Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1
RSS | Subscribe | Contact Us | Advertise | About Us
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 70
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Here are some preliminary results - just running some beads with four different 1/8 inch diameter aluminum electrodes.
    1. Hobart Aluminum 4043
    2. Forney 4043 Aluminum
    3. Fire Power Aluminum Arc Rod (Thermadyne)
    4. Blueshield MNR Lite (Air Liquide)

    The weld beads were laid on a 1/4 inch thick aluminum plate measuring about 23 inches long by 6 inches wide.
    Name:  Alum Beads-0.jpg
Views: 7634
Size:  103.7 KB
    You can see the transformer-based (AC 220 amps/DC 140 amps) welder that I used in the background. Amperage adjustment is continuous by means of moving a lever up or down against a printed amperage scale on the machine's front panel.


    I was welding across the plate, laying down three short 1.5 inch beads at 70, 90 and 110 amps (approximate). For each brand of electrode, I laid the three different amperage beads, first at room temperature of 78 F (C) and then repeated the process with a 200 F preheat (H).
    Name:  Alum Beads-1.jpg
Views: 7618
Size:  98.1 KB
    As you can see, the four different electrodes produced similar results - all rather crappie looking!

    Disclaimer: Tricky starts, like sticking the rod, long arcing and avoiding a big blob at the start made it a challenge to develop any sort of smooth flow deposition in only 1.5 inches of bead. Slag covers everything so I couldn't see the weld pool well - that made travel speed a guess and resulted in some rather high weld profiles due to traveling too slowly.

    Maybe... one can see a few 'nice looking' beads?
    • Cold Hobart at 70 amps - but the bead was rather high and proud and this doesn't show well in the picture... so while it looks 'nice', it really isn't.
    • For all the electrodes, the better beads were obtained with 200 F preheat and 110 amps. Preheat helped lower the weld profile and also helped maintain the arc with changes in arc length.


    Here's a close up of the last beads made at 70, 90 and 110 amps with Blueshield MNR Lite (Air Liquide).
    Name:  Alum Beads-2.jpg
Views: 7614
Size:  88.0 KB
    I think the higher amperage 110 amp beads look better.

    However, in general, I felt most the weld beads looked 'cold'.
    The manufacturers' recommended amperage for 1/8 inch aluminum electrodes is 70 - 120 amps.
    Note: I didn't calibrate my transformer-based welder so I can't say for certain that the scale indications of 70, 90 and 110 amps were accurate.
    Do these beads look 'cold' to you? Maybe I need more amps?
    Last edited by zapster; 07-22-2011 at 09:21 AM.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Philly
    Posts
    20,421

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    No offense Rick... I applaude your ambition to do these "tests", but you still haven't learned to weld! I haven't really seen a "good" weld of any sort from you yet. That sort of makes these tests worthless. The beads look too iregular to draw many conclusions at all from where I sit. You need to concentrate on improoving your welding skills 1st. Your attention to detail on these tests is laudable and I applaude you for it. Now take that same attention to detail and learn to weld. If you could weld 1/2 as good as some of the better posters, these tests would have some value. Right now all you are doing is putting metal on a plate.

    Take one rod, say 7018 or 7014, and start at the begining. Run plain beads on plate in the flat position until you consistantly get a nice bead. Them lay another bead centered on the at the root of the 1st, overlapping 1/2 of the 1st bead and do that until you get nice beads every time. Then work on lap, T's outside corners and but joints in that order, again doing it over and over until you can do that joint nice every time. Then do the same procedure all over again with the plates in the horizontal, vertical and overhead positions. Then do it again, but change the heat settings a bit hotter/colder so you begin to understand whats going on when you change settings. Yes it's slow and boring, but thats how you learn to make good beads. When you are done with say 7014, go on and repaet the whole series again with 7018 or 6011... If you have really learned anything the 1st time thru, this should take less time to master... Then move on to the next rod and so on.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    No offence taken DSW... BUT... I'm dealing here with stick welding with aluminum electrodes - not 6011, 6013, 7014 or 7018 steel electrodes which are a 'walk-in-park' in comparison.

    I already did the Learn-to-Weld-Steel thing.
    Name:  3-Alum.jpg
Views: 7791
Size:  137.1 KB

    BACK TO ALUMINUM
    I'm not posting pretty pictures for acolades; this is how it is - and that's how I show it.
    Aluminum is not so easy as steel - at least that has been my experience. It happens hot & fast and the slag interferes too.

