Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Harrisonburg, Virginia

    Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Please forgive me that I don't really know how to phrase this question without sounding like an idiot. I'm pretty sure the answer will be something like, "After months/years s of practice, you'll just know."

    What do you select first? Do you first pick the rod that you think will work best for the metal, then select the current, then have everything magically work?

    This is generally my standard operating procedure.

    1. Start with 1/8" 6013 at full power (I think that's 70amps on mine).
    2. Can't get any good results, so I switch to 3/32" 6011.
    3. Vaporize whatever I was working on.
    4. Turn the amps way down.
    5. Still burn through everything.
    6. Switch to 7014 in 3/32".
    7. Can't start an arc, turn amps back up.
    8. End up with an awful pile of slag.
    9. Grind everything off and glue it together with epoxy.

    Clearly, I suck at welding. Which is why I'm here, posting online at a desk job instead of out working repairing stuff.
    But anyway, I've actually gained the corrage a few times to bring in a weld for a local shop to laugh at, and hopefully give me some advice.
    The guy at a supply shop last time told me all the slag inclusion could be fixed by a simple solution: using a thicker rod and more amps. I told him my welder couldn't handle more amps for the thicker rods, so he told me then the answer was to use thinner rods and less amps. I then began to wonder if he really knew as much as he thought he did.

    Thicker rods don't seem to work. with 3/32", the arc looks fine but I can't get any decent results. With 6011, I can't find any middle-ground between burning through everything, and getting a bead to actually stick two pieces of metal together.
    7014 runs beautifully and easily, until I look at it without a facesheild on. Then I see that the pieces are being held together by the slag, not the metal. If I chip/grind away the slag, there's not much left.

    Do I go thinner? I've seen 1/16" rod recommended around the Net for cheap AC stickboxes like mine. Is it even worth a try?

    I'll try to post some pictures later, but I'm afraid if anyone actually sees some of the welds I've done, you'll nicely tell me that I should never, ever, bother picking up a torch again.
    "To tell which polarity to use go to the bathroom and pour some water down the drain. If it runs clockwise use straight polarity. If it runs counter-clockwise use reverse polarity. Or if it just gurgles use alternating current." -RandomDave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Melbourne, Australia

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    It would be good to see some pics. What thickness is the material your trying to weld?
    I would start by using some thicker material on to practice ( stuff you wont blow a hole in easy ) with and make sure you are using AC rods. Stick with 6013 and master that first. Its a good GP rod.
    Sounds like you could be traveling a bit fast and keep your arc length short and steady.
    Could be wrong.
    Pics would help.
    Last edited by LarryO; 04-28-2009 at 06:57 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Smyrna, GA

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Skippi - your question(s) are far too open ended and rambling for anyone to give you a good answer without writing a book. We don't know what kind of welder you have, or what thickness of metal you are trying to weld. I agree with Larry, just pick one rod, like 6013 and one metal thickness, such as 1/8" and practice on that. Post some pictures of your welds and people can help you more. We all had to start somewhere, so there is no shame in posting a bad looking weld and asking questions about how to improve it.

    For your more general question, a 3/32 or 1/8" rod is generally a good size rod for around-the-garage use. I also use some 1/16" rods, but I am often welding 16 ga metal. Here is a pretty good guide to arc welding and rod selection, but again you really don't need to go crazy with a lot of rods until you learn to weld with one or two.
    Last edited by smyrna5; 04-28-2009 at 07:40 AM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness


    1/16''--20-40a-up to 3/16
    3/32''--40-125a- up to 1/4
    1/8''--75-185a- over 1/8
    5/32''--105-250a-over 1/4
    3/16''--140-305a-over 3/8
    1/4''--210-430a-over 3/8
    5/16''--275-450a-over 1/2
    can t remember where i found this
    but it does help me for starting out, then fine tune

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    West By Golly Shelby NY

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Different types of rod have different amp ratings for the same size rod.

    3/32 7018 takes more amps than 3/32 6011.

    Real world weldin.

    When I grow up I want to be a tig weldor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Waupaca, WI

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    A good rule of thumb to set your amperage is take the decimal for the diameter of your rod, take out your decimal and set the welder to that number. It's a good place to start, too much spatter = too much amperage.

    Example: 1/8" rod = 125 amps
    1/4 rod = 250 amps
    Go hot, or go home!

  7. #7

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    the following relations can be used to decide the proper amps and stick size:
    rod dia = workpiece thickness (mm)/2 + 1
    amps = rod dia * 30-40
    Example : to weld metal sheet with 6 mm thickness
    rod = 6/2 +1 = 4 mm
    amps = 4* 30 =120 amps
    so use a 4 mm dia rod and set your machine to 120 amps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Hi skippii. A good guide is find the lowest amps the rod will burn without sticking to the work
    Then gradually turn up the amps until the rod flows smoothly , You will soon get to know the sweet spot"
    If it is burning through Start again with a smaller rod, This is very Basic But you will very soon learn how
    to manipulate the amps and heat Keep practising!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Bemidji MN

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    The thread is from 2009 so he should be pretty good by now
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Sorry! never noticed"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Western New York State, USA

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    chart i use. often beginners will start 10 amps lower
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Quote Originally Posted by WNY_TomB View Post
    chart i use. often beginners will start 10 amps lower
    On a recent project I did welding some 1/8" square tubing with Excalibur 3/32" 7018, I'd say that chart gets you into a pretty good ballpark. I think I was running at about 85-90 amps, which is hotter than the "Easy" setting, but was running a bunch of 1" or so welds so I was moving pretty quickly too. Just gotta let the part cool down a bit if you're doing a bunch of those welds in a small area back to back though...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Re: Stick: Amps Vs Rod size Vs metal thickness

    Old thread !

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