Principles of shielded metal arc welding(SMAW)


Shielded Metal Arc Welding(SMAW) or Stick welding is a process which melts and joins metals by heating them with an arc between a coated metal electrode and the workpiece. The electrode outer coating, called flux, assists in creating the arc and provides the shielding gas and slag covering to the protect the weld from contamination. The electrode core provides most of the weld filler metal.

When the electrode is moved along the workpiece at the correct speed the metal deposits in a uniform layer called a bead.

The stick welding power source provides constant current( CC) and may be either alternating current(AC) or direct current( DC), depending on the electrode being used. The best welding characteristics are usually obtained using DC power sources.

The power in a welding circuit is measured in voltage and current. The voltage( Volts) is governed by the arc length between the electrode and the workpiece and is influenced by electrode diameter. Current is a more practical measure of the power in a weld circuit and is measured in amperes(Amps).

The amperage needed to weld depends on electrode diameter, the size and thickness of the pieces to be welded, and the position of the welding. Thin metal requires less current than thick metals, and a small electrode requires less amperage than a large one.

It is preferable to weld on work in the flat or horizontal position. However, when forced to weld in vertical or overhead positions it is helpful to reduce the amperage from that used when welding horizontally. Best welding results are achieved by maintaining a short arc, moving the electrode at a uniform speed, and feeding the electrode downward at a constant speed as it melts.


Typical stick welding set-up



Striking An Arc-Scratch start technique



Striking An Arc-Tapping technique



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