Arc Welding Aluminum: Pros and Cons
ARC welding aluminum is a process by which two pieces of aluminum are joined together by electrical current. The arc from the welding gun creates heat of around 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat melts the filler rod, as well as the metal being welded. The flux that forms around the weld stops contamination and gives stability to the arc. When the weld is done, the flux is removed from the weld using a wire brush. There are four main types of ARC welding that can be used when welding aluminum.
ARC welding aluminum equipment is cheap, making it accessible to everyone, and the fact that it’s essentially easy to use means most people can perform this kind of welding. It’s a very convenient way of joining two pieces of aluminum.
Unlike other welding equipment, ARC welding equipment is very portable. You can use it in your workshop or garage at home; it doesn’t need to be in a specialized metal working shop. Even confined spaces can be used for arc welding aluminum.
Unlike MIG welding, ARC welding doesn’t need a shield gas so there’s no need to find a supply of it; finding inert gas can be quite troublesome at times.
ARC welding can be used for most alloys and metals, making it the most versatile type of welding. Learn ARC welding and you’ll not only be able to weld aluminum, but also other metals.
Since ARC welding aluminum is fairly easy, it’s often done by people who have very little training. They have the chance to learn as they do it and becoming better with each job. Training does help but it’s not vital. Equipment can be hired and you can learn the process at home with very little preparation.
The very nature of ARC aluminum welding means it’s carried out at speed otherwise the heat can burn a hole in the aluminum. This means the job goes quickly, unlike spot welding, and with some care and experience jobs will take very little time. This means a welding job doesn’t have to take all day.
When you’re ARC welding aluminum, you will need to replace the electrode in the tip of the welding gun frequently. This is a problem that is typical of ARC welding, and replacing the tip requires a great deal of care. Also, it can’t be done when the electrode is hot which can slow the entire welding process.
When ARC welding aluminum, you’ll need to remove the slag from the weld when you’ve finished. This adds an extra step to the process and means you have to do more work which ultimately takes more time.
ARC welding produces a great deal of heat and light. That means the welder has to wear protective glasses and, ideally, a good welding helmet. It’s also a good idea to wear other protective gear because of the heat. This brings about protection from electric shock as well as from burns, which can easily happen from the level of heat produced in the process. The welder needs to take special care and concentrate all the time.