Arc weldiung Aluminum

Old 10-27-04, 08:41 AM
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Arc weldiung Aluminum

I recently purched some aluminum rods for an arc welder. Dose anyone outthere have any experiance with welding al with an arc welder? Any tips would be appericated, otherwise it will be trial and error. Thanks
Old 10-27-04, 09:07 AM
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Not a WHOLE lot of experience with I but ran it at about 90 amps.(hotter than I thought it would be. Had to get used to that purple light too. And the fact it ran like a melting candle. Guess that why everyone Migs or Tigs it.
Old 10-27-04, 12:03 PM
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Hey gwarr-

I've had good luck with a brand called "Aluminator" - the welds look pretty ugly and they are about half as strong as an equivalent thickness MIG or TIG weld, but for moderately stressed members it works. The latest project I used them for was a pressure washer frame made out of 1/8" thick 1" square tubing. The key to stick welding aluminum, I've found, is to pre-heat the joint and surrounding metal by passing the flame from a propane torch back and forth. The joints on the pressure washer frame required about 1-2 minutes of pre-heating then I could lay down a (relatively) strong weld bead with 120A DCEP no problem - without pre-heat the rod would ball up and roll off as soon as an arc was struck.

As I mentioned, the welds aren't pretty, so I ground them flat with a flap disc. Well, after 25 hours on the pressure washer's hourmeter, I noticed a couple of welds were developing cracks. I re-welded them but didn't grind them down again and after 12 more hours so far so good.

Basically, I don't recommend using the aluminum stick rods for anything critical. The process is, however, much easier than TIG - at least for this hack! - but not as easy as MIG. 'Course, it takes a pretty expensive MIG machine to handle aluminum both because of the high amp requirement (about 1A per thou of metal) and the softness of the wire which has a tendency to get tangled up...
Old 01-22-05, 08:40 PM
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