Stick Welding ~ absolute beginner

Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
17
Hello all.

My 2021 project is to build a Viking Recumbent Trike. I MIG Welded many things over 20 years but no longer have the MIG (Clarke 185). I've also Soldered and brazed. However, this project is reliant on "low cost"! I have an angle-grinder and amost every tool that I should need apart from a welder.

Until recently I was living on a Yacht on a Marina (Millbrook, Cornwall, UK). The pontoons were frequently being added to or repaired. One day I met up with the welder who was adding a 6 rung steel ladder from one pontoon up to a higher level. I could not beleive the small size of the Welding Set he was using. This was the first iI had heard of and seen an INVERTER Stick Welder. So small and so light in weight (No Transformer). That was a few years ago but I still have details of the make/model in my notebook . . . . . . SO, I'm going for a Hyundai MMNA 160 Inverter Welder which costs £115 (approx US$156). SO(2), a new learning curve. Have tons of steel scrap to practice on! I will be welding mainly 1/16" steel tubing and other sheet steel from 3mm to 6mm thick. I wonder what size MS Steel coated sticks and the current required for the thin stuff?

Steve
Nr Liskeard, Cornwall, UK
 
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Joined
May 31, 2013
Messages
3,624
Location
South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
Hello & Welcome :)
All of the bikes & trikes in Brad's Plans were built with little more than his trusty buzz-box stick-welder and an angle-grinder, so you are in great company.
Most of us mere-mortals are on MIG/TIG and personally I think Stick is only for "Gods & Geniuses with perfect hand to eye co-ordination and not for a klutz like me. ;)
Enjoy the hobby, it is addictive.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
302
Location
Lanc's, England
Hi Steve.

In my experience a 2mm 6013 electrode is the most suitably size and type for bike welding, I have tried 1.6mm but found the electrode hard to use , to soft, tend to bend when you stricke up, proberly becuse of my inexperience. But be aware all 2mm rods are not equal there is alot of affordable chinese rods on the market and some are not that easy to
use, even among the european makes there is a big differens.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
17
Thank you DannyC and Pegasus for your help. I was in the same predicament 20+ years ago when I ended up buying the 185A MIG and it was close on £400 then! But that was for building a Yacht with over a ton of steel! It did many other jobs until it's failure. True that for the tandem trike where the structure is mainly 1/16" ms, I don't need a 185A one . . . and my budget is low. I'm looking for a lower cost, lower max current unit but so far without success, hence looking at Inverter Stick Welders at little more than £100.

Perhaps I will borrow or hire a stick welder and have a play with 2mm OWS sticks and see how I get on.

Steve
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
1,267
Location
Netherlands
I use also 2mm after I started with 1,6mm. They are to hard to work with.
The 2mm need a higher temp, but as you do short welds, it will be OK.
Practice first and use a part to rub over first. Then it will start easier on the part you want to weld.

Just try it and don't give up. Even as the weld looks terrible l, you can clean it up.

Goodluck.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
17
Thank you Emiel . . . . 2mm Sticks would probably work well with the thinner gauge of metal and probably with the fabricated steering and transmission components. I'm going to see a freind shorltly when Colvid lockdown permits. He is a pro welder for a large luxury motor yacht company fabricating/welding in most metals but mostly stainless steel. He will probably tell me to use MIG or TIG! Haaa

Steve
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
57
Hello All

I am putting together the set up I will need for Brad's Streetfighter project. Much mention here of MIG welding, would that be with or without shielding gas. Anyone looking at Brad's plans will see he is an expert welder. I'm curious to hear recommendations for a newbie who wants his work to look nice and be durable. Thanks in advance.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
23
Location
western NC
My 110v stick welder came from a local flea market about 35-40 years ago, bought for $15. The original rod holder and ground clamp were aluminum and I replaced them with better ones. It is not adjustable, having only an on/off switch. It works well on light gage metal with the appropriate size 6013 rods. I would buy another one like it for the day my current one quits working.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
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2,008
Location
Wakefield, UK
My stiick welder would blow holes all the time in thin gauge. Whether that was the welder or me I do not know but I found mig was vastly more useable for the task.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2022
Messages
91
Location
Norfolk UK
Hi all. I've just started seriously working through this site as I intend to build my first recumbent very soon. I have several bikes to dismantle and am waiting on a garage extension so I can have room to set everything up and glue it together.
However my reason for this post is regarding welders and welding. I have been welding professionally and for 'fun' for almost 50 years so have breathed in a fair bit of noxious fumes in my time. I've done a little TIG but mainly stick and MIG. I have several MIG and stick welders and they all get used at various times. I enjoy stick welding but use MIG way more because it's just so much easier and quicker (no need for slag chipping and seldom a need to do much cleaning up of the finished weld).

Following some of the threads on here I see many builders have real problems getting a good sound weld with stick machines. Once or twice I've been quite concerned that the welds really don't look up to the job of holding the bike together safely. Stick welding does take practice to do well. A good stick weld on thin steel takes even more practice. If the only use the welder is being put to is the build of a 'bent the practice is being done on the bike itself. That really is not a good idea. Sanding down a bad weld and using some 'splodge' to make it look better is a really really bad idea. Slag inclusion and undercut bead edges mean a seriously weak joint which could let go without warning. Sermon over but I urge builders to get advice on their welds or at least visit a site such as mig-welding.co.uk where there are MIG and stick welding tutorials and lots of help available from friendly forum contributors.

For what it's worth my advice for newbies in the UK is forget stick and invest in a hobby MIG welder. There are good second hand MIGs available and probably the most reliable bargain machine would be a Clarke of maybe 130 to 150amps. A pre-inverter type (ie one with a transformer rather than a bunch of highly stressed transistors) would be my choice for rugged reliability. These need a shielding gas and can use 'pub' type bottles of CO2 if you can find a friendly landlord or get a bottle of argon/CO2 mix from Hobbyweld or similar suppliers where you pay for a bottle up front then just swap it for a full one when it's empty and pay for the gas only. For less that £250 you can have a nice setup which will do all you need for as long as you need it.
Other options are the no-gas MIGs but results are less easy to get looking good and lots of smoke and spatter is to be expected.

Sorry to have gone on too long but welding can be really rewarding done right and really dangerous if done wrong. Get the best equipment you can afford and learn how to use it and you'll be enjoying your build even more.

All the best
John
 
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