It doesn’t matter if you are a DIYer who only welds a few times a year, or someone who is a professional fabricator and who welds each day, there is one thing you can count on – welding is something that requires a lot of skill, experience, and know-how. As a result, it is essential to know about the different welding rods, for example welding rod 6011 vs 6013, and how they are used.
Welding rods, which are also called welding electrodes, are metallic rods that are melted to create a bond between two or more things. It is essential that you learn about welding rods, because if you choose the wrong one, it can create a weak bond. Keep reading to learn more about welding rods, when to use them, and more.
Welding Electrode Options
When trying to decide what welding rod to use, you will encounter several options. The answer to this question is dependent on the type of base materials, metal thickness, and the current used for welding.
Welding electrodes are grouped as non-consumables or consumables. For example, MIG and Arc welders will use consumable electrodes. However, TIG welders will use non-consumable electrodes. Unlike the non-consumable electrodes, the consumable options will melt into the base metal that is being used.
A welder will use electrodes to create an arc, which causes a weld pool and that will fuse the two base metals to each other. The electrode is a type of thin metal wire you can find in various lengths, coatings, and diameters.
For MIG welding, the electrode will be a spool of wire that the MIG machine will feed into the welding gun. However, the electrodes that are used for SMAW and TIG welding look like longer wire rods.
If machine feeding is not available, then the welder will hold the SMAW or TIG electrode while welding. There are some electrodes that are fine for several currents and metals However, it is essential to figure out the electrode type that is designated for specific situations and metals.
Non-Consumable Electrode Options
The most common non-consumable electrodes include tungsten and carbon options. Tungsten rods are used for TIG welding and they are common with residential and industrial applications, than the carbon rods.
It is important to note, CAW or carbon arc welding is a less common and older type of welding. While it is still used today, this is not a process that you will see in a home workshop or welding shop, in most cases. Today, there are some branches of the military that use CAW for cutting and heating metal, but that is generally the only use and application it is seen for.
This is the most popular option when it comes to non-consumable electrodes and can be used with Tungsten Inert Gas or a TIG welder. These electrodes are made out of pure tungsten or a combination that includes thorium and tungsten or zirconium and tungsten. This type of electrode is suitable for much smaller projects and for thinner methods that don’t require the presence of a higher amperage.
The consumable electrode is a common option, and it is used by SMAW and MIG welders. Unlike the non-consumable options, a consumable will melt while welding. With MIG electrodes, a thin wire is used, and it is fed by the MIG machine into the welding gun that is being used.
A robotic MIG welder is considered to be fully automatic, and the machines that are operated by a human welder is known as a semi-automatic welder.
Since MIG machines will use shielding gas for protecting the weld, the MIG wire will not be coated with any flux.
An arc welder will use consumable electrodes or even sticks for producing sturdier welds without using any type of shielding gas. A consumable electrode, which is used by arc welding are classified as a type of bare electrode or coated electrode.
A bare electrode will not have any flux coating to provide protection for the weld pool and they are usually used for manganese steel welding projects. Coated electrodes are considered the stick of choice for those who arc weld and they can be divided into three different groups:
How Welding Rods Are Named
The names for welding electrodes were determined by the AWS or American Welding Society. This is the primary system that is used for identifying specific welding rods – however, it is not exclusive to the U.S., it is used in other countries, as well.
Just as implied by the name, the alpha-numeric approach to using numbers and letters will be found engraved on the side of the welding rod. You will find all types of letter and number combos, which each stand for a unique feature of the welding rod.
The first letter, “E,” that comes first means electrode. The two digits that follow the “E” are the minimum tensile strength of the welding rod, which is something that is measured in psi – pounds per square inch. The third value that is in the sequence will represent the total number of positions that a welding electrode can be used for. Remember, there are four primary welding positions, including overhead, vertical, horizontal, and flat. For example, the one means that a rod can be used in all the positions where two means it will only be used in the horizontal or flat positions.
The final digit refers to the coating type as well as the type of welding current. It could be direct current, alternating current, or both of these. Now that you fully understand the naming system that is used and how it works, you can choose the welding rod that works best for your project.
Being informed is the best way to ensure that you get the desired results and that the weld you are doing will provide the desired results.