Welding aluminum


Old 09-15-02, 08:43 PM
Mark Mathews
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Question Welding aluminum

Is anyone out there experienced in welding aluminum with a wire welder? I'm interested in trying but apprehensive.
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Old 09-16-02, 07:20 AM
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Location: Brethren, Mi
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I dont weld much alum with feeders as I have a heli-arc but my neighbor uses mig for it and it is quite popular worldwide. Argon is used mostly but sometimes a mix of helium is used for better penetration and appearance characteristics. It is also used for very thick peices. It takes some practice to get good with wire. Use a new liner in the gun and save for that or often people get spool guns make changeover easier. Also the spool gun helps so you dont have to feed a soft wire through a long cable. Give it a try.
Old 09-16-02, 02:54 PM
Steve U S Alloy
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I can't add too much

to what Mr. Berry said Mark, but I would also recommend knurled drive rolls if you don't have a spool gun.

It can be difficult to push AL thru more than a 10" gun cable. A teflon liner would help tremendously in comination with the knurled roller. Using an Al alloyed with Mg such as 5356 will help also as the wire is much stiffer then the 4043 wire commonly sold at the gas houses.

Always clean the Al with a ss brush to avoid contamination. (For this reason, you should not use the same liner for AL that you use for carbon steel.) A slight preheat may also be necessary to avoid cold lapping when first starting your arc. Here is a simple preheat procedure. Set your oxy-acetylene torch to a rich carburizing flame. Use this sooty flame to coat the area where you will begin to weld with black carbon soot. Upon completion of that, go back to a nuetral flame setting and burn the carbon soot away. This should result in about an 800F preheat.

On very thin sections, if you experience burn-thru, use a chill plate to back up the Al. This can be a Cu or even a steel plate. Pushing in the direction of travel will also help prevent burn-thru.
Old 09-17-02, 01:44 PM
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Yes Steve,,, I forgot about the teflon liners,, they help loads with softer wires.

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