Tack welding with stick?
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  1. #1
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    Tack welding with stick?

    Don't have tig or mig, just good ol' buzz box. Is there a method to tack welding with stick? Do I crank up the machine more than for welding and just make a small puddle? Or do I just touch for a brief second? I watched Jodie do it at weldingtipsandtricks but he was using tig so I'm not sure. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    I just leave the machine set to what I'm going to use to weld with anyways. I do a small puddle, just enough to hold things in place. If I find those are not big enough to hold, I'll do larger ones, but usually I want the tacks big enough to hold, yet small enough I can still shift the material to push or pull it back to where I want it when it pulls. The main idea is to have the tacks small enough you can simply burn thru them when you go to do the real weld. If they have to be big, or if you make them too large, you can always thin them down with a grinder after you get some weld down and before you run over the tacks.


    Most students I see go to one extreme or the other with tacks. They either glob on huge piles of weld material, often pulling the pieces apart at the other end as the metal shrinks, or they are too timid and the tacks don't burn in at all on the base metal and just sit on top ( typical with mig when they use too long a stick out, or with stick when they are in too much of a rush and don't let the puddle form).
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  3. #3
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Yep, that's the way to do it. I have to agree with DSW's first paragraph, can't comment on the second one since I haven't been around any welding students.
    Whatcha gonna build anyway, or is that top secret? I bet it's either a thingamajig, or a doohickey, right. But it could be a whatchamacallit.

  4. #4
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    Sure you can tack with stick. Same setting as welding. A tack is a removable weld. Make it that way. Cleans ALL the slag off before welding.
    Real world weldin.

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

  5. #5
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    I consider my tack to be part of my finished weld. I have always made a tack just like a weld but shorter. But that is because I never feel like grinding a tack before I weld.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Thanks guys, the tacking was easy... the welding was not :-)
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    AC-180 Lincolnwelder circa '50's

  7. #7
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    i set the machine about 15 amps hotter than for welding and make a short flat tack so i can weld right over it

  8. #8
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    I've noticed a few welders use "firesticks" (6010 or 6011 cellulose rods) to do their tack welds. Maybe the high penetration of these rods just burns right in their straight away and you don't get the beading or slag inclusions that can occur if everything isn't done right.

    Before I got a bit better with technique and reading the puddle I'd sometimes get beading and slag inclusions at the start of welds, especially with 6012/6013 rods. I personally crank the amps up a bit for tack welds just to make sure the tacks burn in, but maybe that's the amateur in me

  9. #9
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    When you go to welding school, you don't go over to the MIG booth to tack up. You tack with the process you are working with. Someone mentioned Jody. He has more machines than a dealer. I guess he can turn around and pick up any type of torch. Most of us don't work that way.

    But, if I had any preferences, I'd tack with MIG before stick or TIG. I also tack steel with MIG before oxy/gas welding or brazing if I'm doing sheet metal on a car. Tacking with TIG is good too, but you can use up a lot of gas.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    tig tacking doesn't make too much sense if you have lots of fitting up to do or pieces to tack and you're working by yourself. for me anyway. also i find 6010 to be the perfect tacking rod cause it strikes an arc so readily unlike 7018 plus 6010 tacks are so very easy to weld over

  11. #11
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Make your tacks carefully, make sure to establish a puddle and wash it into both sides of the joint. You need to make a proper and strong tack but the idea is to deposit as little weld as possible. If you do get too much buildup, grind it out later before you make your weld joint.

    Make your tacks a little on the hot side, I often use a 6010 rod for tacking, mostly 7018 for welding.

    When you make your first tack, the arc may favour the grounded piece until you get metal to bridge across the joint to the piece you are attaching. You may have to hold a longer than normal arc to the grounded piece and draw the arc over to the piece being attached until it gets hot, then stick the rod right in between the two pieces and shorten your arc to normal welding length so you make your tack and get penetration into both pieces.

    Lot harder to explain than to do it.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Where I work at we do a lot of lap welds when doing the floors on the above ground storage tanks. I use 6010 to tack and usually set the machine hot. For example I run 1/8" or 5/32" 6010 at the same amp as 1/8" or 5/32" 7018 respectively and what this does is drive the tack in deep so it's out of the way for the most part and also the tack stay hot a little bit longer to allow me to hit it with a hammer. That little bit of time that I gain allows the tack to be pliable and cinch down the plate before it freezes.

  13. #13
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay O View Post
    Where I work at we do a lot of lap welds when doing the floors on the above ground storage tanks. I use 6010 to tack and usually set the machine hot. For example I run 1/8" or 5/32" 6010 at the same amp as 1/8" or 5/32" 7018 respectively and what this does is drive the tack in deep so it's out of the way for the most part and also the tack stay hot a little bit longer to allow me to hit it with a hammer. That little bit of time that I gain allows the tack to be pliable and cinch down the plate before it freezes.
    You've just gave me a reason to tack with my 6011s now. I've always disliked welding over protruding tacks. I wonder also if there's less distortion because the tack is in deep rather than "outside" pulling on each side of the steel.

    Cheers,

    Keith.

  14. #14
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Just tack at your normal settings. Don't put too much weld or it'll pull the material as it cools.
    As was said earlier, keep it small enough to weld over. That's where going a little hot can help.

    But if I were doing a lot of tacking, I would use 6010. Besides having a low profile, it also strikes much easier than 7018, which is always pleasant. It will be an especially small weld if you're on 7018 heat.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Tack welding with stick?

    Quote Originally Posted by chopnhack View Post
    Thanks guys, the tacking was easy... the welding was not :-)
    chopnhack, as a matter of fact, I was making the same type of welds on a project today as depicted in your pictures. I didn't take pics however. Anyway, instead of me using my mig welders, I've been doing more and more stick welding. I've discovered that stick welding is just plain stupidity when compared to mig welding. Mig is so much "puuuurtier!" That being said, I find stick welding so much more fun!

    For tacking and running stringers on some long joints , I was using 6013. By the end of day two of welding (earlier this evening), I have to agree with Jody at WeldingTips&Tricks that 6013 sucks b@!!$ I hate the little worm holes it leaves. I was using 6013 3/32 and 1/8" rod and it just blows. So later in the day, I switched out and started using 6011's on DC+ for my tacking. Then I dumped those 6013's and switched to using Forney brand 1/8" 7014's @125A DC+. Those 7014's are so much easier and the beads look 10 times better too!

    I've decided that for the massive shelving project I'm doing, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, in my garage, it's going to be 7014's all the way. Yeah, I could do mig for faster, nicer and cleaner looking welds, but it's just not as fun as STICK !!!

    There is something about the SMAW process that I'm just drawn to. It's mesmerizing to me and such a thrill to use over Mig welding. I love the smell of burnt 6011's in the morning!!! Obviously for cosmetic welding projects, I use mig, but for my garage fit up tool projects..... GIMME MY AC/DC LINCOLN!!!
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