You may or may not know that there are over 100 different welding processes used to weld everything from plastics to composites to metal. However, when someone thinks of welding, you tend to think of metal, right?

Let’s take a look at one of the oldest welding processes, Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding – also referred to as “Stick,” “Stick Rod,” or just plain Arc Welding.

Stick Welding Student

This is one of the oldest electrically-based welding processes still in use today. The stick welding process uses an electrode commonly called a “welding rod” that is composed of a solid metal core surrounded by a flux coating. The welder uses an electrode holder or “stinger” that holds the welding rod and provides electrical current to the welding rod. The welder uses the welding rod to strike an arc on the base metal. Once the arc is started, the rod will burn causing the flux covering to generate the shielding gas and the filler metal will melt into the weld puddle. The welder then manipulates this weld puddle to perform the weld. This particular welding process does require some skill in order to produce good welds and can be used indoors or outdoors. Stick welding is rarely used in large fabrication shops due to the fact that it is slow and its inability to weld certain types of metals or alloys. It is used extensively in field welding due to its portability and versatility. The stick welding process is a good choice to learn first in that the skills developed form the basis of techniques that can be used in developing skills in the other welding processes.