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Stick Welding…..Shielded Metal Arc Welding or SMAW for short is what the AWS would like us to call it…I wonder how that is working out.In parts of Europe its referred to as MMA or manual metal arc welding. And I am sure they have some slang terms as well.Even though MIG and flux core welding are much faster for production welding, they have not replaced stick welding for portability, simplicity, and reliability.

What the numbers mean in the identification of a SMAW electrode.

Using E6010 for an example..

The E indicates Electrode because remember, some welding rods are not electrodes. TIG welding rods for instance are usually not used as an electrode but are usually labeled with a ER for electrode or rod because they could be used for either…I don’t see it, but that’s the idea.

A good example of what the strength of a weld is the rod numbers themselves. A 6011 rod using the first two digits (60XX) stands for a minimum of 60,000 pounds of tensile strength per square inch of weld. A 7018 is 70,000 pounds of tensile strength per square inch. In comparison, typical steel, which is graded A36 steel, has 36,000 pounds of tensile strength per square inch. 

“The weld is usually two times stronger than the steel it is welding!”

The last 2 digits indicate position and polarity along with what type flux. See the chart below.

An important tip to remember is that the second to the last digit in E6010 indicates the positions that that rod can be use. A “1” means that it is an all position rod. A “2” means only flat and horizontal..thats why E7024 rods will attack you with molten blobs if you try to use them overhead.

What are the different Electrode Identifications

The most commonly used are E6010, E6011, E6013, E7018, and E7024

  • E6010 An aggressive, digging rod that is DC only …does not weld on AC and some inverters do not burn this rod well…. This is a digging penetrating rod and is designed for putting the root bead on the inside of a piece of pipe,
  • E6011 very similar to a E6010 but will run well on AC…This electrode is used for all-position AC welding or for welding on rusty, dirty, less-than-new metal.
  • E6013 This is an all-position, AC or DCEP electrode used by farmers for years. It makes a smooth bead but does not dig through rust or paint. …for welding clean, new sheet metal.
  • E7018 Look around at all the tall buildings. E7018 helped build them. A low-hydrogen, usually DC, all-position electrode used when quality is an issue or for hard-to-weld metals. Can also be used with AC
  • E7024 Typically used to make a large weld with AC or DCEP in plate that is at least ¼" thick, This rod is only for flat and horizontal welding…forget about using it for overhead or vertical up.

Where to use different types of stick welding rods

#1 you are about to take a welding test for a coal fire power plant in Muscle Shoals Alabama. The test is a 6 inch schedule 80 pipe in 6g . The bevel angle is 37.5 degrees, the gap is 1/8” with a 1/8” land, the root pass is uphill 6010 and you are permitted to run a hot pass with 6010also to burn out any slag or wagon tracks left by the root pass. You set the machine to DCEP at about 85-90 amps.
#2 You get some free heavy duty angle iron that is ½ thick by about 3 inch legs. But it has a light rust coating on it. You want to build a rack to hold lengths of metal like bar stock, angle iron, channel iron and pipe. But all you have is a Lincoln 225 ac buzz box. Get some 5/32 6011 and weld like hell. It will burn right thru the light rust and give you a strong weld that is bigger than you could get with a 1/8” rod.
#3 Your brother in law wants you to help him weld a fender patch in his 92 nissan maxima.You don’t have a 115 volt mig welder but you do have a small stick welding machine. To get him and your wife off your back , order some tiny little 1/16” 6013 stick rods from northern tool and weld his patch downhill.
#4 you need to build a trailer but you don’t have a shop. The welds need to be strong and look good too. You will be welding outside and the wind might be blowing. 7018 is the ticket. In the hands of a good welder, the slag will roll off with no problem, the welds will be strong as well as smooth.

#5 welding the wedge on a log splitter. You need a solid 1 inch leg fillet weld on each side. That’s a lot of passes. Unless…you crank up your Lincoln ac 225 welder to about 165 amps with a 1/8” 7024 rod. 7024 lays down one of the smoothest and biggest beads of any rod....and if done right, the slag peels off like curly fries 

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