Cleaning aluminium with a metal brush.

I read here that aluminium should be cleaned with a metal brush reserved to this usage prior to welding. So I went to my favourite
shop to buy a new brush for my grinder. Then I realise that there are 2 sorts of stainless brushes: one where the bristles are individually free and one where the bristles are grouped and twisted together. Normally, I use the second type for steel, it is much stronger. But aluminium is softer than steel, so the brush that works better with steel maybe too hard for aluminium.
I feel a bit silly for bothering the group with such a simple question. Maybe half the people here use one and the other half the other?
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I use one that looks like a tooth brush. Les On 9-Oct-2003, jerry snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (jerry_tig2003) wrote:

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For me, it depends on the application and the access. Sometimes one wants to remove a lot of material. Sometimes, not so much. Sometimes one is brushing on a flat open area. Sometimes, one is brushing in a tight restricted place. Each work slightly different producing a slightly different result. Neither is better/worse. It just depends on what you want to do with it. I keep one of each on hand.
But, definitely, you do not want to use a regular steel brush on aluminum or stainless. It will deposit a very small amount of iron that will be visible later when it rusts.
HTH.
Steve
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The brush has to be stainless steel for aluminium prior to welding, and it has to be reserved for only that use. I use a hand brush. If I put a brush on a machine, I know full well that I would eventually use it for steel, and that would contaminate the brush, so I just don't do it :).
Brian

or
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I understand what you mean. I intend to buy one of those cheap angle grinders and reserve it to that use. Thanks to everybody who responded.
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jerry_tig2003 wrote:

I had a bunch of Al irrigation pipe to repair. I found that an abrasive filled nylon brush in a die grinder worked better that a stainless one and stood up better as well. If you try this, use a speed control valve on the die grinder. You do *not* want to melt the nylon.
Ted
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Now, that is a nice idea. I have a speed control on my metabo angle grinder.
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Hi, as you say the twisted type stainless steel bristles make the brush too strong for aluminum. Why not selecting a plain hand brush? The risk of heating up, burnishing the surface or embedding foreign material would be much reduced. Although it may take some more elbow grease, it is preferred.
http://www.welding-advisers.com
jerry snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (jerry_tig2003) wrote in message

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Please allow me to add the (perhaps) usual safety blurb(s):
1. Alu dust is explosive! Don't let it build up. Keep it away from sparks!
2. Brushes have a nasty habit of shedding bristles at high velocities. Use eye AND face protection. Eye protection is dandy until the day you get to ask the boss (or worse, the wife) to pull a piece of stainless steel out of your nostril with a pair of needle-nosed (ironically enough) pliers.
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Good reminders, but I do that already.
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jerry_tig2003 wrote:

Still a good idea but I've found that to be another advantage of the abrasive filled nylon. Haven't lost a bristle yet.
Ted
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