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Shielded Metal Arc Welding is a process by which electric current from a welding machine
produces an arc between the electrode and the metals to be joined. As the arc is struck
between the metal rod (electrode) and the work-piece, both the rod and work-piece surface
melt to form a weld pool. Simultaneous melting of the flux coating on the rod will form gas
and slag which protects the weld pool from the surrounding atmosphere. The gases
surrounding the arc are superheated causing the base metal to melt while the filler metal
deposits into the molten puddle.

Function of a Welding Machine

The function of a Welding machine is to provide a steady flow of current either AC

(Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) to the electrode creating an arc which may be
due to electric short or gas to melt a puddle of molten metal on to the other medium where
joining is to take place. Polarity is the direction current flows.
Alternating current (AC) electricity flows back and forth between positive and
negative on a sine wave. The main advantage of Alternating Current is that it is easier to
produce by using a simple transformer to produce more power.
Direct current (DC) provides a steady flow of electrons in one direction. The polarity
or direction flow is determined by how the leads are connected to the positive and negative
terminals on the welding machine.
DC+ is when the electrode is connected to the positive and the ground is connected to
the negative terminal. Since current is generally considered to flow from negative to positive,
the arc actually travels from the metal up to the welding rod thus, cause the rod to heat up
which then melts the metal and joins them. DC- is when the electrode is connected to the
negative terminal and the ground is connected to the positive, allowing current to flow from
the rod to the metal so the rods stay cooler and the metal gets the heat.
Welding Leads

Welding leads are insulated copper wire and they come in number 4, 2, 1 and 1/0
(single odd). The larger the number the smaller the diameter.

The size of the leads depends on how many Amps that will be used and how long the
leads are.
Welding Rods Classification
Welding rods are tagged with a letter followed by several digits giving the user some
sort of specification such as Tensile Strength, Position and Type of Coating and Current.
Some of the more common rods for carbon steel are E6010, E6011, E6013 and E7018. These
numbers are written on the rods.
For example E6010:
The E indicates an arc welding electrode.
The first two numbers 60, indicates that the filler metal has a tensile strength of
60,000 psi (pounds per square inch). Tensile strength is the force it takes to pull it apart.
The third number indicates the position the rod can be used in. 1 indicates that the
weld puddle solidifies quickly and this rod can be used in any position; flat, vertical or over
head. 2 indicated that the molten puddle remains so fluid, this rod can be used only in a flat
The last two numbers together indicated the composition of the flux coating.

There are two group of welding rods; fast freeze and filler.
The fast freeze rods (E6010 and E6011) have a strong arc force that provides deep
penetrations. After welding the puddles solidifies relatively quick.
Filler rods (E6013, E7018, E7024) dont penetrate as deep. They fill up. This gives a
smoother finish.
The fast freeze is better for modification or repairs. They are often used as first pass to leave
an open and then filled with a filler rod.
E6013 uses either AC or DC+ current for general purpose welding. this is the easiest of all the
rods to use. It produces a smooth finish.
E7018 is a low hydrogen iron with iron powder in the flux this uses AC and DC+ these
produce the highest quality weld. designed for cast steels and this prevent the weld from
cracking. This creates a smooth finish.
E7024 uses AC or DC+ could only be used in the flat position.

