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Arc Welding Technique

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I've had several requests from YouTube subscribers for a how-to video on arc welding. You know what arc welding is?

The Voice: Nope.

Kevin Caron: No? Neither do a lot of other people. Come here; let me show you the equipment.
This is a real basic arc welder. You can get them at the big box stores. This one is made by Lincoln; it's a really dependable welding machine.

This one is an AC welder; not that it's plugged into AC, but that it only does AC welding. There's AC welding and DC welding; they?re two different things.

This welder goes from 40 up to 225 amps, so there is plenty of power to do just about any kind of steel welding you want to do with it. It runs on 220.

Like I said: it's very basic; it?s got a selector switch for amperage and an on and off switch. That's it! This is what I learned on. There's a ground clamp, just like on all welders and a clamp to hold the electrodes, so you can do your welding.

The Voice: What's an electrode; like a rod?

Kevin Caron: I'll show you that up on the workbench.

Whereas this machine does only arc welding - sometimes called stick welding - my Miller TIG welder also has an arc welding function in it, so you can do TIG or stick; it comes in handy sometimes.

The Voice: Why? Why would you want to do stick if you have a TIG welder?

Kevin Caron: Because a TIG welder requires the shielding gas when you're working. The arc welder has the rods, the electrodes, which have flux on them, so you can use these outside. You can use the arc welders outside in the wind.

There are many different types of rods for them, depending on the type of metal your welding; electrodes for steel and aluminum. I think there's even cast iron for them.

They come in several different diameters so you can go to the higher voltages. The reason they put the arc welding function into the TIG welders is for the thicker metals, or the dirty jobs you want to do. If you've got a piece of rusty steel you've got to put together, arc really doesn't care.

These are great farm machines. They're great quick-fix-it machines. You can do all your thin metals, all your exotics with your TIG. But if you want to fix the picnic table, or fix the fence out back, that's what the arc welder is for.

Now, let me show you what the electrodes look like. These are the electrodes; they?re the sticks that you do your arc welding with. It's a steel core - or depending whatever metal you're working on - it has a flux on the top; on the outside of it. It replaces the inert gas that you have with MIG or TIG.

When you get an arc going and start welding, this flux melts, floats to the top of the weld, and then cools on the top and protects the molten weld or the hot weld that you just made.

This cools faster than the metal does and keeps the oxygen from getting into the weld and contaminating the weld. The same thing the gas does. But this is just right here on the rod, so you need a pocket full of these. Use a handful of these, hop on a ladder outside; whatever you need to do. It's a handy little tool. Have you ever see one work?

The Voice: Nope.

Kevin Caron: Let me get my helmet and I'll show you how these work.

The Voice: I like that safety equipment, bud.

Kevin Caron: Oh, boy! There are lots of sparks with arc welding; it's even worse than MIG welding - lots of sparks and splatter, stuff going everywhere.

When you look inside the holder, you'll see there are little slots cut inside the jaw, so you can put the rod in at this angle, or at this angle, or at this angle; whichever way is comfortable for you. I like it this way, because then it feels like the end of my finger, like I'm pointing with it.

All you do to get it started is just scratch it or tap it, and then you just have to hold the right distance. Now watch down here. (welding) Just like that.

Now you let this cool down, get a chipping hammer, and chip that slag off so you can see your weld. It's kind of like Christmas every time: you never really know what you're going to get.

More next time. See you later.

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