Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Learning Aluminium

  1. #1
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincy Ohio
    Posts
    27,632
    Thanks
    2,443
    Thanked 8,903 Times in 4,638 Posts

    Default Learning Aluminium

    So I've had a couple of push/pull mig units for a while. Now that I have an Al flat bed on my pickup, I'd like to add stake pockets and a rub rail to the sides. Of course, that comes after I weld on the rear C channel cause I shortened the bed a tad. Here is a couple pics of my first Al welds, I know - no big deal, but its exciting learning a new process! If anyone has any old Cobramatic stuff laying around, I'd be interested in it!

    20160906_185946.jpg20160906_184140.jpg20160906_185741.jpg
    Don't worry about the size difference

  2. #2
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincy Ohio
    Posts
    27,632
    Thanks
    2,443
    Thanked 8,903 Times in 4,638 Posts

    Default

    Toward the end, I got some satisfactory bead profiles and penetration(last pic). I was wondering, anyone know what causes that sugaring(evident in the 2nd pic)? I thought it was lack of shielding gas, but from tinkering around today, that didn't seem the case.


    ALSO! No matter how excited you are to try out new toys, don't forget to put pants on! My legs are not happy I wore shorts today(arcburn!).
    Don't worry about the size difference

  3. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to gimpyrobb For This Useful Post:

    98G (10-15-2016), cwc (09-07-2016), firefox (09-07-2016), tobyS (10-23-2016)

  4. #3
    Colonel pjwest03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Vestal/NY
    Posts
    251
    Thanks
    144
    Thanked 197 Times in 109 Posts

    Default

    Sugaring is usually a "Stainless" welding problem from oxygen getting into the arc area, or on the back side of the weld. With aluminum it's all about cleanliness. De-grease the metal and clean with a stainless brush. Keep your aluminum tools separate from those used on other metals. Other than that, you might need a different alloy wire depending on the base metal. Also, when MIG welding aluminum, it's better to push the weld than pull. As the work heats up you will need to increase the travel speed a bit as aluminum has great thermal conductivity.

    Aluminum puts out a huge amount of UV light compared to working with mild steel. You really can't have any exposed skin that you want to keep. Even your denim jeans won't be good enough if you go for a long session. Production welders will tend to wear full leathers and hoods no matter how hot it is.
    The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

    -- Harlan Ellison

    Now, if we could only harness the power stupidity...


    1969 Kaiser M36A2 WO/W
    MEP-802A

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to pjwest03 For This Useful Post:

    firefox (09-07-2016)

  6. #4
    Sergeant Major Lonnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    9
    Thanked 108 Times in 49 Posts

    Default

    As stated above, that is typically caused by the oxidation on the metal.

    The best method is to remove all oils from the metal with good cleaner, then aggressively clean the aluminum with a (new) stainless brush.

    The dull grey finish on aluminum is aluminum oxide.
    It melts at a significantly higher temperature than the aluminum & you can actually see it form a skin/barrier over the molten aluminum when the material is not clean, or it splatters leaving the rough sandy texture you show in some of the pictures.
    When clean, the aluminum should flow & look almost like solder with minimum splatter.
    1972 AM General, Turbocharged M818 w/ Deuce Bed & 16.00's

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Lonnie For This Useful Post:

    firefox (09-07-2016)

  8. #5
    Moderator MWMULES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    DESOTO, KANSAS
    MVPA
    10023
    Posts
    5,412
    Thanks
    1,434
    Thanked 2,688 Times in 1,396 Posts

    Default

    What they said! I can stick two pieces of metal together but I am not a welder. I have a friend who can run a bead on a beer can, he is a welder!
    Last edited by MWMULES; 09-07-2016 at 11:15.
    HMIC of BEEFCO Industries world wide.

  9. #6
    Colonel profo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    jeanerette,la
    Posts
    395
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 339 Times in 132 Posts

    Default

    It also looks like your running your wirespeed to fast or and you may have your welding voltage to high, what alloy are your using 5356 or 4042 cause high grade alluminum you need to use 5356 minimum.camper 001.jpg
    100 percent pure argon shielding gas. approx 20 cfm
    And if your think its clean , clean it again, that is the #1 problem all the time.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to profo For This Useful Post:

    firefox (09-07-2016)

  11. #7
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincy Ohio
    Posts
    27,632
    Thanks
    2,443
    Thanked 8,903 Times in 4,638 Posts

    Default

    Yes, I have read all those tips. Just to see what the mig boxes would do, I used some old crusty Aluminum I beams. I sanded, then wire brushed, then wiped with acetone. From some of the reading/searching, it seems like I might try a little more shielding gas. I was using about 15-20cfm and I've seen some say as much as 40-50. This was done outside and there was wind during some of the welds.
    Don't worry about the size difference

  12. #8
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincy Ohio
    Posts
    27,632
    Thanks
    2,443
    Thanked 8,903 Times in 4,638 Posts

    Default

    Profo, that is one of the big issues I have, I'm using an older Powcon welder that doesn't have specific voltage or amperage settings. In addition, the push/pull boxes don't have IPM indicators. I'm not as worried about the pretty welds, just as long as they are structurally sound.


    Edit, one spool is 5356 3/64 in the mk3a, but the other has no labels on it. It is smaller though.
    Last edited by gimpyrobb; 09-07-2016 at 11:41.
    Don't worry about the size difference

  13. #9
    Colonel profo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    jeanerette,la
    Posts
    395
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 339 Times in 132 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gimpyrobb View Post
    Yes, I have read all those tips. Just to see what the mig boxes would do, I used some old crusty Aluminum I beams. I sanded, then wire brushed, then wiped with acetone. From some of the reading/searching, it seems like I might try a little more shielding gas. I was using about 15-20cfm and I've seen some say as much as 40-50. This was done outside and there was wind during some of the welds.

    Just the slightest winds will give you splatter you may have to weld with the wind (going the same way as the wind by leaning gun in the direction of wind and turn up gas to about 40 cfm).

  14. #10
    Colonel profo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    jeanerette,la
    Posts
    395
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 339 Times in 132 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gimpyrobb View Post
    Profo, that is one of the big issues I have, I'm using an older Powcon welder that doesn't have specific voltage or amperage settings. In addition, the push/pull boxes don't have IPM indicators. I'm not as worried about the pretty welds, just as long as they are structurally sound.


    Edit, one spool is 5356 3/64 in the mk3a, but the other has no labels on it. It is smaller though.
    3/64 is very large wire that should be used on 1/4" or better plate you would do alot better with some .035 or .030.

    With the 035 you can turn up voltage so you have good penetration and start slowing wire speed till you get the drunK bee sound.
    Last edited by profo; 09-07-2016 at 12:01.

  15. The Following User Says Thank You to profo For This Useful Post:

    firefox (09-07-2016)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •