How to Stick Weld Vertical

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How to stick weld vertical with 7018 on a 3F tee joint

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This video shows the same joint but with a 5/32" 7018 but the technique used is the same as for smaller rods

Welding vertical with 7018 is not as hard as it seems at first.

But you have to realize that you are fighting gravity and any bad habits you got away with welding flat or horizontal will not always fly when welding vertical uphill.

there are 2 main things that make the most difference in my opinion.

  1. Amperage
  2. Arc Length

Amperage should be about 5-10% less for vertical uphill so for example if you like to weld at 130 amps with a 1/8" 7018 on a 2F tee joint, reducing that by 10% would put you at 117 amps and that would be a pretty good starting amperage for most brands of 7018 1/8".

Arc length should be pretty tight. All machines are somewhat different but if you set amperage to a place where the rod wont stick when you hold a tight arc and then hold a tight arc you will be close.

what about hot start and arc control settings?

Some welding machines have 2 settings that can help for stick welding with 7018.

  • hot start
  • arc control sometimes called "dig" or arc force.

Hot start allows for a higher amperage for a short time when you first strike the arc.  This feature helps with rod sticking. 

On certain machines hot start feature is fully adjustable and lets you set the percentage of amperage greater than the panel setting as well as how long you want that higher amperage.  On some machines these values are pre set by the manufacturer.

If your machine does not have hot start or arc control settings, don't worry...good technique wins over settings most of the time.

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7018 electrodes are low hydrogen electrodes and in the USA are the mainstay of the structural welding industry. 

Codes and specifications often specify low hydrogen electrodes and 7018 is the most commonly used low hydrogen rod for structural steel welding.

What are the main things to pay attention when Stick Welding?

Current for 7018 electrodes

Current, Polarity, & Special settings.

Current is sometimes just the amperage setting but on some generator machines a volt amp curve understanding helps to get the best arc for the job.

Polarity needs to be set according to the procedure but for the most part 7018 rods are run on DCEP aka Reverse polarity.

Special settings like hot start and Dig can help but are not 100% necessary.

Amperage for 7018 rods depends on the brand and welding machine but a rule of thumb for flat and horizontal welding is one amp for every thousandths of electrode diameter.

a 1/8" electrode is 125 thousandths so 125 amps is a good starting amperage for flat, horizontal, and overhead welding 

for vertical uphill welding reducing the amperage a bit helps to prevent sagging.

Length of Arc

The length of arc with 7018 can be deceiving because the core melts up inside the flux making it seem like the arc is tighter than it really is.

Vertical and overhead welding require the length of arc to be tight and in order to have a tight arc, current needs to be high enough.

Arc control is a feature that senses the voltage drop when the arc gets really tight and increases amperage to prevent sticking the rod.

The arc control feature helps you hold a really tight arc without sticking.

Angle of the 7018 electrode

Angle of the rod for flat, horizontal, and overhead, the rod angle is usually a slight drag.

since I make a lot of welding videos, I see my rod angle when I am editing and sometimes it is a straight 90 degrees or even a slight push angle without me realizing that while I am welding.

This just goes to show that rod angle can be forgiving provided amperage is high enough and arc length is tight enough.

Manipulation of the 7018 electrode

Some procedures prohibit weaving and specify stringer beads with little or no manipulation. 

Stringer beads are often specified for better mechanical properties and less residual stress. 

Travel Speed

With Stick welding vertical uphill, travel speed cant be rushed.

go fast enough to outrun the heat and avoid saggy and droopy welds but also go slow enough to not leave undercut.

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