How Do You Select a Welding Rod?

To select a welding rod or electrode that is well-suited for a welding application, consider factors such as the type of base metal to be welded and the position of the part or parts that are to be welded. There is a large selection of welding electrodes available with varying properties that require different power sources to use. This means that there may be more than one suitable welding electrode for a particular application.

The following factors should be considered when selecting a welding rod or electrode.

  1. Base metal type
  2. Most welding jobs require matching the composition of the welding rod to the base metal. This means that proper assessment of the base metal is important. Evaluate the metal by its appearance, magnetic properties and hardness.
  3. Tensile strength
  4. The first two digits on welding electrodes, such as the 6011, means that it has a tensile strength of 60,000 psi. Match its tensile strength with that of the base metal.
  5. Required power source
  6. Fourth digit in a welding electrode indicates the type of coating that the welding rod has and current required to use it.
  7. Base metal thickness
  8. The thickness of the base metal may either require an electrode with high ductility or one that creates soft arcs. Electrodes that produces digging arcs are suited for tight fit-ups while materials with wide root opening works well with concave producing electrodes.

Certain welding rods are also recommended for specific welding positions according to AWS standards. Service and job site conditions also need to be factored in when evaluating different welding electrodes.