The Best Electrode for the Beginner Arc Welder
For welders relatively new to welding, it can be difficult to figure out which electrode to use when there are so many options. While many welding instructors encourage their students to practice with an E6010 electrode, the E6013 electrode is rarely mentioned but very easy to use.
Relatively inexperienced welders can create excellent welds with the E6013 electrode. In addition, there are a few other reasons to use this rod:
- It works great with A/C and D/C machines.
- It works in any position (including overhead).
- It has a smooth weld appearance.
- It works well on thin to thick metals.
As with all electrodes and welding processes there are a few main ingredients required to get the job done right and they are:
- Proper Joint Preparation
- A Machine Set-Up Matching the Project
- Basic Welding Techniques
Joint Preparation for an E6013
With this electrode the joint needs to be clean, though some minor rust is not a problem. At the very least, clean the joint with a wire wheel or grinder, and make sure there is no oil, moisture, paint, or anything else that could contaminate the weld.
In the event of repairing a crack, completely grind it out. Otherwise the crack will come back and start spreading again. Just remember, the cleaner the joint is, the easier it will be to weld.
Machine Set-Up for an E6013
Setting up the welding machine is the most important part of the welding process. Taking the time to set up the machine properly will make the weld easier to do, and at the same time produce a good-looking weld.
Welding machine settings for the E6013 vary depending on the electrode size and metal thickness. The electrode boxes give a recommended amperage range. These are just guidelines because every welding machine runs differently.
To set up the welding machine, read what the electrode manufacturers recommend as the amperage range, or contact a welding supply store for a recommendation. Set the welder to the middle of that amperage range.
Once that’s set, practice and adjust the amperage until the bead looks smooth and is washed properly into the metal. The electrode needs to burn hot enough so that it does not stick and cool enough so that it does not turn cherry red. As a quick test, weld two pieces of scrap metal and try to break them. That should give an idea of whether or not the settings are producing a strong weld.
Welding Techniques for an E6013 Electrode
Before beginning, set up the metal in a position that is comfortable and use two hands. That's right; two hands are more stable than one. With this electrode the techniques typically used are whipping or circles. These techniques not only help produce a better weld, but also help control travel speed.
Drag the electrode at an angle between 10 to 30 degrees in the direction of travel. If there are any problems with the weld, consider using a smaller diameter electrode that will make it easier to weld.
For most uses the E6013 is a good all around electrode choice. It can be used to weld sheet metals, heavy plates, and just about anything in between. But there is one catch! When it comes to arc welding electrodes, always use class A electrodes and preferably name brand manufacturers. In the end, the uses for this electrode are endless, and the best part is how easy it is to use!
Additional Resources on Electrodes
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