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Electric Arc

It creates a gas shield to prevent oxidation of the weld material
It helps the weld formation by shaping the metal transfer
It provides an electrical insulation for the user

Coated electrodes are normally supplied in a water proof container. Once opened effort should
be made to prevent as far as possible moisture ingress. Some coatings have a high affinity to moisture
and must be kept in a heated cupboard. It is a good idea to keep all electrodes in this cupboard as
moisture in the coating can severely effect the quality of the weld

Some hints and tips
Take a welding course
Rule of thumb when starting with an unknown set is 40amps per mm of rod e.g 2.5mm=100amps.
Increase the current slightly when using long extension cables. Try not to have these cables in a coil when
The quality of the weld is directly related to the surface preparation. Take a little extra time to prepare and
shape the area to weld
Ensure all slag is removed , if necessary by using an angle grinder to gouge out any pin holes, before
welding over a run
If your welding rod sticks then clean with an angle grinder the mark especially on critical welds such as
pressure vessels. Check the condition of the coating on the rod. If the coating is damaged say with one
side of the wire exposed discard the rod or burn it back to good on a non-essential piece
After finishing a run the end of the rod invariably gets a slag coating. When you come to strike again it is
difficult so the tendency is to strike harder and harder. The consequence of this is that not only does the
slag come off but a good piece of the coating leading to an erratic arc. Penetrate the slag cap by gently
rubbing it on a rough surface, or use your fingers to snap it off (as I do)
Keep you glass clean- the fumes tend to coat the glass with a layer of dust. Keep wiping this off. If you
cannot see the weld arc properly you have too dark a tint grade of glass. These tend to be supplied
suitable for welding maximum amps ( say 300 Amps)
Where the shape of the weld is critical then use two hands. One to hold the holder the other grip the rod a
couple of inches back from where the arc is. ( I used to do all boiler tube welding in this way and as I get
older most of the vertical welding as well)
Position the piece to avoid as much as possible any other type of weld except horizontal- this is not a
cheat but is common sense. Watch a coded welded how he works
Brace yourself against something before starting if possible. Loop the cable over your body so that the
weight of the cable does not fall onto you hands
When doing a multi run weld into a narrow groove or right angle join use a small diameter gp rod for the
root weld as this is critical and any slag inclusion will cause porosity in the rest of the weld runs
If you get porosity dont mess about putting a thousand runs over the top of it, grind the bugger out and
start again
Don't be afraid to use rods. For awkward jobs bend the rod half way down if it helps. I welded an
economiser using only the final inch of each rod which was bent to suit due to the position of the hole ( I

oil. cause a crack. The hydrogen source can be moisture. really must. The general cause for the latter being a failure to pause at the extremes of the weave. This occurs during a narrow critical temerpature range as the bead coagulates. A switch to 'basic' electrodes may help. Reach for the TIG welder or if you must MIG. The use of 'basic' electrodes can help Hydrogen cracks This is generally associated wht either hardened material or material hardened during the welding process. Edge defects are stress raisers and lead to premature weld failure. During this period the deformation property is small. Fusions Faults The three main causes of this is too low current for rod. The put on you oxygen. When lighting an oxy-acet flame light the acetylene and increase slowly until you see the carbon smoke just disapear. One method of preventing this is to clamp the piece inducing a compressive force on the weld during the cooling period Shrinkage Cracks Thes form due to similar effect of allowed weld deformation being less than base metal shrnkage although it is not associated with the critical temerpature rang above and therefore cannot be elleviated by compression. Don't be tempted to use old part used rods for critical jobs as they inevitably have a high moisture content in the coating and make for a very porous and/or brittle weld. Try to make up only the flux you need for the job that day. The two main substances causing this are Carbon and Sulphur. If necessary as well as using a chipping hammer and brush grind back each weld run with an angle grinder. If you are going to gas weld aluminium . Indeed in some cases the material may be deemed unweldable. The cracking occurs adjacent to the weld pool and allied to the tension created during the welding porcess will generate a through weld crack. if the shrinkage of the base material is greater than the allowed stretch of the weld then a crack will result. The layers prevent fusion of the crystals. If you do not have these and have to gas weld make sure you well remove the oxide layer ( using a non-ferrous wire brush) and weld as soon as possible. Slag Inclusion This common fault is caused by insufficient cleaning of the weld between runs.don't. Or if you really. Ensuring that the rod is dry is essential and preheating the weld joint to 50'C will help. Similar efects may occur at the correct current due to incorrect arc length. even without segregation in the weld. Too high will lead to undercutting. Heat cracks occur during or just after the cooling off period and are caused byimpurites in the base metal segrateing to form layers in the middle of the weld. Anouther cause is temsion acroos the weld which . Typical faults may be caused by too high or low a current of too large a rod . Poor rod material selection is also a factor Heat Cracks this is a destuctive fault casued generally due to incompatiblity of the Weld material and weld Rod. stick weld. When using oxy-acet gas cutters make sure you always have a bucket of water nearby incase of blow back. The main cause for this is incorrect current setting. grease etc. Edge faults are particularly common in vertical welding or 'weave' welding. too high a travel rate or when too small a rod is used on a cold surface Bead Edge Defects normally in the form of under cutting or edge craters. PRACTICE-that is the main difference between a good and bad welder Welding faults Root Faults For deep vee multi run welds the first run or root weld is critical to the quality of the welds laying on top. Get loads of practice. Once the slag is in the weld it is near impossible to removed it by welding only . Porosity May have many causes the most common being moisture in the rod coating or in the weld joint.also had to use a small inspection mirror to see it). too low to edge craters.

