens that each welding process – Stick, MIG and TIG – have their own particular all-purpose filler metal, designed to address the broadest criteria of potential uses for each welding process.
The following list outlines your ideal filler metal choice classified by welding project:
Electrode numbers 6010, 6011, 6013 and 7018 are your best all-purpose choices for stick welding. 6010 and 6011 achieve deeper penetration, whereas 6013 and 7018 offer greater arc stability, produce less spatter and yield a more well defined bead of weld.
ER70S-6 and ER70S-3 are great options for general-purpose filler wire. ER70S is designed for multi-pass welds, and ER70S-6 is intended for creating single pass welds.
ER70S-6 and ER70S-3 are also great general purpose options for use in the TIG welding process. But as TIG welding happens to be more commonly used for welding stainless steel and aluminum – ER308L and RE4043 are excellent general-purpose choices for TIG welding stainless steel and aluminum respectively.
Let’s say, given the industry you work in or the type of work you do, there are always special circumstances governing the welding projects and repairs that are a part of your job. For example, you work in an oil refinery and you’re required to make welds with self-shielding flux-core filler metal, and you’re called upon to make these welds in almost any position – flat, horizontal, vertical or overhead. E71T-11 filler wire is a great all-purpose choice for single or multiple pass welds. E71T-GS filler wire is also an option, but only good for creating a single-pass weld.
Learn More from Someone Who Knows
If you’re unsure about which filler metal option is best for your particular welding needs, don’t hesitate to ask a supplier – most are highly knowledgeable and they’re always more than happy to help. I strongly recommend you contact Baker's Gas. Not only is Baker's incredibly knowledgeable, they provide friendly and supportive customer service, and have some of the most competitive prices you’ll find anywhere online.