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Unread 12-12-2015, 12:08 PM   #1
Jerry Bransford
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Emergency stick welding on the trail... questions on rod choice

I put an emergency stick welding kit together for trail use a couple years ago and it basically works well. It connects three automotive batteries in series together with a Harbor Freight rod holder. I connect three batteries in series because the rod sticks to the work too much when only two batteries are used.

My question has to do with it being a little too hot of a welder for some work, you really have to keep the stick moving a little too fast for good control on 1/8 to 3/16 steel. The rod I carry is 6010 and 7018.

From comments made by a good stick welder using my kit on the trail for an emergency trail repair, there's probably a different rod or different diameter rod I should carry so it won't burn so hot. What diameter should I buy to help with this problem? Should I continue to use 6010 as my primary rod or is there something better for emergency trail repairs?

So my questions boil down to 1) Continue using 6010 as the primary trail-use rod? 2) What diameter 6010 rod is best for 1/8 to 3/16 steel for trail repairs? 3/32? 1/8?

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Unread 12-13-2015, 02:29 PM   #2
TheDonk
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I'm far from an expert (only recently started stick welding) but from what I know, you may want to consider 6013 rods. They don't penetrate as deep as 7018 and most people run them a little faster than 7018 or 6010 because of the different flux coating on them. I would think 1/8th but no guarantees there. Hopefully someone with more practical experience will chime in, but those are my $0.02 at least.
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Unread 12-13-2015, 07:11 PM   #3
skizriz
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What you are seeing is the drawback to welding with batteries. You are welding at full power. Thats the reason I went with an alternator setup, to have heat control. Welding on a thin lower control arm bracket to a TJ with just two batteries, was a bear. I had to just keep making big tack welds to keep from blowing through.
You are trying to weld with basically what I do with my home welder when I want to burn off a rusted bolt. Crank it up to max, and hit it with a 6010.

Things you can try.
Bigger 1/8" rods for more filler. Electrode negative reduces heat and penetration. 7018 rods don't penetrate as much, if you can get a clean surface to weld for them.

If you want to get deep penetration, the thinner 3/32 6010-11, electrode positive, will cut deep.

Least penetration, and most filler. 1/8" 7018 electrode neg.

I carry 6010 and 7018 in both 3/32 and 1/8.

I'm not a pro by any means, but do back woods welding more often than I care to.

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Unread 12-13-2015, 10:13 PM   #4
Jerry Bransford
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That was information was very (!) helpful Skizriz, thank you very much! Especially on running a negative electrode to reduce penetration. I'll definitely take advantage of your suggestions and information!! And thanks TheDonk too, that 6013 rod would be useful in some situations.
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Unread 12-14-2015, 05:31 PM   #5
skizriz
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Here's a pretty good article on the basics of welding rods. There's tons of great info, but it can also get confusing. I try not to read too much as I weld mild steel, and the occasional cast steel somewhere on an axle, or pitman arm like last week.
http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...ding-rods.html

More often than not, especially in the field, you are going to grab for a 6010-6011 road. They are called "farmer's rods" for good reason. They will burn through paint, dirt, grease, and all kinds of funky stuff. Obviously cleaner is always better though, but on a broken jeep in the woods, a wire brush is about the best you can ask for.
I carry a HF die grinder with a wire and grinding wheel to run off my OBA. One of my wheeling buddies has a receiver mounted vice. We are getting spoiled.
The 6010-11 rods are very easy to start, dig deep, and easy to weld with.They are what I grab for doing a tack weld when you are holding two pieces together, and trying to juggle things at an odd angle. They are a fast freezing rod, the puddle will harden up quick, so they are good for vertical, overhead, and odd ball angles. They are the rods you have to sweep back into the puddle as you go.
The rods are easier to care for, especially packed away in the back of a jeep.

The 7018 is a higher strength rod, that runs smooth once it's burning. It's harder to strike an arc with though. The end will glass over when you finish, and must be knocked off before it will light up again. I always give it a quick drag on my concrete floor. The low hydrogen is better for things like cast steel. The surface must be CLEAN for a good bead with no porosity.
With the slower freeze rate of the 7018, it is a good rod to basically drag in a straight line, with very little, if any, side to side movement of the rod tip. That also makes it hard to use for any vertical or overhead welding. It tends to run and glob up.
Dampness will ruin them in a heartbeat, so they must be well taken care of.
They are my #1 rod to use at home though. Once you get used to them they are a great rod.

It's hard to practice alot with an emergency battery setup, but that really is the only way to know exactly how it will react. With a little practice, you should easily be able to drop down to 2 batteries. I found that even with 2, it burned way too hot for thinner TJ brackets. I probably could have easily welded 3/8" thick plate.
Sometimes you just have to treat it as if you were welding sheet metal, tack, tack,tack. Whatever gets you out of the woods.

I made mine from a $15 junkyard 90 amp alternator. That way I can vary the power by setting my engine rpm. I made a quick disconnect bracket on top of my York, and it takes about two minutes to set up and run. It all packs away in a tote bag.
Works so well, I have used it on my trailer when I couldn't get it close enough to the garage to use my shop welder when I did a SOA on it.

The welder was actually a fun project to build, and it has definitaly earned it's keep. It's gotten 4 or 5 undrivable jeeps out of the woods so far.





Plenty of power to run a nice bead with a 1/8" 7018 rod.



This was back in the batteries days.



Getting spoiled now.Air tools, welder.....



Broken pitman arm miles back into the woods. No problem, just enough time to take a sandwich break while it's welded back together.





A welder is a must have tool to carry with you if you wheel hard, even if the best you can do is stick some metal together to make it back to the trailer. The guys in my group all pitched in the gear to build mine, leads, stinger,coat, sleeves, gloves. So far, just about everybody that pitched in to build it has needed it. I don't leave home without it now.
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Unread 12-14-2015, 07:03 PM   #6
Jerry Bransford
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More sweet information, thank you, and I hear you on the problems with using batteries to weld with. I've been close a couple times to buying a Ready Welder (MIG) or a Premier (stick) but cost keeps getting in the way. But this 'Magyver' kit I put together has saved the day on the trail several times so until I get something better, I'll just try some different rods and polarity. I'm now leaning toward just running 1/8" 7018 with negative polarity and some 6010 as well. Those are actually what is in my kit now but I'm going to get some fresh replacements and focus on 3/16 and 1/8. I'm aware 7018 only works with clean surfaces which is why a good wire brush has always been part of the kit.

Thanks again, you have been really helpful.
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