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  1. #26
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    6013 is a light penetrating rod, so it really won't make any difference vs say 7014 that's a medium to light penetrating rod. I'd simply use the rod that you run best for the small trailer or the shovel.


    A few things about the truck frame... Newer vehicle frames really aren't meant to be welded. There's a lot more to welding them up then the average person is set up to do. Most use high tensile or heat treated frames that require specialized procedures and filler. #2 you can't weld to rust. In most cases the rust goes much farther than you realize once it actually rusts thru. The right way to do a "repair" of this sort is to blast the frame and strip all the rust back, so you can really examine the base metal and determine the extent of the issue. Many times this requires you strip the frame, but chances are once you see the extent of the damage, you'll be replacing the whole frame anyways.

    Last issue with this is the fact you really aren't yet ready to do welds out of position I'm betting, especially vertical. Most new guys have major issues with undercutting when trying to attempt vertical welds. All that undercutting will weaken the frame at the weld. There's a very good chance you can actually do more damage than you "fix". Welding on structural parts of a vehicle is a bad idea unless you can make code quality welds every time in all positions. It will take you a while to get there even with a lot of good practice.
    Good info, still curious though, will running 1/16" rod allow for a deeper penetration than 5/64" or vice verca? This is assuming running it on my 50 amp welder, I know if you adjusted the amps "properly" then the 5/64" should burn in deeper.

  2. #27
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    5/64" would let you run more amps, and thus get more penetration everything else being equal. It would be the amps that would really make the difference assuming the same rod type.

    If you really needed more penetration, then you might choose 6011 which is a deep penetrating rod over 7014 or 6013. 6011 also usually runs at lower amps than the other two, so you might be able to run a slightly larger rod as well as getting more penetration.

    Everything else being equal, 7014 would give you a stronger weld since the rod is a 70K rod vs only a 60K rod for the other two. 7018 would have the same approximate tensile strength, but it's usually a "tougher" rod and takes more abuse.

    You might find this post by CEP to help somewhat. Look at how many hammer blows it took to break each weld. 7018 taking the most, 7014 falling in the middle, and 6011 falling at the bottom. This "test" shows toughness or impact resistance of different rods.

    http://weldingweb.com/showpost.php?p=935021&postcount=4
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  3. #28
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Wow, 6013 only 3 blows while 7014 took 10!

    I'll end up trying both the 5/64" 6013 as well as the 1/16" 7014 but assuming I like the way the 7014 runs I may stick with that.

  4. #29
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    I second DSW and it can't be said enough times. New welders should not do structural welding on vehicles nor trailers.
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  5. #30
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    I second DSW and it can't be said enough times. New welders should not do structural welding on vehicles nor trailers.
    I agree fully, just didn't think a patch on a frame was dangerous if done wrong - turns out it is and I appreciate the help and honesty in this forum, I'd much rather have to pay someone to do something like that then to take my or others life in my hands due to a cruddy weld.

    That said, I should be ok to do a headache rack for the back of my truck right? It's on a vehicle but not structural and I would test the weld strength via 3lb hammer blows etc to make sure it seems real solid before bolting it onto the truck.

  6. #31
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by joecool85 View Post
    That said, I should be ok to do a headache rack for the back of my truck right? It's on a vehicle but not structural and I would test the weld strength via 3lb hammer blows etc to make sure it seems real solid before bolting it onto the truck.
    Assuming you don't plan to load insane amounts of weight on it or try to build it out of super heavy materials, you should be fine. The machine is a bit light in output for what I would probably prefer, but it will do the job with proper prep.


    Personally I'm not the greatest fan of the "hammer" test as it really doesn't show all that much many times. I do realize it's the best "test" many new guys have available, but it really doesn't give you as much real feed back as many think.
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  7. #32
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    Assuming you don't plan to load insane amounts of weight on it or try to build it out of super heavy materials, you should be fine. The machine is a bit light in output for what I would probably prefer, but it will do the job with proper prep.


    Personally I'm not the greatest fan of the "hammer" test as it really doesn't show all that much many times. I do realize it's the best "test" many new guys have available, but it really doesn't give you as much real feed back as many think.
    Honestly the biggest reason for the rack on my truck is so I don't break one of my sliding windows throwing in pieces of firewood. I'm also thinking that I could use it as a strapping point if I have a fridge in the back etc.

    **Edit**
    This is for a 2000 Ford Ranger Stepside, so it's a narrow 6' bed.

  8. #33
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by joecool85 View Post
    Wow, 6013 only 3 blows while 7014 took 10!

    I'll end up trying both the 5/64" 6013 as well as the 1/16" 7014 but assuming I like the way the 7014 runs I may stick with that.
    You would love how 7014 runs if you had even a slightly better welder, but as I have already mentioned in my other posts 1/16 rods are a pain and the easiness of 7014 is the only thing that makes the 1/16" diameter tolerable. You simply do not have enough oomp to run any bigger diameters of 7014 as 7014 likes amps.

