I welded aluminum today

The rear window/frame on my pickup trucks shell is about 15 or so
years old and is getting tired. The aluminum hinge/frame was starting
a crack along the hinge assembly, and is composed of a chunk of L
aluminum, about 1/16" thick.
Not having any aluminum of the proper type on hand, Ive been pondering
this for a couple weeks, and have been waiting for the entire
window/hatch to fall off on the freeway....cringe.
So today..in an insane moment of bravado and balls..I decided to TIG
weld up the 12" long crack, and also reinforce other weak areas.
So I drug the ground, tig torch, foot pedal and stainless steel brush
over to the now backed intotheweldingarea pickem up truck..and thought
about how to proceed. The crack was only acessable with the hatch
open, and then from underneith. This meant I had to overhead weld the
dreaded aluminum thin stuff...GACK!!!!! OMGODthisisgonna be a
bitch..and it was.
I fired up the Airco Squarewave 300, rounded a 3/32 2% lanthanated
electrode (per Ernie) on a chunk of stainless steel, Electrode
positive, then switched to AC, scrubbed the snot out of the aluminum
with a SS wire brush..then pondered the first problem...foot pedal.
The only way I could reach the crack, was sitting tailor fashion on
the tailgate, facing the front of the truck and working overhead. No
way to push the pedal..so I put it under my left thigh, and could push
by moving my leg a bit. This of course lead to serious leg
cramps..zapping myself with the HV at least once..sigh.
The frame was insulated from truck ground by the fiberglass of the
shell, so I didnt have to worry about zapping the computer etc..which
was a small blessing.
I started the arc..and started heating the aluminum..and found the
current wasnt high enough, so I set it up for max 125 amps, with start
current of 30%..made the best guess at the balance, backround and
pulse, then assumed the position again..and again got a
cramp..resulting in a flinch..sticking the electrode to the
frame...sigh.. resharpening..I tried it again..
Pressing down with my leg..I could see the aluminum start to melt..and
I fed in a little aluminum filler..which balled up, and fell onto my
crotch. I could smell jeans burning...as I instantly fell off the
tailgate in a desperate struggle to protect the family jewels. Now Im
upside down, wrapped in ground cable, tig hose, the foot pedal teeters
on the tailgate..then falls on my crotch. What the hot dingleberry
didnt scorch..the pedal crushed.
Sigh...
Getting out my leather apron (hindsight is 2020)..I reassumed the
position again..but a bit more gingerly...I fired up the arc
again..this time waiting for the base metal to start to go all
silvery, then gently dabbed the filler into the silver puddle...
SOB...it melted into the puddle..and stayed there...Fuck me
running..its working!!! Im welding Im welding! Buawahahahhaha!
Paying close attention..I managed to run at least 10" of the 12" with
a clean, neat bead. Not stack of dimes..but still nice (for me). Then
I got a leg cramp, stuck the electrode into the puddle..filled the
entire cup of the torch with melted aluminum and fell off the tailgate
again as the cup exploded, raining hot shit all over me..including
under my mask, down my neck. But my crotch was protected!!!!
Sigh.....
Brush off the singed chest hair, installed a new cup, regrind of the
electrode, reposition, scrub vigorously with the brush again, fire up
the arc, and finish the weld in a pretty matter of fact
fashion..forgetting of course to creep up on the end of the
material..and melting the last 1/4" completly, down into the cup of my
torch again..which fortunately didnt explode this time.
Well Ill be damned..I actually overhead welded aluminum. Mostly. Had
some icicles hanging, there at the end of the weld..which I took care
of with a 4 flute 1/4" endmill in an air die grinder..worked really
slick.
If Id been smart..and had a helper, I should have taken the 30 minutes
to pull the shell off the truck, and turned it over..but hey..Ive been
called a lot of things..but never smart..and there wasnt a helper
handy.
Now I can reeeeely understand the utility value of one of those torch
mounted controls and why spool guns are so popular. I have a mig..but
not the proper liner etc etc though I do have several spools of
aluminum mig wire (which I was using for filler.)
But Im totally tickled..Ive gone from Daubers Helper, to Daubers
Apprentice 1.
Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks.
This just opened up a whole new can of worms for me..now that I can
melt aluminum together. Sorta. Kinda. A little. Somewhat......
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire.
Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us)
off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give
them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you
for torturing the cat." Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
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I must say that was one of the best bits of spontaneous writing I have ever witnessed. 2 thumbs up and I actually still have 2 thumbs You are one clever feller and a crafty wordsmith and a smith in the other sense. Have a happy life. Melt some aluminum for all of us. Hey it's fun and the most abundant element on earth so why not melt it,.? The earth is gonna do it anyway....
Reply to
daniel peterman
One heckuva story, Gunner! Well done!
