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.
Table of Contents
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:
- 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:
- It uses a different power source than normal welders
- The power sources are aimed at helping avoid sticking an electrode
- More moisture resistant
- 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 is Arc Force?
Arc force, also known as “Dig” or “Arc Control,” is a feature used in welding that adjusts the intensity of the arc during welding. It is the interaction between the welding electrode and workpiece, which can cause the workpiece to distort or break.
The arc force setting allows welders to adjust the arc from a soft, smooth arc to a more aggressive, digging arc. It can be controlled by adjusting the current, electrode size and shape, and welding speed. Higher arc force is used in hot start welding, and a higher setting may work better for individuals.
When welding with 6010 or 6011, a high arc force setting can allow the user to hold a tight arc without being too high on the amps.
Is Arc Force The Same As DIG?
Arc force and DIG are related, but they are not the same thing. DIG, also known as arc force control, is a feature that provides welders with additional control over the volt/amp curve to suit the type of joint and electrode chosen, preventing the electrode from sticking and stabilizing the arc to minimize the risk of a potential short.
On the other hand, arc force/arc control/dig circuiting in SMAW provides an increase in amperage/penetration with a decrease in voltage, usually 19-21 volts. It allows you to jam that rod in a pipe root without sticking and without being too high on the amps. Instead of using a higher amperage to …
The DIG feature makes it easier for welders to achieve good penetration in an open root pass with an E6010 electrode. Different stick electrodes have different requirements for arc force settings, which can be matched accordingly by understanding the correct amperage and voltage for the type of rod chosen.
What Is The Strongest Arc Welding?
There are several types of arc welding, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), is considered one of the strongest welding processes.
Stick welding is versatile and can be used to weld a variety of metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. Additionally, stick welding can be used in outdoor and remote locations where other welding processes may not be practical.
The key to achieving a strong weld using stick welding is selecting the correct electrode for the welding process and ensuring that the amperage and voltage settings are appropriate for the type of rod being used.
Anti-stick, arc force, and DIG are all features that can help a welder achieve a strong weld when using stick welding.
What is Anti-Stick?
Anti-Stick is a feature in welding equipment that helps prevent the electrode from sticking to the metal being welded.
When the electrode sticks to the metal, the coating may come off, which can cause damage to the equipment and create an unsafe working environment.
The anti-stick function controls the welding current and voltage to prevent the electrode from sticking to the metal. This feature can be found in inverter stick welders along with other features such as hot start and arc force.
It is important to use these features correctly and with the appropriate type of electrode for optimal performance.
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:
- 12VX Extreme Duty
- EXtreme 360 MAP
- Miller Syncrowave 250 DX
- Miller Syncrowave 350 LX
- 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.
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.