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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE E6013 WELDING RODS

6013 is one of the best all-purpose welding rods out there which is not only versatile but also very easy to use. There is a lot to know about the 6013-electrode- ranging from its characteristics to the proper way of using it. Let’s take a detailed look at everything you need to know about this electrode.

The 6013 is a High Titania Potassium rod, it can be used on AC, DCEN, and DCEP currents with a final tensile strength of 60,000 psi. It is a fill freeze, all-position electrode with low to medium penetration and a stable arc which results in its aesthetically beautiful welds and a dense slag that is easily removable.

6013 rod in action

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE E6013 ELECTRODE

The 6013 electrodes is considered to be an all-purpose welding rod which is especially suitable for beginners because of its ease of use. I feel this electrode is often overlooked among other rods such as the 7018 or the 6010. One hidden feature of this electrode is its exceptional usage on sheet metal and autobody parts. In Asian countries, this electrode is also famous for root pass welds, but this use hasn’t caught on much in western countries for some reason.

The 6013 works beautifully on mild and low alloy steels while offering low to medium penetration levels. It also produces a spray-like arc partly due to its high Titania Potassium flux coating while also providing a tensile strength of 60,000 psi on the final welds.

This electrode also produces some beautiful-looking weld beads, the slag formation is a bit on the higher side. Even though the amount of slag is more compared to 6011 for example, it can be removed pretty easily.

It is an all-position electrode that can also be used with any polarity which adds to its versatility.

The 6013 is also known for its stable arc but it is recommended that you should not use it on dirty materials (unlike 6010 or 6011). It is considered a ‘fill freeze’ electrode which translates to its versatility.

Although the penetration levels of this electrode are not as good as the 7018 or the 6010, it offers a pretty good deposition rate and travels smoothly during the weld.

The fill-freeze nature of the electrode also helps it in welding in the vertical down position. Because of these characteristics, the slag is not able to roll over the weld puddle while welding. The 6013 is also very suitable for short, irregular welding jobs which require more aesthetically pleasing beads.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will have to maintain a tight arc so that the slag does not roll in front of the weld.

The chemical composition of this electrode usually contains trace amounts of Carbon, Sulphur, Phosphorus, and a more prominent presence of Silicon and Manganese.

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Welding trade facts
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS ON THE E6013 ROD MEAN?

The numbering of an electrode can tell you a lot about its properties and characteristics. Learning how to read and understand the nomenclature of an electrode is one of the most basic traits of a welder. The numbering alone can tell you about the position, the flux coating, polarity, tensile strength, etc. Let’s take a look.

If you are new to the world of welding, then keep in mind one very basic factor. The ‘E’ prefix to any rod simply means an electrode and nothing more.

The first couple of numbers of an electrode represent the final tensile strength they will deliver on the welds. In this case, the first two numbers are ‘60’ which means that the final weld strength will be about 60,000 psi. This is a bit low compared to the 7018 and 7014 which offer 70,000 psi weld strength, but the 6013 is pretty good for a lot of structural welds.

The third digit indicates the positions in which you can use the electrode. The ‘1’ here means that it is an all-position electrode. This means that it can be used in any position ranging from overhead to horizontal to vertical up. This adds to the versatility of this electrode.

The last digit can be considered the most informative. It represents the flux composition, polarity, and penetration capacity. The ‘3’ here means that the electrode has a high Titania Potassium flux. The 6013 can also be used on any polarity including AC and DC current (both straight and reverse polarity). The 6013 offers a low to medium penetration weld which makes it very suitable to be used on sheet metals and autobody parts.

  1. E – Electrode
  2. 60 – Tensile strenght = 60000 PSI
  3. 1 – All-position rod
  4. 3 – Flux composition, polarity (AC, DC+-)

E6013 ELECTRODE SPECIFICATIONS

I have compiled all the characteristics of the 6013-welding electrode in the table below to sum it up in an easy-to-access way.

Welding RodPenetrationFlux coatingPolarityPositionMovement typeTensile strengthSlag Type
6013Low to mediumHigh Titania PotassiumAll. AC, DC-, DC+All position electrodeDrag60,000 psiDense does peel off

More welding rod charts here

WHAT ARE THE STORAGE GUIDELINES FOR THE 6013 WELDING ROD?

The storage requirements of the 6013 are nowhere as rigorous as of the 7018, this is because the 6013 has a flux coating of high titania potassium which is not as sensitive to moisture as the low hydrogen coating for 7018. The 6013 should still be stored properly to extend its life as well as maintain the quality of the weld.

Read more about storing and baking your rods here

SOME OF THE STORAGE OPTIONS YOU CAN GO FOR

You don’t need a full-fledged electrode oven to store the 6013 rods, a simple Lincoln hermetically sealed container should be able to do the job. These are not only cheap, easily available but they will also keep the electrode safe from contaminants such as moisture, dirt, etc.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON 6013 ELECTRODE APPLICATIONS?

The 6013 is considered to be pretty versatile in terms of its usage but it should not be used on dirty metals or metals which have rust or paint on them. This is due to its lower penetration levels.

