Why there is no love for stick welders?

umnik

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I just curious, why there is no love for stick welders?
I used once a stick welder to fabricate motor frame for my drill press. I do not have one, but borrowed from my friend tiny cheapest Harbor Freigh inverter welder and it worked fine for my purposes. I liked what it did except it does not have enough power. I thought to buy one for myself, but more powerful for some quick jobs. Interesting, when I read forums and watch YouTube I see that almost everybody uses MIG or TIG, why not stick?
 

Twirpunky

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Lots of smoke and slag with stick. Slow compared to MIG. Tig is really clean but slow. Not much smoke with either TIG or MIG. Stick is fine for lots of work if you are good with it. MIG is easier to learn for the beginner.

D
 

Cobra

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MIG is certainly easier for the beginner. Still requires skill and practice to produce consistently good welds.
TIG is wonderfully clean but serious learning curve.
 

Karl_T

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Nobody else must fabricate large equipment. You can't beat a stick working on large old farm machinery

TIG is way too slow. MIG just won't have deep enough weld penetration

Every weld process has its strengths
 

Cadillac

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Easy of use/laziness. I myself bought a Lincoln mig when I first started welding 25 yrs ago. It was easy I learned and then evolved into stick welding. My work had stick welders for on-site welding and repairs. You don’t need gas, you don’t have to worry about wind factor. Other than post cleaning and looks it’s a great tool to have.
Then I got me a tig welder. I found tig to be much like stick. Minus having to be so clean.
Honestly I feel the best way to learn welding is to start with stick. Get the feel of it understand what’s going on. Then mig will be a breeze and tig won’t be such a learning curve.
Each process has its benefits. Stick for structural,heavy welding. Mig for better aesthetics and endless wire to burn in. Tig for high strength, finish work and precision welding.
 

umnik

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Thanks guys, got the idea. I will stay with stick then for occasional usage. I do not like the idea buying gas tank and refilling it, sounds like a hassle to me. With stick just get a welder, a mask and buch of electrodes. Little bit post cleaning do not bother me.
 

Aaron_W

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MIG and TIG are better suited to hobbyists and the small work they do, and hobbyists or material aimed at hobbyists is mostly what you see on forums and youtube. Stick is messier, and harder than MIG to get a good weld.

By messier, it is not just clean up, but spatter, hot slag and fumes. MIG can be done with a much smaller dedicated work area, and TIG smaller yet because they don't throw much hot stuff around, and have far less toxic fumes / smoke.

If stick works for you, great. Generally less prep and it is a lot cheaper to get started with. You can pick up a good AC/DC stick welder used for a few hundred dollars, an AC only sometimes for $50-100. A new name brand, good quality stick welder is well under $1000. Something like a Lincoln "tombstone" or Miller Thunderbolt retail around $600-700, where a similar quality 240 volt MIG welder from these brands is typically $1100+.

You do need to add the expense of a small rod oven or 3 depending on how serious you get and what materials you are working with. Many rods should not be left out at room temperature, in natural humidity, and not all are compatible to share an oven. Rod ovens are not all that expensive though, and not all rods require one.
 

NortonDommi

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I have Oxy/Acet, MIG, TIG & 2 ARC. I end up grabbing the little site welder often as it is portable, does the job and with a stitch welder works great on panel steel, using a Carbon rod holder can Braze as well. Horses for courses. Sometimes hard to beat stick for certain jobs especially as you can cut steel and with the right rod weld about anything., heat
 

umnik

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Yes, smoke and spatteris not good, but I usually open my garage door and do welding outside on my driveway. I am not going to it daily, but for occasional welding works for me.
I thought on spending $200-$300 for some inverter stick welder, do not know what more expensive one could give me. Planing to use it on steel and do not need heavy duty circle.
 

Twirpunky

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An older transformer welder works just as good as an inverter. The only drawback is size and weight. An AC/DC stick welder can weld most anything with the correct rod. I have welded copper to steel, copper to copper, and I have even welded aluminium with one. It will weld stainless and cast iron. Just about anything that can be welded can be done with a stick welder.