Chrome. Lead. where the torch has been incorrectly adjusted there is the risk ofcarbon monoxide being formed which is very dangerous and will lead to suffocation Note: When welding metals containing or having as a surface treatment Cadmium. Mercury or Nickel then either adequate forced air extraction should be used or the welder should be supplied with an air fed mask. The following lists the types of fumes and there potential risk Fumes from low alloyed or unalloyed steels. Where this is not possible then the personnel in the area should place themselves away from the general air flow. Where CO2 is used as the shielding gas the system may also be known as Metal Active Gas (MAG). The best method of preventing inhalation of these fumes is by forced air extraction.if this is you make sure you do it as the damage will only come apparent later on Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Also called Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). I have had this and it takes the form of shortness of breath and can be very frightening at its worst Cadmium treated surfaces creates cadmium oxide inhalation of which causes very harmful lung damage a Lead or mercury coating Found only as a surface treatment on very old plate Stainless steels Fumes contain Nickel and Chrome gasses inhalation of which causes severe respiratory damage Gas Welding or burning Nitrous oxides can rapidly build up in enclosed areas when using larger nozzles. This is an unpleasant effect lasting for a couple of hours but it is not believed during the welding process. Generaically the term MIG is applied to the welding sets. This becomes apparent by irritiation to the eyes and throat.Welding Fumes Welding fumes are generated during the welding operation and consist of a mixture of the filler material and the base material gasses and dust. The shield for the arc is formed from a supply of inert gas. Gas stored in a bottle is led via a flow regulator .no heat treatment Generally considered a low health risk Fumes from low alloyed The surface treatment may cause harmful substances to be present and released or unalloyed steels. heat treatment Galvanised or surface trated with zinc The fumes given off may contain zinc oxide inhalation of which can lead to zinc fume poisoning.

