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studysession
12-27-2006, 01:02 PM
Hi -

I am new to welding. I have been reading some books and figure I would buy a cheap hobby type arc welder and practice. Once I get the feel and understand it better, then I would get something I really want.

I ended up getting a Campbell Hausfel Arc Welder 115v 70amp welder.
It came with electrodes with this written on them - 308/308L 16

How do I know what electrode to use for what kind of material?

I want to have the ability to weld aluminum and steal. Which rods are for what?

Also what would be the best cleaning method?

Thanks in adavce...

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 04:24 PM
Generally, this welder is only good for welding very thin mild steel. I had one similar to that about 8 years ago I picked up at a garage sale. I think the thickest I could easily weld was .125 plate. The machines duty cycle would generally kick in within about 5 minutes of welding.

I am not aware of a amuminum stick welding process, generally SMAW is designed for ferrous metals like mild steel, iron, and even stainless.

For most mild steel, you should stick with a 6011 or 6013 rod. I believe Miller has some excellent tutorials on electrode part numbers and their usage.
http://www.millerwelds.com/education/library.html
some electrodes are designed for overhead welding, some for any/all positions, etc. They come in different thicknesses, designed for different materials and amperages.
I think the best luck I had with my old CH stick welder was buying the rods from Wal Wart, they were 6013 rods in a 1/16" thickness. The thinner the rod, the better my machine would burn into the metal. Using the same 6013 or 6011 rod in a 1/8" diameter would barely burn into the metal.
Hope this helps a little. There should also be a guide that came with the welder that will give some guidance as to the best consumables to use.

studysession
12-27-2006, 05:08 PM
Thanks - that is very helpful. yes a guide came with it but it is very vaige. Figure good for learning even if it can't do the aluminum.

I do not have much of a budget and see many low cost welders out there. If I wanted to stay under $200 when I am ready - what arc welder could do both aluminum and mild steel?

Thanks

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 05:51 PM
well I tried to post a good explanation for you, but the computer locked up. I will try again.

I am not aware of an electric welding process for aluminum that involves flux, such as flux core wire welding or stick (arc) welding

Your options are:
1. Oxy fuel, fairly inexpensive, but only recommended for the seasoned welders out there. Not recommended for rookies!

2. Large-ish MIG (GMAW)with spoolgun attachment. Aluminum wire does not like to be pulled or pushed long distances, so it will flatten and "bird nest" very easily. A spoolgun has a spool of wire within inches of the fusion point, so there is no long feed distance
be prepared to spend 1000 + for the MIG , and another 500 for the spoolgun

3. TIG (GTAW) is by far the most expensive method, but also the nicest, IMHO. You can "weld ice cream to air" with a good AC/DC switchable TIG.
Be prepared to spend at least 1000 for a introductory AC/DC unit.

Sorry I know this is not the answer you are looking for. I have had dozens of different welders over the years, and there just is not a viable option,when it comes to welding aluminum, for anywhere near the 200 dollar range.
The best you can hope for is a miracle on Ebay for that amount.

studysession
12-27-2006, 06:07 PM
Still helps. I just need to save a lot of pennies. :)

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 06:09 PM
Generally what kind of aluminum welding and steel welding do you need to do?
Is this a structural application, or??

canadamaxxer
12-27-2006, 06:10 PM
We have aluminium rods at work. Watching an experienced welder making grapes and holes with these rods shows to me how inappropriate stick welding is for welding aluminium. We now have a spool gun at work, and I have my own TIG welder at home.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but spending only a couple hundred bucks to weld aluminium is a tall order. I spent almost $3000 for that capability.....

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 06:12 PM
Canada, are you referring to aluminum arc rods, or TIG/oxyfuel aluminum rods?

Up until now, I have never even heard of a aluminum rod for stick welding.

studysession
12-27-2006, 06:20 PM
Doing aluminum is not a must for me, just a nice want to have.

The imediate projects will be things like utility trailer - tube frame for kids to have a go-cart - small things like that. Would also like to do a plow for my lawn tractor.

