Sunday , May 29 2022

Electrode Ovens: What Are They and Do You Need One?

Welding is a complicated process that requires a lot of careful work. If you’re not as careful as you should have been, you might end up losing a lot of work or worse, damage something beyond repair. When welding, you often need to use electrodes. That means that you need a constant supply of them, and they’re not exactly the easiest to maintain. That’s a huge reason why you need an electrode oven. These ovens are incredibly useful, and if you plan on welding a lot, you will probably need one in your workshop.
welding process

Why do You Need One?

If you’re doing stick welding, then you’ll definitely need an electrode oven because the most used electrodes are coated with flux, which easily absorbs moisture from the air. When this flux burns, it also releases a shielding gas that protects the welding pool from contaminants which can pose significant damage to the process. If you don’t store the rods properly, then you turn this protective agent into a harmful one. But if the rods have been exposed to the atmosphere, they will have absorbed moisture, and releases hydrogen to the weld pool. You need electrode ovens to maintain and repair your electrodes, and to avoid working against yourself, and to avoid producing welds that might not be up to par.
electrode oven

Types of Ovens

There are quite a few different types of welding ovens that you need to be aware of. They come in different shapes, sizes, and functionalities, as well as based on electrode types. These include:

  • Welding Flux Storage and Rebake Oven – These are typically considered as the big players in the rod oven category. They provide rapid heat-up and a no-nonsense environment that pushes moisture out of the picture and keeps it away.
  • Welding Electrode Rebake Oven – the welding electrodes’ coating that shields against hydrogen can become harmful. You can rehabilitate a compromised electrode by rebaking it in an oven like this one.
  • Portable Welding Electrode Oven- this one is carried out in the field to transport electrocuted that have been rebaked. It’s not exactly a typical rebake oven, but rather a portable storage device that can hold between 2 and 25 pounds of material.
  • Filler Rod Holding Oven – consumables used in the MIG and TIG processes also need moisture control. This type of oven is typically larger so that it can hold wire spools used in the MIG welding process.

Storage

One of the main things you need to understand about electrodes is that you don’t just leave them around after you open the seal of their packaging. As per manufacturer guidelines, you should immediately transfer them to a rod over for storage once you’ve broken the seal. You also don’t have a lot of time to do so, which is why you should strictly follow the guideline that says immediately, but that doesn’t mean you only have seconds to spare. There is a bit of time, but make sure that you don’t leave the electrode simply lying around. It also doesn’t matter which way you stack them in the electrode ovens. You can easily place them either vertically or horizontally, and that’s perfectly fine as long as you don’t severely stack them atop one another without any room for air to flow.
Welding electrodes storing

Rebaking

Typically, each manufacturer will have their own specific guidelines on how to rebake electrodes. However, two things are more or less the same, and they are time and temperature. In this regard, rebaking is not unlike regular cake baking. Some ovens can come with a high-temperature setting, which means you can shave off some of the time. This doesn’t mean that you’ll see a drastic reduction in rebaking time because that’s not how it works. What you will notice, is that you’ll spend less time rebaking the more and more times you rebake because the effect stacks up. It’s worth noting that if the welding electrode oven doesn’t have the required heating capacity, then you can just leave the electrodes a bit more inside.

Fighting Moisture

Moisture-related problems can always cause problems with the welding process if you’re not careful. That’s why you need to use a few important techniques that help combat moisture, as these serve as an extra layer of security.

  • Keep it Close – make sure your arcs are short and sweet. The longer the arc, the higher the chance something goes wrong because the gap between the electrode and the base metal increases. Also, the shielding gas will become thinner and easier to disperse, which is something you absolutely do not want to happen. If that happens, the consumables will melt prematurely and won’t allow you to fill all the gaps in the weld.
  • Right Amperage – making sure that your amperage is correct is extremely crucial at all times, especially when you’re dealing with moisture-critical environments. If the amperage is too high, then the flux will burn quickly and thoroughly, which will cause the shielding gas to dissipate.
  • Slowly Pull the Electrode – sometimes, you want to work as fast as you can, even in welding. However, when it comes to pulling out the electrode, you definitely do not want to do that. What you want to do is slowly, and gently, pull the electrode out of your weld puddle while maintaining a five to ten degree angle all the while the elevated part is facing the direction of the travel.