Why is one of these electrodes bent?  Keep reading.

  2016 August 30     Tech   Metal & Shop


In the Easy Weld 100ST Review, I mentioned that the unit could work with 7018 rods.

Well, it seems my first choice was lucky.  The 1/8" rods that I tried seemed to work fairly well and started easily.  Then I tried some 3/32" ones that should have worked even better.

They sort of didn't.

This article shares what I've learned so far.  Let's figure out how to choose 7018 electrodes for these small welders.

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In This Article

Easy Weld

Extension Cords

7018 Basics

Lincoln Excalibur

7018 AC Rods


Easy Weld

The Easy Weld 100 ST is a great little welding machine, but like all 120-volt welders, you can't just use any ol' welding rod and expect great results.

120-volt welders typically max out around 85 or 90 amps.  Some of them advertise 100 amps, but I don't know about that.

Any of these machines should do better on a 20-amp circuit.  Most homes have 15-amp circuits.  If you are trying to crank up the current as far as it will go, the welder will probably trip a 15-amp breaker.

110 or 120-volt welders are sort of right on the edge of being able to use 7018 rods.  It makes a big difference which brand and type you choose.  (I'm still learning this, so this article is sort of my notebook.  Hopefully it will help you too!)

Extension Cords

If you're thinking of using a 120-volt welder with 7018, don't even think about using a cheap extension cord.  Read this article to help you choose the right extension cord. 

7018 Basics

7018 welding electrodes are used for so-called "code work", meaning that 7018 is what you'll find on jobsites for high-rise buildings, nuclear reactors, and that sort of thing.  Done right, the welds meet certain types of structural regulations or "codes".

When properly stored, 7018 is a low-hydrogen electrode.  Most of us don't store 7018 properly, but then again we're just making yard decorations, garden carts, knick-knack shelf brackets, and that sort of thing.  (That said, it's nice to know you could even get better welds out of 7018's if you do store them properly.)

Even stored out on a shelf, 7018 still has advantages:

- Strong welds

- Easy drag-rod welding style

- Slag very easy to remove

- Potentially the best-looking welds

- Able to weld cast iron to steel, if you do it right

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Lincoln Excalibur

This is a very popular one among experienced welders.  1/8" Excaliburs were pretty much out of the question with the Easy Weld 100 ST, so I tried some 3/32" ones.  That's Lincoln Excalibur 7018 MR.

First I used 3/32" 7018 MR to attach a steel jaw liner to a cast iron vise.  That seemed a whole lot easier than precision drilling, tapping, and countersinking the piece of steel.

Here the rods were difficult to start.  They stuck like mad!  One of them welded itself to the piece so firmly that I ended up wrecking the electrode (see photo at top of page.)

Later I figured out what was wrong.  I was running the welder on a 15-amp circuit, and the extension cord was too thin.  Hmm, so that's why the welder kept shutting off...

Much later I tried 3/32" Excalibur 7018's again.  This time it was on a 20-amp circuit with no extension cord.  There was a huge difference.

Maxed out at 85-90 amps, the Easy Weld 100ST has enough power to get good beads with these electrodes.  I'm talking about smooth, easy welds where you can almost drag the welding rod.  Now that I have more experience with them, I really like these 7018 MR's.  Let's hope Lincoln keeps making them available in 3/32".  (1/16" would be useful, too.)

If you buy Excalibur 7018 MR for a small welder, make sure you get the 3/32", not the 5/32".  It seems like the 5/32" is actually more common on-line, because it's an industrial size.

Certain types of 3/32" electrodes may require 90 amps.

7018 AC Rods

In the original 7018 test of the Easy Weld 100ST, I used 1/8" Lincoln rods.  They were not Excalibur MR's, though.  They were 7018 AC's.  That's a special type designed for AC welders such as the Lincoln AC225, but they also work great with DC welders.

I've found that 7018 AC electrodes start MUCH more easily than regular 7018's, even on a DC welder.  They also seem to hold an arc more easily, especially when you're not quite running them hot enough.

The 1/8" 7018 AC's are still a little difficult on 120 volt machines, unless you are welding thin metal.  However, 3/32" 7018 AC's are just about right.  If you have a 120-volt stick welder or are thinking of getting one, just do yourself a favor and order one or more of the following:

Lincoln Electric 7018 AC (3/32")  

Hobart 7018 AC (3/32")

Forney 7018 AC (3/32") 

Frunze 7018 (3/32").  These don't say "7018 AC", but they're supposed to work with AC.  That means they should start easily on a low-powered DC welder, too.

Figure on running any of these electrodes at 75 to 90 amps, depending on the thickness of what you're welding. 

You will notice I didn't say which one is the "best".  That's because there are variables I don't know:  how thick the metal you're welding, what's your technique, what brand of machine you're using, etc.  Try a couple different varieties of 7018 AC, and see which one you like best.  Don't throw away the ones you didn't like;  you may find some special welding application where they work better than anything else!

Get You A Welder!

Table of Contents

1/16" 7018 Electrodes

This is almost like having a flux-core welder.  Some people hate these thin electrodes, but I think they might be underrated. 

From what I've seen so far, these work absolutely great with a 120-volt welder.  Any bad welds I'm getting are the result of my lack of skill, not the electrodes.  But I do know enough to know they don't have any serious issues with the 120V welder.  There's enough excess power that you don't have to worry about cold welds.  I've been running the Hobart 1/16" 7018's at 65-67 amps.

In fact, I'm starting to realize that may be too hot.  I was welding some thin steel and getting burn-through at 65 amps;  I kept dialing down the amps until finally it was at 50.  Finally the beads stopped looking like 6011 whip-and-pause welds, and now they looked like 7018 welds.  This was just above the point where these electrodes wanted to stick to the metal.  1/16" electrodes like to flex and go off course, so it can be a challenge to keep the correct arc length.  So get a couple packs and practice a lot.

Get You A Welder!

Table of Contents


120-volt machines are somewhat picky about 7018 electrodes. 

3/32" Lincoln Excaliburs require a 20-amp circuit.  If you use any extension cord at all, make sure it can carry 20 amps.  And the machine will probably have to be maxed out, which should be around 85 to 90 amps.  Now that I've tried these some more, I really like them.

Rods designed for AC welders are also easy to start on small DC welders.  If you have a 110/120-volt arc welder, get some of these and they will probably work great for you.  Based on my experience I would also highly recommend the Hobart 1/16" 7018's.

One more time:  make sure you're not running the machine on a flimsy extension cord or a very long run from the circuit breaker.  If you have a 20-amp circuit with a short run, that's ideal.  If you have to use an extension cord, make sure it's a good one like this.  For 50-foot runs, I would use one like this at least.  Get 7018 AC electrodes in 3/32" diameter, and you should be able to weld just fine.

I hope you've enjoyed this article and found it helpful.  You can really help me out by using the links on here to purchase your gear.  Thank you!


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