    So please, before you derail my thread... do you have the first-hand experience to comment knowledgeably... have you attempted to stick weld aluminum yourself?
    .
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Philly
    Posts
    20,421

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    You are missing my point. None of those beads shown I would list a "good" on steel. I'll give "fair" to a few, but I see a good bit of inconsistancy on all of them. Thats the same inconsistancy I see in you alum beads. Show me evidence you can make "good" welds and I'll conceed the point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V View Post
    Aluminum is not so easy as steel - at least that has been my experience. It happens hot & fast and the slag interferes too.
    I'll agree with you here on this statement. Alum because it's more difficult to weld will give you more trouble because your techniques in general are poor. How can you make a decent weld to show us the differences between the rods, if you are incapable of making a decent weld on a material that you yourself admit is "easier"? Is the "bad" weld a feature of your poor skills, the rod, your machine, or the settings you are using? There are too many variables over which you have no control. You lack the basic skills to lay down a decent bead, Strike one. You lack the skills to adjust and compensate for any machine issues, strike two. You lack experience to determine the correct settings to run the beads at because you don't have the basics down to begin with even on steel, strike three... About the only consistancy in the whole test is that the manufacturers say you can make satisfactory welds if you use thier product correctly... In thery you are using the correct settings suggested by the manufacturer, that should mean you should be getting acceptable results IF you have the basic skill to run stick. Since none of these beads look acceptable, The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that you need to better your skills in stick welding.


    I'm not here to derail your thread, only point out that the basic premise of the test is flawed. None of your beads will be "good" because you lack the basic skills required to perfom an objective test.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    DSW, I am quite disappointed in your attitude.

    You seem to be so fixated on my poor aluminum beads that:
    1. You never addressed my basic question, "Do these beads look 'cold' to you? Maybe I need more amps?"
    2. You never responded to my 2nd question, "have you attempted to stick weld aluminum yourself?"

    Instead, you chose to continue to put-me-down, to trash my steel weld bead too... "None of those beads shown I would list a "good" on steel." Other folks seemed satisfied when I posted them... but not you. Instead you label me "incapable of making a decent weld ".

    Ah well, guess you can’t please everyone.
    So be it, I'll work to improve on my technique...
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    These were my first impressions of the different electrodes at the time of use.
    Rating Numbers: 1 = Poor, 2 = Acceptable, 3 = Good

    Hobart Aluminum 4043 1/8 inch
    Slag Removal with no preheat: 3 Easy
    Slag Removal with 200F preheat: 1 Hard
    Starts: 3 Easy the 1st time
    Restarts: 1 or 2. A challenge as melted slag coats the rod tip and must be scraped off.
    Name:  Alum Beads-3.jpg
Views: 7526
Size:  41.6 KB
    Welding: 1 Have to maintain constant short arc - a challenge.
    General Comments: My travel speed was too slow at all amperages = high weld profile.

    Forney 4043 DC Aluminarc 1/8 inch
    Slag Removal with no preheat: 3 Easy - better than Hobart
    Slag Removal with 200F preheat: 1 Hard
    Starts: 2 - worse than Hobart, sticking rods
    Restarts: 2. Slag does not always melt over the rod tip like Hobart. Sometimes a sleeve forms (like 7018)
    Name:  Alum Beads-4.jpg
Views: 7513
Size:  33.6 KB
    Welding: 2 Easier to keep a short arc because of 7018-like coating sleeve allowed me to drag the rod.
    General Comments: Better than Hobart.

    Thermadyne FirePower Aluminum Arc Rod 1/8 inch
    Slag Removal with no preheat: 3 Easy - better than Hobart
    Slag Removal with 200F preheat: 1 Hard
    Starts: 1 - I had trouble with both rods. Stick the rod and then flux breaks off.
    Restarts: 2. Slag does not always melt over the rod tip like Hobart.
    I never saw a coating sleeve form like with the Forney but once saw an original starting tip!
    Welding: 1 Have to maintain the arc gap yourself, like the Hobart.
    General Comments: Somewhat better than Hobart.

    Air Liquide Blueshield MNR Lite 1/8 inch
    Slag Removal with no preheat: 3 Easy - better than Hobart
    Slag Removal with 200F preheat: 1 Hard
    Starts: 1 - I had trouble with both rods. Stick the rod and then flux breaks off.
    Restarts: 2. Slag melts over the rod tip like Hobart. I never saw a coating sleeve form like with Forney.
    Welding: 2 Once the arc is stable, I could drag the rod - so maybe a sleeve does form.
    General Comments: I felt more comfortable with this rod; I felt I had more control.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,901

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    No offense Rick... I applaude your ambition to do these "tests", but you still haven't learned to weld! I haven't really seen a "good" weld of any sort from you yet. That sort of makes these tests worthless. The beads look too iregular to draw many conclusions at all from where I sit. You need to concentrate on improoving your welding skills 1st. Your attention to detail on these tests is laudable and I applaude you for it. Now take that same attention to detail and learn to weld. If you could weld 1/2 as good as some of the better posters, these tests would have some value. Right now all you are doing is putting metal on a plate.

