looks like i had the wrong rods.
I can finally weld, but im totally shit.
after going through about 10 rods, i managed to weld an L bracket to a 3mm thick plate and it stuck, and held the weight of the plate, but the weld quality was shite as if i pulled on the L bracket, it came off with little force.
I also managed to do a pretty neat weld in a line, but I got too frustrated in the end as the rods keep sticking still.
I found if I hold the rod at the smallest angle (i.e. close to the plate) its a lot easier to maintain an arc.
Practise, practise, practise