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Welding advice needed - Please critique my beads

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  • Welding advice needed - Please critique my beads

    Here are my first attempts at arc welding. I'd appreciate any helpful advice or criticism you might have. I was welding on a 1/4" steel plate with 3/32" diameter 6013 rods. The numbers to the left of the beads are the amp setting I used for that bead.

    I know the first bead looks like a sack of nad. Even I can tell that. I had a hard time getting used to how fast the rod burned down and the arc gap was not consistent at all. I also had to stop and start a couple of times. I found 90 amps was too hard to control, but I went back to it after I got used to 75. It still wasn't very easy. I used a circle pattern on all of them except the fifth one from the top, which used a zig zag (see, I drew a picture). Also, I ground away a bit of each bead, but I can't seem to get a picture of it that looks right. There doesn't seem to be any porosity, though.

    I tried arc welding back in junior high, but couldn't get the arc struck because the rod kept sticking. I didn't have that problem here. It was a lot easier than I remembered. I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night though

    One last thing. I gave myself a pretty good tan on my left arm between the glove and my shirt sleeve, so I need to get some more appropriate welding clothes. Do I need a welding jacket or will a heavy cotton shirt be okay? I'll probably swing by the local welding stores later in the week to see what kind of stuff they have. Thanks for any advice you can give.
    Stuart de Haro

  • #2
    None of the top beads look like your best work. They seem to show inconsistent travel speed (varying bead width) and the beads done at 90 amps seem to show a bit of undercutting at the edges indicating the current is a bit too high. I've always been told that the weld metal should fill the crater and meet the parent metal at an angle of approximately 60 - 80 degrees at the edge of the bead.

    FWIW, I use about 90 amps for 3/32" 7018 which typically needs more current than 6013.

    IMHO, the zigzag weave is better as there is little chance you will go back over any solidified slag and get inclusions.

    From what I see, the next step would be to place two coupons side by side and attempt a butt weld and do a bend test. For your first beads since grade school, you've done well.


    I'm sure someone will be along to set us both straight, I'm just a hobbyist welder from way back.
    Last edited by camdigger; 06-25-2008, 02:20 PM.
    Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


    • #3

      Good weld beads for having been away for a long time. The weaving pattern with a pause at each end will make a good weld. Spend a little time at the ends and the center will take care of itself. The 6013 rod can make a good bead by merely striking the arc and laying down the holder so the rod keeps burning. Hands off welding.



      • #4
        Ditto what JR said. Them's some dang good looking welds as you go along. All it takes is practice. Unless you're putting a Nuke together in your back yard, I'd trust your welding to hold any project together.

        LOL... Go with cotton but leather is best. Reminds me of the time I set my cotton lumber jack coat on fire. Burned the left pocket clean off. If it would have been polyester, I probably would have been burned and scared for life. I wear a filter mask so I didn't smell the smoke. It wasn't until my helmet filled with smoke that I realized I was on fire.


        • #5
          that looks great as you get better and are welding big stuff you want it to look like a stack of coins thats very uniform. like a machine welded it.

          lets say you are welding 2 peices and its a 90 degree corner in 3/8" plate. you weld in a round pattern left to right you make clockwise circles, high heat and dont go too slow. (dont cold lap, that will get you fired from a job) .
          you want the clockwise circles to be about 1/2" fillet or as to print.

          If you weld right to left you go the other way and circle counterclockwise.

          If you run flux core its more like run the welder balls out and zig zag from each peice and let the middle sag and be a fillet.

          I just love to weld if my back would let me I would weld 1"+ plate all day and smile, welding is an art and a science and nothing will make you good but practice, practice, practice.

          I have welded many drivelines and there you just weld it very hot and uniformm dont stop and do it in one pass so it is balanced as best as you can.

          many summers on the hottest days I find there was not much machine work and I was welding 1" - 2" plate all day on the hottest days. I was happy to just weld my ass off and enjoy the heat. i just drank 3 gallons of water and ate salty chips so i kept my salt up.

          I think all machinist should learn to weld, they would love it.


          • #6
            The last two look the best all though the 90 amp bead is a little undercut in a couple places.All in all you did fine,especially for 6013 which won't win many beauty contests to begin with.

            Now try some 7018
            I just need one more tool,just one!


            • #7

              Your beads aren't bad. Welds on flat plate aren't exactly real life, unless you're building up a area that's too small. Like a area that's been worn. Perhaps from sliding wear, or bearing wear.

              I would suggest that you make some welds that join two plates together, both flat and at 90 degrees. Outside corners are also good practice.

              I never used much 6013. Years ago, I discovered 7018AC. I get it from an Airco dealer. It's good stuff for my ole Lincoln AC225 buzzbox.

