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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 11:39 AM
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Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

I was comparing notes with my dad's structural mechanic friend who's opening up his own shop and we were dreaming about the tools we'd love to have. I of course brought up the Syncro wave 250 I need really bad[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]. I'd like to get one to weld aluminum gas tanks and just Tig everything in sight. He was telling me that the best way to weld aluminum is with a torch[question] How do I do this? I have a Victor Journeyman torch with several sizes of welding tips. I've tried to teach myself to TIG in the past but I am still far from proficient. I am however a pretty good MIG and Arc welder so hopefully I can draw on that expirence. Any help would be appreciated as it may save me the $2500 for the welder. Of course I'll still want it anyway. The only thing I like more then getting new tools is getting new Jeeps[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img]. Thanks in advance.
Travis

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 12:34 PM
 
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

I cant imagine it would be pretty or strong with oxy/ace but ive never tried either, I do however use a new synchro wave 250 or an older synchro wave 351 every day at work, man are they SWEEEEET, they weld aluminum well as you would imagine. and steel, and titanium, and magnesium, and stainless ..I want one at home too.



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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 01:11 PM
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

Everyone at work thinks I'm wierd since I admire all the pretty TIG welds on the equiptment. As soon as I win the lottery I'll go buy one. I was schepictal of the strength of the ox-ace welding myself but I saw a show on TLC about this guy in So Cal who makes custom motorcycles named Jessie James(yes he's related). They showed him forming a custom tank and when it was all shaped he welded it together with a torch. It wasn't pretty but a soft faced grinder made it nice and smooth. The only thing I would use it for is gas tanks so strength isn't a major concern. I have tried to teach myself to gas weld in the past but had no luck. The torch blew the steel out of the way before I could get a good pool. I just need some instruction. I'm sure someone's done it. CJDave was probably doing it back in the day before TIG welding was invented[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]. Just curious, how exactly do you weld magnesium? I've seen enough VW engine case fires to know I want no part of Magnesium and heat. We always burned our busted cases, I never knew they could be fixed. Thanks for the input.
Travis

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 01:42 PM
 
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

you weld magnesium just like stainless.

its really "sticky" though, you have to ad the very close to the arc in the center of the puddle or it will stick, its a weird deal.

its fun to grind on too, we always turn of he lights in teh blend shop and give it hell, its like a fireworks show, titanium too its fun, that reminds me I need to save some of those shavings for a fire starter,,hmmm



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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 02:11 PM
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

Used to tig weld mag and alum all the time. Actually, it's what I'm best at.
I used to teach adult ed at a local JVS and we would have guests give demos all the time. Had an old pipe fitter come in and give a demo on that.FREAKING AWESOME!!!!! After the class was over we were talking and ended up w/ gas welding alum.
We sheared some metal and let him go. Layed out some for open groove butt welds.
It looked just like you tigged it.
[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]BEAUTIFUL[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
So after watching him do that I had to give it a try. After about 15 min. (and a bunch of messed up metal) I was laying down some that didn't look too bad.
Here's the kicker, after we were all done we sheared the test pcs. and ran them in a guided bend test. Mine hardly started to bend when it snapped in half.(this would be a cookie job w/ a tig)
Then we ran his through. Came out perfect.......not so much as a tiny stress crack. We even smashed them flat with a hammer after that.Still wouldn't break and only some minor cracks.
It was amazing!!!!!
So even after all this I can't answer your question. I can't weld alum. with a torch.
I guess it's a secret all but lost with the old timers.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 02:53 PM
 
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

Some of the older gas welding handbooks cover gas welding aluminum. There is a flux that makes it easier. There are rods, or you can use a strip of the base material, or nothing at all and just fuse the perfectly fit joint (for example on the edges of a gas tank. Apparently gas welded aluminum is nice and soft, so that should make it strong. Also, I seem to recall them saying that you adjust the torch for a slightly carbonizing flame, instead of neutral. I have a book around here that describes it. Might have been an HP book on gas welding. Also, using special gas welding goggles as the flame gives off a bright weird color. Do you have access to HP's Metal Fabricator's Handbook by Ron Fournier? Excellant book. I think he might have had a section on that subject.

By the way, if your torch tip pops, that means you are using too little gas flow for the tip size. Go down a tip size and increase the flow, it wont be as likely to get extinguished by a spark and reignite with a pop. Gas welds should be as pretty as tig as you have total control over heat and additiona of filler.

Tim

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 03:53 PM
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

I remember eading once that you are supposed to use Oxy-Hydrogen instead of Oxy-Ace on Aluminum. I use gas all the time, mostly b/c I can't afford an arc welder and I live where the closest outlet is too far from my welding place. I have tried welding aluminum with Oxy-Ace and found that the hardest thing was judging the heat. Aluminum doesn't color like steel, so you have to be VERY careful. Once I get my torch to TN (its still at my old home), I plan on trying to weld some aluminum. As I said before, I believe that you need Oxy-Hydrogen which sounds REALLY dangerous to me.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 07:09 PM
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

i have gas welded alum in the past. we used a rod that all ready had a flux and the secret to welding alum is pre heating the alum if you only light the acet on the torch and use the black smoke and apply a layer of soot to the area you want to weld then dial in the ox and clean up the flame. start pre heating the area of the weld until the soot burns off and the alum is ready to weld. this is a trick and old hand at welding alum showed me about 15 years ago and it has alwas worked now i have access to 4 syncro 250 1 syncro 350 1 syncro 351 with a pulser and man that pulser makes short work of alum and stainless with no pre heat time at all just mash the pedal and go. good luck

post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2000, 08:07 PM
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Re: Ox/Ace Welding Aluminum

Thanks this is all great info. I think I'll have to pick up that book Tim mentioned. Unfortunately I don't have any scrap aluminum laying around to test it out on. I'll have to get some. Sounds like a good skill to learn. Thanks for all the info.
Travis

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