    Take one rod, say 7018 or 7014, and start at the begining. Run plain beads on plate in the flat position until you consistantly get a nice bead. Them lay another bead centered on the at the root of the 1st, overlapping 1/2 of the 1st bead and do that until you get nice beads every time. Then work on lap, T's outside corners and but joints in that order, again doing it over and over until you can do that joint nice every time. Then do the same procedure all over again with the plates in the horizontal, vertical and overhead positions. Then do it again, but change the heat settings a bit hotter/colder so you begin to understand whats going on when you change settings. Yes it's slow and boring, but thats how you learn to make good beads. When you are done with say 7014, go on and repaet the whole series again with 7018 or 6011... If you have really learned anything the 1st time thru, this should take less time to master... Then move on to the next rod and so on.
    My sentiments exactly!! I stated the same thing in his previous thread and he gathered the hoorah crowd of newbies that don't know what a weld is suppose to look like much less how to produce one only to whine and cry that I was being a meaning, bad person. He even showed me his street cred. baby picture.

    I can't express enough that I like his presentations as they are colorful and pretty and easily read. They show a great finesse of computer skills that I lack. BUT, I do believe he needs to learn to WELD before testing. The idea of testing implies that you have mastered the art of the subject matter and are competent in the minute details of the process.

    A few questions:
    How do you determine the fault of the rod and your inexperience?
    How do you evaluate the lack of weld profile when your best weld profiles show varied inconsistency?

    I had a welding student (not mine) the other day crowing about how good his welds were. He was instructing another student in the “proper” procedures for welding vertical. He stated categorically that you had to drop 20 amps to weld up and that you never ever weld vertical down and only fools would weld vertical down. It wasn’t possible to weld a passable weld vert. down. He also said that you needed keep an extreme angle on the rod so you would burn through the plate (we were welding on 1/4 inch) I took his out to the welder and asked him to demonstrate for me. After he did, I then welded up and then down and then had him prep and bend both coupons. He was shocked. He had never seen slag hold to a weld like mine did. He also found it amazing the finished weld profile was so smooth. Granted I was standing and propped up at a comfortable height. After about an hour he was making huge improvements. It all boils down to rod angle, arc gap, and consistency of travel. It is that simple. You don’t have it. Not to worry, if you quit wasting time with tests and demonstrations and put the time in under the hood you would get it. You have demonstrated that you have skills, just use them in another arena. You didn’t learn computers by wasting your time doing something else. One last thing, running stringers on a flat plate is not welding!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sparks, NV
    Posts
    9,044

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Hi Rick, I agree with you that they look cold, the 110A looks cool but passable in bead profile. as For what DSW said, a 2 inch bead seems really short for trying to evaluate. Maybe you don't have a steady hand. I am a bit the same way, can you try resting your hand on something or rest the middle of the rod on the other hand to steady it. have played with the Al rods a bit. Trying to get the right feed and consistent travel speed esp. on long beads is a challenge with Al rods cuz both have to speed up as the base metal heats up, do you have any 3/32 rod. try a full rod run at the max rating for that rod and then run a 1/8 next to it as hot as you can get it.
    suggestion: try a slight C weave.on your beads not a straight line or whip. also try maintaining a constant travel speed then we should be able to see (I can see it in the 110a pic) of progression from cold plate to warmer plate and your bead flattens out toward the end of those runs...
    I picked up 1/2 a sheet of Al yesterday. some time in the next few days I will try and cut some strips and run some beads with these Powcon's I got all over the place the get pics up. I am also thinking your machine is just not putting out a very nice DC current waveform... I got the machines put up for sale by the way. Oh I forgot which size of the Praxair rods you wanted and how many of each pack. I need to get up to the valley an buy them then I can put a care package together for you
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 07-13-2011 at 04:21 AM.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
    AHP200x; AHP 160ST; MM350P, Spoolmatic 30A; Everlast PowerTig 185; ESAB 875 plasma;Evo 355. OA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    South East Michigan
    Posts
    321

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Young View Post
    My sentiments exactly!! I stated the same thing in his previous thread and he gathered the hoorah crowd of newbies that don't know what a weld is suppose to look like much less how to produce one only to whine and cry that I was being a meaning, bad person. He even showed me his street cred. baby picture.

    I can't express enough that I like his presentations as they are colorful and pretty and easily read. They show a great finesse of computer skills that I lack. BUT, I do believe he needs to learn to WELD before testing. The idea of testing implies that you have mastered the art of the subject matter and are competent in the minute details of the process.

    A few questions:
    How do you determine the fault of the rod and your inexperience?
    How do you evaluate the lack of weld profile when your best weld profiles show varied inconsistency?

