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TOPIC: TIG welding aluminium

TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 17:21 #1

  • cowboy_bc
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Hi all,


What does anyone know about welding al wit a TIG set up I just aquired. I have welded al with a mig, stick and gas with great results but the results so far with the TIG are very bad?

Kevin.
Kevin Joseph Wheeler

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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 18:44 #2

  • Steve Swain
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As a self taught TIG welder, the most important thing to me is keeping the electrode clean. But if your overly cautious and don't get it close enough to the base metal you don't get good puddling. Like brazing, don't get over zealous with the filler metal, just lays on top and no penetration. Practice practice, practice. when you can stick two beer cans together without blowing holes in them you'll have arrived.
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 20:27 #3

  • Bill Adams
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Make sure you have the right gas and proper aloy filler rod.

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 22:03 #4

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Hi all,

Last week I bought rod and the rod I bought he said was the most commen and the softer stuff I also have a new tank of argon also. The weird thing is that the aluminum won't puddle and turns crinkly and black almost like the gas was turned off but there is lots of gas flow and I tried from 15 to 80. The electrode 1/8th or so I have is clean and I did regrind it. One thing I wonder about is the flame seems quit flared unlike the flame on a gas torch? Prior to the al I welded up some stainless without much problem.


Kevin
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 22:16 #5

  • SlowShoe
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cowboy_bc wrote:
One thing I wonder about is the flame seems quit flared unlike the flame on a gas torch?


Flame? Ive tig welded Steel, but not Aluminum. Your Tig welder shouldnt be throwing a flame as far as I know.
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 22:17 #6

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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cowboy_bc in gray

What does anyone know about welding al with a TIG set up I just aquired. I have welded al with a mig, stick and gas with great results but the results so far with the TIG are very bad?

Kevin, welding AL with TIG is pretty much like welding AL with O/A in terms of torch manipulation and puddle control, only lots easier - if you've got a high frequency arc starter. Most dedicated TIG machines do, but some of the straight inverter TIG rigs are straight DC and are worthless for welding AL.

If you've been welding steel, your TIG machine is set on DC-, for AL, you'll need to switch it to AC.

Similarly, if you've been welding steel, you've probably been using a 2% thoriated electrode, so you'll need to switch to a straight tungsten electrode.

With steel, you want a sharp point with about a 30º angle on your electrode; with AL, you'll want to touch your electrode momentarily to piece of brass (the side of a brass hammer works okay), which will cause the end to "ball up". You don't want a sharp point on your electrode for AL welding.

If you're right handed, bring the electrode close enough to the workpiece to start the arc, form a puddle by melting both the workpiece and your filler rod, then move the puddle from right to left by heating from the right and feeding the edge with filler rod from the left. As with gas, TIG welding is about puddle control and puddle control is mostly about feed rate and torch manipulation.

Keep the electrode out of the puddle!

Because you're familiar with O/A and the processes are very similar, after you get your machine set up and practice a little, you'll be okay.
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 10 Aug 2006 23:01 #7

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Tom,

I wondered about that I assumed that the machine needed to be DC. Also the electrodes I have are the 2% variety so they won't work for welding heavier 1/4 al?

Kevin
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 11 Aug 2006 00:11 #8

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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cowboy_bc in gray

I wondered about that I assumed that the machine needed to be DC.

Got to be AC for AL.

Also the electrodes I have are the 2% variety so they won't work for welding heavier 1/4 al?

100% tungsten works best for AL of any size.
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 20 Aug 2006 09:03 #9

Steve Swain wrote:
Practice practice, practice. when you can stick two beer cans together without blowing holes in them you'll have arrived.


Wow can you do that?

I sure can't and I've been practicing TIG welding for quite some time now.


Ronald Aalders
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 21 Aug 2006 13:30 #10

  • Steve Swain
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Ron, I wish I could, an old welder I knew in had two Coors cans in is shop that he said he welded together. The guy was amazing.
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RE:TIG welding aluminium 21 Aug 2006 14:08 #11

I guess it can be done but I would not even start to try!


Ronald Aalders
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