    6013 is not one of my favorite rods unless I am building up worn parts for free hand machining with hand power tools then it absolutely becomes one of my favorites. That all I said, I still prefer the 5/64" 6013 in most cases (but not all cases) with a crappy little 50 amp fixed welder like you and I have for almost all welding applications.

    On certain joints it frankly will not what matter which rod you prefer to use. There will simply be times on certain joints where one of them runs like crap and the other runs fine. Guess which one you have to use then - bingo whichever one runs decent? It is the only variable you can change so overthinking it is totally pointless - as I said before you need both rods.

    As for strength and penetration you will notice little difference on the type of stuff that your skill set and that crappy little welder should be welding (again no car frames or anything critical). Either rod choice is much stronger than brazing and look at all the stuff that is repaired with braze. The little crappy welder can do quite a bit if the expectations are kept reasonable and appropriate.
    Last edited by rankrank1; 01-09-2013 at 09:41 PM.

  9. #34
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    As for strength and penetration you will notice little difference on the type of stuff that your skill set and that crappy little welder should be welding (again no car frames or anything critical). Either rod choice is much stronger than brazing and look at all the stuff that is repaired with braze. The little crappy welder can do quite a bit if the expectations are kept reasonable and appropriate.
    That's kind of what I was thinking, glad to hear I was on the right path. I appreciate everyone's help. I'll grab some of each rod (5/64" 6013 and 1/16" 7014) and try them out on my next project/repair.

  10. #35
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by joecool85 View Post
    Honestly the biggest reason for the rack on my truck is so I don't break one of my sliding windows throwing in pieces of firewood. I'm also thinking that I could use it as a strapping point if I have a fridge in the back etc.
    The statement above is what scares me about a "50 amp" Hong Kong welder. Thinking you're going to get a weld that is strong enough to strap down a fridge while maybe taking a corner quickly or hitting the brakes hard will stress a "50 amp weld bead." Same goes with tossing a wooden tree trunk log and hitting a headache rack might crack a weak weld too. I believe the experts here about the multiple passes being "better," etc... However, no offense to you joecool85, but an inexperienced stick welder with a weak machine, coupled with multiple passes equals some bloody ugly welds. Those welds are gonna look more like freshly hacked up and blown, desert-camel booger sugar!

    Can't you just go buy a Lincoln AC-225 used off of your "local" Craigslist ad??? If you dont have 240v available, may I suggest the Harbor Freight 80 amp inverter welder (model #91110)? i personally dont like that welder either, but its got a bit more horse power (heat) than your 50 amp model. You'd do yourself a much safer and wiser favor by upgrading, however slight.

    Just my .02 cents worth....
    Last edited by SuperArc; 01-11-2013 at 05:26 AM.
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  11. #36
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    My first welder was one step better then what you have. I was a century I picked up from Harbor Freight tools. My first project was a heat exchanger for a Franklin Stove. I used 1/16 6011 and had the exchanger tacked together but after an hour of welding the welder just melted.

    You really need a 220 AC machine to do much of anything.

  12. #37
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Guys you keep saying dump the machine ... He may not want to become a pro and just want to play/fix stuff. Thats ok. That is the same kind of machine I started with and have ended up going up twice. I still like to play and have so for better than 30 years. I have No interest in tig, hate mig and just like to use my 225 amp buzz box. I have built myself lots of stuff but post pictures of nothing. When I started here I spent weeks reading back posts. I went back YEARS. I wanted to learn more and get better and pick brains. I wish I didnt sell my little 50 it was fun to play with (I even patched a friends trailer so he got it home at 3 am in a coffee shop parking lot( We were in our 20's)). Perhaps I find another one some day. Have fun with it dude. I still keep 5 LBS. of those tiny rods for fixin real thin stuff.
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  13. #38
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperArc View Post
    The statement above is what scares me about a "50 amp" Hong Kong welder. Thinking you're going to get a weld that is strong enough to strap down a fridge while maybe taking a corner quickly or hitting the brakes hard will stress a "50 amp weld bead." Same goes with tossing a wooden tree trunk log and hitting a headache rack might crack a weak weld too. I believe the experts here about the multiple passes being "better," etc... However, no offense to you joecool85, but an inexperienced stick welder with a weak machine, coupled with multiple passes equals some bloody ugly welds. Those welds are gonna look more like freshly hacked up and blown, desert-camel booger sugar!
    Well, if it doesn't come out strong enough with my welds, I will rethink it. But I think it's possible to make something decent out of it. As for the fridge thing, it would be for one of the two straps I like to always use. Right now I can only get a strap 2' from the bottom (height of my bed). This would allow a strap higher up as well, it wouldn't be holding the weight of the fridge on it's own. In fact, just the lower strap is normally fine, I just like having two. That and I don't move a lot of big stuff like that normally, once every couple years or so.