    I had a welding student (not mine) the other day crowing about how good his welds were. He was instructing another student in the “proper” procedures for welding vertical. He stated categorically that you had to drop 20 amps to weld up and that you never ever weld vertical down and only fools would weld vertical down. It wasn’t possible to weld a passable weld vert. down. He also said that you needed keep an extreme angle on the rod so you would burn through the plate (we were welding on 1/4 inch) I took his out to the welder and asked him to demonstrate for me. After he did, I then welded up and then down and then had him prep and bend both coupons. He was shocked. He had never seen slag hold to a weld like mine did. He also found it amazing the finished weld profile was so smooth. Granted I was standing and propped up at a comfortable height. After about an hour he was making huge improvements. It all boils down to rod angle, arc gap, and consistency of travel. It is that simple. You don’t have it. Not to worry, if you quit wasting time with tests and demonstrations and put the time in under the hood you would get it. You have demonstrated that you have skills, just use them in another arena. You didn’t learn computers by wasting your time doing something else. One last thing, running stringers on a flat plate is not welding!
    Man, I can't help thinking that you have a personal axe to grind against some of the members of this forum. Most of the stuff you put in this last one is just downright mean spirited. Seriously.

    Are you really a welding instructor? Kind of makes me feel sorry for your students. Do us a favor and post where you teach so we don't make the mistake of going there to learn how to weld "properly".

    I believe I was one of the "newbie whiners" that you referenced in Rick's earlier thread. Yeah, I gave him some support. He deserves it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Well, well... Scott Young... in your own words, "a meaning, bad person."
    It's been over a month since my baby picture asked you to 'Call or Fold' - as in "I showed you my results, you show me yours!" http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php...475#post518475
    You know, I can't recall you posting any of your stick-weld pictures.
    Sorry, 'No ticket, no Entry'. No sneaking in under the fence this time.
    The Price of Admission is a post of your decent stick welds.

    Now DSW... you do have the Price of Admission. I checked out your post on Plow blade repair. http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=38354
    There is a close-up picture of a smooth looking weld you made using 1/8" 7018 with a Hobart AC/DC Stickmate on DC.
    I was impressed - something for me to emulate.
    Alas under that picture was another taken from a distance, "Capped with two passes of 3/32 7018AC. The AC rod gave me a hard time so no close-up pic."
    Huh? You only post pictures of your good welds?

    What's of more value in this comparison?
    • Someone who posts pictures of all his welds: The Good, the Bad & The Ugly, or
    • Someone who post pictures of only his good welds?

    In my case, I may be weak on consistency but Soutthpaw has given me several helpful technique and technical pointers to improve my aluminum stick welds. Soutthpaw is helping in this joint effort, so maybe he can provide the consistency and also the smoothness you expect using the bigger amperage Powcon welder. (Soutthpaw: From Praxair, you were going to get me 1/2 lb (~28 rods) of 3/32 Messer electrodes.)

    On the other hand, my limited skills and my welder (AC 220 amp/ DC 140 amp) may be more representative of the majority of folks who will actually be using aluminum stick rods for maintenance and repair.

    Welding_Swede, thanks for your kind support - much appreciated.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sparks, NV
    Posts
    9,044

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Thanks for the reminder, I will grab some next time I get to the San Fernando valley. I think that a bit more rod movement or some sort of weave or Zig-Zag (small weave say 1/8" side to side, thickenss of the rod) will help your weld appearance a lot. i almost never run a straight stringer bead unless I am doing a root pass on a butt weld for example. the problem on a flat plate stringer is that the weld tends to overbuild in the middle and not enough (weld or heat )on the sides. most beads you really focus on the edges of the bead and the center takes care of itself. when you do weave the momentary change of direction of each edge doubles the time the rod is actually welding the edge of the bead without adding any noticeable pauses on the weld movement....
    here is a good list of pointers too
    other suggestion is do all the welds you want to try with one specific rod brand then do a different brand. Jumping from one brand to another every rod seems like it would make it tougher to be consistent. I know we discussed this before but i didn't really have an answer at the time...
    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...rticles16.html
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 07-13-2011 at 11:38 AM.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
    AHP200x; AHP 160ST; MM350P, Spoolmatic 30A; Everlast PowerTig 185; ESAB 875 plasma;Evo 355. OA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    3,752

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V View Post
    DSW, I am quite disappointed in your attitude.

    You seem to be so fixated on my poor aluminum beads that:
    1. You never addressed my basic question, "Do these beads look 'cold' to you? Maybe I need more amps?"
    2. You never responded to my 2nd question, "have you attempted to stick weld aluminum yourself?"

    Instead, you chose to continue to put-me-down, to trash my steel weld bead too...
    "None of those beads shown I would list a "good" on steel." Other folks seemed satisfied when I posted them... but not you. Instead you label me "incapable of making a decent weld ".