Steps in Arc Welding

The first step in arc welding is to select the point where you wish to begin your weld.
Positing the tip of the rod close to it, then dropping the welding hood into place. Tap the tip of
the electrode against the metal to complete the electrical circuit, while instantaneously pulling
it back a little bit, to create an electric arc between the electrode tip and the metal being
welded. Another way to strike an arc is like striking a match.
This arc gap, or airspace, creates a great deal of resistance in the electrical circuit,
which is what produces the arc flame or plasma and heat needed to liquefy the electrode and
the metal adjacent to the weld area.Typically, the arc gap should be no greater than the
electrode diameter.If the tip of the rod is jammed right down to the metal it will not have
enough time to heat up the base metal and it wont have a good finish. If the arc gap is too
long, the arc itself can jump around penetration will vary.For weld bead, a circular motion or
zig zag motion is used.
An undercut crack, also known as a heat-affected zone crack, is a crack that forms a
short distance away from the fusion line; it occurs in low alloy and high alloy steel. The exact
causes of this type of crack are not completely understood, but it is known that dissolved
hydrogen must be present. An undercut can be avoided by filling in the sides of the puddle.
The puddle could be manipulated by bending the rod to an angle. (Pushing the puddle
instead of dragging it). An arc for drives the puddle down for a flatter weld bead.
If the base metal gets too hot, the puddle may fall out or a hole may be burnt through.
Gather your materials
You should have a welding machine, electrode holder with lead, ground clamp with lead,
electrodes, and metal to be welded. You will also need are a chipping hammer to get rid of the
slag and a wire brush to clean the welds.
Put on your safety gear
This includes a welding helmet (shade #10 or higher), welding jacket or cotton sweatshirt,
pants without cuffs, work boots, gloves, and safety glasses.
DO NOT wear tennis shoes, frayed clothes, pants with cuffs, a t-shirt, a shirt with open
pockets, or sleeveless shirts.

Prepare the area to be welded in

Remove all flammable material and find a good surface to weld on. Although you can put the
ground connection right on the piece you are welding, most shops have a large metal
workbench that the ground is hooked up to.
If there are other people present, set up welding curtains around the work area. This will
protect them from UV damage.
Set up the machine
Most welding machines are fairly straightforward. You should most likely be using an
amperage of around 90-120 amps, although this should be adjusted for metal thickness and
electrode diameter.
Use the correct electrode
DCEP (direct current electrode positive) sets the arc to go from the metal to the electrode,
heating the metal more. DCEN (direct current electrode negative) has the reverse effect. For
stick welding, DCEP will give your weld more penetration. You should select the electrode
appropriate for AC or DC welding, depending on your machine. Make sure the electrodes are
Electrodes used for DCEP are E6010, E6011, E6013, E7014, E7018, and E7024. AC
(alternating current) electrodes are E6011, E6013, E7014, and E7018AC.
E6010 and E6011 are especially useful for rusted, painted, or dirty metal that you cant clean.
E6013 is an all-purpose electrode that is great for projects where the joints fit poorly.
Clean the metal before welding
This can be done by brushing the surface(s) to be welded with a wire brush or a grinder.
Remove as much rust or paint from the metal as possible.
Use acetone to clean oils off the metal, especially aluminum.
DO NOT use a chlorinated solvent, as the reaction when heated with a welder can kill you
Just because the metal is shiny, doesnt mean it is clean. Use a hard grinding disc to remove
the layer of mill scale and get down to the bare metal. This is most applicable to steel.

Set the joint.

Use clamps and vises to ensure that the joint you are welding is precisely and firmly held
Strike a welding arc
This is accomplished by tapping the metal and quickly pulling up or striking it like a match.
You are completing the circuit and pulling away, which causes the electricity to jump from
the electrode to the metal.
Most modern welding helmets allow you to see clearly until you strike the arc, and
then darken automatically to protect your eyes from UV damage. Some older or cheaper
helmets just use a tinted lens that is too dark to see through unless welding. In this case, you
should find where you want to start welding and flip the helmet down with your other hand,
then strike the arc.
Build up a weld pool
Start moving the weld pool across the metal. Keep the electrode at an angle a few degrees
shy of 90. Don't travel too fast; as a general guide you want to use about an inch of electrode
for each inch of weld. When moving the weld pool, you can go in a straight line (a stringer
bead) or move around in small circles.
It is important to maintain a constant arc length, or distance from the tip of the electrode to
the metal. This can be hard at first since the electrode is constantly burning down.
Continue moving the pool towards the end of the metal. Again, make sure your travel speed
and arc length are steady.
Practice traveling across the path of your weld with the electrode until you can keep a
consistent arc, moving at a consistent speed, and in line with the path you want to weld.
When you have mastered controlling the arc, you will begin to practice laying, or building up
the weld bead. This is the deposit of metal that joins the two pieces that you are welding
together. The technique you use for laying your bead will depend on the width of the gap (if
there is one) you are filling, and the depth you want the weld bead to penetrate. The slower
you move the electrode, the deeper the weld will go into the metal work pieces, and for
making a wide path, the more you zig zag or weave the electrode's tip, the wider the bead you
will lay up.
Keep the arc established as you move along the weld you are making

