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  • Please help amateur mig aluminum.

    Hello everyone sorry to bother you with my lack of skills but I need help . I have a millermatic 140 with a 100 series spoolgun. I am using 100% argon and I can not get a good weld on aluminum. I am watching the mig videos and the wire never reaches the metal but all I get is a ball building up and clogging my tips. I did manage a couple good welds but it nothing like the videos I get droplets that slowly build up and drop onto the aluminum. I have the machine setup to 60-70 for wire speed and 2-3 for power. anything higher and all i get is alot of smoke and no sticking at all. I am sorry if I dont make much sense but maybe someone can help me..... THANKS

  • #2
    aluminum issues

    hello, I just read your post. Is the aluminum filler wire balling up and not sticking to the metal? Or particularly not bonding to the molten puddle? I suspect your base metal is no where near clean enough. Aluminum needs to be almost operating room clean. I have had similar conditions in the past and that is what happened. It is always a good idea to wire wheel or wire brush using a STAINLESS STEEL brush, and do not use this brush for anything except aluminum prep. Also care must be taken with gun nozzle to work distances and shielding gas flow rates. most of the time aluminum problems are contributed to cleanliness issues. hope this would help, What aluminum grade is the base and filler metals, that can have affects as well if they are not compatible.
    I have a welding addiction

    ...the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask

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    • #3
      Several possibilities ....

      1) wire speed too slow
      2) voltage too high
      3) restriction in the tip, or drive roller tightened up to the point it's distorting the wire.
      4) dirty aluminum. Just because it looks clean, doesn't mean it is.
      5) anodized aluminum. See #4 above.
      6) material you are attempting to weld, is in fact not aluminum.
      Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

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      • #4
        Thanks for the quick response. Its most likely not clean enough then. I was using a steel brush. The material is some pipeing I received that has no markings I have tried 4340 and 5356 at 30-40 cbf but its not structural. I was confused because it was supposed to make a hissing sound but its popping like its dirty. One more question is it supposed to melt before contacting ??

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        • #5
          Quick thought? Is your polarity correct? If you are backwards it could also cause the issue you are having. Cant remember if it is supposed to be DCEN or DCEP, but it does make a difference.
          Bob

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          • #6
            Originally posted by spoolgarage View Post
            Hello everyone sorry to bother you with my lack of skills but I need help . I have a millermatic 140 with a 100 series spoolgun. I am using 100% argon and I can not get a good weld on aluminum. I am watching the mig videos and the wire never reaches the metal but all I get is a ball building up and clogging my tips. I did manage a couple good welds but it nothing like the videos I get droplets that slowly build up and drop onto the aluminum. I have the machine setup to 60-70 for wire speed and 2-3 for power. anything higher and all i get is alot of smoke and no sticking at all. I am sorry if I dont make much sense but maybe someone can help me..... THANKS
            What is your material thickness?

            Griff

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            • #7
              Polarity. If you go from welding steel with innershield (flux-cored, no shielding gas) wire to welding aluminum, it's easy to forget to switch to DC Reverse (work negative).

              Those machines don't give you a lot of voltage anyway. You might be limited to using the smallest wires (.024", maybe .030") and welding only light-guage sheet.

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              • #8
                youre not running hot enough.... its simple...

                jsfab gave you some good advice and pointers to look out for. with my experience on aluminum, you would be wise to turn the buggar up...way up. aluminum melts at a lower temp than steel, however, it is a great heat sink, therefore, you need much "juice" to weld aluminum... for 1/4 using an xmt304 and xr push pull, i have voltage set around 26 volts and 750 to 800 on wire speed. this with .035 5356 filler and 0 pre-heat...

                if youre machine is trying to form a puddle at the nozzle and not on the parent metal, turn your wire speed up. aluminum likes to be spray transfered not short circuit....

                give us a pic of the welds you are making so far, please
                welder_one

                nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal
                www.sicfabrications.com

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                • #9
                  I'd go with smittys post, as the largest wire you can run with that unit is 024 aluminum to get the drive you need to spray. Your machine just doesn't have enough power for any larger wire.

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                  • #10
                    Try using a stainless steel wire brush for cleaning.

                    Then wipe down with acetone?

                    Clean no more than 10 minutes before you weld

                    Make sure you are using correct filler for the alloy you are welding.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the help guys !!! It ended up being that my wire speed was set too slow I cranked it up to 90 and it welded awesome. You guys all rock!!!

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