The most common uses of the 6013 are in the construction and automobile industry. This rod is also used for metal furniture, farm repairs, machinery guards, storage tanks, etc. It is not preferred for uses where a higher weld strength is preferred but is one of the best choices for jobs that require a more aesthetically pleasing weld.

This electrode can also be used for some light fabrications. Filling on multi-pass welds where you would need to weld upon layer after layer is also one of the uses of the 6013.

The 6013 is also used in shipbuilding and repair jobs while some people also use it on excessively machined and damaged mild steel. I have also observed that in the Asian and European welding community.

HOW TO PROPERLY USE THE 6013 ELECTRODES?

Although the 6013 electrodes are considered to be an easy-to-use, some people have even termed it as the beginner’s electrode, using it still requires some things to be kept in mind.

The first factor to consider is that the 6013 cannot be used on dirty materials. Make sure that you properly clean the surface of the base metal before using this electrode.

The recommended way to strike an arc here would be to lightly scratch the welding rod on the base metal. I would also recommend maintaining a 10–15-degree angle position towards the traveling direction to get a good view of the arc and the weld pool. It is also suggested to maintain a tight arc to control slag formation.

Because of the heavy slag formation, you have to be very careful to not let the slag be trapped in the weld bead. There are two schools of thought here, some people use a slightly circular movement during the weld and some people prefer the drag method. I personally prefer straight dragging with 6013.

The people who prefer circular motion say that it helps them to control their traveling speed.

THE CORRECT AMPERAGE FOR THE 6013 WELDING ROD?

Selecting the right amperage for a welding job is one of the most important aspects of welding. This is one of those aspects which takes years of practice and experience to get right. If you are welding using the wrong amperage it can lead to an excess of spatter formation, slag, and a very poor-quality weld both in terms of aesthetics and weld integrity. If you are not able to find the correct amperage you don’t need to worry too much, even to this day I still make mistakes.

There are a lot of factors which you will need to keep in mind while selecting the amperage –

  • the thickness of the base metal
  • the type of welding rod you are going to be using
  • the weld position
  • electrode size
  • and even the temperature

One very basic rule to remember is that the amperage requirement will increase as the size or thickness of the electrode increases. There is a very simple reason behind this, a thicker electrode will need more energy and heat to melt the flux.

Below is a rough range of amperage which you should maintain for the 6013 electrodes, remember that these are just indicative and can easily go up or down depending on the external factors. If you are not sure which exact amperage to go for then start from the middle of the range for that specific electrode size and move up or down depending on the arc and weld characteristics.

E6013SizeAmperage Range
 2.4 mm or 3/32”60-90 amps
 3.2 mm or 1/8”100-120 amps
 4.0 mm or 5/32”110-160 amps
 4.8 mm or 3/16”160-220 amps

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE THICKNESS OF THE BASE METAL, SIZE OF THE ELECTRODE AND THE AMPERAGE

Your electrode selection will depend on the thickness of the base metal. The general rule of thumb to follow is that as the base metal gets thicker so does the electrode size you are going to be using. This is simply because a thicker metal will require more heat to melt and more flux will be needed to complete the weld. the size of the electrode will naturally lead to an increase in the amperage as well.

Similarly, thinner metals will need less heat as excess heat – too much heat can lead to warping of the metal and the electrode can blow holes in it. In this case of sheet metal, you should be using the smallest electrode which is possible for the job. Which obviously equates to a lower amperage.

One rule which I would recommend that you should always remember is that for metals up to 1/36” thick, never go for an electrode that is thicker than the base metal, usually, you should go for an electrode that is a step thinner. There is one exception here though, for sheet metals or body panels you might have to go for a thicker electrode as the base metal can be thinner than the thinnest electrode out there.

But again, keep in mind that this is only indicative and can go for a smaller electrode as well. You can produce equally if not better welds with a smaller electrode if it suits you and the job at hand.

As an example, if you are going to be welding on a metal that is 1/8” thick then you can go for a 3/32” electrode. The following table will give you a good idea about which electrode might be suitable for different metals.

Electrode diameterMetal Thickness
1/16”Up to 3/16”
3/32”Up to 1/4”
1/8”Over 1/8”
5/32”Over 1/4”
5/16”Over 1/2″
3/32”Up to 1/8”

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WELDING POSITION, AMPERAGE AND ROD SIZE

Once you are done choosing the right electrode size for the particular job, the amperage selection becomes much easier. Now you can have an idea about which range to stick to.

The correct amperage also depends on factors such as the position you are going to be welding in. The electrode size selection majorly depends on the base metal thickness which I will be addressing in the next section.

The electrode size selection also (slightly) depends on the weld position. For example, if you are welding in the overhead positions then you will be looking for a more controlled weld puddle (with less heat output), for this, you might have to go for a smaller electrode size if the job allows it. That this is only a suggestion, if you are comfortable and able to use the same electrode size then there is no issue at all.

A lot of people get excellent results using the same size electrode. A lot of times, the base metal thickness might not allow for choosing a smaller electrode. Welding in the overhead position always poses a challenge and smaller electrodes might just make this challenge a bit easier.

