Welding ElectrodesWe were asked recently, “what should I consider before choosing the correct electrode?”. To help answer we came up with 10 (actually 11) basic steps, prior to making your weld;

1. What is the analysis of the base material?
2. Can I obtain an electrode to match the base material properties [UTS etc] 3. What joint preparation is required?
4. Will I need to pre-heat/post heat, before, during and after welding?
3. What power source [welding machine] do I have available?
5. Do I require AC, or DC welding power.
6. If the base material requires me to use a Low Hydrogen Type electrode [7018/7016 etc] does my welding power source have a “Hot Start”?
7. Will I need different diameters of electrodes [root pass, fill and cap]?
8. Will the welding process give off noxious fumes? If yes make sure you have adequate ventilation [fume extraction] 9. Make sure that the electrode you purchase has all the approvals you require [cheap can work out to be very expensive] 1) How you store the welding electrodes especially with regards to humidity and temperature drops.
10. Always check the condition of the flux coating for any reduction in diameter in case they are possibly not a concentric coating which will give you problems on deposition. If the coating has been chipped this could also give you problems with preventing atmospheric contamination of the weld deposit.
11. If you are using low Hydrogen electrodes, then ensure they are dried prior to use if taken from a tin in a heated quiver or ideally vacuum packed which may be better for site conditions.