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 Post subject: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:36 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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I finally got my new miller 211 fired up and was throwing sparkes yesterday as the pic shows. I bought the spoolgun for the 211 to do aluminum but I don't know anyone in person that has welded aluminum before. I don't mind throwing some sparks and burning some scraps up to learn but I am not even sure what the basics are. Anyone have experience with this?

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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:41 pm
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Unfortunately I'm not exp with alloy mig welding although have exp tig welding.

What gas are you using?

Are the people/shop you brought the equipment from able to shed some light on the subject?

Alloy is a funny beast when it comes to welding.

I take it you're scoured the net for resources on the subject.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:07 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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The shop I got all the gear from has been as helpful as they can be. I have looked for any adult/night classes for it and the only thing I can find is a full-blown certification/degree where its 2 yrs. I can take the classes as I need but they are all so specialized I would need to take a bunch of them to get up to the aluminum level. I have no problem taking some classes but I am not looking to be certified and would like to move a little faster then the super slow speed that is available. They have plenty of options for high school kids but after that, ZIP!

Will be using argon from what I was told. I have some friends with welding exp but none with aluminum. Been looking online like you said and I have a bunch of little scrap pieces so I will probably end up learning by burning up some of the pieces to learn what not too do.

My first project to just get use to it all was an easy one to help organize my tool box.
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Want/need to be able to fit more stuff in there so I got a piece of 3" - 14 gauge cold-rolled steel and cut some nails off so they would stand up inside of the drawer. Drilled holes for them and then spot-welded them on the back. I started on the far end of this piece with my first welds ever and by the time I got to the closer end I was more comfortable with it.
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So after a rubberized undercoating that also acts as a rust-preventative look at all the space left over.
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That is the exact same number of tools in the drawer as before. Might make two smaller ones for the needle-nose and side-cuts so that they will all be on top of one another to save more space. It was a good way to get use to the sparks, make sure my auto-darkening helmet was working and break everything in. Going to cut some of the scrap up tonight/tomorrow to practice butt-welds next.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:54 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:41 pm
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Looking all good so far. Practice with purpose is the best. When using my tig there is no sparks what so ever. You could weld in your tux....

I'm used to using a mig welder on normal steel. Some freakin hot sparks had my fair share of burn spots and hot bits in the Hair!

Most people use ac/dc tig welding when it comes to alloy.

With practise and a steady hand can make some beautiful puddles.

I believe there is no substitute for practise and bit of ideas from YouTube and the likes.

I to would like a bit of pro guidance to make things even better. Maybe someone might hold a 2 week short course for auto mechanics or the likes? To help them with their trade. Ask around see if something like that might be available. Things like that are available here but ya need the inside scoop as when n where.

So far so good.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:17 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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I have actually asked all around for classes. There are more then a few programs for high-school aged people that would fit what I want but I am too old for them. There is a local community college that has a welding degree program but it would looks to take me over a year to get the pre-req's done to get up to aluminum classes. I don't mind spending some cash and time on classes but I would like them to move a little faster then that and I don't need to be certified in the end. I have friends with welding exp but not with aluminum. I have some scrap aluminum though so it looks like I will get a bottle of Ar(100%) tomorrow and see what I can learn and in the end that is actually the best way for me. Books are great and all but I have always been a "hands-on" learner and will pick it up faster then I would with a book.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:24 am
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Location: Ohio
Hands on is the best teacher. I did take a two week class at a tech collage scheduled through my local union hall for a particular job welding alluminum buss in a alluminum manufacturing plant. But that was over 15 years ago so I don't rember all the little tricks. But one moast important thing with alluminum is it needs to be clean and not to contaminate it. You need a brand new wire brush to use for alluminum welding only and you need to brush it clean even though sometimes it does not look dirty because it oxidizes verry easily,oil from fingers,slag,ect. And a clean pair of needlenose pliers to cut the feed wire back to 3/8 to 1/2 inch I think it is. Getting started smoothly seems to be the biggest trick so get in a comfortable position and don't get frustrated. You need to keep the outer tip close at all times but not to close, I think around 1/2 inch. I did verry well but don't consider myself an expert by no means. It is easier to do than explain, so get comfortable be paitent keep it clean,try to be smooth and trust your instincts and you will get a feel for it. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:52 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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Been spending some time each day throwing sparks and learning. Today I learned when we don't turn on the gas it will still weld but throws a lot more sparks and looks like crap. Will not forget that again. Went out today and go a tank of Ar and some Al line and a fire blanket. Will start burning Al and learning tomorrow.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:41 pm
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Does your wire have a flux type core? Just interested to know.

