Join Date: Apr 2002
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Re: O/T Which prvides a better weld?
I work for a plate steel fabrication company. The first thing I learned when I started working here 5 years ago is that there is no substitution for proper weld preparation. By that I mean, you should have proper bevels and proper gaps. It depends on how thick the material is. Usually with stick or wire feed, you can maintain the ultimate strength of a weld if you have all the parameters set up correctly.
If I was to weld 3/16" thick plate, or 1/4" plate, I would set it up so that there is about a 3/32" to 1/8" gap for a butt-weld. Now, not all your welds will be a butt weld, most of the probably won't be for a bumper / tire carrier, but the same basic principles still apply.
What I always do when welding, is to take a few sample welds on the same material of the same thickness. Set it up with the proper gap, and then make a few passes. Cut it apart perpindicular to the length of the weld so you can check your penetration (penetration of the weld is key). If you are achieving at least 1/2 to 3/4 of the thickness of the material with penetration of the weld, you are doing it right.
But to answer your question, it really depends on who is doing the welding in my opinion. Personally I can weld better with stick than with wire because that's how I learned. I have learned the fundamentals of the "puddle" by stick welding, and have a hard time controlling my puddle the way I want when using wire since it has a constant speed coming out of the gun. On the other hand, I know people that have learned with stick and can weld better with wire. But mostly it depends on what you feel most comfortable with and how you prep the metal to accomodate the weld.