    **Edit**
    I'll post pictures for scutinization when the time comes. Won't be till summer at the earliest though since I'm real busy. Having a 1 year old son around the house will do that to you!

  14. #39
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by dumb as a stump View Post
    Guys you keep saying dump the machine ... He may not want to become a pro and just want to play/fix stuff. Thats ok. That is the same kind of machine I started with and have ended up going up twice. I still like to play and have so for better than 30 years. I have No interest in tig, hate mig and just like to use my 225 amp buzz box. I have built myself lots of stuff but post pictures of nothing. When I started here I spent weeks reading back posts. I went back YEARS. I wanted to learn more and get better and pick brains. I wish I didnt sell my little 50 it was fun to play with (I even patched a friends trailer so he got it home at 3 am in a coffee shop parking lot( We were in our 20's)). Perhaps I find another one some day. Have fun with it dude. I still keep 5 LBS. of those tiny rods for fixin real thin stuff.
    Well said. And it may be the reason that I actually have kept mine too even though I now have better welders.

    I actually hated mine when I bought it 20 plus years ago at a yard sale for $8. Went to the LWS told them what I had for a welder and needed some stick rods to run on it. Guess what they sold me 1/16" 6010. Idiots LWS recommended and sold me DC only rods to run on an AC only welder. Of course I did not know any better back then either, but I have NOT been to that LWS branch since and its 20 plus years later. You can only imagine my frustration with trying to weld with DC only rods on an AC output welder so much so that I put it on the shelf for 10 years and never even tried to use it again.

    Finally, the internet age develops and I start educating myself and trying some things again on the cheapo little welder. I experimented with many rods really just as a stubborn challenge. Viola it will work if OP uses the sizes and brand that I recommended. (If I was ever to find some 5/64 6011 rods then I would like to try those on it too, but I have never found any. Have not looked real hard though. I doubt that I would like them anyways as I hate 3/32" 6011 on bigger welders. I do like 1/8" 6011 though).

    Really, I wish I would have become much more enlightened before I laid out $700 or $800 by the time I bought my Lincoln SP-135P mig welder, bottle lease, regulator, etc. I simply listened to everybody else and mig was the in thing to have according to everybody. Do NOT take me wrong the Lincoln is a great little wire feeder, but it is an expensive luxury that I did not personally really need. Only place it really excels is welding thinner metal than say 16 gauge - which I do very little of and it pretty much maxes out at 3/16" max capability. For 16-18 gauge and of course thicker metals I could easily used my el cheapo stick 50 amp stick welder or my (Lincoln AC-225 since sold), or my Miller Thunderbolt AC225/DC150. Any of which I had/have less than $100 invested into. Not to mention stick always does better on dirty rusty metal or welding outdoors.

    Lastly, as I have said from the beginning this little 50 amp welder should never really be used for anything "critical" and even defined critical applications as "anything where if it breaks then either you or someone else is likely to be hurt".... but it can still be quite useful for non-critical stuff. For small quick repairs it can be very handy and portable. For building large projects from scratch then not handy as the tiny duty cycle of like 15% means you can only weld for 1.5 minutes then you will need to wait 8.5 minutes for it to cool down. Not practical on a large project, but no problem for quick little repair jobs.
    Last edited by rankrank1; 01-11-2013 at 12:55 PM.

  15. #40
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Thanks so much for the help guys. Between my new auto-tint helmet and the 1/16 7014 I picked up I realized I can actually weld! Now, I'm still new and not very good, but I can stick two pieces of metal together without wasting too much time...which is more than I can say for when I was using the 1/16 6013. That said, I am getting frustrated with the 1/16 rods being so wiggly when full length. I think I might try snipping some in half. I have SO much more control when they get down to 1/2 or even 1/3 of original length.

    It does make me want a bigger welder though...I'm hooked.

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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    There's no problem with shortening rods. I usually just use a pair of linemans pliers to remove the flux from the end after i cut one down.
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  17. #42
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    If the OP dumps that 50A machine, he could buy a buzz box and have a weld range between 40-225 amps. He gets the best of both worlds that way. He can still play with those 5/64's and 1/16 rods all he wants. However, I doubt he'll keep those once he realizes his machine can also do 3/32's and up and produce nicer welds.

    I saw a used Limcoln AC-225 for $40.00 about a week ago on CL. I should have bought it just for the killer brass ground clamp and the 10lb's of 6011 the guy was throwing in.
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  18. #43
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by ANVIL View Post
    If the OP dumps that 50A machine, he could buy a buzz box and have a weld range between 40-225 amps. He gets the best of both worlds that way. He can still play with those 5/64's and 1/16 rods all he wants. However, I doubt he'll keep those once he realizes his machine can also do 3/32's and up and produce nicer welds.

