What is Hot Start in Welding? Purpose of a hot start welding?

Hot-Start-in-Welding

Welding is not only a job description, but also an art form. “Hot start” in welding can lead to the most beautiful and effective welding in the industry, so it’s important to understand what it is.

So, what is “hot start” in welding? Hot start is a feature in a Manual Metal Arc welder that gives off a large current when hitting the arc.

To understand the tips and tricks of welding, it is imperative to learn as much about the different features and machines, aside from the hot start, too. Learning about the specifics is essential to understanding why “hot start” welding is so effective. Read on to find out more on the specifics of what hot start is, and why it is so helpful in the trade.

Why Hot Start Matters

Hot start welding increases the current on the welder in order to prolong the time it takes at the beginning of the weld to have “poor fusion”.

While this sounds a bit confusing, it all has to do with the electrode fusion. In simpler terms, the “hot start” function allows the metals to fuse together easier at the very beginning of the weld in order for it to continue to go well. This function is found within Manual Metal Arc (MMA) welding and makes it much simpler for beginning welders to put their skills to the test and have a better outcome.

With a more scientific way of explaining things, hot start is important because it increases starting electrodes, especially in difficult circumstances. Some include imperfections in the material, or even damp electrodes.

Simply put, “hot start” allows for welding to happen in poor (or less than ideal) situations. This is extremely helpful with jobs that are:

  •  Outdoors
  •  That can have different weather conditions, even inside.

 If there is a question about whether to use the stick welder, it should be based upon the conditions you will be working in.

With this function welding becomes much easier and cleaner during the job. Though it sounds like anyone can just pick up this skill, using an MMA welder does still require practice and learning curves.

What Does HOT START Actually Do? >> Check out the video below

What is Manual Metal Arc Welding?

Manual Metal Arc Welding, or MMA, can also be called “Stick” welding. It still requires skill to use this type of welder, even though the “hot start” activates at the beginning of the weld to make it easier. It can commonly be called “Shielded Metal Arc Welding”.

When stick welding, it is important to notice a couple things:

  1. It uses a different power source than normal welders
  2. The power sources are aimed at helping avoid sticking an electrode
  3. More moisture resistant
  4. Special applications

These machines are very appealing to the modern welder, as even the most skilled can make a mistake and hit an electrode every once in a while.  This mistake is never a good thing and should be avoided at all costs.

When using a stick welder, you should avoid extreme angles, but instead direct it down into the material. When using extreme angles, it is easier to strike an electrode or push it.

What is STICK Welding? (SMAW) >> Check out the video below

What Metals Do You Use Hot Start On?

The most important thing to note is what specific metals hot start can be used upon. Due to the adaptability of the machine, there is no specific metal that hot start cannot be used to weld.

However, this feature is used in “stick welding”, which is only used in certain welds. These include working on iron and steel, simply because of the number of electrodes on the surface of the metal.

Hot start can be used in many different atmospheres, and is extremely helpful in less than ideal conditions, such as a windy day. With this adaptability, the metals, regardless of the conditions, will weld together nicely due to the electrode ignition of the machine.

Related reading: Is it Safe to Weld in the Wind? Maximum Wind Velocity

Adaptive Hot Start

Adaptive Hot Start is a specific setting exclusively found on Miller technology. This feature will increase the amperage of the output if the welder needs it.

 Here are some machines with adaptive Hot start:

  1. 12VX Extreme Duty
  2. EXtreme 360 MAP
  3. Miller Syncrowave 250 DX
  4. Miller Syncrowave 350 LX
  5. Miller XMT 350 MPa

With this feature, the welder will automatically change the settings of the ignition for the machine and adapt to the conditions that the welding is taking place in. This provides for an extremely easy beginning to the weld.

Easing the electric arc ignition is exactly what an adaptable hot start does to provide for a safer weld, so if you are concerned with the amount of power of the welder, this feature takes away the worry.

Additionally, with the automatic adaptable hot start feature, there is less of a chance of getting a knot at the beginning of the weld. A clean weld is key, especially at the beginning, so using an adaptable hot start is beneficial.

Do You Need to be Certified to Use Hot Start?

As with all welding, yes, you must be certified to use hot start. For all welding, a certification is required, because dealing with a high-power machine is extremely dangerous without the correct training.

There is both a written and performative test to be certified. Practice is essential in both areas, so ensure that you know exactly what you are doing before scheduling your certification test.

However, getting certified to be a welder can be done both with, or without, going to school. But for most programs, entering into a trade school, or a community college, can provide you with the training needed.

Without going to school, you must be able to pass a test in order to be certified, so studying by yourself and practicing with the welder is going to be important in this situation. Remember, welding can be dangerous, so take the necessary precautions when operating the machines.

Related reading: How To Become A Certified Welder In California? – All Facts

Taking Care of a Manual Metal Arc Welder with Hot Start

As with any tool you use, you have to take measures to care for the Manual Metal Arc Welder. Additionally, using these tools with care is imperative. Without safety measures, many things could go wrong, even if the tool has built in safety precautions.

For the power source, you will need to get a transformer due to the high voltage. This will maintain the arc for the welder to properly work. Additionally, there must be an alternating current and direct current for appropriate use of the tool.

For the electrode holders and cables, good electrical connections must be maintained. Without this, there is potential for the holders and cables to overheat and cause serious safety hazards and damage.

Protective clothing for the welder is essential, as well. Without the right clothing, the operator could be severely hurt. Head and hand shields should be used at all times in order to prevent injuries. Along with clothing, leather gloves and aprons should be worn to protect against the sparks that occur when working with a welder.

Related Article: Personal Protective Equipment for Welders – PPE | List, and Requirements

Without protective gear, injuries may occur. Using proper safety precautions is imperative when working with a machine such as the Manual Metal Arc Welder.

Additionally, when welding, there will be fume extraction. To prevent injury or harmful conditions, proper ventilation must be used when operating the Manual Metal Arc Welder.

Related reading: Should Welding Fumes be Filtered? Risks and how to reduce them

Overall, making sure the electrode balance when using the hot start is the most important safety precaution to take when using this tool, so never skimp on checking to see if everything is in order.

David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at weldingtroop.com. David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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