In welding jargon stick welding is a nickname for Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or Arc Welding. The name stick welding is the result of the stick like appearance of the electrode that forms the crust of arc welding. There are 5 most basic aspects that can be very influential in deciding the effectiveness of the process. They are what we call as CLAMS.
CLAMS should be expanded as
C – Current setting
L – Length of arc
A – Angle of travel
M – Manipulation
S – Speed of travel
Current setting – Electrode and its type influences the decision of selecting the appropriate current of amperage. Operating ranges can be read from the display at the side of the electrode box. The newest machines do bear with them a label that suggests you appropriate amperage values for the list of electrode thicknesses that are most often use.
Length of arc – Longer lengths lead to excess spatter and undercuts too. Choose a length that is most appropriate to the electrode that you have decided to use for the specific task. Avoid holding the electrode way too close as it leads to a sharp decrease in voltage. Newbie make a mistake of holding the electrode too far and produce a lot of spatter. Constant practice will teach you that controlled and tight length of arc will result in minimal spatter and great beads.
Angle of travel – Perpendicular position will lead to great beads.
Manipulation – It is wise to build up on the basics that you have acquired. But the basics should be strong as this is what can take you places as a professional welder. With keen observance and innovation at your leisure will eventually give you your own style of performing the job.
Speed of travel – Continually maintaining the same speed of travel will give you good beads. However you have got to alter the speed to make the arc stay within the specific area. High speeds will produce high crowns and undercuts too. They are not efficient when it comes to penetration too.
Most important of these all, be open and prepared to accept your mistakes. No one person has mastered the art without any errors whatsoever. But try to keep your view strictly to the puddle. Make necessary arrangements so that you get a clear view of the puddle. Be calm and learn from your mistakes. That is the best that you can do as the first step towards learning. Also learn to re-weld you mistakes away. They are useful to keep wastage to a minimum. Keep yourself away from the harm that a machine is capable of and strictly adhere to the safety precautions that should be followed while performing these risky tasks.