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Stick welding, known to some welders as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), uses an electrode and electrical power to weld different metals together. An electrode is a metal rod that conducts an electric current to provide filler metal for joints.


The Process and Tools of Stick Welding


When welding, keep the distance between the arc and the metal consistent. Stick welding uses inverter technology to control processes and power. Inverter technology converts AC power to DC power, then inverts from DC to a step down transformer. The welder can choose a different voltage and current, giving them more control and a steadier level. The power source has a panel, like a smartphone, that provides information like specific instructions on operating, parameter recommendations, and multiple processes for other tasks like removing metal with a heated carbon arc. The power source is also adjustable. To lower the chances of faulty fusion or knots, a welder can adjust the SMAW power source to begin with a hot start. The small size of the power source allows for easy storage and transportation.


Electrodes have improved by running longer and being moisture resistant. In the past, atmospheric moisture exposure caused hydrogen cracking for electrodes, which broke joints. Today, electrodes can be exposed to humidity with minimal hydrogen cracking. They work for nine hours and will not overheat the power source if left alone momentarily.


SMAW can be used on most common metals. However, welders avoid titanium, zirconium, tantalum, and columbium due to oxygen contamination issues.


Although stick welding is more accessible because of inverter technology and more robust appliances, the welder still needs some knowledge and skill on the subject. Stick welding is manual, so one must know proper electrode and arc handling. The technology, size, and uncomplicated instructions are why stick welding is one of the most used methods of welding.