If you are going to be using the same size electrode for all the positions, then you will have to adjust the amperage.

When you are welding in the overhead positions, the amperage needs to be turned down a little. This is done to compensate for the excess heat which gets accumulated on metal as all the heat from the electrode will rise up towards the base metal.

In most cases, you will only have to lower the amperage by 5%. This is done so that the heat affecting the base metal during the flat and overhead welding would be similar.

Similarly, the amperage needs to be compensated for the vertical up and uphill positions as well. But the change in amperage here is a bit more as more heat tends to get collected on one end of the base metal. Usually, you will have to lower the amperage by about 10%.

Below is an example of the change in amperage range for different welding positions for the same electrode size.

E6013Electrode sizeFlat welding amperageVertical and overhead amperage
 3/32″ (2.6 mm) 60 – 90 amps50 – 80 amps
 1/8″ (3.2 mm)100 – 120 amps80 – 110 amps
 5/32″ (4.0 mm)110 – 160 amps100 – 150 amps
 3/16″ (4.8 mm)160 – 220 amps140 – 200 amps

EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE OF BASE METAL ON AMPERAGE

If you live in extremely cold climates, then this point will affect you more. As the temperature of the base metal decreases, more energy is required to strike the arc as well as perform a successful weld.

The welding rod might also keep sticking to the base metal if there is not enough heat. There are two things which you can do here, either turn up the amperage by just a little or heat up the base metal slightly.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE WELDING WITH THE WRONG AMPERAGE?

As I mentioned before, selecting the correct amperage is something that even seasoned welders have a problem with. It will take you a lot of experience and practice to be able to get it right.

Even if you have figured out the correct amperage you are going to need for a particular weld, some welding machines have a different amperage output than what you intended to get. This is a problem that is more prevalent with cheaper welding machines. For example, if you have set the amperage to 110 amps there is a chance that the actual output will only be 100 amps.

Even with all of this information how will you know if the amperage you are using is correct or not? what are the signs which you should look for to know if you are welding with a low or high amperage? There are signs to look for in the arc characteristics, weld quality, amount of slag and spatter, etc. Let’s take a look in the next section

SIGNS THAT YOU ARE WELDING WITH A LOW AMPERAGE

Some of the most common signs that you are welding with a low amperage can be:

  1. A drop in the deposition rate while welding
  2. A reduction in the travelling rate. This is relation to the previous point, as the deposition rate is reduced you will have to travel slower to maintain the quality of the weld.
  3. Eerratic and dim arc
  4. Difficult to strike an arc
  5. Uneven and ugly bead

SIGNS THAT YOU ARE WELDING WITH A HIGH AMPERAGE

Some of the most common signs that you are welding with a higher amperage are:

  1. The slag and spatter formation will see a sharp rise
  2. An erratic sounding arc but much brighter
  3. A harder to control weld puddle and arc
  4. The weld bead becomes much wider
  5. An increase in the travel speed but low weld quality

HOW MUCH DO THE 6013 ELECTRODES COST?

You can easily get your hands on the 6013 welding rods on popular websites like Amazon from almost all of the major brands. If you are looking for a small packet of the 6013 welding rods, you can get your hands on a 1lbs pack for less than 7 bucks. While the 5lbs pack set you back by about 15 bucks. I would advise you to go for the 5lbs pack as it has more value.

From what I have seen, (and the prices might vary from store to store) the Forney 30305 E6013 5 lbs pack costs around 15$. The same welding rod in the 10lbs pack costs about 30$. The US Forge 6013 welding rods cost about 20$ for the 3/32” 5lbs pack. The Hobart 6013 3/32” 10 lbs pack sets you back slightly more, costing around 45$

These would be my favorite from Amazon

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The entire process of selecting the electrode and the amperage is arguably the most important decision you can make while welding and you shouldn’t have any doubts regarding this. I will be answering some of the most common queries regarding this topic and I hope it clears some things up.

CAN THE 6013 BE CONSIDERED AS AN ALL-POSITION ELECTRODE?

Yes! The 6013 is considered to be an all-position electrode. One of the easiest ways to tell is to look for the third number of 6013 which here is ‘1’. This represents that the electrode is an all-position electrode.

WHAT ARE THE FLUX COATING AND TENSILE STRENGTH OF THE 6013 ELECTRODES?

The 6013 has a high titania potassium flux and the final tensile strength of the weld is about 60,000 psi. This can be known by the first two digits of the electrode which here will be ‘60’.

CAN THE 6013 ELECTRODES BE USED BY BEGINNERS AND NOVICES?

The 6013-welding rod is considered to be one of the easiest-to-use electrodes out there and is perfectly suitable for beginners and novices.

CONCLUSION

The 6013 is considered to be one of the easiest to use electrodes out there that provides a structurally sound weld. The 6013 is perfect to be used on jobs that need an aesthetic final look, and it can even work beautifully on sheet metals. When it comes to using the 6013-electrode and how to find the correct amperage to use it on – I hope this article cleared at least some of your thoughts.