If the electrode grounds to the metal and becomes stuck, jerk the stinger to break the rod free
either from the stinger clamp or the weld metal. If the arc is lost because you move the
electrode too far from the metal's surface, stop the process and clean the slag from the spot
you are welding so when you restrike the arc to continue, there will be no slag in the weld
area to contaminate the new weld you are beginning from the place the arc was lost or
broken. Never lay a new bead over existing slag, as this material will melt in the arc plasma
and bubble through the new layer of metal you are placing, resulting in a weak and dirty
The angle of the rod not only affects how the filler metal is affected but how the
molten slag will behave. When the rod is held between 45 and 90 degrees, the slag is forced
back where it belongs.
When welding in the flat position; relax, get comfortable and use to hands on the
stinger. Maintain the arc gap and constant travel speed. Watch the outside edges of the puddle
and make sure it is staying even.
If the weld bead sags change the weld speed, slow enough to allow fusion but fast
enough to keep the base metal from overheating.
Clean the slag
Slag is a residue left from the welding process. During the weld, the slag protects the hot
metal from contaminants. The slag covering does not cool at the same rate as the weld bead,
which can cause the slag to pop off the weld. Use the chipping hammer to break the slag off
the weld or bump the slag off
Safety glasses should be worn while welding so that when the shield is raised the eyes are
Tap the slag only hard enough to loosen the slag and avoid putting hammer marks in the new
Use the wire brush to clean the weld. Remove as many excess particles as possible, especially
if you are going to do another pass.
Allow the metal to cool.
If this is only practice, dipping the metal in water will cool it faster. Cooling in water will
make the weld brittle, so allow any structural welds to cool by air instead.
Safety in Arc Welding
Welding operators should wear dry gloves in good condition.
Inspect the work area for any flammable materials and remove them from the area.

Never touch the electrode or metal parts of the electrode holder with skin or wet clothing.
Be sure to insulate themselves from the work and ground, keeping dry insulation between
their body and the metal being welded or ground.
Inspect the electrode holder for damage before beginning to weld and keep the welding cable
and electrode holder insulation in good condition.
Wear face shields with radiation protection which protects your eyes and face but still allows
the user to see molten weld puddle.
Wear Flame resistant clothing.
Safety Equipment
A critical part of welding safely is having, and knowing how to use, the correct safety
equipment for the job. Here are some typical items that are required for welding safely.
Welding shield (hood). This is the mask which is worn to protect the person welding from the
bright flash of the arc, and from sparks being thrown during welding. Standard arc welding
lenses are tinted very darkly, since exposure to the arc flash can cause flash burns to the retina
of the eye. A level 10 darkness is the minimum for arc welding. Welding hoods with a flip up
lens was once preferred, as the dark lens can be lifted up, and a separate clear glass lens will
protect the welder from bits of slag while the weld is chipped. The newer self darkening
welding shields are the most desirable welding shield now sold. These welding shield lens are
very light colored for grinding and torch cutting. When an arc is struck the automatic self
darkening lens will change to a preset #10 shade. Even newer on the market are the variable
shade automatic self darkening lens.
Welding gloves. These are special, insulated leather gloves that reach about 6 inches (15.2
cm) above the wrists, and protect the hands and lower arms of the welder (the person
welding). They also provide limited protection from accidental shock if the person welding
comes into contact with the electrode accidentally.
Welding leathers. This is an apron like leather jacket that covers the shoulders and chest of
the welder, used for overhead work where sparks might ignite the welder's clothing, or cause
Work boots. The person welding should wear at least a 6 inch (15.2 cm) lace-up type boot to
prevent sparks and hot slag from burning his feet. These boots should have insulating soles
made from a material which does not melt or burn easily.

I. (2012). Arc Welding Lessons. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from