D
 

Ulma Doctor

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stick welding is a skill that takes a lot of time to master, but it is the best solution for many problems
if you get small diameter electrodes, you can weld sheet metal
if you have a large enough power supply, you can weld 1" plates
weld in the wind if you want to
poor fit up- no problem E6010/6011
rusted- no problem E6010/6011
new sheet metal E6013
structural/pipe fitting/general high strength welding E7018 (E8018,E9018,E12018)
High deposit E7014, E7024, E7032
E308L stainless
E309L stainless to mild steel
E312 mystery stainless
E4043 aluminum

stick is hard to beat other than the heat distortion


mig is convenient and easy to make superficially pleasing welds,
but you need shielding gas and you can't weld in the wind or even with a breeze, you'll need a 220v unit for anything over 3/16"

FCAW is great and fast
can burn through rust/scale,
but you'll have just as much spatter as stick welding, plus you'll need a 220v unit to weld anything above 3/16" correctly

Tig is great, but very slow and everything has to be very clean-
close fit up is necessary
the welder, the cooler, the torch(es), the leads, the multiple gasses -
all add up to be an expense that keeps most folks from wanting to play, not to mention the months of practice and that expense

if you get an inverter welder get at least 165 amps
good luck :grin:
 

Nutfarmer

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I mainly use stick on the farm. Have both tig and mig ,but welding out side with old steel it's stick hands down. Inside with new metal mig and tig work fine. Both mig and tig need clean metal to start with . Either will weld sheet metal better than stick.
 

vocatexas

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I grew up on a farm and started welding when I was 8 or 9 with a stick welder. Never welded with anything else until just a couple of years ago. I've built shops, barns, trailers, plows, etc. with a stick welder. I bought a used MIG at an auction a couple of years ago and really enjoy the fact that there is no chipping and brushing, but for high-strength or deep penetration nothing can beat a stick in either a/c or d/c.

If you want a really good stick welder at a good price, see if you can find one of the Lincoln tombstone or buzz-box welders. You can probably pick up a good used one for $100 or less. For a bit more you can get them in a/c d/c.

 

Janderso

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It seems most of us may have learned on Arc/stick welding in the 70/80’s.
Metal shop high school had me arc welding to a pretty good level.
Raised two boys and found time for my metal hobby.
Bought a tig, mig, plasma, stick welder.
Lost all that in the fire.
Bought the Miller 220 AC/DC, does ac/dc mig, tig, stick.
Haven’t used the stick yet but I was told if you have one rod use E7018. Got it.
I have mig welded stainless with the 309 wire, easy! Most projects have been in the shop so wind has not been a factor.
Mig is so easy compared to stick.
I’ll get the stick out soon. Look at the technology that has made these processes so simple.
Mike, you probably use all these techniques at your job site.
I would love to be able to tig weld like I can mig.
Yep , hours and hours of practice. Lots of tungsten grinding and lots of gas expense.
Mig is king in my book.
 

Bi11Hudson

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Although not a welder, I thought to throw my dollar's worth in here.(Used to be 2 cents but inflation, you know) The fellow that taught me to weld was a pro. He could write his name on sheet metal siding and not blow a hole in it. Said when I could do that, I could call myself a welder. 50 years later, I still can't do it. But I can stick two pieces of metal together enough to climb on. Wouldn't ask anyone else to climb on it, but I dont mind myself. Thanks, Maggie (Malcolm)

I have a Lincoln "Tombstone" that I modified. An old one with copper windings... ... I "acquired" some high voltage diodes, high current too. Built a bridge, a full wave rectifier so I have AC and both polarities of DC. Full wave DC lets me stick two pieces of metal together with a high duty cycle and with the small rod I use (3/32) I can weld all day if I need to. Used flattened copper pipe for busbars. Not very pretty, but does what I want without burping.
 

cjtoombs

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Here's my 2 cents:

Stick: Cheap, can weld through some rust and mill slag, better for heavier sections, hardest to master

Mig: Relatively low cost, needs clean metal (unless you use flux cored wire), fast, can weld aluminum depending on setup, fairly easy to use

TIG: High cost, needs clean metal, slow, can weld anything weldable, hard to get set up, easy to weld with, maximum control over welding process.

Oxyfuel: Low cost, slow, versatile, fairly easy to weld
 

FOMOGO

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I learned on stick back in the mid sixty's. Pretty proficient, but only use it now on heavy stuff, like backhoe bucket repair, or structural steel. I much prefer DC, less spatter, and generally a nicer bead. My Miller Big 40 can run some serious rod when required, and there is no question your getting full penetration. Like most things, the right tool for the right job, but if stick is all you have, it will cover most anything you will come across, with the proper rod and amperage. Mike
 

Cadillac

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I have a buddy that’s a welder and coincidentally he sent me a picture of a valve he had to replace in a boiler room at some factory. This is what you weld with stick welding. He said it took 250lbs of rod 1 at a time. Two welders switching off rod after rod 8hrs.
3F658546-6CB6-473A-8660-250ACAE6217A.png07FB4A4E-B091-4034-9631-413311151B6F.png
 

lordbeezer

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America was built with a stick welder and hot rivets..I've been welding since I was 14..be 67 Sunday ..I use stick welder alot on trailers..mig on pig cookers and grills..tig on gun type stuff..I've seen a lot of people make a pretty bead with mig but drop on floor or tap with hammer it breaks..gotta have penatration regardless of welder
 

