View Full Version : Vertical with BlueMax 309
03-18-2007, 01:31 PM
My side job, repairing about ten carwashes occasionally affords me the opportunity to break out my TA85, which by the way is a wonderful little welder.
Much of the stuff is stainless, and try as I might, every now and then it's too much of a hassle to remove an object to put it on the bench to weld flat, and BlueMax makes a beautiful bead welded flat. So as I don't get to use the 309 much, and my bread and butter isn't welding, my vertical leaves a lot to be desired. 309 seems to run like water when run vertical, so what can I do aside from lowering the amps and not spending time in the middle to help keep the "grapes" from showing their ugly heads?
03-18-2007, 09:11 PM
Really need more info as to what you are trying to accomplish but I'll give it a shot....
Couple of things.....first off, if the material is thinner then 3/16" you would be better off tigging it..
--if you're going to stick it, then hopefully you can live with a minimum 3/8" wide weave as uphill stainless stringers are an art in themselves and not for the novice.
--stick with 3/32" electrodes, unless on heavier plate and structurals
--position yourself so the weld is at chest height so you can look down from above as compared to eye level
--as you weave you should see a consistant arc glow ahead of your rod but no puddle behind it, just the slag. If you see any puddle or crater developing above your arc you are too hot.
--you must be prepared to speed up your motion as you advance.....because of the low heat your first couple of crossovers will seem extremely slow...you need to experiment as to how low an amperage you can go...on 3/16" you should be in the 50-60 amp range
--if you wait till you think you see grapes then you are too late and won't be able to recover....first 2-3 crossovers slow, increase speed and steady for the next half of the rod and then either break off early or else increase speed by another 50 % for last inch or two.
--on a restart your rod will aim down (about 30 degrees) and then level out
--as your rod and plate heat up your motion is more concentrated on the edges...tight arc and momentary hold, slight lift of the rod tip causing a slightly longer arc across the middle, and then a tight arc on the other edge.
03-18-2007, 10:18 PM
Avesta makes a vertical down rod that might work for your application. I have used it and it flows beautiful. They list it on there site under the VDX designation but I can't be sure if it is offered in 309 as I have only used it in 316. Sorry no link, I can't get on ther site at the moment.
Good advice OldSparks, I have never liked the looks of SS SMAW Vertical up welds.
03-18-2007, 11:37 PM
The Blue Max stick electrodes ( despite being and "all position" electrode ) are not recommended for vertical work
If you want to stick with Lincoln you need to go to the Red Baron or Stainweld family for better out of postion welding
The Blue Max line is dead easy to use. You can drag it ( like a jet rod ) with your eyes cold and the weld looks awesome when you are in the flat postion
You dont get somthing for nothing. Do get the outstanding flat operation, the vertical suffers
Stainless electrodes are NOT created equal , so you need to read the fine print
In stainless stick electrodes , the suffix denotes the coating type
As per AWS classification a
EXXXL-15 ( for example, E309L-15 )
- best all position weldability but has a relatively harsh arc
- weld doesnt look the best and you cannot drag ( drag the electrode down on the plate )
- horizontal fillet looks a bit convex
- good all position weldability , relatively smooth arc
- can lightly drag without electrode sticking
- weld looks good
- poor vertical weldabity
- weld looks outstanding and flat
- you can drag this electrode ( touch it on the plate and close your eyes and just drag )
Unfortunately, the Blue Max electrodes are -17s , which is why you are struggling to weld out of postion with it ( its not you ! )
To further confuse you, most out of postion stainless electrodes ( -15 s and -16s ) are great for vertical up, but not vertical down
Stainless electrodes ( unlike carbon steel ) have this unique quirk . For example you can buy a Red Baron 309L AND Red Baron 309L-V .
If you want the best of both worlds stick with a "-16" coating . This will be part of the label of any stainless stick electrode. Every stainless electrode mfg will have a -16
03-19-2007, 09:25 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. I realize I may never gain the experience needed to do a good vertical, or heck even a marginal vertical with 309. In the future, I'll do whatever I can to get it flat, which this rod will do a great job of even for me.
The last time I used it was to fix a pinhole in a 2" pipe bung where it enters a water tank. I ran it at about 50 amps. Luckily it was from the 10 oclock to 2 oclock position and was essentially a fillet. I had no problems on that. If it was below that, I'd be SOL, especially since I'd had to drain the tank completely.
Before that, I repaired a gusset that holds the self serve boom over your head when washing your car. The plate was rather thin. I ran that at about 40 amps, but settled for short "tacks", which was actually more weld than it had originally, otherwise it wouldn't have broken.
I made some security lock improvements which allowed me to afix a "puck lock" over a barrel lock. This consisted of a 3/16" plate about 4x4" with a short piece of 3" pipe welded flat on it. Those were easy to weld as I could weld them flat. However, I had to weld those to the face of some cash machines. So that would be 3/16" over 1/8" . The verticals were a nightmare with stick. Some I MIG'd which was much easier, but I got tire of dragging the MIG all over the countryside. The dragster is so easy to carry around. I guess I could of settled with 7018 and some rust.