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 06:23 PM
well, then I would suggest a small MIG or flux core welder. What you have there might work for you, but I would suggest at least 125 amps or more. Try looking into a Hobart Handler 125, or 140. They will have enough power for most of what you are looking into doing,and they run 300 to 450 bucks, or even a 220 volt Hobart stick welder, that is about 200 bucks brand new

studysession
12-27-2006, 06:26 PM
Problem is I do not have a outlets that support 220 and I do not own the place, I rent. So can't install them.

I do have a transformer that converts 110 to 220 but it is used on other equipment I brought over from living in England.

massajamesb
12-27-2006, 06:28 PM
Well, the Hobart handler wire welders are all 110 volt.
Check with www.usaweld.com as well

canadamaxxer
12-28-2006, 09:10 PM
Canada, are you referring to aluminum arc rods, or TIG/oxyfuel aluminum rods?

Up until now, I have never even heard of a aluminum rod for stick welding.


These are actual stick rods for aluminium. If I get a chance I will post the number on the rods.....although I do NOT endorse these POS's....

massajamesb
12-28-2006, 09:31 PM
Well, I'll be. I have been welding since I was 11 years old, and I have never even heard of that. I wasn't aware that Aluminum could be welded in a flux-shielded environment.
Learn something new every day, I suppose.
I can say this, without even trying them, I don't think I will ever bother to try them out. I just don't think it would be easy to stick weld aluminum. :)

Mortek
01-02-2007, 11:27 PM
The 308/308L electrodes are for welding stainless steel of 304 or 308 variety. So don't try those on aluminum. The welder you bought just does not have enough amperage to weld aluminum.

Ken

millman52
01-06-2007, 05:09 PM
I had the opportunity to use a few AL/Stick rods a few years ago with moderate success. Seemed to me they would only be good for heavier gauge pieces.

Barnyard practice for their use is of course cleaning with stainless brush then pre heat is a must also. To get the preheat we blackened the cleaned alum. with acetylene torch then oxydized the flame & heated till the black from the acet. dissapeared.

Trust me even at that you need to be a fairly seasoned stick welder to be able to tell when you are actually joining the metal & not lust laying a bead to 1 of the 2 pieces. Very much like what can happen when trying to join 2 really rusty pieces of steel.

Also you have probasbly never tried to weld with any more smoke & fumes hiding what you are trying to see......

tadream
01-12-2007, 01:28 PM
I had the opportunity to use a few AL/Stick rods a few years ago with moderate success. Seemed to me they would only be good for heavier gauge pieces.

Barnyard practice for their use is of course cleaning with stainless brush then pre heat is a must also. To get the preheat we blackened the cleaned alum. with acetylene torch then oxydized the flame & heated till the black from the acet. dissapeared.

Trust me even at that you need to be a fairly seasoned stick welder to be able to tell when you are actually joining the metal & not lust laying a bead to 1 of the 2 pieces. Very much like what can happen when trying to join 2 really rusty pieces of steel.

Also you have probasbly never tried to weld with any more smoke & fumes hiding what you are trying to see......
Amen to that. I welded with them one time several years ago, just because I'd never seen them either. Took several attempts to even lay a bead, rather than burn through. You gotta really move with them. They require DC, and yes, are only for heavy material, and IMHO nearly worthless.

Weldtutor
01-12-2007, 02:18 PM
I wasn't aware that Aluminum could be welded in a flux-shielded environment.
Learn something new every day.

The AWS spec for "stick" electrodes for aluminum is:

AWS A5.3/A5.3M SPECIFICATION FOR ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-ALLOY ELECTRODES FOR SHIELDED METAL ARC WELDING

As pointed out previously the CH machine is not suited for these.:(

In a pinch, they do work on some aluminum castings if preheated properly with a torch.
I have also used them as a filler rod to "braze" aluminum sheet with an oxy-acetylene torch.

Massajamesb is correct in stating that TIG or a spool gun with MIG are the preferred choices.