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Welding aluminum

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by K5thatShmobs, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. K5thatShmobs

    K5thatShmobs 1/2 ton status

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    Just checking, because I havent done this yet. For welding aluminum, do you just need an argon gas mix a 75/25? Thanks.
     
  2. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    need the right wire and I think its pure argon, ask the local welding supply they will tell you and give you the right stuff. We did this a couple weeks ago with our mig and it worked fine just had to change wire and bottles.
     
  3. K5thatShmobs

    K5thatShmobs 1/2 ton status

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    Hmm yeah I guess Ill look into that... I wonder if it would be an aluminum wire or a steel wire..
     
  4. MJB774X

    MJB774X 1/2 ton status

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    you need pure argon, with aluminum wire, some shops may tell you that you can't put the aluminum in the machine if you have a long lead (liner) because it will bind up since the aluminum is soft, just make sure that your lead is layed out straight, not all coiled up, the correct way of wire feeding aluminum is witha cobra-matic (push/pull) or a simple gun they make where a small spool goes right on the gun itself, nothing is better then tig though /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif
     
  5. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I hope to get a spool gun sometime in the near future but oh well till then we just keep the line straight as an arrow. Try and get the thickest wire you can too will help prevent binding, still need to keep the line straight just a little insurance.
     
  6. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    One thing you can run into with running aluminum thru the same liner that you run steel thru is that the aluminum wire will pick up microscopic slivers of steel which contaminates the weld. There are liners made specifically for welding aluminum with a MIG. They have some sort of plastic inner liner that makes the wire much less prone to sticking or galling.

    While you can use pure Argon and I doubt that 75/25 will give you a nice bead, what you really want to use is Helium. The reason for this is that Helium conveys more heat into the metal than Argon does. Aluminum takes a lot more current than carbon or stainless steels do. If your machine is borderline on not being able to supply enough current you can use Helium and/or do a rosebud pre-heat. Soot the parts with a pure Acetylene flame first. When the soot burns off, stop heating and start welding.
    Also, Aluminum oxidizes very fast. The melting point of aluminum oxide is far above the melting point of the base aluminum which means it will lose shape b4 you ever seem a molten puddle. Get a stainless steel bristle welder's brush, not a carbon steel bristle brush as it will contaminate the weld, and thoroughly and vigorously brush along where the bead is to be just b4 you weld.
    Use a Gold plated lense. You can see a very slight change in color with one whereas you can't see it with an unplated lense.
     

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