Welding Thin Stuff with a Stick Welder
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  1. #1
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    Default Welding Thin Stuff with a Stick Welder

    What's good advice for welding thin stuff with a stick welder? I have a remote outside job that will require welding on some pieces made from 11GA and 14GA mild steel.

    Equipment list is either a 10KW generator / stick welder or use the generator to power a 120V wire feed welder.

    I realize the stick machine is not ideal, but I wouldn't have to drag out the wire welder. Maybe I could get an electrode small enough and turn the machine down to not burn through?

    The wire welder is more suited to the task, but it would be outside. Even with a flux core wire, I worry about getting a good weld. I also worry about the duty cycle of the machine. It isn't a big job, probably about 120" of actual bead need to be ran.

    Which would you choose?

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    You don't have to "shoot from the hip"
    Set up some samples in your shop, testing the intended equipment/process.

    I will suggest 7014 set on a.c. and a wee bit hot.

    Try 1/8" and move down in dia. only if you have to.

    solid welding (watertite) or stitch ?

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    Beg, buy, borrow, hire or steal a modern inverter stick welder of decent breed. If you only have a buzz box its going to be very frustrating but doable with little short stitches I think. My Fronius Transpocket inverter box will handle UK 16 gauge / 0.064 thick if you concentrate and don't try for long runs.

    I've done 1 mm on a bet with the amps turned well down. Dial goes down to 5 amps on 110 V input or 15 on 220. It will strike and hold an arc at 15 too.

    Cant remember the last time I dug out the MIG, bottle went back years ago as it wasn't worth it for the very rare times a MIG was the only way for what I do.

    Other great thing about inverters when it comes to hauling is size. Tiny beasts. Mine isn't much bigger than the large print, desktop, version of Machinery's Handbook.

    Clive

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    11G mild steel SMAW/MMA should be no problem. 14g is a little harder with a buzz-box but still very doable. I would second Clive's suggestion to get a modern inverter. If you're worried about the 14g, the new inverters allow for pulsed stick welding.

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    Use small 6013 rod, smallest might be 3/32 or 5/64. Classic sheet metal rod.
    Kind of depends on what thickness you are welding the brackets on to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medsar View Post
    ...11G mild steel SMAW/MMA should be no problem. 14g is a little harder with a buzz-box but still very doable...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Use small 6013 rod, smallest might be 3/32 or 5/64. Classic sheet metal rod.
    Kind of depends on what thickness you are welding the brackets on to.
    This.

    You should be able to weld 14 GA or heavier all day long with 3/32 6013 or 7014. As the material gets a
    bit lighter you need to move a little faster. Learn to weld properly and you'll rarely need a pulse option on
    a welder....

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    If you are running DC, switching the leads so the electrode is negative and the ground is positive can help on thinner materials.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenton View Post
    If you are running DC, switching the leads so the electrode is negative and the ground is positive can help on thinner materials.
    Or run a.c. and get less heat than reverse polarity, and have no arc blow problems.....

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    Many of the above recommendations should work fine but if you're real nervous, you can use a Air-Arc..carbon gouging rod in the stinger and use bronze rod for the filler material. Blow-pipe people do this all day long, hanging from their toenails off of duct in the stratosphere on blowpipe that is only 20 gauge. The carbon rod gets red hot and melts the bronze rod..just like you're welding with oxy-acetylene..almost.

    Here is a post from a welding forum..it's not mine but sheds light on the process.

    "You described it perfectly. Use 1/4" rods, straight polarity, low amps and use gouging rods instead of tungsten and argon. I used 100% argon and tung. before I learned about this. I had welded pipe and steel for more than 20 years when I tried this and i was very sceptical. It does sound crazy but it works great. Out of curiosity give it a try.

    This process is called Carbon arc Welding CAW basically an obsolete process. You stated this was for non code work. The worst thing you may encounter is some carbon contamination."

    Having wasted all this bandwidth, I'll end with this thought..a dinky electrode on a stick machine is still the best option.

    Stuart

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    Or take your inverter with a foot pedal and HF start and do some truly precision stick welding with the aforementioned 3/32 6013. It works great.

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    These are about the smallest dia. electrodes.

    Welding Rod 1/16 Inch Diameter 3 lb

    Years ago I bought the stitch welder accessory from them and with the 1/16 electrodes it works well on thin sheet. The stitch welder has a solenoid that pulsates the rod and also a diode that can be engaged to convert the buzz box output to dc. Very smooth welds.

    Another thing that helps is if you can temporarily back up the weld with copper. It prevents burn through. In a pinch I've used flattened copper water pipe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatMan View Post

    Which would you choose?
    in the field today i would use a 120v flux core which is why i got one 'cause it's portable. back in the day i would have used a lincoln tombstone as that was what i had then and never gave it another thought. a local body shop, back then, used an a/c stick on body panels. (i would have used o/a...)


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