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What is a Stick Welder?


A stick welder is a welding machine that joins metals using a consumable electrode (stick) and an electric current at the weld pool. The fixed-length electrode is made up of a solid metal rod surrounded by a mixture of mineral compounds and metal powders. A binding agent holds them together and allows them to adhere to the surface of the electrode. 

The metal core conducts an electric current to the arc and provides filler metal for the weld joint. One of the electrode covering's functions is to provide arc stability. But its primary purpose is to shield the molten metal from the atmosphere using gases created when the coating decomposes from the arc's intense heat. 

Stick Welding Advantages

Stick welding, officially known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), is a widely-used and relatively simple technique for joining metals and has a few distinct advantages:

  • Stick welding is effective even in wind and rain.
  • It saves money by not requiring a separate shielding gas.
  • Since there are no cumbersome shielding gas cylinders, stick welding has greater portability.
  • Stick welding equipment is relatively inexpensive.
  • Since it is not as sensitive to paint, corrosion, and dirt at the welding point, it saves time on pre-welding clean-up.
  • Changing electrodes for different metals is quick and easy.
  • The ground clamp can be attached at a considerable distance from the welding point.
  • Stick welding allows you to weld out of position.

More good news: there are few variables in stick welding except for the rod. Setting up the welding machine means connecting the ground cable to the negative lead and the electrode holder to the positive lead. That's all there is to it.

It's easy to understand that stick welding's popularity comes as a by-product of its versatility and simplicity.