              Back in the distant past, my welding instructor told me that beads should be 3 rods wide and 1 rod tall [not counting the coating.] It's a rule that's worked well for the vast majority of my welding for the last 37 years.

              Keep the rod burning,
              I cut it off twice; it's still too short
              Oregon, USA


              • #8
                Yup.. they look pretty good. 90amps is a bit hot unless you really watch the puddle fill in the edges.
                I seldom use 6013 cept for downhad on sheet metal (read chuting in sawmills etc.). In real life you can get some nasty lil' slag inclusions with 6013.
                I far prefer 7018 and 6010 (what I'm used to running.) 7014 and 7024 is also nice to long as they are used to spec.
                I have tools I don't even know I own...


                • #9
                  Your welds are looking pretty good for your first attempts. It a good thing to practice on more than just flat. Try doing vertical up or overhead. Also it is also good to wear a welding mask or resporator thoose fumes are nasty to breathe.


                  • #10
                    Better than the bubble-gum beads I've seen on some old farm equipment

                    Cam Digger and JR said exactly what I was planning on writing. Glad I read the rest of the posts - I'd've looked like a real arse just repeating what they said!

                    Hey Torker -
                    I've heard other people complain about slag inclusions on 6013 but I've never had any trouble. It gets hairy in overhead posistion, but it seems to work good in flat, horizontal and vertical. I tried some a few months ago just to brush up because I hadn't arc welded anything in a while and I ground them up to check for porosity after hearing many complaints with the rods. They all looked clean. Just for kicks I tried dusting one of them with that crack checker stuff for checking engine blocks and heads when you go to a junkyard and didn't see any indications of micro cracks or porosity.

                    Am I missing something? Maybe the rods are really sensitive to moisture or ... ?

                    I'm not arguing or anything - I concede to the professionals but I was just wondering what you had to say on the subject.

                    edit - for most stuff a long sleeve t-shirt or just a t-shirt for the quick and dirty jobs is fine. If you know you have a big welding project infront of you then proper welding atire is helpful. Try welding heavy gauge structural tubing (1/2" + wall) while on a creeper with your back against a piece of plywood! You get big old drops of slag if your not paying attention. That teaches you to shape up quick!

                    Ditto what Tattoomike said. Welding is incredibly fun - for me it is a very relaxing expierence. (even in extreme heat, bizzare posistions and nasty environments ... like inside tanks where you need a supply of air) One week I had to weld a bunch of supports for a mammoth iron rack. It required my to climb all around like a monkey and crouch down in weird posistions and I had a hell of a sunburn from the weekend. I had sheets of skin peeling off my feet and sticking to my boots, but it was still fun despite the ... discomfort...
                    Last edited by Fasttrack; 06-26-2008, 02:13 AM.


                    • #11
                      Hornluv, the cost of brass driving you to working in steel? LOL Nice looking welds to this rookie welder. I'd be pretty happy with all but the first few if they were mine!
                      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                      Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                      It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                      • #12
               use the stuff'll see what I mean.
                        Just the wrong little wiggle now and again and you'll get an entrapment.
                        That's why I prefer'll burn itself clean.. it digs so hard that it burns out the crap. That's why its prefered for root work on pipe.
                        I have tools I don't even know I own...


                        • #13
                          Interesting ... I wouldn't use 6013 for root passes. I like it for general purpose "off-hand" welding of shop stuff. It's hard (for me anyway) to get it to really burn in when welding heavy stuff. 6011 is a popular rod around here ("farmer's rod" ) and it digs in real well even in nasty iron. The only trouble is that it has a really stiff bead. I think of 6013 as being a compromise between 7014 and 6011. I need to try some 6010, but I think those only run DCEP, right?

                          I've only run 7018 a few times and its wonderful for general purpose welding, from what I expeirenced, but the storage issues have prevented me from buying my own box.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tim Clarke
                            It's good stuff for my ole Lincoln AC225 buzzbox.
                            Hey, we might have the same welder. Is this it?

                            Her paint has seen better days, but she still works nicely.

                            Originally posted by Your Old Dog
                            Hornluv, the cost of brass driving you to working in steel?
                            Nah. I've always wanted to weld and there are a bunch of tools for my shop that I'd like to make that will require it.

                            Thanks everyone for your advice. I've got some more scraps around here that I'll weld into bigger scraps. Then I'll do a bend test on it and post some pictures. I'll try out some 7018 too. I went with 6013 because everywhere I looked said it was a good general purpose rod. I'll be taking a welding course in the fall at the local community college, so that should open my eyes a bit to all the options out there. In the meantime, I'll just have fun and try not to burn my shop down. That is, generally speaking, my goal every time I go out there.
                            Stuart de Haro


                            • #15

                              I thought you had a big 220 Mig?
                              -Dan S.