    Ah well, guess you can’t please everyone.
    So be it, I'll work to improve on my technique...
    If this is all you got from DSW's post, you either also have a reading problem or are a recent graduate of the public schools where they put "effort" and "feelings" above practice, understanding and performance.

    It's not about pleasing anyone else; it's about doing things well enough that they serve a real purpose.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Sparks, NV
    Posts
    9,044

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    I messed it some rod for about 20 mins this morning with the 300SM/5P 1/8 at about 110 amps give or take. what I got from these trials is
    1. consistent steady speed and movement is absolutely critical with Al electrodes. probably because they melt so fast and hiccup gives you a blob of bird poop. kneeling on the driveway at my In-Laws house is not optimal.
    2. penetration is not a problem at all with these rods except for too much of it. a lot of my practice beads went right through the 1/4 plate making nice weld beads on the back side of what I was welding.
    3. cooling with water makes the slag come off much easier.
    4. You can tell if the current is too high as I observed the rod was melting before the flux causing a long arc hidden behind unmelted flux that also caused the arc to blow out at an angle

    I will post pics once I get everything figured out. My observation so far is that I need to travel much faster and probably bring up the amps just a bit to reduce rod sticking. for the current required for a good flow of the rod, traditional Steel electrode travel speeds are way too slow. Its hard to get the hang of moving so much faster than I am used to. I do need to go much faster to reduce the penetration while getting a good bead profile without loosing the arc. Also had some good bead profile using a slight push instead of pull travel. The 300 and 400 machines I have do have puddle control which I have set at zero. I can try running with the 200SM as it does not have this feature and may be more representative of Ricks machine settings.
    Rick, I am curious how the back side of you 1/4" plate looks. if you are getting "bead'" appearing on the back side like I was then, like me, your travel speed is too slow. you cannot lower the current cuz then the rod will stick and loose the arc...
    Also, Don't be afraid of heat. looking at your steel as well as your Al beads, a lot of them look cold. much better to err on the side of too hot than too cold

    Also from your pics I would say make 110 or 100 amps your lowest setting and crank up the amps and try 120-140 as that is the max on your machine... I think your trials show pretty clearly that 70 and 90 are way too cold
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 07-13-2011 at 02:02 PM.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
    AHP200x; AHP 160ST; MM350P, Spoolmatic 30A; Everlast PowerTig 185; ESAB 875 plasma;Evo 355. OA

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    99

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Keep at it Rick. Your welding (in general) does need some refinement but keep at it and you'll do fine.

    Some of the guys here like any other board will jump at the opportunity to be critical of anything anyone does unless they did it. But there are some that will give you some encouragement and helpful information along the way.

    I've been a member here for years but post very little. Some good welders here and some that think they're the second coming if you get my drift. Those I tend to ignore.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,901

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Swede, I don't particularly have an axe to grind per se, it is simply the end result of a soured attempt at communicating with someone who insists on not listening to any of the men who know what they are doing. Over time when one continues to refuse to listen to simple things, you grow tired of putting forth the effort. I haven't resorted to vulgarities or name calling or even personal denigrations; rather, I have simply attempted to point out that a person who continues to present themselves as an authority that clearly isn't puts themselves out there for open criticism.

    I never said I was an instructor; sorry if it appeared I was. I mentioned a student due to where I worked they would bring students to weld in the field and would have them work with a real weldor for their "apprenticeship". I wasn't a true apprenticeship as they only would put in a few days a week and a couple weeks a semester. They were attempting to show the students various welding positions and welding environments. I have had some great students that want to learn, and I have had other who are only interested in expressing how much they think they know. The first are very teachable and the latter are just not worth the effort.

    Now, If Zap, DSW, Yorkiepap, SundownIII, Tozzi, Fat Bastard, DavidR or any of the many more not listed wanted to demonstrate the ins and outs of stick welding aluminum they have demonstrated they actually know what they are doing and have a professional level of competency behind them that validates their credibility.

    Rick's reception would be wholly different if he came asking how to better improve his welds and following said advice from those that know than coming out as the authority wanting to be heard. I view it the same as the ones who buy a 110 mig and want to weld a hitch or trailer as their first or second project...people who are hellbent on not listening.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    South East Michigan
    Posts
    321

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Young View Post
    Swede, I don't particularly have an axe to grind per se, it is simply the end result of a soured attempt at communicating with someone who insists on not listening to any of the men who know what they are doing. Over time when one continues to refuse to listen to simple things, you grow tired of putting forth the effort. I haven't resorted to vulgarities or name calling or even personal denigrations; rather, I have simply attempted to point out that a person who continues to present themselves as an authority that clearly isn't puts themselves out there for open criticism.

