Manual electric welding, also known as MMA welding, uses an electrode welder and a consumable electrode in which the shielding gas is already present. Additional protective gas is not required. This makes welding very flexible, even outdoors or in high winds.
Manual electric welding is one of the oldest and most widely used methods for joining metals as it produces solid seams and, thanks to inexpensive working materials, makes it easy to get started in welding technology.
An electrode welder uses an inverter to convert the incoming alternating current into a welding current with high amperage and low voltage.
Strictly speaking, TIG and MIG/MAG welders also fall under this designation. After all, these processes also involve welding with electrodes. Today, however, electrode welding is understood to be a welding technique in which a melting stick electrode is used for welding. This coated welding rod becomes continuously shorter in the working process. Consequently, the distance between the electrode holder and the workpiece must be continuously reduced so that the weld pool remains uniform. This requires a steady hand and some practice.
The great advantage of inverter welders is their versatility. Their compact design, low weight and the absence of additional shielding gas make the units the perfect companions for repairs in various environments – whether in the workshop or on the construction site. Maintenance work outdoors, under vehicles or at height is also no problem. Some models are made so small that they are marketed as mini welders.
Theelectrode welders of the STAMOS Welding Group impress with their wide range of performance and are suitable for working on a wide variety of metals – whether iron, steel, copper or nickel alloys. Cast iron can also be joined by MMA welding with solid and durable welds. In addition, the STAMOS Pro Series inverter welders have extra-long 8-metre cables. This gives you unmistakable freedom of movement during your welding work – without constantly having to transport the welding device again.
Manual electric welding is not only popular with professionals, but also with hobbyists, because an MMA welder can be plugged into the normal building socket. In addition to the power source, you need an earth cable, a welding cable with electrode holder and the appropriate welding electrode. And then you’re ready to go.
In MMA welding, an arc burns between the electrode and the workpiece. This provides the heat needed for the welding work. The material used and the electrode are melted at the seam.
The high-quality electrode welders from the STAMOS Welding Group have various functions that make work easier for professionals and amateur welders alike. For example, you can infinitely adjust the desired welding current via easy-to-grip rotary controls – even if you are wearing welding gloves. Thanks to a clear display, you always know which settings you are currently working with. The Pro Series models enable welding with particularly high amperage, in some cases with up to 250 A.
When buying your electrode welder, look for the hot-start function, as this improves the ignition behaviour of the electrode.
It ensures an increased ignition current automatically and for a short time when starting the welding process. This “hot start” quickly brings the welding area up to temperature so that you can weld cleanly and stably right from the start – without the electrode sticking.
The ARC-Force function can make it easier to weld a clean seam. Use the function to adjust the hardness of the arc. If the electrode moves too far away from the workpiece, the arc may break. The Arc-Force function counteracts this effect by giving it greater stability, depending on the setting.
The setting also works in the other direction: If you get too close to the weld pool with the electrode and risk a short circuit (drop in arc voltage) or sticking of the electrode, the current is briefly increased to melt the material in the electrode more quickly and prevent the rod from dipping into the weld pool.
The Arc-Force function is recommended for beginners as well as unsteady welders’ hands and can absorb wobbling errors when the electrode is guided unsteadily.
It happens to everyone once in a while: If an accident occurs and the welding electrode is stuck in place due to too long contact with the workpiece, the anti-stick function ensures that the welder briefly reduces the current. This happens automatically and makes it easier for you to detach the electrode manually. In addition, you can avoid damage to the electrode clamp.
When purchasing an MMA welder, first pay attention to the power range. Depending on the type and thickness of your workpieces, you will need different electrodes. The following applies: The thicker the welding electrode, the more current you need. We also recommend a stepless control of the desired current settings, as this allows you to calibrate more precisely.
In addition, the unit should have a high duty cycle, because this determines how long you can weld at a stretch before the unit has to cool down. Depending on where you are carrying out welding work, a particularly mobile device is recommended. The STAMOS Pro Series electrode welders are supplied with an 8-metre hose package. When welding on long objects, such as a railing, you are thus spared the constant re-pulling of the tool and can work longer at a stretch. If you have to climb a ladder, this advantage becomes even more apparent. While you concentrate on guiding the electrode at the top, the inverter welder stands securely on the floor. However, also think of an appropriately long earth cable.
Additional functions such as Hot Start, Anti-Stick or Arc-Force are recommended for professional use as well as for hobby projects. They facilitate entry and clean guidance of the welding electrode and can greatly reduce the rework involved in manual welding.
Last but not least, the safety note must not be missing. When buying a suitable welding machine, always think about protective welding clothing. For an overview of suitable protective clothing, read our article: “Weld safely with this equipment!“In our welding accessories you will find flame-retardant protective clothing, welding helmets and much more to help you achieve a high level of work safety.