My Very First Aluminum Weld

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Well. my very first aluminum weld is not as bad as I feared. I definitely
worked outside the parameters that Miller says. This is unknown alloy tube,
although most of the tube I have seen locally that is labeled is a 6000
series.. Its only .043 thick side wall which puts it between 17 and 18
gauge. Since Miller says you shouldn't even try anything thinner than 14
gauge I'm pretty happy with my first weld. I wouldn't want to do a lot of
this type work. You have to move really fast, and when it gets away from
you you're done. Still, its a relatively clean weld until I almost melted
through. I think I could get to where I could do this pretty easily on a
straight weld like a lap joint or a corner joint between pieces of flat
where I only have to move the gun in one direction instead of try to rotate
it around the stock.
I reduced the power way below what it says on the chart for 14 guage.
Good choice.
I might try it again at the lowest power to see if I can work a little
slower.
Reduced the wire speed.
Bad choice. The wire won't melt and apply any slower.
The other side looks ok, but it is worse than this side.
I turned the wire speed back up for this side.
I cranked up the Argon to 30CFM.
I think this was a good choice.
My thought was more gas might keep the weld cooler and reduce burn through.
I think it worked as well as can be expected.
Interestingly I think the start of the weld looks pretty good, and the end
is what looks bad. Usually the reverse of what I get when welding steel.
It is not a pretty weld but I think it will hold ok, and I am not unhappy
for my very first attempt. Now I'm gonna chuck it up in the vice and try to
beat it apart with a hammer. I think the first 3/8 to 1/2 inch from where I
started actually looks pretty good.
Bob La Londe
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Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Oh, yeah, the gun on demand thing is really freaking cool. Literally set your spool gun down, adjust speed and power for your stock and immediately start welding with your regular mig gun. This machine is pretty darned awesome.
Oh, yeah. The tube 'T' didn't come apart. I bent it every which way until the metal started to fatigue and crack, but the weld held. I tried to make another one too. Good news - I could duplicate the results. Bad news - I could duplicate the results. Good weld about half way, and just barely pulled off in time to prevent burn through just like the first one. I have not tried reducing power further yet. That's next.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I almost forgot. I held it together in a solid aluminum vice while welding. I think that might have helped act as a heat sink to take away some of the heat initially on each weld. It could be why it starts out good, and then wanted to burn through near the end. My heat sink is heating up faster than it can drain away the excess heat.
I don't know. Aluminum welding is all brand new to me. Its interesting though trying to figure out how to apply all the "book" knowledge to do real work.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
"Bob La Londe" wrote in message
It actually looks like my first guess at settings was about the best. Lower power didn't work at all. I tried varying the gas flow rate, but 30CFM seems to give about the best results. The only thing I haven't tried is cranking up the power and trying to go faster, but somehow that seems counter intuitive to me. I can barely keep up with this thin metal at this power setting. Still, I now have a pretty good idea about what my lower limit is for material and job size. I definitely won't be welding any soda cans together with this one.
Now to go get some dinner.
This is fun figuring it out. Yeah, I'm sure I could take a welding class and save hours of experimentation time and get down to practicing, but I think this way I'll have a better "feel" for my equipment. Not only will I know what it will do, but I am learning what it won't do.
(Besides I actually have a use for those little aluminum "T"s.) I think in the future, solid rod stock might be a lot easier to work with though.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Bob, I think that it looks great. The most interesting part is to try destructive testing to see how good the weld is in reality. Or just cut it apart with a hacksaw. Or both.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus2031
I beat the first one to death with a hammer. It held. Since my application for the little Ts is just as a light duty handle for something else, that's good enough for this application. I highly doubt any of them would hold pressure. If I was going to make pressurized Ts or even make a lot of these I would definitely add a small TIG welder to my arsenal. I may anyway, but the next thing I really want is a small 4wd loader. That's gonna take up my pocket money for a while unless I find a smoking deal on a good used one.
Bob
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Reply to
Bob La Londe
Pressuring it up would be best. It can take a lot to break it, but if the ability to hold pressure is important, it might fail. The ability to hold pressure would tell you a lot about the weld.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
Is that really 30 cfm? I haven't used gas with my little mig yet, but that seems like a lot of gas.
Reply to
Bob F
No, my mistake. Meant CFH.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I was hoping that was the case.
Reply to
Bob F
By the way, on flat plate 25CFH worked best. I think only on that small round tube did 30CFH work better, and that was because there was no bounce back. The gas just flowed right around the tube and escaped. I was welding the tube open suspended in a vice. I suspect it wouldn't have been needed if I had it laid flat on a welding table.

Reply to
Bob La Londe

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