Strike an Arc Exactly Where You Want It to Begin--stick Welder





Introduction: Strike an Arc Exactly Where You Want It to Begin--stick Welder

When using a stick welder it is often not easy to begin an arc exactly where you want it. Some risk damage to their eyes by peeking out from under the hood. But, a carbon rod allows starting a bead exactly where you want it to begin.

The piece of steel in the photo is about 3 inches across. I ground the paint away so an arc can start easily. The arrows were made with a felt tip pen. This Instructable will show how to start an arc in the center area between the four arrows.

The portion with paint removed at the lower right corner of the photo is only a place to attach the welder's ground clamp.

Step 1: Prepare and Positon a Carbon Rod

Welding supply houses usually sell carbon rods. These come with a heavy copper foil on them. Touch the foil to a grinding wheel from the tip back a couple of inches. Peel the foil away from the rod.

Touch the tip of the carbon rod to the steel just behind the point where the bead is to begin. Be sure to wear welder's gloves.

Step 2: Cross the Electrode Over the Carbon Rod

Cross the electrode over the carbon rod from behind the carbon rod as shown in the photo. Without moving the placement of the carbon rod or the electrode, shake your head once to flip your welding helmet down to cover your face so you are ready to weld.

Step 3: Start the Arc

For purposes of the photo, the welder was not turned on, but notice that the electrode has been slowly pulled upward until the tip of the electrode comes up onto the carbon rod. At this point the arc will begin on the carbon rod. Once the arc begins, feed it down the carbon rod and onto the steel.

Step 4: The Result

The heat from the welding arc obscurred much of the arrows I drew with the felt tip pen. In this photo you see the beginning of the bead I started and I darkened what was left of the lines again with the felt tip pen, but I did not change their original position.

After a while slag will coat the carbon rod and it will not work as well as it ought. A slip joint plier works well as a tool for scraping the slag from the carbon rod. Just place the rod in the jaws and twist lightly.



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    Awesome tip. I may have to try that sometime soon. I'm just learning to weld with a cheap stick welder..

    You will like this very much, especially if you do not have an auto-darkening helmet. It allows you to start an arc exactly where you want it and allows you to start and arc easily when the current is a little lower than would be ideal. The only problem is that it requires an extra hand, unless you engineer a holder for the rod. That could be even a piece of wood with a hole for the carbon rod and a magnet is attached to the wood.

    I hope all goes well for you. Enjoy your welder. If something goes wrong, you can always grind out the old weld and do it over. ;-)

    Thank you for looking.

    can i ask a simple question? How do people trace designs on the steel with the welding rod.

    Your question could mean a couple of different things. If you mean, "How do people write their name, etc. on a piece of plate with a welding rod?" some probably do it free hand. Some mark the steel with soapstone. It leaves a white mark that can usually be seen while welding. If you mean, "How do people follow the seam to be welded?" they may be able to see it, but not always. They may use their hand dragging on an edge to make a straight path. MIG welding does not give much light and it is easy to wander from the seam. Some lay down a piece of wood to follow with the heal of their hand because they cannot see where they are welding. If you mean, "How do people cut intricate patterns with a welder?" the kind of cutting one can do with a welding rod is pretty coarse and rough. Intricate patterns are usually done with a plasma cutter now. Some of these allow inserting a design into the machine and it is able to read and reproduce the design on the steel. If you have ever watched American Chopper on TV, they have a machine that can cut intricate patterns in three dimensions. They program it like a computer.

    have you run across any pens with inks that shine? like the marker tape used on safety vests, if it shone bright, it'd be lots easier to see, perhaps a glitter pen...

    I have not seen any such pens. Welder's chalk does show up fairly well when using a stick welder.

    when i was in high school we had a metal bench that the AG class had welded designs in like an Indian head (our mascot) and other pictures and text that was welded into the metal bench.

    i dont have welding class this semester thogh

    The people who did the welding may have drawn the outline of the images with soapstone (welder's chalk). It would be hard to follow with a MIG welder, but a stick welder throws enough light that the person welding could follow the lines. Still, it would take some skill born of practice.

    i do it free hand i wrote my initials under my schools welding table its easy stick welding mig is a little harder to write with oxy fuel is easiest but i used stick