CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

TECH TIPS: 4 common mistakes when SMAW welding & how to correct them 

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Stick welding may be the most common form of arc welding but it’s not necessarily the easiest. ESAB’s experts have a video to help you take your skills to the next level. PHOTO courtesy ESAB.

This TECH TIPS is provided by the experts at ESAB University

SMAW welding, also known as stick welding or shielded metal arc welding, is the most common form of arc welding. However, it’s not always the easiest, especially if you’re just starting out. 

To help you take your skills to the next level, here are four mistakes to avoid and how to fix them. Plus, don’t miss the video from ESAB experts below.

#1: Using the incorrect electrode for the application.

The wrong electrode leads to defects, like porosity and cracking. When you’re selecting an electrode for SMAW welding, make sure you match the electrode classification for strength to the lowest strength of the base material being joined. SMAW electrodes are designated by “E” followed by four or five digits; for instance: E7018.

#2: Setting the wrong polarity for the electrode.

The polarity of a power source determines the direction of electron flow. The right one matters greatly because it affects the quality of the weld. Using the wrong one will also cause spatter, inadequate or excessive penetration, and other issues. Avoid this by setting the proper welding polarity for your particular electrode classification.

#3: Not storing or preparing electrodes properly.

For optimal use, electrodes require proper storage and preparation. Otherwise, they will attract moisture, which can cause porosity or potentially lead to cracking from excessive hydrogen. Prevent this by storing your electrodes in a warm, dry location and bake them per the manufacturer recommendations before you use them. 

#4: Applying the wrong technique when SMAW welding. 

Use a drag technique for flat and horizontal welding positions. This allows you to control the slag material in the puddle. Remember the saying: “If there is slag, you must drag.” If you use the wrong technique, on the other hand, you’ll wind up with slag inclusions trapped between the layers in your weld or at the root of the weld.

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