Arc welding rod is prone to sticking due low amperage values (Low current). This could be the MAIN reason, others include flux problems and using incorrect welders or technique. Similarly , practicing with different size electrodes will also help prevent it from happening again in future.
Many people think that Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or “stick” welding gets its name because the electrode’s shape is like a stick. But it actually got this moniker from being how beginners typically work with their welds by sticking them on base metal as they learn, even professionals do so at times. So if you’re feeling alone in your Stick Welder ignorance, don’t worry, you not!
How to strike an arc: The easy way
The most popular way to join two metal parts is stick welding, but it can be frustrating when you don’t know how to strike an arc properly. Even if this skill isn’t necessary for your job description right now, knowing what proper techniques are and practicing them before hand will save time in the long run by preventing material waste from happening more than once or twice.
There are two methods to strike an arc.
- Scratch Start Technique (The easiest way for a beginner)
- Tapping Method (High chances of getting stuck to the metal).
I recommend practicing the Scratch Start Technique (Also known as dragging method) that is similar to striking a match.The steps to practice it for your self are below.
To strike the arc for the first time,
- Decide which direction you need to travel and choose the starting point.
- Hold the rod (about 1 cm) above like an inch away from the starting point, tilted in the direction the welding will take place.
- Gently scrape the end of the rod against the base metal. Do not Poke!
- Once you see an arc quickly go back to the starting location and wait for the puddle to begin welding along the joint.
This is a difficult skill to master. It is important to keep in mind the balance between the travel speed, angle, length, and the arc length after you have struck the arc. The same goes for arc loss. If you pull the rod too far, the arc will be lost.
Failure to create an arc even after several attempts will result in material building up on the tip. It is best to replace the electrode with a new one and keep practicing. After cooling, you can use the old rod by rubbing it on a rough surface.
Why does a welding rod stick to the base metal?
It can be frustrating to try and get a perfect weld, but the rod sticking to metal causes splatter everywhere. Here are six reasons this happens.
1. Low current settings
The low current applied to welding rods causes them to stick to metal, as I have already mentioned. This means that while the amperage can melt the tip of an electrode, it is not enough to create an arc.
2. Low Open Circuit Voltage
If the OCV (Open Circuit Voltage), of your machine, is too low, it can be very difficult to strike an arc. Low OCV will cause the arc to disappear and make it more difficult to strike the arc again. You may experience a lower OCV due to high resistance between your workpiece and the ground.
3. Poor flux quality
Bad flux coating can cause sticking problems. Remember that flux’ melting point is always lower than base metal. This means that the flux is in liquid form before the base metal melts. Poor flux coatings can cause the rod to fall off and create a molten lump, which will cause the welding rod not to stick to base metal.
4. Shorter arc length
The distance between the tip and the base metal’s surface is called the arc length. It is simply the length of an electric arc. The electrode will stick to the base metal if it is too close to it. Your arc will also be affected if the electrode is too close to the base metal. It is important to keep the arc at a minimum length.
5. Dirty metal surface
It can be difficult to strike an arc if the surface of the base is too rusty. Even if the arc is sustained, the welding electrode will continue sticking to the base material at regular intervals. This can be explained by Ohm’s Law.
Voltage (V) = Current (A) X Resistance (Ω)
Also, because voltage is constant, an increase in resistance will result in a decrease in current. Rusty surfaces increase the resistance in our circuit, which decreases the flow of current. As I mentioned before, electrode sticking is caused by a lower amperage value.
6. Incorrect electrode selection
There are many types of welding rods, each with its own benefits and applications. Some rods are only compatible with DC, while others can work on both AC or DC.
Electrod sticking can also be caused by a thick rod choice for welding thin sheets. Imagine that you have a 5/64-inch E6013 rod with the correct amperage but your filler rod is still sticking to the base. You can solve this problem by switching to a thinner E6013 rod of 1/16 inches.
What to do when the welding Rod gets stuck to the metal?
