How to Strike an Arc When Welding

Arc welding is one of the most used methods of welding today, mainly due to its versatility and simplicity.  Beginner arc welders often have trouble learning the proper way to strike an arc weld.  But with a little bit of patience and time the skill can be mastered.  As with any skill, having the proper knowledge and skills will help make the process go much easier and result in high quality welds that are free of defects.  To become skilled in the art of striking an arc, you should practice striking beads of weld on a spare piece of metal.  As with any welding process, Arc welding requires welders to practice in order to achieve the desired results.  To become proficient in the art of striking an arc while welding, you may burn up to 40 pounds of electrode.

To begin you should position the electrode about 1/2 inch away from the area you will be welding.  Your next step should be to quickly jab the electrode into the weld and immediately pull it back; this method is known as the jab technique.  The strike method requires you to strike the electrode against the metal you are welding, which is also known as the striker, in order to create a weld.  When performing this method you need to make sure that the stroke is performed relatively fast so that the rod doesn’t stick to the weld area.  If your rod happens to freeze to the metal you are welding, you should increase your amp level by ten until the rod becomes free.

Once you have successfully produced an arc, you should then pull the welding rod back approximately 1/4 inch in order to prevent it from going out.  During this step in the arc striking process you should listen for a crackling noise which will help you know that your electrode is being held at the correct distance.  If you experience a popping noise accompanied with sparks, that is an indication that you are too far away.  If you begin to hear less noise during the welding process it is an indication that you are too close and your arc will go out.  If your arc should happen to go out while you are welding, you should stick it back into the weld puddle.  After some practice you will become an expert at striking an arc and how to keep it lit.