If you are a person who is new in the profession of welding, there are plenty of choices available for you. When you go out to buy your gear, you will find that there are countless variations in it. Starting from safety measures to the actual welding items, there are a number of different choices and picking the right one becomes difficult. Particularly, when you talk about the welding rods, if you are not aware of how each of them works and what is its purpose, you will not be able to choose the appropriate one which will result in bad welding.

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What is the welding rod?

Welding rod is the main item used in this work. It is the piece of wire that is attached to the welding machine. The current is passed through this wire to join to pieces of metal together. There are two cases such as SMAW and stick welding in which the welding rod actually melts itself to act as the joining part between the metals and becomes a part of the weld itself. At times, the rods are named as the electrodes. Moreover, there are other cases as well in which the rod does not become the part of the weld itself. The electrodes that are used in SMAW and stick welding are called consumable electrodes while the other ones are names as the non-consumable electrodes. If you dig in a little further, you will find that there are plenty of other types of rods as well in each category.

The rods come with a coating on them. There are a number of different materials used for coating the rods. There are some electrodes that are available to you that come without any coating. These are known as the bare electrodes. However, the bare electrodes are pretty much less common than the other ones. They are used for particular purposes like welding the manganese steel.

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When you are performing the welding job, it is highly important for you to choose the appropriate electrode. It will help you in creating a clean and strong weld that comes with durability. If you weld using a wrong electrode, the joint will not be strong, and consequently, it will break easily.

Classifying the welding rods

There are plenty of ways of categorizing the electrodes. The major classifications are:

  • Consumable Electrodes: The ones that melt away during welding and become the part of welding. These are used in SWAM and stick welding.
  • Non-consumable electrodes: The non-consumable electrodes are the ones that do not melt during welding. These are used in TIG welding.
  • Type of coating: The rods can be classified according to the type of coating on them. There are various metals used for coating the electrodes including sodium, potassium, iron oxide, titania, etc.
  • Type of current: As these are the electrodes, therefore, they require a particular type of current. It largely depends on their coating as well. Some of them will work on direct current; some of them will work on alternative current while some may operate on both currents.
  • The numbers classification: The welding rods are mostly classified using the numbers. These numbers indicates the property of rods such as their coating, their working ability, their operating current, etc.