Technique for setting amperage for stick welding

by Dooley
(Gaffney, SC USA)

A lot of less experienced welders seem to have issue with correct amperage for stick welding. This is especially true if the welding machine amperage dial is out-of-calibration or if amperage values setting have been faded/worn off. This technique will work no matter what class or diameter rod .
First, determined your correct polarity and, of course, that the machine is on . Then find a scrap piece of metal of the same type material and thickness, to test your amps on. Insure that you have a good ground to the scrap test metal. Now , strike the arc and concentrate on the weld puddle/bead appearance characteristics while welding. Weld a few inches. If striking the arc was difficult with rod sticking and/or
the arc was unstable with a knotted,gobbed up bead then your amp are to low. Turn your amperage control up a some but only a small increment. Try again with a fresh rod . Continue this process until both- striking arc gets easier and weld erratically begins to spits molten fire ball from the puddle.
Now , your amps are to high. Turn amperage control back down in opposite direction in same small increments until the arc is smooth & stable with puddle flowing in calm manner. (Listen to the weld also, if it sound like "bacon frying", then your in the ball park. Good luck.

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