Shielded Metal Arc Welding or SMAW is commonly known as the Stick Welding method. In the particular method, the welder manually operates a stick with an electric current which produces an electric arc. This way, two pieces of metal can be joined, when the welder glues them together with the electric arc.
The stick welding method is used to join steel or iron, and is mostly applied in fabrication and construction industries. Such industries require heavy welding, as they manufacture huge projects that need stable and sturdy constructs and designs.
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Welding helmets are of course an essential part of Shielded Metal Arc Welding. This is because of the manual operations done by the welder. The welder needs to be protected constantly, and have the best optical clarity possible for handling the stick while welding.
This is why in this article, we have researched and found 5 of the best welding helmets that are ideal for stick welding. First of all, let’s find out some more things about this magnificent method of joining two pieces of metal, and then discuss about the helmet models that we recommend.
What is Stick Welding?
As mention in our introduction, stick welding uses a fixed length electrode to join various metal types, such as iron or steel. A power source is essential for the procedure, and the welding stick has to be operated manually by the welder.
The main part of the electrode has a solid metal rod. Mineral compounds surround the particular metal rod, and metal powders mixed with a binding agent work together in order to help it sit and stick to the surface of the electrode.
As far as the core of the rod is concerned, it is used to conduct electric current to the welding arc, and as a result it produces the filler metal which is used to join the two pieces of metal together.
Stick welding has various different types of electrodes. According to their size and type, the welder is going to determine what arc voltage is required for the weld to be functional, from a range of between 16 up to 40 volts.
In addition to this, it is up to the welder also to decide the amperage volume according to the requirements of the specific project and the type of electrode. The usual amperage range is 20 to 550 volts for heavier joints.
The type of current depends on the type of electrode the welder is going to use on the project. It can be alternating or direct. As a result, the power source that is going to be used needs to be sufficient for controlling the level of current used for the project.
Our main purpose is to provide electrode coverage in order to acquire arc stability. In addition to this, coverage utilizes gases to shield the molten metal from the air and other elements of the atmosphere. These gases, are created from the heat that decomposes the coating.
Welders use the shielding that is produced from this process to control the metallurgical structure, the mechanical properties and the chemical composition of the metal created by the welding. Again, the type of electrode is responsible for the composition of the electrode coverage described above.
Advantages and disadvantages of Stick Welding
Every welding method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and can be used for specific projects more effectively than other. Below, we list some of the most important pros and cons of Shielded Metal Arc Welding:
1 – Stick welding is ideal for outdoor projects. No matter what the weather is like, stick welding will be effective during rainy or windy days for any type of project.
2 – It is affordable. As a welder, you are not required to purchase too many equipment. Just the basic, such as a welding helmet, gloves or a respirator are enough.
3 – No need for external shielding gas. This factor can save you a lot of money, as external shielding gas costs a lot and reduces the portability.
4 – It’s not a sensitive method. Stick welding can handle properly the corrosion and dirtiness, and can save you lots of time as you have minimum cleaning before and afterwards.
5 – It is very convenient. The particular welding method is very convenient for welders because it makes it very easy to change rods according to the type of metal you are using.
6 – It’s a flexible method. The reason why it is such a flexible method is the fact that it allows you to attach the clamp pretty far from the area where you are welding.
1 – It is a slow welding method. Although stick welding has a lot of advantages, it is considered one of the slowest welding methods compared to TIG or MIG.
2 – Difficult for beginners. Its complexity makes it a bit more difficult for beginners to get used to the particular welding method. Advanced skills are required.
3 – The slag requires time investment. It takes a fair amount of time to chip away the slag which is formed during the welding.
4 – Not easy on thinner metals. It can get hard, especially if you are in the beginning stages of welding to apply the stich welding method on thinner pieces of metal.
5 – Rod replacement. If you are an experienced welder, then you know this is time-consuming. You need to devote time into replacing the rods regularly.
6 – Process difficulties. A number of difficulties may occur during stick welding, such as porosity or roughness on the surface of the metal.
How to get prepared for Stick Welding
Shielded Metal Arc Welding is considered one of the most difficult welding methods to learn. For ideal results, there are certain skills and a level of experience required. This is why the majority of beginners do not prefer the particular welding method as a starting point.
There are some basic areas which you need to focus on if you intend to work using stick welding. These areas are the length of arc, the current setting, the speed of travel and the angle and operation of the electrode used for the process.
Although stick welding is considered one of the cleanest welding methods compared to the rest, you should focus on cleaning and preparing your workplace properly for better results. Make sure that you remove any dirt or rust from the surface of the metal so that you can achieve a better weld.
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If the area on which you are going to work is not clean, there is an increased possibility for porosity cracking or inclusions. What is more, providing a clean area to your clam is equally important, because this way the electrical connection is better and so is the quality of the arc.
Positioning is another critical factor welder have to focus on when it comes to stick welding. You have to get a nice view of the puddle and make sure that you place your head away from the smoke so that you can keep you eyes on the weld. Stability is very important for a welder to operate the stick properly.