    I never said I was an instructor; sorry if it appeared I was. I mentioned a student due to where I worked they would bring students to weld in the field and would have them work with a real weldor for their "apprenticeship". I wasn't a true apprenticeship as they only would put in a few days a week and a couple weeks a semester. They were attempting to show the students various welding positions and welding environments. I have had some great students that want to learn, and I have had other who are only interested in expressing how much they think they know. The first are very teachable and the latter are just not worth the effort.

    Now, If Zap, DSW, Yorkiepap, SundownIII, Tozzi, Fat Bastard, DavidR or any of the many more not listed wanted to demonstrate the ins and outs of stick welding aluminum they have demonstrated they actually know what they are doing and have a professional level of competency behind them that validates their credibility.

    Rick's reception would be wholly different if he came asking how to better improve his welds and following said advice from those that know than coming out as the authority wanting to be heard. I view it the same as the ones who buy a 110 mig and want to weld a hitch or trailer as their first or second project...people who are hellbent on not listening.
    Well, that actually makes sense. So, I admit that your earlier post got my dander up. But, I'll concede that you put forth a cool headed response to my hot-headed one and earned some respect from me in the way you went about it.

    I can relate to your frustration about those that seem determined to go through life with cotton firmly jammed in both ears while simultaneously appearing to look for help. I'm only 48 but I really don't understand what is going on with many of the younger generations of people in school or the work place. But, that's for another thread. So, I'll get out of the way and let this thread continue and cooler heads prevail.

    Eric

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    ...I think that a bit more rod movement or some sort of weave or Zig-Zag (small weave say 1/8" side to side, thickenss of the rod) will help your weld appearance a lot... the problem on a flat plate stringer is that the weld tends to overbuild in the middle and not enough (weld or heat )on the sides...
    Thanks for the helpful suggestion and explanations soutthpaw. I'll try that.

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    ...other suggestion is do all the welds you want to try with one specific rod brand then do a different brand. Jumping from one brand to another every rod seems like it would make it tougher to be consistent.
    I think each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.
    Certainly on those first weld beads, moving from one brand to another was effective in providing immediate feedback on the differences in how the electrodes ran. Differences in starts, restarts, coating melt over tip, coating sleeve formation, arc gap variation (like 6011 vs 7018 drag), ease of slag removal, etc. were easily noticed. Those differences might not have been so clear if I was working with just one electrode over an extended period of time, going from weld to weld. As it turned out, the four electrodes that I had available for testing were much the same in most ways - but I didn't know that when I started; that observation could be made only because I used them one-after-the-other. Also, one learns something new with each electrode than may be applied to the next one.

    On the other hand, you are likely right that more consistency could be achieved by focussing on one-electrode-at-a-time. I may move to that as I feel more comfortable with the general and specific charactertistics of each electrode brand.

    In respect of your intial trials...
    RE: 1. consistent steady speed and movement is absolutely critical with Al electrodes.
    Yes Al electrodes are a totally different animal compared to steel electrodes - far less forgiving.

    RE: 2. penetration is not a problem at all with these rods except for too much of it. a lot of my practice beads went right through the 1/4 plate making nice weld beads on the back side of what I was welding.
    Hmmm, that didn't happen with me. Maybe your Powcon 110 amps is more than my 110 amps or else you were travelling quite a bit slower than me?

    RE: 3. cooling with water makes the slag come off much easier.
    I didn't want to do that... as it's not something I would want to do on a real component.

    RE: 4. You can tell if the current is too high as I observed the rod was melting before the flux causing a long arc hidden behind unmelted flux that also caused the arc to blow out at an angle.
    Yikes... Powcon Power Again!

    RE: My observation so far is that I need to travel much faster and probably bring up the amps just a bit to reduce rod sticking.
    Yes, like another forum member said, 'Aluminum likes to be run Hot and Fast!'

    RE: Rick, I am curious how the back side of you 1/4" plate looks.
    I'm getting only a very slight elliptical depression (shinkage?) just under the regions where two beads came close together. The plate is also warping upwards toward the weld - as might be expected. Here's a couple photos of those elliptical depressions - very suble and can only be seen by tilting the plate to catch the light just so.
    Name:  Alum Beads-5.jpg
Views: 7374
Size:  62.2 KB

    Name:  Alum Beads-6.jpg
Views: 7361
Size:  58.1 KB

    RE: looking at your steel as well as your Al beads, a lot of them look cold. much better to err on the side of too hot than too cold... crank up the amps and try 120-140 as that is the max on your machine.
    After calibrating my welder amperage settings, it appears that my reported 70, 90 and 110 amps were actually about 10 amps higher. My welder maxes out at 140 amps and if I already ran at 120 (110 reported) amps, there ain't much honey left in the jar!
    As before, I may have to rely on more preheat and/or uphill welding to get enough heat into the thicker plates and heat-sucking T joint configurations.


