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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ive seen the rods, and heard folks talk about it.

now someone mentioned ithere the other day, and ive got a few little projects Id like to do at home instead of at work.

how hard is it?

I dont care if its ugly, aluminum grinds relaly easy!

what do I need?

I basically need to weld some aluminum 1 inch square tube about 1/16 thick, and some 1x1 angle 1/8 thick.

will ye ole miller thunderbolt XL handle this?

whats the caveats?

is it gonna choke me? shock me? run the machine wide open AC ( 230 amps) for the 1/16 tube?
I know its hard to heat aluminum.

please fill me in, im stopping by to buy some AL rod tomorow, but I prob wont have a chance to try until teh weekend.



OzarkJeep

too small to be seen, and too big to control, and treated like a walking bomb...
 
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I've always heard that you can't AC weld AL. DC works--but it is difficult (very) to control the puddle--because the AL doesn't discolor with heat in the nice fashion that steel does, and it dissapates the heat rapidly. You need to clean the weld area pre-weld with an all-stainless-steel wire brush, and usually, if you want a good weld, it works best to use a chemical agent to clean the area first (acid, etc.) Preheating the area you're gonna weld works pretty swift...except that it sucks the heat away from the area pronto. But a little pre-heat helps you start the bead. BE VERY CAREFUL TO KEEP YOUR ARC LENGTH CONSISTENT!!! Err on the side of being closer than normal, but that more than anything else will affect the quality of the weld.

Best of luck. DC DC DC!!!

I Jeep, therefore I am.
 

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I'm interested in welding aluminum too, so if anybody has any more tips, I'd like to hear them...

So many cats, so few recipes...
 

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A book I picked up at the library on Oxyacetelene welding claims Mig welding was developed specifically for welding AL.It doesn't go into any details on Mig process .
It claims that it can be done with Oxy but it is a chancey proposition.It does go on to explain the process but I don't think this is what you are looking for.

Ray
Learn to let go of what does not serve you ,but forces you to serve it
why does everyone ask if I am gonna paint it ?
 

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What was the name of the book?

So many cats, so few recipes...
 

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I have a book, Metal Fabricators Handbook, by Ron and Sue Fournier, published by HPBooks, 11150 Olympic Boulevard, suite 650, Los Angeles, CA 90064.

It's meant for the custom car builder who wants to make metal body parts. It explains how to use roller and brake, dollies and hammers, English wheel, shrinker and so on. It also goes into various types of welding. He says that Oxy-Acetelyene welding is a very good method for joining aluminum sheet for bodies, catch tanks and such stuff - not structural components - and describes how it's done.

I've never tried it myself, but he says it's no more difficult than gas welding steel - just different.

 

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The book I picked up is "The Welders Bible" 2 nd edition 1993 ,got it at the library.
It doesn't go into too much detail on welding AL just mentions the MIG thing and describes the flames to use to Oxyacetelene weld it says to use an aluminum flux and how to heat it .
I picked up the book because I just picked up a set of torches and don't know jack about welding per say.But I didn't know Jack about jeeps till I got one.LOL.

Ray
Learn to let go of what does not serve you ,but forces you to serve it
why does everyone ask if I am gonna paint it ?
 
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Another good book is "Performance Welding" by Richard Finch, ISBN 0-7603-0393-2, $31 CDN (that's what, $2 US? /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif ). It doesn't have any SMAW (stick) stuff in it, but covers a fair deal regarding MIG, TIG, and Oxy-fuel welding, including oxy-fuel welding of Al. If anyone is going to be doing any quantity of gas welding of Al, invest in a hydrogen fuel setup, which is the preferred fuel gas for welding Al. Also purchase a set of cobalt blue goggles, as the oxy-hydrogen flame produces a different spectrum of colours - your eyes will thank you.

Now, to weld Al with SMAW, you'll require DCEP. A decent site is http://www.jwharris.com/welref/procs/ You'll want to practice a fair amount if you've never welded Al before to learn how to manipulate the arc, as the puddle doesn't change colour - it simply changes from dull to shiny just before the puddle forms. Farmjeep was pretty much spot on with his description of the process. I myself have only stick welded Al about 5 times, so I'm not great at it myself (they were the worst-looking welds that I've ever done, but they passed the bend test).

Ozark, depending on what you're welding, you might want to invest in a small AC/DC TIG machine or a MIG machine with spoolgun capability. It is MUCH easier to weld with either of these two processes when compared with stick. Another option is converting your stick power source into a TIG unit, using a TIG torch with a built-in gas valve on the torch itself. It's not the best, especially if you're going to be doing Al, as you will be scratch starting the weld - not a great way to weld Al. Usually you need hi-freq. to weld Al in order to not contaminate the weld puddle with tungsten, but at least you have AC, which *should* allow you to somewhat successfully weld Al (poor-man's squarewave).