    I saw a used Limcoln AC-225 for $40.00 about a week ago on CL. I should have bought it just for the killer brass ground clamp and the 10lb's of 6011 the guy was throwing in.
    You're probably right. Am I right in thinking that you can normally weld down to the size of the rod compared to base metal? IE - the thinnest base metal you'd want to weld with an 1/8" rod would be 1/8" mild steel?

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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Keep your eyes open for deals. I got a barely-used Thermal Arc Dragster 85 with two complete sets of leads and four boxes of rods for $50. and a Clarke 130 mig welder with new 5 lb. CO2 bottle, flow meter and 5 spools of wire for $85.
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  20. #45
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by joecool85 View Post
    You're probably right. Am I right in thinking that you can normally weld down to the size of the rod compared to base metal? IE - the thinnest base metal you'd want to weld with an 1/8" rod would be 1/8" mild steel?
    Never did get an answer on this, guys?

    Also, I got a chance to weld up that frame for my access panel. I used 1/16" 7014 on 1/8" thick angle iron. The welds came out strong enough, but not pretty at all. Luckily it's just a frame and I could have epoxied it together as far as strength required goes.

  21. #46
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Generally what you said is true. Someone recently did post up some very nice lap welds running 5/16" 7018 on 1/8" material, but that's an exception to the general rule and requires a fair bit of skill to pull off well. The fact a lap joint allows you to work with more material, plus the fact they were welding a bit high on the upper plate so they were burning thru both rather than only one, helped them pull it off well.

    I usually prefer to work with rods that are smaller than the base material, so for 1/8" steel, I'd probably go with 3/32" rods over 1/8", but I've made 1/8" rods work in the past on several occasions. Rod type also matters as well as amp setting. 1/8" deep penetration rods like 6010/11, run near the top of their suggested amp listing, wouldn't be my 1st choice to run on 1/8" material. I'd rather run a medium to light penetration rod like 708 or 7014 at a medium to low setting given a choice. Also your skill level will play a huge part in if you can pull this off successfully.


    If I remember right, your machine only puts out 50 amps max. That's no where near enough to run any 1/8" rods, or even most 3/32" rods, so your question is somewhat a moot point. You really need a machine capable of at least 90 amps to run most 3/32" rods, and you probably want a machine capable of 130-150 maps minimum to run most 1/8" rods.

    Show us the welds. My guess is you were probably going to fast and didn't let the puddle build. 1/16" rods shouldn't have any issues on 1/8" material if you do your part.
    Last edited by DSW; 04-01-2013 at 07:36 PM.
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  22. #47
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    I'd show you the welds, but I had to grind them flat for the application (needed a flat surface for the seal to contact on for the lexan window/door).

    Also, the rod size question regarding 1/8" rods was more of a general welding question, not applicable to my welder. I know I'm stuck with 1/16" 7014 and 6013 and 5/64" 6013 due to the limitations of my machine.

    I'll have to post some pics next time I do some welding. I'll be embarassed no doubt, but hopefully it'll help me get better.

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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Also, I see what you guys mean about needing more amps. This was fine for this project, but it was obvious that the rods weren't burning all the way into the 1/8" steel. From a guesstimate I think I'd need maybe 75-80amps to really get good penetration.

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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    I was in the same boat as you a while back, I was stuck with one of the 80 amp inverters from Horrible Freight and it made me not want to weld and just give up on it. I think that's what alot of the low amp machines do, they make you think it's alot harder than it actually is and frustrate you beyond belief. I soon upgraded from that to an old Miller Bobcat I found off of Craigslist for $1,000 and it wasn't the best but it got me a lot of practice with a real welding machine and I fell in love with welding at that point, I eventually sold that one off for more than what I paid for it and bought a 2012 Bobcat with less than 400 hrs. on it for $1700 IIRC. Now i've been in welding school since January 20 of this year and next month I will be out of school with a bunch of certs and getting ready to go back for TIG and metallurgy.
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    Re: Small 50amp welder, what rods?

    Quote Originally Posted by joecool85 View Post
    Also, I see what you guys mean about needing more amps. This was fine for this project, but it was obvious that the rods weren't burning all the way into the 1/8" steel. From a guesstimate I think I'd need maybe 75-80amps to really get good penetration.
    If you go up to a 5/64" 7018 rod you'd be in the 50-80 Amp range and you could easily do 1/8" steel with that.

    You just need a machine that can really deliver 80 A or more. I think a lot of hobby machines are mislabeled.
    Last edited by Pete.S.; 04-08-2013 at 12:09 PM.

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