There is no need to panic if your welder rod gets stuck to the material. It happens to everyone. Give it a good jerk to get it out. If the electrode is too tightly glued to your metal, it will not work. If that happens, it is necessary to immediately turn off the welder and remove the rod from the metal. The flux at the rod’s tip will often fall off if you pull it apart.
If you try to use the rod again with a bare-metal tip, it is likely that you will stick it again. You can prevent this by cutting the rod at the place where the flux has fallen, using a pair or pliers.
Tips to avoid welding rod sticking to the metal
1. Choose the correct current settings
You must use the correct amperage value. Different types of electrode rods can work at different amperage levels. Low current values can be used for 6010, 6011 and 6012 rods, as well as 6013, 6012,6012,6012, and 6013. To start an arc, rods 7018 or 7024 require high amperage values.
The following stick welding amperage chart explains in detail the optimal DC current range for different thickness and types of electrodes.
As you can see, the rod thickness also affects the amperage value. An electrode that is thicker will require a higher current in order to melt. The type of electrode used and the nature of weld should determine the optimal amperage setting.
You can sometimes increase the current to ensure that the rod doesn’t stick to metal if the resistance in your circuit is too high. Remember that if the electrode’s tip glows it is a sign that the applied current is too high. Refer to the manufacturer’s ampere range of the rod you are using.
2. Keep the electrode and surface clean while using the correct rod size
Before you begin, ensure that your electrodes have not become corroded or rusty. Use your fingers to scrape the flux from the rod. The electrode will stickier if the flux falls off the rod easily. These rods are not of high quality.
Larger rods will give you the highest deposit rate, so if your weld requires consistency, you should use a bigger rod. You must also consider the nature of your weld to determine the size of the electrode that you will need.
Before welding, make sure you have removed any rust, moisture, or oil. Stick welding can be more flexible in these situations. However, it will help you avoid unexpected problems.
3. Try to keep a good ground connection
A poor connection between the base metal and the ground can lead to an increase in resistance. High resistance can lead to low Open Circuit Voltage, which will make it more difficult to create an arc. You must ensure that your ground connection is sound. Check for cracks in ground wire. If you find that the terminal connections are too rusty or have become brittle, remove the wire from both ends and create new joints.
It is important to remember that stick welding leads must be properly connected depending on their intended use.
4. Follow the correct arc striking technique
When striking an arc, electrode sticking is more common. To master the art of arc striking, it takes many months or even weeks of practice. Two of the most popular arc striking methods are the dragging (also known as the striking method) or the tapping method, which we have already discussed.
5. Use an appropriate arc Length
After you have achieved a stable arc, keep the distance between your rod tip and the base metal at an appropriate level. Keep the distance between the rod tip and the base metal as short as possible, but don’t touch it. Don’t increase the arc too much, as this will cause metal to splatter everywhere.
The arc length should not exceed the diameter of an electrode’s metal core. This is a general rule of thumb.
6. Keep the angle and the travel speed at the appropriate level
You should be familiar with the basics of welding. To maintain the consistency of the welding, you will need to ensure that your position is comfortable.
Example: You can keep the stinger (Weldingrod holder) in your right hand. Then, place your left elbow on a workbench to stabilize your electrode. You can maintain the travel speed and angle at the same level by doing this.
You can reduce penetration by increasing the travel speed. If you slow down the speed, you will get shallow deep penetrations. For a high quality weld finish, it is important to maintain a balance between these speeds.
7. Choose a suitable electrode
Thicker electrodes can be difficult to hold onto and more likely to stick. I recommend that beginners start with thin 6013 welding rods. They are very easy to use. You can gain more experience and move up to E7018 or E7024 as you get more experience.
8. Store welding rods at a dry place
You don’t have to worry about storage if you only use E6013 and E6011. E6013, E6012 and E6012 are examples of electrodes with names ending in 10,11,12, or 13. You can store them in a dry container at room temperature. E7018 and E7024 rods require extra care in order to preserve their quality. Keep them dry in an oven that can keep the temperature between 200 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low amperage is the main cause of welding rod sticking issues, as I have already mentioned. These simple tips will make your welding experience much easier.
Keep in mind, however, that practice is what makes a stick welding perfect. Keep practicing! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!