Tip for restarting a 7018 stick welding rod

by Glenn
(Boulder, Colorado)

Hey Jody,

Here's a noob experience that maybe will help out somebody else a little
getting started with 7018.

As you recall in our last episode, yours truly was getting his bowels
in an uproar trying to light up with 7018. Stick, stick, stick. Not
even at 105A. Tried your trick with filing on the rod tip. A little
better, but still couldn't get it to not stick. Nuts. So I put away
the 7018 and went back to bambi rod (6013) and 6011 for a while.
Made a bunch of dorfy little tool hangers for the workshop. Came out
OK. So far, nothing broke or fell off the wall or killed anybody,
so I guess I'm getting the hang of that stuff.

OK, so now, 2 months and several mini-projects later, time to whip out
that 7018 and try again. Found some nice shiny 3/32 soft steel plates
lying around, so I figured ok, this is as ideal as it gets, material
wise. So I butted those babies together in the vise, strapped on
the ground clamp and went at it with 7018 again. 105 amps. Dang!
Same thing! File it, scrape it, tap it, I cannot light the thing.
It just sticks. TapHUMMMMMMMMMMM.

But finally I came across the magic bullet: After filing down the
tip, instead of scraping or tapping, just *whack* the dam rod
into the workpiece, vertically, straight down. Just like hammering
a nail. Not gently tapping like with 6011 or 6013, but seriously
snapping it down. (Maybe about the same force as you'd use tapping
a brad into a piece of wall panelling with a hammer.) Then just
let it bounce back 1/8" or so, and damn if the arc doesn't stay lit
almost every time! Then, just hold it and go.

With this approach, I laid down about half dozen decent looking
beads, pretty easily. It's great stuff! The cooled flux looks
like petrified molasses. Kinda cool. Chip it away, and lo beneath,
a pretty decent looking weld!

So anyway, maybe between this and your filing-the-tip trick some
other hapless noob can get out of the 7018 doldrums.

Hey, take it easy, and thanks again for your various tips,
advice, etc.

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