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Welding Aluminum Question


Santacarl
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Hey all...

 

I posted over on the wireframe thread about using aluminum for wireframes but after thinking about it I guess I should have posed a more technical question in this thread.

 

Can you weld 1/4 inch aluminum rods without burning them up?  I ask because, after reading up on MIG welding, it seems it's possible to weld aluminum with a MIG but since aluminum conducts heat so well there seems to be an issue with getting too hot and hence burn throughs.....  About the only thing I can find on welding aluminum talks about welding flat stock of some flavor....can't find anything about round rod welding.....was wondering if I would ever be able to 'stick' 2 pieces together....I understand there would be a learning curve on how to handle aluminum differently than with steel....and I don't mind investing the time in practice.....but would like to know the likelihood of success before I waste a lot of time on something that isn't practical...

 

Also....what kind of amperage would you use on aluminum.....low or high? 

 

Thanks for any response...... I'm trying to decide on my next project of 8 life-sized reindeer and sleigh! :)

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I've never seen someone use a mig to weld aluminum before. I always saw a tig welder instead. I hope someone that has used a mig chimes in cause that would be awesome to know.

Yep..... From what I understand, reading up on it, you have to use 100% argon instead of the typical mixture of 75/25 argon-CO2....but it can be done....of course I also understand that it's easier with TIG....since you're dealing with a more precise/smaller target area.....

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To MIG aluminum you would use a Spool Gun. I would aslo suspect you would end up with a rather large bead of weld. I have never done MIG on a Aluminum, but I have done quite a bit of TIG with aluminum. TIGing aluminum takes pratice and some skill, not nearly the same as welding steel. I would image MIGing aluminum would be better for larger pieces of flat or thicker material.

 

But, if you have the spool gun, give it a try and see how it works for you.

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Hey all...

 

I posted over on the wireframe thread about using aluminum for wireframes but after thinking about it I guess I should have posed a more technical question in this thread.

 

Can you weld 1/4 inch aluminum rods without burning them up?  I ask because, after reading up on MIG welding, it seems it's possible to weld aluminum with a MIG but since aluminum conducts heat so well there seems to be an issue with getting too hot and hence burn throughs.....  About the only thing I can find on welding aluminum talks about welding flat stock of some flavor....can't find anything about round rod welding.....was wondering if I would ever be able to 'stick' 2 pieces together....I understand there would be a learning curve on how to handle aluminum differently than with steel....and I don't mind investing the time in practice.....but would like to know the likelihood of success before I waste a lot of time on something that isn't practical...

 

Also....what kind of amperage would you use on aluminum.....low or high? 

 

Thanks for any response...... I'm trying to decide on my next project of 8 life-sized reindeer and sleigh! :)

 

Dan is correct. I welded aluminum for about a year at a sign shop. The mig welder setup is quite different and the aluminum wire is soft and needs to be "pulled" by a spool gun, rather than ""pushed" through the liner to the handle and contact tip. I personally don't like the weight of the spool gun. It takes some getting used to. The correct method for aluminum welding is "spray arc", but real thin metal can be "contact" welded like a regular mig (but it's a bit sloppy and you have to "stitch" it). The shield gas is 100% argon.

 

Unless your constructing something really special, I think setting up for aluminum welding is a pain. If you try to use regular mig wire (rated for carbon steel), you will just blow the aluminum away and disintegrate it.

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I'm with Cory on this one.  Welding Aluminum is not for the faint of heart or untrained.  It takes skill and practice to do a good job, both of which I lack in this case.  I have a MIG welder and do some steel work with it but I have used the Dura Fix to repair some aluminum things and it works very well.

I would recommend it for this type of project for sure.

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  • 1 month later...

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Welding aluminum with tig takes a lot time learning you got to work a remote with ya foot or a wheel on torch head. You will also need a water cooled tig with a water cooler rig and High frequency box with ac or a welder made for aluminum I got a miller DX 250 with water cooler and water tig rig.you use argon is a cheaper way to go or you can use helium.for spool gun miller matic 140 is the cheapest way to go on a mig setup easy to run a lot faster to weld.They use to have it so you could post pics on here If I get it figured out I will post some pic of some my alum welding.Good luck

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