Weld My World - Welding News

Tips on Handling Welding Rods

Welding with a welding rod

In the field I've seen guys throwing 50lb. rod cans from a truck onto the ground, torching cans open, beating the wrong end open with a chipping hammer, and every other conceivable tool, and leaving open rod cans out in the open. ALWAYS open the "right" end of the can. Some cans and boxes even say open other end, or don't open this end. The reason you need to open the right end is because you can damage the flux coating. You want to open it on the end where the rod is bare for the stinger or electrode holder. There's a lot less chance of damaging the flux that way. E7018 is very prone to flux damage, while E6010 is a lot tougher.

Most people in the field aren't thinking about the welding rods inside the can as they toss them from the truck to the ground. When rod containers get manhandled the flux on the welding rods inside get damaged. It's bad enough when the flux gets chipped off the end of the rod, and when the flux is chipped from the middle, you can pretty much kiss that rod goodbye. Even worse, if you don't realize the flux is chipped, right in the middle of a good weld you'll suddenly be welding with no flux. No flux equals no shielding from the atmosphere, and this equals a defective weld.

You can use a lot of different ways to open rod cans out in the field if you are careful; and if you use a torch, you need to be real careful not to burn the flux on the rods inside.

Opening a rod can with a chipping hammer is not advisable, and you must be sure to hit it just right, at the edge of the can. You should hit the edge with a follow-through swing, swinging away from the can, and not striking down into the can. The best way is whatever the can is designed for, some of them open like a sardine can, but a lot of times it doesn't work so you have to improvise.

Leaving open cans out allows moisture to get into the flux. Moisture content in the flux can cause porosity in the weld. Rods should be stored in a proper oven or unheated container if they don't need the moisture protection. E7018 needs an oven, while E6010 doesn't need the heat, but still needs to be kept protected and reasonably dry.

Quick Tip: Warming up a piece of pipe, square tubing , etc., or placing welding rods on a warm truck or welding machine engine, can serve as a temporary rod oven in the field.

Written by Brian Chalmers



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