Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig
He!! yes a free stick welder is worth getting even if it costs you a case or two of beer. Personally I think stick welding is prefurable to mig for every thing excep sheet metal. Stick is not that hard to learn, yes your welds many not look as good as a mig weld but that does not nessisarally mean they are not as strong. With mig you can make a weld that looks great and has very low strength. While good looking but low stringth welds are posibler with stick I feel they are much less comen. For a stick machine I would recoment 6010 rod run in reverse polarity. this will give very good penitration and good stringth with this rod you can taper the ends of two grade 8 bolts and weld them together end to end with the same thickness as the original bolt. when pulled apart the bolts will brake some where other then the weld showing that the weld is stronger then the base metal.
Another nice thing about 6010 rod is that it will burn through alot of rust, dirt and greese and still make very good weld. 6010 should be welded in a "wip and pause" motion: the rod is moved forward about a rod width then back about half a rod width, and paused till the puddle catches up, then repeted. The resulting weld should look like a roll of dimes leaned over ((((((((((. Useing this procedure and 1/8 inch rod: 1/4 in plate many be welded with 90 to 100 amps.
The other Rod I would recomend is 7018 this does not give as good of penitration but is a better filler metal. It requirers a cleaner surface but the slag cleans much easier. Motion should be a simple draging method, amperage is higher at about 110 to 120 amps for 1/8 inch rod on 1/4 inch plate. One of the major down sides to 7018 rod is that it is a low hydrogen electrod. This means (amoung other things) that the rod must be keep dry and the weld material must be dry. It will still weld if wet but the resulting weld will have porosity (filled with tiney bubbles) the weld will then absorbe water and rust from within. 6010 Rod can be used in about any conditions and will (given sufficient skill of the welder) give good welds even if missing its flux coating. 7018 Rods (and all low hydrogen electrods) should not be used with out: there flux attached, rods stored dry or baked dry, welding surface cleaned and dry, and the weld completely surounded by slag when weld compleate. For these resons I like 6010 it may require a more complex welding procedure but it will weld anywhere anytime and give good results.
If you are the least bit serious about doing your own welding I would highly recoment Takeing a beginers class at you local community college. It is very posible to make a weld that looks good but is weak, it is also posible to make a weld that looks rather bad but is relatively strong. The only way to learn the difference is by showing your welds to someone who knows the difference and who will show you what to look for. Welding is kind of like shooting, the instent an good rifleman breaks a shot he can tell you in what dirrection he was off. The same is true for a good welder ( I make no claim to be any average welder He!! I am not even and poor welder, just watch ask qusetions and try to learn) but a good welder will always be his or her worst critic. I have seen professional welders look a welds they have made that passed x-ray, magnetic, and ultrasonicly testing well with in specs; with discust, why because they know the weld would pass but knew they could have done far better. A truely professional welder knows the quality of the weld as they weld. (there is no substitute for experiance)