Thin steel

joefixit2November 16, 2009

Sorry for all the questions at once, I just started learning to stick weld with a Linde 230 Amp AC machine.

I am doing fine with the heavy steel, but I am having a lot of trouble with the thin stuff. I keep blowing holes in it and my finished joints look pretty rough, full of gaps and holes. I have been using 6011 rods, 3/32" and setting the amps down around 60-65, if I try to go lower than that I can't draw an arc. I tried some 6013s also with no luck. The steel is square tube, I don't know the gauge but is is about 3/32" when I measure it with a caliper.

It is especially bad if the fit up is not perfect, I just seem to make the gap bigger then keep grinding and bridging till it holds.

Any help would be appreciated. I wanted to master stick welding first, before I invest in a good MIG.

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You might consider investing in a cheap MIG. They are much more forgiving than stick welding, especially stick welding with an AC buzz box.

See if you can find some smaller diameter welding rod for the low amperage you are using. The 3/32 ay be too heavy. Also, stick welding on light gauge steel is always easier using DC reverse polarity than AC. The arc is more stable, and puddles are more managable.

You will find that when strength is important, the 6011 will do a better job, but 6013 will be easier to use, give a better appearing weld, spatter less, and slag removal will be easier compared to 6011.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Thanks for the help. I got this welder almost free along with a pile of rods. I am planning on getting a decent Mig, either a Millermatic or a Hobart, something around a 180. But as long as I have this old buzz box I want to get good with it, and keep it alongside the Mig, so I can use it for heavy or dirty work. Plus, I am having a BLAST with it. I have a huge pile of scrap tube, sheet, plate and pipe and every day I can't wait to get home and suit up.

I learned a technique that has helped on the thin steel. It was really the edges that were giving me problems. I have started by forming my puddle a tad in from the cut edge and working it toward the edge and the piece I am attaching, then, tilting my rod way over, kind of blowing it onto the other piece quickly. I can't really lead my puddle this way, it is more like I am pushing it. I suppose I get more slag inclusion this way.

I did get some 1/16" rods today, will try them out this weekend. I know when I get my mig it will be way easier, but I don't see the harm in becoming proficient with my stick welder first.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 10:09PM
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