I think what you're after by your description is TIG, or tungsten inert
gas welding.. I've welded similar material using Argon and AC current with
a high frequency, high voltage, 'igniter' superimposed on the welding
current.. TIG welders commonly have this high frequency component built
into them.. Add on units are available for most common stick welders..
It is also possible to use AC, a tungsten electrode, ignore the igniter,
and start the arc by scratching, but it takes more skill.. You'll still
need to shield the weld with inert gas however, as aluminum oxide melts at
a much higher temperature than the base material, quite unlike ferric
Alternatively, you can stick weld aluminum using DC with the appropriate
coated electrode, but check with the manufacturer(s) for recommended
operating current.. 1/8 is about a thin as you commonly can weld aluminum with
Needless to say, MIG welders also would serve you well.. MIG and TIG are
very similar, and vary mostly in the method of applying the filler
I am looking to do it with a TIG welder and DC current. My welder does
not do AC, yet, though it has high frequency.
I already have a TIG welder, I am looking for suggestions on how to
start welding aluminum with DC and whether I can get away with argon.
I find welding aluminum with TIG to be easier than stick welding mild
steel.. Welding aluminum often requires no filler, depending on joint
separation and angle.. Keep in mind however that some alloys of aluminum
are more difficult to weld than soft aluminum.. Particularly those with
high silicon content..
Going by memory, I used around 30 to 50 amps for 1/8 material, depending
on speed, in soft aluminum.. Pretty low current compared to mild steel..
DC works fine, and reverse polarity provided more heat to the material..
Argon was the gas of choice, but helium also works.. Gas flow was only
about 10 Ft3 per hour, depending on cup size..
Be aware that TIG/MIG welding with inert gas produces considerably more
ultra violet than normal stick welding of steel.. It's easy to get a bad
burn on unprotected skin very quickly with TIG, even at relatively low
Naturally if you're using a filler, make sure it's close to the same
composition as the base material, otherwise welding aluminum is quick and
easy in the flat position.. Vertical and overhead welding takes a little
more more skill as the 'puddle' has a tendency to fall out of position..
As they say, practice makes perfect..
Good luck, but overall I think you'll find it reasonably easy..
Don't use Pure tungsten.
It will vaporize on DC Electrode positive.
You want to use Lanthanated of any percentage.
DCEP Aluminum TIG works fine as long as your torch can take the extra
heat, and you don't attempt to weld aluminum thicker than your tungsten
Preheating the aluminum to a few hundred degrees F is good, and a little
helium added to your argon will also help a lot.
--Which alloy do you recommend? Turns out a pal of mine needs a
bunch of al support frames made and I'm going to be in the same pickle (but
I do have the AC option). Would you recommend different alloys for AC and DC