The metal in contact melts and is replaced by the wire as it feeds through the tip. Note that the arc is not 'struck' in the same way as stick welding. With the current reduced the drop size increases until the arc cannot be maintained and the wire torches the material ( thus the technique is also known as 'Short Circuit transfer' but more generally as 'Short Arc'.The amount of wire sticking out of the holder at startup should be controlled. Too long and the weld arc is cool and may not be properly shielded by the gas. With the current set above a thershold (about 150amps for 0. • • Backhand • More stable arc • Less Spatter • Deeper penetration • See weld deposit better Forehand • More Spatter • Less penertration • See weld/Joint lay better • Gives better cleaning action when welding aluminium alloys . One is for current.through a tube to the welding torch.g wind blowing. To improve the arc creation is it advisable to sharpen the wire to a point before starting Wire Stickout . the other is for wire feed rate. This gives good penetration and is suitable for thicker material ( greater than 3mm). To start the welding operation the torch is held a set distance-sat 10-15mm. • Increaseing stickout • Decreases penetration • Increases deposition rate • Increase weld bead height and bulk • Decreases bead width There are then two basic techniques. When the trigger on th torch is depressed firstly the gas valve is opened and the shield gas emiited from the nozzle.8mm wire) the metal transfer is in the form of a continuous spray of molten metal. The flow of gas can be adjusted to allow for such as environmental conditions e. This is particularly suitable for positional welding and thinner material. the trigger is pressed and the arc established. from the work piece. Too short and the holder tip can be overheated and weld spatter may enter the nozzle and cause turbulence in the gas flow. Two adjustements are available for control of the arc. Further depressing the trigger makes an electrical switch and the wire feed is activated and the metal wire electrified.

For smaller sets flux cored wire is used thereby negating the need for a seperate gas supply Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Frequently used in the welding of Aluminium brasses. Anouther technique is to add heat to the start area by starting the arc at an increased distance ( say 2 to 3 cm). The small heat effected zone is particularly important as super granulation causes a softening of yorcalbro leading to bulging and failure under pressure • The main advantages are • Easy to use in all positions • Stable welld directed heat with small heat effected zone and deep penetration • Clean smooth welds of high quality Technique-The basic technique is a cross between Stick welding and gas welding. and stainless steels. the torch is then brough quickly back to the more normal 1-2cm. To improve this the arc should be made on a seperate piece attached to the work piece. When finishing the weld the torch should be quickly brough out and the travel rate increase to reduce the heat in the weld pool before the trigger is released • • • Argon • Aluminium • Stainless Steel • Copper and copper alloys Carbon Dioxide • Ferrous metals Argon/CO2 mix • Ferrous Metals • Stainles steels Other gasses and gas mixes are in use but the above are the most common. Cunifer. Weaving the torch may be used for increasing the size of the weld lay. The arc is struck . This is a particularly effective weld process particularly for the aluminium brasses such as yorcalbro often found in sea water systesm.The angle of the torch will affect the degree of penetration. When startin on a cold workpiece penetration is reduced. Failure to do this leads to undercut and weaknes of the weld. It is important if doing this to pause at the extremes of each weave. Too small an angle will also reduce the effectiveness of the shield gas.

6 mm extends from the nozzle whose throat size is governed by the welding current. Air Arc Gouging This is a system similar in manner to standard gouging but using copper coated graphite rods through which compressed air is pumped. Gouging This refers to the technique of shaping or cutting metal using specialised electric arc rods. The electrode is grind. About 3 . The tungsten electrode does not melt. Oncew the arc is struck the angle is reduced to about 20' ( do not point the rod into the weld.For TIG the shield gas has the added requirement of preventing oxidation and cooling the tungsten electrode. The electrode holder is held at a 75' angle and thefiller rod held at 30' in the direction of the forehand travel. Electrode The electrode is tungsten or tungsten alloy ( with thorium or zirconium) which has a higher melting point. Too fine a point and the tip can melt and contaminate the weld. Too steep and the arc is unstable and penetration poor. the shield gas is ionised and a stable arc is formed. The rod melts the metal and the compressed air displaces it. . This system is seen in commmon use for underwater repairs. This allows for clean displacement of material. The arc is struck with the rod in the perpendicular position. The elctrode must be quickly brought up to the weld height to prevent contaminationof the weld pool. A filler rod of correct material is introduced in a similar fashion to gas welding.against the surface. Friction Stir Welding This very modern practice is now becoming increasingly used in shipbuilding particularly for joining aluminium. For vertical pieces the rod travel is down. using the technique shown above to a point.

There is no sparking.Two pieces of material are butted to gether. The weld is made in the semi solid state. fumes and a reducion in noise. Weld speeds are increase by about 10% over conventional means. The FSW head. . Heat is generated and the metal softened and forced around the the probe to the rear. In this way material from both pieces are merged and thus the join is main. consisting of a profiled probe rotating at high speed is brought into contact with the join.