Maybe most of you know this already, but maybe some do not. I was welding on my motor mounts the other day and used "my trick" to make life easier to weld in a tough spot to access.
Most people have a second lead with a rod holder connected to the + terminal on their TIG machine, so they can switch the polarity to DCEP for welding with stick electrodes. Then you set the current to whatever you like for the rod size and welding position. Then set the current control to "panel" rather than "remote" (the footpedal)-- then proceed to weld as one would with an ordinary machine made for welding with stick-electrodes only.
So in the situation where you have to reach a long ways, or you are welding vertical-uphill on some thin metal and have to stop because the base metal is getting too hot, or your fitup is not so good and you have some gaps to weave across; try this where you add the foot control to the stick welding process:
Set up your machine with the polartiy you want (usually DCEP), but leave the contactor and current control set to "remote" for the footpedal as you would for TIG welding.
Leave the high frequency switch set to "start only" or whatever your machine is labeled.
Set the current to the maximum you need for the given size of rod. Sometimes I add about 5 or 10 amps. So for 3/32" diameter E7018 rod, I normally set the current at about 80 amps. When using this trick I sometimes go to 90 amps so I have some extra power.
Take the rod holder/ lead to where you are going to weld, with your trusty foot pedal.
If you don't have a rod holder, you can even use your TIG torch with a 3/32" or 1/8" collet & collet body, with a beat-up gas nozzle and a short back-cap. Then put the rod in the collet and tighten the back-cap. You can bend the rod so it has whatever angle you want with respect to the torch. The rod has a tendancy to rotate in the collet a little, so it is not ideal, but it is lightweight and easy to handle for a few short welds.
Find a hard place to get into. Then get your gloves on, get comfortable, put the rod right on the spot where you want to start-- the electrode is not live till you push down the pedal. Keeping the rod on the start place, flip your hood or filter lens door down. Take a breath and relax. This is going to be so much easier.
At this point, you may want to bring your other hand into the work area to help support your welding hand or the rod itself. Just keep the rod on the start zone so you don't lose your place while you are moving your free hand.
When you are ready, lift off the rod from the metal about 1/8" or so, and push down the pedal all the way. The high frequency will start the arc for you so you don't have to scratch the rod to strike an arc. You immediately have full power so it will help to burn through a previous tack weld or tight fitup and get everything hot right away.
As the base metal heats up or you have a big gap to fill, just back off the pedal a little bit to reduce the current. You have complete control over this and you may find yourself using this trick alot more now.
When you are ready to terminate the weld, you can just pull the rod away from the puddle as normal or let off the pedal.
Chip the slag off and admire your work. Maybe take a couple of pictures. Have a beer or something because you used the machine to make your task easier and you just saved some stress and a few stuck rods; maybe some grinding too.
Pass this trick on to another welder buddy.
I have used this trick in other places too. Say for example, you have a bolt hole or a mis-machined blind hole you want to fill up. Starting an arc down in the hole is tough. But with this trick, you can start a really hot arc down hole to keep the slag floating on top of the puddle. Eventually you have to stop, let it cool and get the slag out, but this makes a tough job possible when you do not have a wire machine that will run with a hot arc that far away from the contact tip.
'88 Ford Ranger 4.6 gas, 273k mi. Original owner and paid for 21 yrs ago. Why yes I'm cheap! 2003 Ford Expedition: 4BT with air-to-air intercooler, 3200RPM spring, CPL 858, M5R2 trans, 3.73 gears, 31.8" tires-- mostly done; Daily Driver since Nov 2010.
Good tip, funny I came accross this I just got back from Oxygen Products where I was shopping for a new Miller 200 Tig machine. I can't wait to get setup for tig and stick. I've been using my mig and AC stick for a while now.
I've used the foot pedal while stick welding before, and I can see it would be helpful in some cases.
Used it because I forgot to unplug it when switching from TIG to Stick, and for only a moments stick welding job it was faster to just mash the pedal and weld than it would have been to unscrew the cable (foot control) and then later reconnect it for TIG when done.
1948 Chevrolet 6400 (2 ton) updated with a Detroit Diesel Silver 4-53T and Roadranger RTO-6610 --click for all my pictures-- "First, get a clear notion of what you desire to accomplish, and then in all probability you will succeed in doing it..." -Henry Maudslay-