Do you need to shop for a welding rod? Consider multiple factors before buying a welding rod. A beginner should understand these factors as well as the importance of each element to get the best results. The same goes for an experienced buyer. Welding rods are the essential equipment of a welding project. Not only the rods but the gear that you will wear during weldings like an auto-darkening helmet and a protective gear is also essential. Moreover, a buyer should also have a good understanding of the different types of welding rods available. Learning the use, weakness and strength of each rod are equally essential as your selection will have a massive impact on your project.
We are here to help you with this sophisticated selection with our guide.
What Are Welding Rods?
A piece of wire, often called as welding rod fills the filler metal between the two parts to be joint together. The wire is attached to a machine used for welding. To this wire, supply the current to melts the wire to join the two pieces together firmly. Such rods are known as consumable rods as they melt itself to make the joint. Other type includes non-consumable electrodes.
Both groups come with variations which we will cover in the next section.
The Two Group Of Welding Rods
The two common types are consumable and non-consumable electrodes.
Stick electrodes or consumable electrodes include three types- lightly coated, heavy-coated or shielded arc electrodes. Light coated rods are coated using either brushing or spraying technique. The arc streams give more arc stability and are used for jobs where bare rods are tough to handle. It leaves a smooth and neat weld reducing impurities like sulfur and oxides to the welds.
Shielded or bulky coated electrodes are robust and better for welding cast iron and other heavy-duty applications. It leads to stronger welds without any impurities leaving a regular, smooth, and clean welds. Controlling the weld arcs are comfortable too.
This group has only two types of non-consumable electrodes – carbon and tungsten wires. This type of welding rods can either be coated or left bare. Carbon graphite is used to make this rod and is covered with a layer of copper.
The second one, i.e., tungsten electrode, contains pure tungsten (green marking) or has 1 or 2% of thorium and 0.3-0.5% of zirconium. Rods with only 1% of thorium is marked yellow whereas it is red if it contains 2% of thorium. One with brown markings indicates that it includes zirconium.
For lighter welding applications, use pure tungsten electrode. Welding rods with brown marking give better results; however, it is less effective than rods with yellow marking. The common electrode is that containing thorium as it has a long life and better resistant properties. The welder can use it with higher currents while controlling the arc in a better way. Use maximum possible current to maintain the arc while using tungsten welding rods.
Consult a colleague or refer a welding manual if you have still some doubts.