    Quote Originally Posted by kaferhaus View Post
    Keep at it Rick. Your welding (in general) does need some refinement but keep at it and you'll do fine.
    Thanks for the encouragement kaferhaus!
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SW Ohio - close to Dayton, OH
    Posts
    157

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    First, keep up the good effort and do not let the naysayers bring you down.

    I have followed this post from the beginning and I never saw any claims by you that you were an expert welder. Matter of fact, a test like this is more useful to the unskilled masses like me. I too have limited skills and a small homeowner grade buzzbox. If there happens to be a rod that shines with handicaps like this then this will be very good info for hacks like me who like to tinker with Non-critical stuff. A professional welder can make nearly anything look good regardless of equipment or electrode - not all of us are that good though.

    Lastly: How did you calibrate/verify the accuracy of your amp setting?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    First, keep up the good effort and do not let the naysayers bring you down.... Lastly: How did you calibrate/verify the accuracy of your amp setting?
    First, thanks rankrank1.
    Lastly, are you sure you want to hear this? Just remember, as you wade through this, you asked for it!

    Welder Calibration July 13 2011

    Calibrate the Negative Lead of the welder
    Procedure:
    Insert pin-type voltage probes into the negative lead with a separation of exactly 6 feet.
    Use a 12 volt car battery as a pure DC current source.
    Pass current through the entire length ~12 feet of the negative lead.
    Currents are controlled and fixed constant by the use of a number of power resisters.
    Current is measured in amps by passing though a digital volt/ohm meter (VOM) set on a 10 amp scale.
    Voltage between the voltage probes is measured using a second VOM set on the 200 millivolt scale.

    Pass various currents through the lead and record the current and the voltage across the 6 feet of lead.

    Here are my results.
    MilliVolts Amperes Resistance x 10^-3 (R= V/I)
    1.1............0.67..........1.642
    1.4............0.83..........1.686
    3.9............2.33..........1.674
    6.1............3.66..........1.666
    15.8..........9.52..........1.660
    Average Resistance over 6 feet = 1.66 x 10^-3 ohms
    Therefore, for my negative lead the Resistance per foot = 1.66 x 10^-3 / 6 = 0.27661 x 10^-3 ohms/ft

    On my welder, I want my digital voltmeter to display 1 millivolt for each amp of current. That way, I can simply read say 100 millivolts and know that the current is 100 amps.
    That means I need a lead resistance of R = V/I = 1 x 10^-3 / 1 = 1 x 10^-3 ohms.

    Thus, I now need to insert voltage probes into the lead separated by a distance S that will give me that resistance (1 x 10^-3 ohms)
    S (ft) = R (ohms) / R[cable] (ohms/ft)
    S = 1 x 10^-3 / 0.27661 = 3.615 ft, or 43 & 3/8 inches.

    Reposition the voltage probe at 6 feet to 43 3/8 inches from the other voltage probe.
    Now a voltmeter connected between the voltage probes will display amps as millivolts. e.g. 100 amps will display 100 millivolts.
    Name:  Alum Beads-7.jpg
Views: 7333
Size:  67.0 KB

    Welder Ampere Scale Calibration
    Low Current - Used 5/64 inch diameter Lincoln 6013 electrode
    Medium Current - Used 3/32 inch diameter Forney 6013 electrode
    High Current - Used 1/8 inch diameter Forney 6013 electrode

    For each welder DC amperage setting, from 20 to 140 amps in my case, I established and maintained a smooth arc for about 7 seconds using 5/64, then 3/32, then 1/8 inch electrodes. Using a small digital camera on movie-mode set on a tripod, I video taped the welder amperage setting and the display of the voltmeter.
    Playing back the videos, I could note the position of the adjustment lever against the amperage scale and see the actual welding current in amps on the voltmeter.

    I made a table of my results.

    Lever Position on......VOM Displayed
    Welder Scale DC......Amps
    ....................................5/64..........3/32...........1/8
    Min 20..........................35
    25................................40
    30................................50
    40................................55.............. .................no arc
    50................................45............60 ..............65
    62................................55-60.......55-60........65-75
    70................................60-70........63.............80
    80................................75-80........85.............95
    90................................82............85-90........100
    100 Estimated...............90.............100........ ..110
    110..............................90-95........105........115-120
    120..............................no rod........115...........125
    130............................................... ................135
    140............................................... ................140

    There it is - by now you'll just want to buy a clamp-on DC amp-meter!
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SW Ohio - close to Dayton, OH
    Posts
    157

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Now that is pretty darn clever. The Only thing that I do not like is having to pierce the insulation on the cables with the probe leads.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,508

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    Now that is pretty darn clever. The Only thing that I do not like is having to pierce the insulation on the cables with the probe leads.
    That's why the bandaids - those pieces of white tape... to seal it up later.
    Just think of it as another needle in your arm to extract a little blood.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
    Posts
    2,900

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    Rick,

    First, let me say that you definitely have an "inquiring mind" and do demonstrate above average intelligence, combined with some old fashioned ingenuity.

