Help This Newbie ~> Aluminum wire welding

Old 07-30-04, 03:42 PM
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Help This Newbie ~> Aluminum wire welding

Hello All-
Yep, Newguy. Handshake, handshake.

Ok here's the problem:
I've just hooked up my ProMig 135 with a spool of .035 aluminum wire and a tank of argon- And proceeded to teach myself to run a nice bead. Fiddled around for awhile and settled down with wirespeed on about 5-6 and heat on B. I seem to be doing quite well at making bb's, a few decent (looking) welds with absolutely no penetration, and more bb's. Gas is at 15 lpm. I'm using new 6061 plate findings I dug out of the dumpster at my local fabricators.
It's become painfully obvious my welds suck, and I don't know how to fix it. I've been using this welder with .035 steel wire for a few months and doing *fairly* well most of the time- None of my creations have fallen apart or failed under stress.
1 of the problems seems to be the wire melting into a ball and fusing itself to the mig tip- Overcame that by ramping up the wire speed. If I turn up the heat any further I get what appears to be a TIG gun- Would be great if that's what I was doing but...
So far I don't understand why I'm not getting the penetration. I'm brushing the weld area with a new stainless brush, but that doesn't seem to help.

Hoping for an easy fix-
Old 08-01-04, 07:37 AM
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I think you are running too cold, Aluminum wire needs to be hot and fast, your passes are about twice as quick as a steel one good luck
Old 08-05-04, 04:09 PM
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Someone on the Hobart forum was welding Al with a small mig recently, I didnt read all the threads. It can be done wih a machine like that ubut its going to be limited thickness. Alum is such a great thermal conductor that 1/8 or less plate will suck up the heat faster than that little machine can put it in. I dont use wire feed for alum so I am not familar with the settings on your machine, but its likely you are going to have to turn the machine way up. This means wire speed and adjust the V setting to match. Does it say heat on the V setting? If so this is kind of misleading. With a feeder the wire speed is the heat setting, the voltage is the arc intensity, it might sound like heat but its not. More wire = more current, then you need to turn up the volts up to burn the wire off. (very crude explanation I know)

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