The Stick Rod Series

Hello again from The Welders Lens, I hope this article finds you without burnt eyes or some other welding trauma.
Today we are going to start our  discussion about the anatomy of stick rod or arc welding with flux coated rods (electrodes).
Of course there are many types of stick rods but the best place to start is with a fast freeze rod.

Fast freeze rods are in a category that has been the foundation for stick rod welding. They are still an industry standard in many places. I have worked for companies that don’t use these rods in their process as a root metal, but most do. When we talk about root metals we are talking about those metals that are always the first metals to be applied to a weld joint, whether it be  pipe welding, plate welding , tube welding, structural welding, etc.
When we speak of this type of rod we are almost always talking about basic carbon steel (also known as black iron or mild steel).
Fast freeze rods have the ability to cool rapidly even while the weld process is in motion.
Imagine stacking dimes on top of one another with slight overlap from one dime to the next. Like a row of fallen dominos

Now this of course would be a flat continuous weld. Each time in welding with a fast freeze rod the rod is moved slightly forward and then back into the original puddle. As soon as you move forward with the stick rod the metal that has been deposited behind the rod is already becoming solid thus applying the term fast freeze. There is some ability to drag the rod without a great deal of movement, but because of the nature of the rod and its design, it wants to solidify rapidly so to prevent a great deal of build up when depositing the metal, you will naturally move the puddle more than some other rods.

The tighter the laying of one dime upon the next signifies good weld continuity. One thing that must be observed with this application is the tendency to undercut the areas of existing weld joint with the new metal that is being layed on top of it. When you step the rod out of the puddle, the area you move ahead to is being dug into by the action of this rod. That is why you step the rod back into the last dime of weld filling in the areas that have been dug out by the rod as it was moved ahead.
This type of rod has a great digging effort with it.

One tip of advice about this type of process is this: “Don’t be afraid to leave enough metal in the existing weld path before moving ahead”. Beginners especially have the tendency to move ahead to fast before depositing enough metal to prevent undercutting the parent metal (existing metal). Undercutting is a term that simply means the weld metal that has been depostied was not enough to flush out the weld with the surrounding surface. Normally, the weld deposited from the rod is enough to make the new weld higher or fatter than the original material. When the metal deposited during the welding process is shy or not enough, the newly deposited metal leaves a jagged edge next to the new metal instead of a nice rounded effect.

6010 electrodes, 7010 electrodes, 8010 electrodes, shield arc 85, 6011, 6013 are all fast freeze rods, just as some examples.
These rods are designed to dig into the parent metal and give good penetration. It is good on rusty metals and metal that is not very clean. Old material that has corroded over time, etc.

One trick you can apply with this type of rod is this: The polarity can be switched when welding this rod allowing for less penetration or digging as it is being welded.
Sometimes on thin metal or metal that cannot hold up to a great deal of scouring effort by the norm of these rods can be overcome by this little trick.
Make the ground positive and the hot lead negative (reverse polarity).You will find that the sound is a bit different while welding than it normally would be. You will also find that the welding rod does not have the tendancy to dig or penetrate as much.
This is a trick that comes in handy, especially when working on thin metals.

I have found for myself that these rods run smoother on a slightly higher heat than you might feel comfortable with. Running a hot puddle is better and becomes easier to handle the more you practice with it.
These rods can be run either uphill from bottom to top on a vertical plane or top to bottom on a verticle plane. There is more movement usually on the uphill and more dragging or leading on the downhill. They are actually all positions rods. Flat, overhead,vertical,horizontal,arkansas bell or 6g which incorporates all of the positions within the weld path.
Normally any pipe test you will ever take will be in the 6g position. There are some exceptions. One of the tests that I never liked taking was a fixed jig test.
This test simulates an actual field weld that will have to be made on the job. They can be a nightmare.

Heat, travel speed, and rod angle are the 3 most important factors when welding with stick rod.
I said heat, travel speed, and rod

One thing that does not usually hurt the stick rod category is wind. It has to really be blowing inorder to hurt the fast freeze series of welding rods.
Some of the rods I mentioned earlier are AC rods and some of them are DC rods. Keep that in mind when choosing your rod.
I have another article coming on that.

Well that’s all the time on this article.

Thanks from the author.


About thewelderslens

I have been welding for over a quarter of a century(25 years). I am 43 years old and have a successful business, a beautiful family. I pastor a church as well. My hope in all this is to bring what I have learned to the forefront so others can get a huge head start. I have lived through it for you. Be thankful. Later. View all posts by thewelderslens

5 responses to “The Stick Rod Series

  • Andrew

    Hi Mr Treadway, I met to give you a feedback last week but I have been so busy. Am looking for big money and how do I do it? by improving on my skills I want to be able to run bigger wires because right now am on 0.45 the company I work for only runs that type. So before I go to school for that am shopping around to see which campany will hire me if I have the qualifications that way I can feed my family more bread. Am pleased with your web site its so educational so many things that a welder takes for granted are impontant when you came to think about it. Thanks a lot have a good week.

  • thewelderslens

    Check it out little daddy. You can make a ton of money welding. Mig is great. Usually it is found in the shop environment. Not very often do you see mig in the field. I will tell you though, the big bucks are in tig welding. I guess it depends on the work in your area. I live in Wyoming and there is no tig work here. Very little industry, mainly oilfield junk iron. I work out of my shop in some good work I landed from a mine outfit. I build stuff and they put into place. It has really been a blessing to me. Talk soon.

  • brandon hill

    hes right there really any money in mig in souyh caroline the avg is around 10$ to weld in same spot all day unless u got a job at bmw but machine welding has taken all those jobs. i have seen some pipe mig welding jobs in fl at about 14$ but tig is were the money is especially journeyman welders i have seen tig jobs near the house for 11.50$ so sometimes its depends on the company! but my uncle tig on gas turbines at ge for 29 years and left maken 26.50 a/hour about 5years ago there making 30$ just coming in the door now! so to answer your question go traveling depending on your exp u could come out looking good!there is a great demand for welders right now!!! 1million jobs in the next 10years!hell they have open up three other tech schools around greenville and the state will pay for it threw wia! good luck!

  • Mathew

    your information was usefull to us and my col-league…. awesome job.. keep the gud work..

  • thewelderslens

    Hey, thanks so much for leaving that encouraging comment.
    I am grateful to be able to help someone. Thanks and hang in there.

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