# Buying either a stick electrode arc welder

Shawnzyoo
i am looking into buying either a stick electrode arc welder
or a semi-automatic flux spool fed arc welder
does anyone have suggestions about using either/or?
thanks

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If, by a "semi-automatic flux spool fed arc welder" you mean what I call a MIG welder, then I'd probably go for that. If not, then I've misunderstood, sorry.

It's partly a matter of personal preference, and the type of welding you want to be doing, but I favour MIG welders for several reasons:

- Better control. I find it much easier to get a good bead with a proper welding torch, than just a long stick. You don't really get problems with the electrode sticking to the workpiece either. The welding starts when you pull the trigger, rather than when the electrode approaches the workpiece as with an arc welder, so it's easier to set yourself up properly before you make the weld. With a MIG, you can even hold onto the nozzle with a (gloved!) hand, to get some really fine beads.

- Better weld quality. I'm no professional welder by any means, but MIG welders always seem to give a much better weld quality. Stick arc welders protect the weld by dissolving slag into the melt pool, which then needs to be chipped off with a hammer. MIG welders just bathe the pool in gas (usually CO2) to prevent oxidation and porosity.

- Ease of use. It took me about 15 minutes to be able to start getting reasonable beads with a MIG, as opposed to several hours with an arc.

But again, it really depends on your application.

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Any tips on welding s/steel Brewy, my joints are a bit messy

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wolram said:
Any tips on welding s/steel Brewy, my joints are a bit messy
They most likely will be, if you're trying to stick-weld stainless. But with a MIG or TIG unit, you'd get a much better joint. And if it's still not looking good, try preheating the metal before welding.

Even within the stainless steels, the difficulty of welding varies significantly from the austenitic (304, 316, etc.) to the martensitic (eg. 410) steels. The hardest (I haven't found anyone that can do a good job of this yet), IMO, is welding a martensitic stainless steel to a PC steel.

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Gokul43201 said:
They most likely will be, if you're trying to stick-weld stainless. But with a MIG or TIG unit, you'd get a much better joint. And if it's still not looking good, try preheating the metal before welding.

Even within the stainless steels, the difficulty of welding varies significantly from the austenitic (304, 316, etc.) to the martensitic (eg. 410) steels. The hardest (I haven't found anyone that can do a good job of this yet), IMO, is welding a martensitic stainless steel to a PC steel.

We have argon arc welder at work, and have to weld dairy pipe, the problem
is getting the weld to, "run", with out blowing holes in pipe.

Shawnzyoo
I have been leaning towards getting a wirefed/MIG welder
just for smaller projects
any suggestions on good brands or welder reviews?

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Wolram:

I have next to no practical experience in welding stainless, but I have two thoughts. Are you sure you have the right combination of filler and shroud? It makes a massive difference, but stainless is notoriously difficult to weld. The only time I attempted it was MIG welding a stainless exhaust. I just made a lot of holes. Secondly, surface preparation is even more crucial with stainless than with mild. Wire brush, sand, polish, clean, and make sure the fit-up is really really good. As Gokul mentioned, experimenting with pre-heating (with a blow-torch or whatever) might be fruitful.

Shawn:

For smaller projects, I would definitely lean towards a MIG. Don't bother with the "no gas" types, you'll spend a fortune on wire and the shroud you get is crap. As for recommendations, all I've used are a little Clarke 150 Turbo MIG (about £180) and rather nice Clarke 225 Turbo MIG (about £800).

The more you spend, the more you'll benefit from cooling, ability to weld really thick metal, ability to weld really thin metal, feed speed control, better nozzles etc. I can't recommend a particular make or model, but I would say to definitely get a cooled welder, - the really cheap uncooled ones last for about 10 minutes before overheating.

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Canadian Tire had a special on a few months ago, so I finally bought a welder for $300 that usually cost$400. It was sold under the brand-name HandyCore, but is actually made by Lincoln. I've never used it yet, but that's only because for the first time in my life none of the things that I'm working on require welding. (I've always made do with pop rivets in the past, which severely restricted what I could build.)
This unit is a wire-feed, and has the nozzle assembly for a MIG, but no gas supply or lines. I think that it can be converted if desired.
The main requirement for me, which you might share, is that it runs on 120VAC rather than the more common 240. I don't have any 240 supply. The drawback is that it's only rated for up to 10# mild steel, but that's plenty for anything that I ever do.

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wolram said:
We have argon arc welder at work, and have to weld dairy pipe, the problem is getting the weld to, "run", with out blowing holes in pipe.
Ooh, that the key phrase there. I have no experience with welding food-grade SS, but I've heard that they are the trickiest.

Let me dig around and see if there's some special trick.

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brewnog said:
Wolram:

I have next to no practical experience in welding stainless, but I have two thoughts. Are you sure you have the right combination of filler and shroud? It makes a massive difference, but stainless is notoriously difficult to weld. The only time I attempted it was MIG welding a stainless exhaust. I just made a lot of holes. Secondly, surface preparation is even more crucial with stainless than with mild. Wire brush, sand, polish, clean, and make sure the fit-up is really really good. As Gokul mentioned, experimenting with pre-heating (with a blow-torch or whatever) might be fruitful.

Oh cobblers, i was sure you would know a trick or ten, i think lowest amps
for penetration and slowly slowly is the way to go, but it is a beggar.

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Thanks Gokul43201.