Introduction: How to Stick Weld! Basic Guide

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Hello everyone, SubDude350 here, and today I'm gonna talk to you about Stick Welding. Specifically, how to Stick Weld. Now this is by no means a definitive guide, as I don't cover a lot. This is meant to get you a basis on how to start and on how to get you going. Now I'm not the best welder, but my welds are OK. Now, without further ado, let's get started!

WARNING: Any type of welding is dangerous, I am not responsible for any injuries that may be inflicted on you and/or persons nearby!

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Step 1: Machine Setup

The welding machine I'm using for this tutorial is the Klutch ST80i Inverter Stick/TIG Welder from Northern Tool. The welder retails for $180 and plugs into a 110/120 volt outlet (standard US wall plug). Despite it's size and the type of voltage it plugs into, this welder has a lot of power! I recommend this welder to any beginner or professional for home or shop use. If you look at the front of the machine, you'll notice two 25mm DINSE sockets. These are where your Stinger(electrode holder) and your ground clamp plug into the welder. First plug the welder in, but don't turn it on. Take your Stinger cable and plug the end with the DINSE connector into the socket marked with a "+". This is the socket on the bottom. Twist the connector in tightly. Next, Take your ground clamp and clamp it to your welding table or workpiece. Then, screw the DINSE plug on the opposite end of the cable into the socket marked with a "-" or the top one. Your welder is now set up to weld on DC Reverse Polarity or DC Electrode Positive, also marked as DCEP. This is one of the advantages of Stick Welding, it's so simple!

Step 2: Safety Gear

Alright, now that we've setup the welder, let's talk about safety. Stick Welding throws off lots of UV light and radiation. Looking into an arc is similar to looking into the sun! Therefore, you need a welding helmet. You don't have to pay much for a fixed-shade welding helmet, and they do fine. But, if you want to go all out, get an auto-darkening welding helmet. Only problem, they cost a LOT of $$$! But that is not the point, just get a welding helmet of some sort. You'll also need leather welding gloves, as Stick Welding throws off large amounts of sparks and heat. A leather apron and a respirator are not necessary, but are a good idea. Also,wearing a synthetic fiber clothing, like nylon, are NOT advised, as it can melt and fuse to your skin. (I'm only wearing a nylon coat because it's a coooold winter where I live:P)

Step 3: Let's Weld!

Now that you're ready to weld, reach around the back of your machine and flip the power switch to the on position. The power light on the front on the machine should light and the fan should start up.

What Electrode should I use?

There are many different Stick Welding electrodes on the market, but three common ones are E-6011, E-6013, and E-7018. To determine what electrode to use, take a look at your work. If it's thin, use a 6013. If it's really clean or a critical part, use a 7018. If the part is dirty or rusty or painted, use a 6011. It's common practice to get the work as clean as possible before welding, but if that just can't happen, use a 6011. Since the piece of metal I'm using is dirty, I'll use a 6011. Of course, it's also a great rod for beginners, too. Set the welder between 50 and 65 amps. I've found that this is where this welder will run 3/32 in 6011 well. Put the desired rod the the electrode holder, or stinger, and you're ready to strike an arc! To strike the arc, scratch or tap the work. Sparks will fly and a loud "KRKSSSSHHHH" will happen and you might pull away the first few times, but it becomes second nature to strike the arc and can maintain it. Start to move the rod down the piece/joint. The best motion for a 6011 is a Whip-and-Pause. This is where you go a little out of the puddle with the arc for a about second to give the puddle time to cool, and then you come back into it. Each little "whip" forms a "dime" in the weld puddle. If you want to know more, Google "6011 Whip and Pause." When you're done with your bead, pull the electrode away from the work and sit the stinger on a non-grounded, insulated surface. You will notice a coating on top of the bead. This is called slag. Take a chipping hammer(a specially designed hammer specifically for removing slag from stick welds) and give the bead a few taps and rakes with it. Then, take a stainless steel wire brush and brush of the bead to further clean it. Congratulations! You just made your first weld! For more info, pick up a book called "The Welders Handbook" by Richard Finch. I used this book when I first started welding, and still use it extensively today!(I've used so much, the pages are starting to fall out:P)

I hope this instructable was informative and got you off to the right start in your welding adventures! Please rate, comment, like and subscribe, and as always, SubDude350 signing off.

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