Reply to
John Husvar
Outstanding! Does your truck still start? Is all electronics still working?
i
Reply to
Ignoramus4324
Didn't the cats applaud and hold up little signs like 7.9, 8.0, 7.8, 8.4, 8.2 ?
Ron
Reply to
doo
good deal. So funny its gotta be true...
Gunner Asch wrote:
Reply to
yourname
Gunner, I've been wanting to try my hand at welding aluminum for a while now. Haven't really had a need to, but just something a person so led has to try. Just ask you. Now, with all your encouragement, I think I can ......... wait a little while longer. I'll have to wait a little bit, anyway. Everytime I'd start, your story would come to mind and I wouldn't be able to hold the torch steady for laughing so hard. Great tale. Somewhere twixt Twain and O'Henry. Respectfully, Ron Moore
Reply to
Ron Moore
Definitely a rcm classic. Thanks for writing it out...
Reply to
Jim Stewart
"Jim Stewart" wrote: Definitely a rcm classic. Thanks for writing it out... ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Gunner, if any of this is made-up, you lose some points, but gain them back for imagination.
BTW, this is an example of why I haven't "plonked" you, in spite of the vast difference in our social and political outlooks. That, and the fact that I am also a cat lover.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
What's so sad about this is how close to home this comes. I spent a whole day under a belly dump grain trailer a while back dodging hot balls of aluminum. I definitely wasn't in a good enough mood to write something like that when I got out.
As for the foot pedal thing I know where you're coming from there as well. I got a hose reel for my torch the other day and while I was putting the handle on I dropped a screw. I went to the floor trying to find it in all the junk that had collected up under my temporary table (I guess it's temporary, I've not managed to get it out of the shop for a few months now). I was down there minding my own business hunting for the screw when the outlaw hose reel decided to try and do me in. It rolled off the table hit me in the head and then proceeded to try to break my thumb. Reeling from the double blow it took me a few minutes to recover and figure out what happened.
I fixed it though. I quickly bolted it down in lockup on the side of my welder. I figure its in there for life. ;-)
Wayne Cook Shamrock, TX
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Reply to
Wayne Cook
Yup..and the window doesnt bobble anymore!! Yay!!
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Cats? You evidently dont have cats...
The best they will do is a mildly disinterested glance..followed by some tounge grooming, a yawn and several hours of sleep. Maybe..just maybe...a tail flick to indicate approval..if you are lucky.
Not exactly an interested audience
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
[ snip ]
Thanks for that. Closest I've come to something like this was when I decided to weld while wearing sneakers with mesh over the toe area. A piece of slag flew and went right through the mesh, right through my thin cotton sock, and lodged in between two toes. I was hopping around pretty wildly for a bit.
Gunner, consider wearing a cup for all overhead welding operations from now on. :-)
--Donnie
Reply to
Donnie Barnes
Gunner Asch wrote: a hilarious story about welding
Gunner, that was great! Although I'm surprised you didn't just chuck the truck in the 4-jaw of your 80"x264" lathe and turn it over to do the welding. (Not that I'm envious of your Stuff collection or anything ...)
I sent the story to my daughter in college, cheered her up before finals. Thanks.
Reply to
Fred R
They have probably seen it all before :-)
Great story btw, been there done some of it!
Reply to
Martin Evans
Damn!!! Years of being careful & I finally snarfed coffee on the keyboard (& my lap warmer. She still has claws, as my leg can attest). Great story, Gunner.
Reply to
Steve Walker
Actually all true. Im all too often laughing at my own screw ups..which may be a good mental health thing..but like learning from your mistakes..it only teaches you when to cringe the next time....
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Hell of a story, next time you try something new setup the video camera first. If there is still a home video program running somewhere you might be able to buy some new gear with the winnings.
I tried to weld aluminum this past weekend... Unfortunately the power situation in my shop sucks and all I did was trip the breaker. I get away with it for welding in 1/8" steel, but 1/4" AL just needs too much power. I've really got to upgrade the feed and panels.
Pete C.
Reply to
Pete C.
On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 01:50:23 -0800, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (daniel peterman) quickly quoth:
I had just read his immigration post and thought this sounded familiar. Eet felt of the Mexican jumping beans, es verdad! Sounds like he needs to wear a -cup- when he overhead welds, huh?
Yeah, especially with all this horrible GLOBAL WARMING stuff. WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! ;)
--- - Sarcasm is just one more service we offer. -
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Reply to
Larry Jaques
Way to go Gunner - more than one Yahoo for you and I bet you said it more than once. (other words deleted for the light hearted) :-)
Working away on my CNC plasma system - tons of cutting - cut 31 panthers out at 2.5 seconds each. Ripping speed. In 7075-T6 Al naturally.
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Gunner Asch wrote:
Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn

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