    With that said, I can't understand why you're having as much difficulty as you are with grasping what DSW is saying.

    I did my graduate work in Industrial Engineering with a concentration in Systems Analysis. One of the first things we were taught was the importance of minimizing the variables in any test so as to validate the results.

    DSW was not criticizing your weld beads as to whether they were good or bad. What he was saying was that the consistency was not there, even with steel, to move forward in evaluating the performance of aluminum rods.

    Looking at all the beads produced from the different rods you used at different settings, produced one underlying fact. None of them produced "acceptable results" for anything other than hobby use. I think that's why you hear different comments about this whole exercise. On one hand you have the inexperienced guys cheering you on with their "great job, really interested in the results, etc, etc". Then you have the experienced guys who place a higher degree of "acceptability" to their work.

    Several comments have been made about the results being "more creditable" if the tests were conducted by more experienced welders. That's not going to happen. No pro is going to be wasting his time evaluating what rods provide the best/unacceptable welds. A pro is going to use the proper equipment and get satisfactory results.

    On the other hand, the hobbiest (who this thread seems directed towards), doesn't have the same acceptability standards as the pro, and will be satisfied with just being "able to stick two pieces of aluminum together". From what I've seen from your work, there isn't a great difference between ANY of the rods you've used. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that a larger sample of different electrodes will produce the same results.

    In a previous posting you fired back at me claiming that "not everyone has thousands of dollars of machines dedicated to a particular process". To that, I respond, you're right. But you should also know that I do a fair amount of aluminum welding/fabrication and not one of the beads/welds you show would ever leave my shop as representative of the work I do. If you plan to race at Indy, you don't enter a Ford Fiesta.

    You don't see the pros on here telling posters how to achieve the "best welds" on aluminum using a Hobart 140. The reason you don't is because they already know it's an inferior machine for the task at hand.

    You're a smart guy. You'd be better served spending the time/effort on developing your skills in a proven process.

    As I once had to tell two PHD mathematicians that worked for me, "I don't give a f--k whether you integrate or differentiate, the basic premise is flawed, so any conclusion is invalid".

    If you wish to improve your welding skills, spend the time on proven processes. If you're just interested in "playing around", then do so. Just don't expect the experienced guys to be chiming in with the RAH RAHs that the newbies do.
    Syncro 250 DX
    Dynasty 200 DX
    MM 251 w/30A SG
    XMT 304 w/714 Feeder & Optima Pulser
    HH187
    Dialarc 250 AC/DC
    Hypertherm PM 1250
    Smith, Harris, Victor O/A
    Smith and Thermco Gas Mixers
    Access to a full fab shop with CNC Plasma, Water Jet, etc.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
    Posts
    531

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    ^^^This guy nailed it Rick. It doesn't look like DSW is trying to put you down at all, he is just saying that even your regular stick welding comparison looks like a welding students work at best, its very inconsistent it doesn't really look like you have quite grasped how to see the puddle when you are welding. To be honest it might be your machine too it looks like a cheap welder, not a professionals tool. I'd like to see you weld some beads with a nice machine and go from there.

    But I do like the fact that you are taking your time to compile all this info and test it out.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
    Posts
    531

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    And FWIW even the 110 amp beads look very cold. Don't pay attention to what the box tells you to weld at amperage wise, you should be paying attention to the weld itself and how the rod runs. Your machine could be off, your style of welding depending on your arc length can change the way the amps run a rod. For example my co worker on the same machine, same fresh 1/8" 7018 would run at 125ish because he stays more away from his work and has a longer arc length, if I ran that same rod it would be cold and I like to run 135-140 because I keep a very tight arc length pretty much buried.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
    Posts
    2,900

    Re: Comparison of Stick Electodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1

    LOL,

    Personally, when I want to check the output of one of my machines, I'll use my Fluke AC/DC clamp meter and read the amps directly.

    Punching a bunch of small holes in your welding cables is NOT a good idea.
    Syncro 250 DX
    Dynasty 200 DX
    MM 251 w/30A SG
    XMT 304 w/714 Feeder & Optima Pulser
    HH187
    Dialarc 250 AC/DC
    Hypertherm PM 1250
    Smith, Harris, Victor O/A
    Smith and Thermco Gas Mixers
    Access to a full fab shop with CNC Plasma, Water Jet, etc.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
RSS | Home | Penton Media | Contact Us | Subscribe | For Advertisers | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement