Welding Rod Sticking

Welding Rod Sticking: How you can avoid it?

Are you a new welder struggling with sticking electrodes? It’s a common issue that can lead to poor quality welds, wasted materials, and frustration.

But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll cover the main causes of welding rod sticking and provide simple solutions to resolve the problem.

By learning how to prevent this issue, you’ll save time, effort, and money on your welding projects in the future. So let’s dive in and tackle this problem together!

Why does a welding rod stick to the base metal?

In general, there are two main factors that can lead to electrodes sticking during welding:

  1. mechanical factors, which include poor or untested equipment and consumables, and
  2. technical factors, which involve incorrect actions taken by the welder.
Welding Rod Sticking

The main causes of sticking electrodes

The primary reasons for electrodes sticking during welding include:

  1. Contamination of the base metal or welding surface,
  2. Moisture in the electrode or on the base metal,
  3. Excessive arc length or voltage,
  4. Using the wrong type of electrode or the wrong size for the job,
  5. Using the damaged stick welding electrode,
  6. Poor welding technique or lack of experience,
  7. Poor quality or damaged Stick Welder.

Tips to avoid welding rod sticking to the metal

One common issue is when welding rods stick to the metal during the welding process.

This can create unsightly bumps or ridges in your welds and lead to further issues down the line.

Fortunately, there are a few simple tips and techniques you can use to avoid this issue and ensure smoother welding results.

Choose the correct current settings

By setting the right settings for the Stick welder, you will not only prevent the electrode from sticking, but also improve the quality of the welding joint.

Related reading: How to choose the right Stick Welding rod?

Below you can find the recommended parameters that should be set properly on the welding machine.

Determining the right amperage for your welding job can be a bit tricky.

You’ll need to take into account the thickness of the electrode, as thicker rods require more current to melt properly.

You can use this Welding Amperage Calculator.

To avoid welding rod sticking, it’s crucial to use the correct amperage settings based on the electrode type and the weld’s nature.

If your circuit’s resistance is a bit high, you may need to increase the current slightly above the recommended range to prevent the rod from sticking.

Keep in mind that if the tip of the electrode starts to glow, it’s a clear sign that the current is too high, and you’ll need to adjust it accordingly.

Follow the correct arc striking technique

It is essential to follow the correct arc striking technique to prevent welding rod sticking. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Position the electrode at a 90-degree angle to the base metal.
  2. Strike the electrode in a quick, snappy motion, using a flick of the wrist.
  3. Avoid hitting the electrode against the base metal repeatedly, as this can cause it to stick.
  4. Once the arc is established, maintain a stable arc length by keeping a steady hand.
  5. When changing positions or pausing in the middle of a weld, break the arc before repositioning to avoid sticking.

Use an appropriate arc Length

Using an appropriate arc length is crucial to preventing welding rod sticking. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Check the recommended arc length for the type and diameter of the electrode you are using.
  2. Position the electrode at the correct distance from the base metal – this distance should be consistent throughout the welding process.
  3. Too short of an arc length can cause the electrode to stick, so be sure to maintain a suitable distance between the electrode and base metal.
  4. Keep the arc length as stable as possible, as variations can cause the electrode to stick.
  5. If you need to adjust the arc length, do so gradually to avoid electrode sticking.

Damaged rod Coating: Don’t Use it

It’s important not to use welding rods with damaged coating to prevent electrode sticking. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Inspect the coating of the welding rods before using them – if you notice any damage, such as cracks or chips, discard them.
  2. Using damaged rods can cause the electrode to stick to the metal or result in poor-quality welds.
  3. Store your welding rods in a dry and protected area to avoid damage to the coating.
  4. If you accidentally drop or damage a rod, inspect it carefully before using it – even minor damage can cause problems.
  5. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and use a new, undamaged welding rod to ensure a successful weld.

Choose a suitable electrode

Choosing the right electrode is crucial to prevent welding rod sticking, and for beginners, it’s best to stick with rutile rods such as E6013 and 6012 types. Here’s why:

  1. Rutile electrodes are easy to use and have a stable arc, making them ideal for beginners.
  2. Electrodes like 7018, 6010, and 7024 can be difficult for beginners to use as they require precise control of the welding process to prevent electrode sticking.
  3. Rutile electrodes produce a smooth and clean weld, making them ideal for general purpose welding tasks.
  4. When you gain more experience, you can experiment with different types of electrodes to find the best one for your needs.
  5. Remember to always choose an electrode that matches the base metal and welding conditions, and store them properly to avoid damage to the coating.

Set your welder correctly

This is one of the most frequent causes of electrode sticking. The welder inaccurately assesses the thickness of the parts, chooses the wrong electrode diameter, and sets an excess or insufficient current power on the welder.

Reverse polarity welding change switch

If the current is insufficient, the electrode’s core will not melt to the metal of the workpiece as there is not enough current to maintain the arc.

As a result, the tip of the rod gets stuck in an unformed and rapidly cooling welding pool.

It’s crucial to establish the appropriate current strength according to the tables and learn how to properly ignite the arc and progress the welding.

What to do when the welding Rod gets stuck to the metal?

If the welding rod gets stuck to the metal during the welding process, don’t panic. Here are some steps you can take to remedy the situation:

  1. Stop the welding process and release the electrode holder or welding gun trigger.
  2. Wait for the electrode to cool down before attempting to remove it from the metal.
  3. Using a welding hammer or pliers, try to wiggle the electrode gently to free it from the metal.
  4. If the electrode is still stuck, you can use a chipping hammer to chip away the metal around the electrode to free it.
  5. Once you have removed the electrode, inspect it for damage and replace it if necessary.
  6. Adjust your welding parameters, such as amperage, arc length, or electrode angle, to prevent electrode sticking from happening again.
  7. If you continue to experience problems with electrode sticking, seek advice from a more experienced welder or consult a welding expert to troubleshoot the issue.

How to strike an Stick Welding Arc?

There are different methods of arc strikes, including:

  1. Tapping or striking the electrode against the workpiece quickly and firmly while lifting it slightly to create an arc.
  2. Scratching the electrode against the workpiece and lifting it slightly to create an arc. Its the best for beginner welders.
  3. Touching the electrode to the workpiece, then quickly lifting it to create an arc.

The method you choose depends on personal preference and the welding situation. It’s important to practice and experiment with different methods to find the one that works best for you.

If you have limited experience, it is recommended to start the arc with a short and quick tapping motion using Scratch method, similar to striking a match on a box.

Hold the electrode perpendicular to the plane of the workpiece, and as soon as the arc ignites, tilt it back 15 degrees.

Then, move the electrode smoothly and evenly along the intended line without lingering in one place, as this can cause the tip to stick.

It’s important to maintain a constant gap between the tip of the rod and the workpiece, as excessive length can result in incomplete welding and increase the risk of burn-through.

To prevent the electrode from sticking, it’s essential to use high-quality and dry welding rods and set them up correctly.


What is stick welding?

Stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), is a manual welding process that uses a consumable electrode covered in a flux coating to join two pieces of metal.

What materials can be welded with stick welding?

Stick welding can be used to weld a wide variety of materials, including carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and some non-ferrous metals.

What equipment do I need for stick welding?

To perform stick welding, you will need a welding machine, a welding electrode holder, a ground clamp, welding electrodes, and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a welding helmet, gloves, and safety glasses.

What are some tips for avoiding electrode sticking?

To avoid electrode sticking, it is important to use a suitable electrode, choose the correct current setting, maintain an appropriate arc length, and follow the correct arc striking technique.

What is the proper way to strike an arc when stick welding?

To strike an arc when stick welding, place the electrode near the workpiece and tap it quickly against the metal. Then, pull it back slightly to create an arc. Once the arc is established, tilt the electrode back about 15 degrees and begin welding.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when stick welding?

Some common mistakes to avoid when stick welding include improper electrode selection, incorrect amperage settings, poor weld preparation, and improper welding technique.

What is the difference between AC and DC stick welding?

AC (alternating current) stick welding is typically used for welding thicker metals, while DC (direct current) stick welding is better suited for thinner metals. DC welding also produces less spatter and has better penetration.

How do I know when I have achieved a good weld?

A good weld will be uniform and smooth, with no undercutting or porosity. It will also be strong enough to hold the two pieces of metal together without breaking under stress.

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