Choosing the right Electrodes for your welding
If you are here, chances are that you have already bought a welding machine and that too most probably a stick welding or commonly known as arc welding machine. Now you just want the perfect electrodes to go with your workpiece.
Stick electrodes are available in numerous range and each of them provides different mechanical properties and are suitable with a specific type of welding machine. It may seem to be a daunting task for newbies but for an experienced welder, it is a thing that would be done in a jiffy.
Selection of the Electrode
American Welding Society (AWS) comes to the rescue of novice welders by encoding different electrodes successfully and correctly representing all its properties and compositions. A guide to that is listed below:
The prefix “E” stands for an arc welding electrode. The first two digits of the 4-digit number and the first three digits of the 5-digit number indicate minimum tensile strength. For example, E7018 is a 70,000 psi tensile strength electrode while E12018 designates a 120,000 psi tensile strength electrode.
|Electrode||Tensile Strength||Position||Type of Coating and Current|
The next to last digit indicates position.
1 – For Flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead.
2 – For Flat and horizontal.
4 – For flat, horizontal, vertical down and overhead.
The last 2 digits taken together indicate the type of coating and the correct polarity or current to use.
|Digit||Type of Coating||Welding Current|
|0||High cellulose sodium||DC+|
|1||High cellulose potassium||AC, DC+ or DC-|
|2||High titania sodium||AC, DC-|
|3||High titania potassium||AC, DC+|
|4||Iron powder, titania||AC, DC+ or DC-|
|5||Low hydrogen sodium||DC+|
|6||Low hydrogen potassium||AC, DC+|
|7||High iron oxide, iron powder||AC, DC+ or DC-|
|8||Low hydrogen potassium, iron powder||AC, DC+ or DC-|
Stick welding/Arc welding is a skill that needs practice and patience and before you start your machine or pick up the electrode, it is important to consider these basic guidelines.
Type of Metal:
The electrode composition should be a close if not a complete match to the welding work piece which will ensure a strong weld. If you are not sure of the material of the job, try boiling down to a material by doing various physical test for ductility, physical appearance, tensile strength and magnetic properties.
Some of the electrodes are limited to a specific type of current AC or DC and others are compatible equally with both, with AC generally achieving deeper penetrations. This is a very important parameter to take into consideration as the welding penetration, finish, deposit rate and other factors depend on this.
- For thinner materials soft electrodes like 6013 is preferred. Also electrodes with larger diameter should be avoided as they can cause a burn through.
- For thicker materials low hydrogen electrodes are preferred as they prevent cracking, specifically electrodes with AWS ending in 15, 16 or 18.
Service condition & Specification:
In most of the critical application processes, electrodes with very specific compositions are used. Another factor that needs to be considered is the service condition that the job will be subjected to.
Specific electrodes are meant to be used in specific weld position, for example, a 6010 electrode is suitable for welding in flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead jobs.
Some other points to be considered are welding speed, welding environment (Outdoor or Indoor), base metal shape and type of joints.
Here are some of the most common electrodes, how they are typically used and the best source to buy them at Industrybuying.
E6010: DC only and designed for putting the root bead on the inside of a piece of pipe, this is the most penetrating arc of all. It is suited to dig through rust, oil, paint or dirt. It is an all-position electrode that novice welders usually find extremely difficult.
E6011: This electrode is used for an all-position AC welding or for welding on rusty, dirty, less-than-new metal. It has a deep, penetrating arc and is often the first choice for repair or maintenance work when DC is unavailable.
E6013: This all-position, AC electrode is used for welding clean, new sheet metal. Its soft arc has minimal spatter, moderate penetration and an easy-to-clean slag.
E7018: A low-hydrogen, usually DC, all-position electrode used when quality is an issue or for hard-to-weld metals. It has the capability of producing more uniform weld metal, which has better impact properties at temperatures below zero.
Shop online at Industrybuying.com for best in class electrodes
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