Pete, email me before your trip. I just cannot make up my mind.
I wanted to sell it yesterday. I dragged it out, wiped the dust, did
some test welds, took some more pictures etc. Then I had a big change
of heart. I am not using it much -- I like stick -- but now I think
maybe I should start.
Anyway, let me know when your trip comes up. I will decide then.
Get somebody who knows how to TIG weld aluminum to spend an hour with
you. I was in the same situation, I struggled with welding aluminum
several times and the results stunk. The metal club I belonged to had a
meeting where they showed TIG welding aluminum and I went home and had
MUCH better results. Enough that I could finish the job of learning it
on my own.
It's not magic, it's a lot different than steel though.
I had the same results with TIG.
MIG AL is easy. Not sure I'd do irrigation pipe to hold water
pressure. But, joining a couple parts is just point and shoot.
I can't see a weld puddle at all with AL. So I try on a similar scrap
piece to get heat and speed set.
That's surprising, I'm not a very skillful welder, took a class of it in
High School some 30+ years ago, but my aluminum TIG welds didn't seem all
that difficult. Clean seems to be the most important thing, get a new
stainless steel brush and clean the aluminum, also clean the rods. I stomp
the "throttle" pretty hard to get the puddle started and then back off to
try to keep it consistent. I don't get much practice but I did enjoy Gas
welding back in High School. My TIG and MIG experience has been totally on
my own, with machines I bought and learned on. Due to not finding a good
buy on a Syncrowave 250, I bought a Miller Diversion TIG 180? last year,
it's great, 55lbs, runs off 120V or 240V, comes with a torch with control
plus a foot pedal. I'm not very good with the torch control but it would be
nice for something where you couldn't operate a foot pedal.
Just kind of curious as to what kind of trouble you were having, running
beads on freshly cleaned aluminum seemed pretty easy with the TIG. I've
attempted to weld aluminum years ago with a carbon arc torch, seemed more
difficult than the TIG but I didn't clean it like I do now when trying to
TIG weld aluminum.
BobH is right. I've taken a couple of TIG welding classes which included
welding Al. To be successful you have to use AC current and ceriated
electrode. (If you are my age a magnifing lens in the helmet is also
useful) The AC keeps the puddle adjitated and allows oxides to come to the
Its not magic but quite different from steel and stsinless.
My lab guy reported that he couldn't get Tig Aluminum to work at all
well. I walked him through the usual 'Ceriated', 'AC', 'Argon', 'pointed
with ball', brush with stainless steel brush only, etc. Yes to all.
Asked him how he sharpened the tungsten, he pointed to the grinder. I
pointed out that I had seen students using that for steel and aluminum.
Put a new wheel on, welds were smooth as silk. Moral of the story:
I use a 1 by 42 inch belt sander with the belt used for sharpening TIG
electrodes labled TIG on the back of the belt. A belt is not as
expensive as a wheel for the grinder.
And remember to sharpen so any grind marks are lengthwise.
and you would have trusted the future of the nation to flip-flop McCain
and a reality TV star for veep? We the people choose the best out of
the field - whether you like the choice or not, it was the best choice
we were given. Now, quit whining and provide an alternative who is not
crazy, a religious fundie, or someone who swore an oath of allegiance to
something other than the constitution (hint - Norwood)