electrode welds are very common, thanks to the affordable prices and the transportability of the tools used to make them. Despite the apparent simplicity of the technique, you have to be very careful: find out what are the most common errors, what they involve and our tips for welding efficiently.
How to electrode welding avoiding the most common mistakes
To make arc welding really effective you need to know and avoid some very frequent risks, especially among beginners: these are errors born from low experience, which can compromise the work done.
First we start from the choice of the electrode, fundamental for the success of the welding. There are various types and standards on the market: European (EN), Japanese (JIS), British (UK), German (DIN) and American (AWS). The AWS classification is currently the most widely used.
AWS electrodes are identified by a four-digit code:
- the first two digits represent the tensile strength expressed in pounds per square inch
- the third digit indicates where the electrode can be mounted, where the value 1 indicates that it can assume all positions, the value 2 only the horizontal or angle position
- The last digit, represented by a value between 0 and 8, indicates the current with which the electrode is to be used.
In addition to the choice of the electrode, of enormous importance is its conservation: it is necessary to avoid humid places, because a wet electrode might not hit the arc of current preventing the execution of the weld.
In order to weld with an electrode correctly it is also necessary to choose the correct amperage: there is no standardized choice for each weld, as the selection changes according to the electrode chosen and the thickness of the material to be welded.
A too much low amperage will cause the electrode to stick to the workpiece, while a too much high amperage will produce a wide weld and the risk of piercing the material. To find the right amperage, we recommend testing on waste materials of the same thickness as the workpiece.
Once you have chosen the electrode and the amperage, there are three factors to keep in mind:
- position: welding in the wrong position means having little control over the welding, an incorrect view and the risk of creating problems. Keeping the welding line perpendicular to the body, working from the outside inwards and with the correct inclination of the electrode, you will get a quality finished product.
- speed: A very common mistake among beginners is not to maintain the right speed. Moving too slowly will produce a wide, convex weld, too fast a narrow, inconsistent weld.
- distance: another cause of errors is the distance between the electrode and the piece to be welded. Only with experience is it possible to manage those few millimeters that make the difference. Being too far away, it will be difficult to make the arc of current flow, risking to get a not uniform welding; by placing yourself too close, however, the highest risk is to puncture the material.
Tips for truly effective electrode welding
Electrode welds are not free from defects but, if carried out to perfection, they bring great benefits at low costs. So, in summary, how to weld correctly with the electrode?
You will have to pay attention to some tricks: the choice of the electrode and the amperage, the correct position to hold during welding, the speed of progress and the distance between the electrode and the material to be welded.
As we have seen, the most common mistakes are due to the inexperience and the lack of manual skills with this welding technique: the biggest advice we give is to turn to professionals in the field, to avoid causing irreparable damage to the pieces to be welded, risking wasting time and money.