With my tig you can't weld without pure argon or helium argon mix.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:19 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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Nope it was just a standard wire filler. No flux in it at all. Like I said it wasn't pretty and with all the holes in it I am sure it would have failed in time. Went out yesterday and got another fire blanket to protect the garage, a tank of argon gas and aluminum filler. Last night I loaded up my new spool-gun with the aluminum filler and read up on all the stuff I needed to look over for the switch to aluminum welding looking forward to trying it out this morning. Can't tell you how disappointing it was to wake up and start throwing up first thing but it always seems to happen on the day I am looking forward to something. On top of that I was really looking forward to this weekend as there is a HUGE street-rod show in town this weekend that is generally attended by 4k+ cars from pre 1949. Has a huge swap meet, vendors area and all kinds of cool stuff that I was looking forward too. On top of that my birthday is saterday. NOT what I was looking forward too that day...........



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:41 pm
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Oh I see. I didn't pay enough Attention. That little tool partition project was with steel not alloy?

Wow what an awesome sounding event.

Beam me up scotty



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:42 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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Yes the tool box organizer was 14 gauge cold-rolled steel and nails.

Yea still bummed that I will probably miss the show. This is just part of the swap meet area
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and just a portion of the cars. They fill up a fairly large 4h fair grounds with all the cars.
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Its cool as hell for the first couple of hours and then suddenly your like, "Ok another deuce coupe with custom paint and a blown coyote. Yea lets go get lunch the corn dogs smelled good." Prior to my accident I was looking forward to getting my car weighed and the suspension tweeked by ridetech as they setup a booth there. Was hoping to get a free t-shirt or something for my birthday...

Ah well. The spool gun is right where I left it. Only my 38th birthday so nothing fun there and I can hopefully catch the show next year.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:24 am
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Location: Ohio
Do youtself a favor and go to the show. By the way (Happy Birthday).


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:53 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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I will try for sure but normally after just getting out of the hospital after 3-4 days just to get back on my feet and eating again. And thank you for the birthday wish.



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:25 am 
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Happy Birthday,bro!

I love swap meets! I wish there were more close to where Im at.

We make the trek to Charlotte every spring for the Autofair. It is truly an exercise! Leave here @ midnight,get there @ 5am,hit Denny's,go to speedway get good parking spot,nap for hour or so til they open gates,walk bout 10 miles pulling a wagon,that gets heavier by the minute it seems,hit all the swap meet fields,on way out check out the display cars in main building,drag wagon up the hellacious track banking,load up van,change socks,sit in traffic for 2 hrs trying to get on interstate,get home around midnight again,unload van and sleep for day and a half,lol. STILL worth it,IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:15 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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well as of 10 mins ago I guess it is officially my birthday now and thanks your the first person to wish me happy birthday.

I was looking forward to the swap meet this year last year they had a lot of nice wheel/tire manf out that had some good deals. Was hoping to get a new set of wheels prior to the wreck. The show is cool too but its funny that after an hour or two you go from "look at this! check that out! oh cool I love that paint color" to "oh another deuce coupe with a $20k motor and custom paint...



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 Post subject: Re: Anyone here know how to weld aluminum?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:27 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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dying waiting for the car to come back from the core support replacement so I can start the rebuild officially. Might have to wait through the weekend unfortunately so I decided to hook up the argon tank and the spoolgun finally to see what aluminum is like. First few strikes were messy but after a little bit of time and dialing it in I was able to lay down a half descent bead. I don't think its too bad since it was maybe 30 mins after I started. Trested it with a hammer and it held up.
Image

So far I enjoy welding and all the new options it has opened up.



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