Stick welding, also known as manual metal arc welding (MMA) or shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), or arc welding, is the first welding process a welder learns during training because it is one of the easiest welding methods. Arc welding machines offer many advantages over MIG/MAG and TIG processes. This welding process is suitable for almost any material, making it ideal for pipelines, heavy fabrication, and construction site applications. Manual arc welding allows welding vertically, horizontally, or even overhead. In addition, stick welders are free from shielding gases and can work efficiently outdoors, even in adverse weather conditions such as wind or rain.
AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) are the two different types of current used in arc welders. When the output current is AC, this welding machine is called a welding transformer or a coil-type arc welding machine. On the other hand, if the output current is DC, then we call it a welding rectifier, which generally comes in three types: inverter-type welding machine, diode-based welding rectifier, and thyristor-based welding rectifier.
Stick welding can work using alternating (AC) or direct (DC) power sources. However, direct current is the preferred polarity for stick welding as it offers several benefits, including a smoother and more stable arc, less spatter, and easier overhead welding. Common electrodes used for general welding work include 6010, 6013, and 7018. With 6010 electrodes, deeper penetration is possible compared to 6013 electrodes. DC welding is also suitable for melting all welding electrodes, including 6010 and 7018. Use 7018 electrodes for better bead shape and higher strength welds.