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Welding aluminum and mild steel

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 84gmcjimmy, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Just out of curiousity, can aluminum sheet metal be welded to mild steel tubing? Do I use aluminum welding wire or mild steel welding wire? Just thinking for my project k5. I will google it in a minute. But if anyone knows that would be great.
     
  2. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    UPDATE:
    my [darn] computer won't load google.com, it says "unknown server" so if someone could answer it for me it would be great. Thanks

    Steve
     
  3. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

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    No.
     
  4. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    Yes, it can. With a million dollar friction or "ultrasonic" welder.

    Not by any methods you will have access to in your garage.

    -Chris
     
  5. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    oh. I'll explain in more detail to what I was planning:
    When I build my rollcage I was going to make a aluminum dash with the gauges built in. Then the dash would be welded to the window crossbar from the rollcage.
    I was going to use aluminum for less weight.
    So there is no way i can weld them together. Is there anyway I can make them stay together forever?
    Theres always a bump in the road /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  6. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    You'd be better off using dzus fasteners or something along those lines to attach the aluminum to the tubing. Any kind of tab with a nutsert would do the trick. Welding will not work.
     
  7. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    pop rivets, you can get plain steel, aluminum and stainless rivets.
    the aluminum are quite soft and you may have to replace them at some point. plain steel will rust. the stainless is your best bet, but the most expensive (still cheap though)
     
  8. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    I may just go with thinner gage steel sheet metal. I hate doing rivets because they always pop loose for me. And it seems a pain to weld tabs every 10 inches or so for the rivets to fasten to. How much heavier is regular sheet metal... and what gage would be ideal to hold around 5 gauges (oil pressure, etc) ? Thanks
    I hate changing my mind /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
     
  9. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    weld one long pice of 1" by 1/8 flat bar to your tubeing as long as you want you alluminum to be and just use self tapping bolts for a co /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gifol look of rivits
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, I'd use tabs with nuts welded to the backside and attach the dash that way. All-welded sounds good, but being able to remove the dash as a panel to fix little problems or to add guages or whatever would be much easier if it was accessible...

    j
     
  11. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Jason,
    I was just saying to darkshadow in a PM, I forgot about it being removable. If the guages ever quit, or I need to check out the wiring, Im doomed to cut it off if it's welded.
    So I am going to weld a piece of flat stock across the cross bar, or tabs, then bolt it to there. Then if I ever need to take it out, it's just a matter of unbolting.
    Thanks for the help guys /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif
     
  12. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Just out of curiousity, can aluminum sheet metal be welded to mild steel tubing? Do I use aluminum welding wire or mild steel welding wire? Just thinking for my project k5. I will google it in a minute. But if anyone knows that would be great.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    One is a ferrous metal and the other non-ferrous, that might be interesting but certainly no fusion to be had there.

    As to welding aluminum at all.....you better be pretty skilled...it's not easy!
     
  13. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    If you can get a good bead with mild steel when welding, it's not much harder to weld aluminum, you just have to turn the heat down and go faster. And make sure you don't have any burn through.
     
  14. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    have you welded aluminum? its much harder than that
     
  15. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    No I haven't. I broke it down alot. Sure theres alot to it, but weldings welding, once you understand how to properly do one, each kind will come faster to you, then if you were to be un-experienced and try.
     
  16. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    If you clean the aluminum real good and concentrate on getting good penetration, welding aluminum really isn't very hard. Welding really thin aluminum maybe less than .100" thick is very hard to do.

    A pulse mig makes it very easy, but a properly setup tig isn't bad either.

    -Chris
     
  17. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I have never welded aluminum but I have certainly welded mild steel. I have watched someone very skilled weld aluminum though, and it's quite difficult if you ask me.

    Welding mild steel is a challenge for me. I don't get that much practice and it really takes practice to get good.
     
  18. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    as it has been said before, welding steel is welding, welding aluminum is an art.
     
  19. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Jason,
    I was just saying to darkshadow in a PM, I forgot about it being removable.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    yeppers, these are the sort of things i think about when i'm bored and Im thinking of how I should design my s-10 cabs interior. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif think I have pretty much everything figured out... but every time i sketch something or write down what i wanna do, I come up with a few more good ideas to make it more practical, cheaper, stronger or more ergonomical. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif its gonna take me a while... but after the s-10 cab swap is done, its gonna be restraunt quality. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    j
     
  20. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    When you do get started on the swap, take lots of pics /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif It sounds very interesting what you are doing /forums/images/graemlins/bow.gif Thanks.

    Yeah, I am planning a whole bunch of stuff for the cage and all, and the plans keep on changing. I am still stuck on some stuff I need to think through more.
     

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