Best Welding Helmets for Stick (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)
For any type of welding, having a high quality welding helmet is a must. You need to know the features of the helmet you are about to purchase, so that you take advantage of its specifications to improve your welding projects. Here are 5 of the best welding helmets for stick welding:
Top pick – The best welding helmet for stick
1 – 3M Speedglas Black Welding Helmet 100
- AUTO DARKENING FILTER — Advanced optics adjust...
- THREE LENS SENSITIVITY SETTINGS — Allows this...
- USER-SELECTABLE DARK SHADES — Enables welder to...
- READY TO USE — Welding helmet comes fully...
- ANSI Z87.1-2010 — Approved for eye and face...
This is my ideal auto darkening welding helmet for stick welding. Its auto darkening filter is one of the fastest in the market, which guarantees maximum eye protection from the welding arc. The light shade of the 3M Speedglas Black Welding Helmet 100 and the filter shades range from 8 to 12.
It is extremely important that the particular welding helmet is designed for stick welding (also MIG and TIG) as stated by the manufacturer. It offers sensitivity controls and the darkening filter can be adjusted for different shades according to the brightness of the arc.
The 3M Speedglas Black Welding Helmet 100 which you can find on Amazon, is in my opinion one of the best welding helmets for stick welding considering its features. Clearly, one of the best protective gear I have used for my welding projects.
2 – TGR Panoramic 180 View
- 4 Independent ARC sensors with adjustable...
- Lens auto-darkens in 1/10,000th of a second,...
- Grind: Protection against flying particles...
- Extra large viewing area and True Color...
- Certification: CE ANSI AS/NZS
My second choice regarding stick welding is the TGR Panoramic 180 View. This is a solar-powered welding helmet, which you are going to find significantly effective if you are working on outdoor welding projects.
It has a very wide viewing area, which is one of its main advantages. It enhances the optical clarity of the welder, which is useful in stick welding because the stick has to be manually operated by the welder. Although experience is required, the helmet is going to improve the operation.
Using the TGR Panoramic 180 View, you save up a lot of time as you don’t have to stop and start all the time. This is due to the LCD technology of this great auto darkening welding helmet, as it darken automatically to the appropriate shade level.
An affordable helmet for stick
3 – Instapark ADF Series GX-500S
- Solar-powered welding helmet with auto-darkening...
- Improved optics for 1/2/1/3 denomination to...
- Large 3.63”X1.65” viewing area with variable...
- Suitable applications include Stick (arc welding),...
- In conformance with GS, DIN-Geprüft, CE, ANSI...
This is not just a welding helmet with a nice design, its far more than that. The Instapark ADF Series GX-500S is a great choice for stick welding, as it is solar-powered with an impressively fast response time as far as lens darkening is concerned.
Considering eye-fatigue, you can rest assured that this helmet is going to help you get great optical clarity, due to its high quality lens. In addition to this, its large viewing area works great for tight spaces and stick welding, which requires precision and detailed inspection of the weld.
For more information about the Instapark ADF Series GX-500S you can visit Amazon. In my opinion, its features are ideal for stick welding, so if you are on a tight budget you should give this welding helmet a try.
A nice stick welding helmet
4 – Tanox Auto Darkening Welding Helmet ADF-206S
- TOP OF THE LINE WELDING HEADGEAR: The TANOX AUTO...
- COMPLETE EYE SAFETY: The TANOX AUTO DARKENING...
- FUNCTIONAL AND EASY TO USE: The TANOX SOLAR...
- 20$ BONUS inside: Every TANOX AUTO DARKENING...
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We know you will be...
The Tanox Auto Darkening Welding Helmet ADF-206S is another affordable solution regarding welding helmets for Shielded Metal Arc Welding, which you can acquire for less than $100. It is an excellent headgear, specially designed for stick welding.
One of its main advantages is the fact that it offers amazing eye protection, while it helps to avoid fatigue as it meets all the necessary National Safety Standards. It works great for complex projects, which require long working hours.
The Tanox Auto Darkening Welding Helmet ADF-206S which you can find here, is a very convenient welding helmet, which provides great stability to the neck. That is especially useful for stick welding, as it requires stable operation of the stick by the welder.
Another great choice
5 – Coocheer Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
The Coocheer Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is a helmet suitable for daily welding projects. Along with them, it works great for stick welding, as it offers nice optical clarity that enhances the precision during the process.
The auto darkening filter work great and they provide the necessary eye protection from UR and IR rays. The filters get activated instantly after the welder strikes the arc, and the response time is more than sufficient to avoid flashes.
Regarding stick welding, there are also light sensitivity and delay controls provided by the welding helmet, which you can adjust according to the amperage and the specific need of your projects. For more information about the price and its features, you can find the Coocheer Auto Darkening Welding Helmet on Amazon.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding is a complex welding method used by experienced and professional welders. It is considered difficult for beginners, especially compared to methods like TIG or MIG.
In this article, we have recommended the 5 best welding helmets suitable for stick welding. Make sure that you do your own research, and test the quality of the welding helmets you are about to purchase. Keep welding!