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You may have heard the term “Whip” in general stick welding conversation. These can be a very handy addition to your setup, but what exactly are stick welding whips?
Whips refer to a smaller diameter welding lead being attached to your regular sized welding lead. Often placed on the last 10 feet and then attached to your stinger, these whips come in handy for longer days on the job. They reduce weight and in turn will lessen fatigue on the arms.
Let’s say you are a structural welder and you generally run 2/0 leads. Though these leads can handle high amperages, they also weigh a lot. Having these heavier leads means that you’ll have to hold the partial weight of the cable in addition to holding your stinger. The distance from the floor to your hand will determine how much lead you’re lifting up and supporting. For full time welders, this can become tiresome.
How To Add A Whip
If you’re looking for a more lightweight setup, consider adding a smaller diameter cable on the last 10 feet or so. This “Whip” addition will go on the positive lead (stinger). Whips can either be attached using Tweco connectors, or by simply splicing the leads together (video by Austin Ross below). You can strip the tips of the leads to expose the copper – and then weave the wire together. After this you can complete the splice by using electrical tape.
Tweco connectors provide a cleaner look and quick disconnects, but they are pricier than electrical tape and can add weight.
Example: If you’re running 2/0 leads and are considering using a whip due to the current weight you have to hold up, a 1/0 lead or a #1 lead is a great bet. Having the smaller diameter whip means that you’ll be holding less weight, and it will be much more comfortable.
If you really want to step down in weight, jumping 2 sizes down (2/0 to #1) can be very beneficial. Just make sure that your whip can still hold up to your stick welding amperages. The smaller diameter cable can’t withstand the amperages that the larger cable can. If you overload your amperage and your whip is too thin, it can seriously damage the leads or your stinger.
For a welding lead size reference chart, you can check out our article here.
Although adding a whip comes down to personal preference, it is the choice of many professional stick welders today. It reduces weight and allows for a more comfortable experience throughout your work day.
The addition of a welding whip is also relatively inexpensive. Since they are usually about 10 feet long, it shouldn’t cost more than $35. Any addition to your setup that provides more comfort and usability is always a benefit in our opinion. If you try a stick welding whip and don’t like it, you can always remove it and go back to your regular leads.
Thanks for reading.
Featured image credit : Wikimedia Commons (US Navy photo)