When you look at the wide range of stick welding stingers available, many look quite similar. The tongs are roughly the same with their multiple grooves for electrode angles. These grooves allow for proper electrode positioning depending on what type of weld you’re performing.
For example, a vertical 7018 weld will require the electrode to be in an upward facing position.
The main differences in stingers are durability and amperage range.
Tweco stingers are the most popular. They can weld up to 300 amps (or more) and provide long lasting durability for the everyday welder.
Pipeline welders need gear that will last a long time. They are constantly traveling in their rig trucks, often down in a ditch trying to put the final cap on a big piece of pipe. This type of job requires equipment that won’t fail prematurely.
Stinger V came on the scene making a stinger that was unlike any made before. The spring is extremely strong, and the clamp is so tight that you can’t pull the rod out whatsoever. This allows for rod bending to achieve different angles. It also means the electrode won’t move when you’re in the middle of a critical weld.
Other stingers have been known to let the rod shift too easily. This can compromise a weld and even ruin a welding plate test.
What We Like About The Stinger V
Our main gigs here at WM are mobile welding jobs. We aren’t the best pipe hands, so we tend to gravitate more towards fabrication and mobile services.
Using traditional stingers for so long made me wonder what the Stinger V was all about. It is more expensive than most other models, which can turn some folks away. I was in the process of setting up a new welding trailer (Miller Bobcat, new leads, etc) and I thought I’d give the Stinger V a try.
The video below shows Jake Schofield setting up a new Stinger V. The Lincoln T-300 was previously thought of as “The Stinger” for pipeline work and structural work. Mr. Jake still uses the T-300 for a ground clamp, but he now prefers the Stinger V as his main stinger for everyday use.
The hardest part about the installation is fastening the lug onto your lead. Some folks prefer to just bang it on with a hammer, but this can come loose over time. Using a flathead screwdriver, you can pound a pattern to create creases in the lug. I’ve found that putting a crease in the lug makes for a more permanent installation.
Once you crease the lug, you’ll never have to worry about your lead pulling out.
The wide diameter grip on this stinger makes for a super nice ergonomic feel. Some lower end stingers have a grip that is just too small, which can cause hand cramps after a long days work.
Personally, I like the heavier weight of this stinger. It just feels solid while using it throughout a work day. However, Schofield cut his down to reduce some weight – and other welders cut theirs down even more. It really comes down to personal preference, but this stinger does have quite a bit of metal on it.
The stinger V comes in an insulated version and a non insulated version. The problem with the non insulated model is that it can “arc out” if it touches your work piece. This means that if you set it down on your piece of material, it can cause sparks to fly.
The insulated model is the most popular because it has a black coating to prevent “arcing out”. This means that you don’t have to worry if you set your stinger down on a piece of metal that you’re welding on. The insulation will wear out over time, but it is definitely good quality and will last for awhile.
If you’ve ever had a stinger arc out on you, you’ll know how annoying it can be.
Since the grip on the Stinger V is so tight, you can literally bend your rod to any position/angle you choose. As mentioned earlier, this is a much more secure way of positioning your electrode. Instead of relying on grooves in the stinger, you just bend the rod yourself.
The Cons Of The Stinger V
The most obvious con is the price. Most hobby welders won’t want to spend a lot on a stinger. A lot of folks will just buy a cheap one online. This stinger is really made for the professional welder that needs durability. It provides a high amperage range and can tackle any stick welding job that you need it for. Personally, I think it is well worth the price for what you’re getting.
The insulation tends to wear down near the “V” opening. This is because the rod is burning down and there is so much heat near that area. Over time, the insulation will get damaged on different parts of the stinger. This isn’t a big deal, because it still won’t arc out on you (most likely). It just depends how frequently you’re welding and how big of rods you plan on burning.
Eventually, the insulation will wear to the point that you’ll need to replace the stinger.
With this being said, we haven’t seen a stinger built as industrial as the Stinger V. It can withstand drops and abuse, and will still provide good reliability even if it gets some dents.
The stinger V is quickly gaining popularity among pipeline welders and structural welders. Rig welders have found that the durability is unmatched on this model. For welders that are always out in the field, the V is a good product from a reliability standpoint. Even in adverse weather conditions, this stinger still performs.
While not necessary for every welder, the V really provides long lasting service for the dedicated rig welder.
If you’re getting tired of using plastic stingers that wear out prematurely, the Stinger V might be worth a look. It is a product that you can grow into as you progress your stick welding skills. Any amperage is fair game with this product, it’ll burn any rod you need it to.
Featured image credit : Amazon Images