Flyinfool

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A place that I used to work at was a heavy fabricator, they made booms for Harnischfeger cranes and many parts for Bucyrus-Erie giant mining equipment. It was almost all MIG welded. Most people do not turn the power up high enough when MIG welding for deep penetration. My MIG can butt weld 1/2" thick steel plate with a full penetration weld in a single pass.
My preferred welder is a MIG, it is fast and easy and looks good. I will still use stick if the weld has a lot of contaminates to burn thru, or TIG if it has to be really pretty and is on new clean metal, once in a great while I'll even still Oxy Act weld something, they all have their places.
 

pontiac428

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Horses for courses. SMAW for structural steel and hardfacing. GMAW for general purpose and production. GTAW for clean and close.

I hardly do stick anymore. I use FCAW with Praxair Stargold Ar/CO2/O2 mix for all things previously handled by E7018. The oxygen in the gas changes the arc profile for much more penetration, making your MIG welder suitable for heavier structural welds than plain ER70. Less spatter, too.
 

Tim9

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I like stick. It’s quick and easy IMO. Also good penetration. For a small job easier than dragging out the mig for me.
 

BGHansen

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Boy, I must be an oddball (obviously . . .), but found stick welding pretty easy to learn. I primarily use E6013 but use E6011 for verticals and rusty stuff. Have some E7018 also from my father-in-law who calls it "butter rod". Hardest part for me is getting the arc started without sticking the rod. An auto-darkening helmet has helped though I still scratch the surface to get the arc going. I have a Lincoln buzz box AC only welder and use it for 1/4" or thicker steel. I've used 1/16" rod on 1/8" steel without blowing holes, but usually go to the MIG for 1/8".

Have a Hobart 190 MIG which usually has flux core 0.023" wire in it. I use the MIG for 1/4" or thinner material.

Have an AHP AlphaTIG 200 too. I use it for sheet metal (0.016" - 0.062") and aluminum. I still suck at aluminum. Wish gas wasn't so expensive or I'd practice more.

Bruce
 

Downunder Bob

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MIG wins most of the time. Like many others here I learned on stick using some pretty heavy industrial machines A3 PH lincoln and some pilot arc machines,( is that what you all call buzz box?)

I liked welding and took to it pretty quickly and easy. That was in the early to mid 60's never heard of MIG back then. but we were experimenting with TIG for welding 1 inch thick sections of Aluminium, it was a pretty impressive process.

When I finished my apprenticeship and left the trade, not that I didn't like it, just that other jobs paid much better, I realised that I enjoyed welding so bought myself a stick machine, with all the bits, and was able to make a bit on the side doing small welding jobs. It wa s a 240V single phase, 15A input with high and low volt range and choke for varying the Amps. With all copper wire transformer it was a pretty good machine. I only sold it a couple of years ago,about 3 years after buying a 3 way MIG TIG and stick machine so I had no further need for it.

It is true that that old stick machine could do a much heavier single pass weld than the MIG can, but there is nothing wrong with multi pass when and if needed. I never need to weld anything thicker than 10mm, and rarely more than 6, so MIG is good for me. I have not yet ventured into using mig for Aluminium, nor have I Tried TIG, The expense and learning curve put me off, and I'm not sure I need it. I do very little work in Aluminium or stainless If I can't stick it together with MIG or stick there is always oxy acetylene.

In fact I've even used oxy for welding Aluminium, looks pretty rough, but it works. I'm also interested in trying these new low temperature aluminium rods with a torch, I guess it's more of a brazing process, but I've heard its pretty strong, and some of the video's I've seen it looks pretty neat, but I guess that's just practice.
 

NCjeeper

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I like burning some 7018's. Just depends on what I am fabbing up whether I grab the mig or the stick.
 

RJSakowski

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I use stick mostly because it is convenient. I have two MIG machines and oxyacteylene as well but usually the bottles are empty. I do very little welding with oxyacetylene, mostly its for heating and cutting. I think the last time I gas welded was some aluminum sheet metal on my boat. I use the MIG in the basement shop, mostly because there are no obnoxious fumes although I still have my Miller buzzbox there. If I need to use it, I just open the door to the outside to vent the fumes.

I have toyed with the idea of making my own oxygen and hydrogen. A back of the envelope calculation shows I can generate the equivalent of my S tank for under $2 worth of electricity. I have an oxyhydrogen torch and I suspect that I can convert the OA torches over fairly easily.

I would like to add TIG and plasma to the arsenal. I keep eying the Everlast 265. It just gets increasingly more difficult to justify it as I get older. :(
 
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