Old School Arc Welding is not dead. In fact, it is still king.
It this age of high tech and robotic welding processes, you might think that old fashioned arc welding might be obsolete. You would be dead wrong in thinking that. Arc welding (often referred to as stick welding) is still responsible for most of the welding in the construction and maintenance of nuclear plants, paper mills, pipelines, and skyscrapers. Old fashioned stick welding may have advanced a lot back in 1927 but since then, it has hardly changed at all. It’s the same welding that grandpa did to fix his tractor back in the day.
There are lots of reasons why shielded metal arc welding has stood the test of time…these are also good reasons why any welding shop needs to have an arc welding machine in addition to any other wire feed or tig welders on hand.
Here are just a few reasons that any welding shop needs an “Old School” stick welding machine
- Welding outside is no problem. Flux from the rod will protect the molten puddle in windy conditions.
- Equipment is cheap. eBay , and Craigslist will get you going for a couple hundred bucks.
- Equipment is simple. Polarity and amperage …that’s it.
- Changing metals is easy. Stick welding rods are made for steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and even aluminum. All you do is change the rod, and possibly polarity, but it is a lot easier than changing a spool of wire.
- Rods are cheap and easy to get. Your local welding supply store, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply, and most auto supply stores have them.
- No welding gas cylinders to buy
- Different rods for different jobs. Tiny little 1/16″ rods can be used to weld sheet metal like an auto body panel. 1/8″ and 5/32″ rods will lay down a big weld on a heavy duty trailer.
- Arc gouging with a carbon arc rod can be done to cut metal or remove welds if you have a large DC machine. You can also cut metal by using a 6010 rod and lots of amperage… its called “hot rodding”
- A decent DC arc welding machine can be used to scratch start tig weld. All you need is a air cooled tig torch, flowmeter, and cylinder of argon. You can make your stick welder very versatile by converting it to a tig welder. But it has to be a DC machine.
One last tip…If you are going to shop eBay, make sure to search by areas within driving distance because of shipping costs. Craigslist is also a great place to shop for used machines.