That's about all of the SMAW Al welding knowledge that I have.

Time, heat and pressure.
The same things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

~Scott Meyer
 

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If you are talking about the stuff they Infomercialed us with I don't believe that was actually welding aluminum with a propane torch it was more like brazing it .there is a web site that sells thast stuff on line.
Like everything else opinions will vary some will love it some will curse it.Probably depends more on the prep than anything else,as well as your expectations of it.getting all the oxadation off it,from what I have heard is half the battle.If I can find the web address I'll post it.
Dura Fix is the name of the company it goes into some detail on their process.

Ray
Learn to let go of what does not serve you ,but forces you to serve it
why does everyone ask if I am gonna paint it ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
wow, thanks for the continouing info!

you guys rock.

Ive got a tig torch for ny ac/dc machine, and ive got MIG/TIG at work, I was really just curious, as to HOW it would work/look with the SMAW process, thats all.

I stopped by LOWES today toget some things, and dropped in to the tool section to pick up teh AL rod I had seen a few weeks ago, and they have no more, they dropped Cambell Hausfield stuff and now only carry LINCOLN rods and accessaries, and I didnt have time to stop by teh real welding supply place, maybe tomorow.

I was thinking I couldnt scratch start TIG on AL? if I can then thats a no brainer, easy for me than SMAW im sure.

I scratch start on 304 every day at work, at first I cringed at the contaminated puddle/tungsten, but now its the norm.

im used a to a foot control Hi freq, those FAA xray jobs are alittel more picky than my current job.

Ill eventually give the AL rod a try and post back with the results, maybe even pics, If it isnt too shamefull!

I appreciate the replies!

OzarkJeep

too small to be seen, and too big to control, and treated like a walking bomb...
 
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i've done very little with alum at work just mig and tig with a freq box. but at home i don't have that and was thinking of investing in a mig with a spool gun just for alum. but really i don't mess with alum at home so i can't justify the cost. i think what everybody has skipped over was your question about alum. rods, i've seen those at the home repair places too. i think i'll buy some and find out. has anyone used these rods?

taco
78cj7
 
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If you have access to a pedal and hi freq, you would be far better off going that route.First grind your tungsten like you normally would, put it in the torch, set your machine on reverse or straight polarity and use the pedal to strike an arc on your table. This will melt a small ball on the end of your tungsten. Just make sure the tungsten does't touch the table while your doing this. Set your high frequency on "continuous" instead of "start", this helps keep the oxides broken up while your welding. I also always use a gas lens with the larger o.d. cup(for better coverage) instead of the long skinny cups and collet body. Then turn your machine to AC and then its ready. Also I'm assuming you have a water cooled torch or your torch lead can handle higher amperages?

Sometimes your better off pre heating your base plate if it is thicker than the tubing, that way they will both start to flow about the same time. Depending on what type of table you have (mines 3/4" plate) you may want to pre heat that as well, because it will suck the heat right out of your aluminum.
I know your post was about stick welding but I thought I'd throw this in.

Edder

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thats the deal camo_trash.

I know how to weld aluminum with a TIG, I can weld titanium, magnesiium, inconnel all that crap with a nice expensive miller synchrowave 350/351, I was curious how the cheap old ac/dc miller stick machine would produce AL welds at home!

buy that rod and try it, and then tell me, Ill buy it and try it next time I find some!

Ive got some light weight not really life threating structures I could build with AL if possible to do at home cheaply.

I still dont have clarification if I HAVE to have a HI freq box to TIG alumiun or not, some have said I do, some have said I dont. does any one know for sure? Ive never Tig-ed AC with scratch start, so I got no idea what thats like, I envison alot of shocking though, the damn HI freq is bad enough.
I do appreciate all teh replies though I always learn something!

OzarkJeep

too small to be seen, and too big to control, and treated like a walking bomb...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I checked that TINMAN site out, lots of neat info there, not a damn thing about stick welding aluminum, unless I missed it with my nearly hour long scan.



OzarkJeep

too small to be seen, and too big to control, and treated like a walking bomb...
 

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The problem with TIG welding aluminum is that it works best with AC, and the AC needs the high freq to maintain the arc when the voltage passes through zero as it reverses. I would guess that it is possible, but you'll probably have to go DCEN (straight). Try it and see what happens.

Ever TIG AL with the high freq in start mode? BZZZZT BZZZZT BZZZZT BZZZZT BZZZZT BZZZZT as the arc goes out and HF restarts it.

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
 
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Ozark, here is a link to the rods that I used when I stick welded Al. http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/consumabledatasheet.asp?p=5027 If you download the pdf file for them, it contains some tips about stick welding with the Al rods (they call them Aluminweld 43). When I was welding with them, I just followed their suggestions, with reasonable results. As you stated before, Al grinds easy! /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Time, heat and pressure.
The same things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

~Scott Meyer
 
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