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Tig welding 1/4" aluminum 1st attempt

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  • Tig welding 1/4" aluminum 1st attempt

    Just bought used Lincoln precision Tig 185 with water cooler, this is my first attempt at welding 1/4" aluminum after endless hours of research on the internet mostly here and at weldingtipsandtricks.com. Im using a water cooled torch, #8 cup, 3/32 2% thoriated tungsten, gas lens, 3/32 4043 filler rod, 18 cfm argon gas. I have penetration turned all the way up, pulse off and post flow at about 20 and the amps are at max 185. I used stainless steel brush to clean joints,then sprayed with aluminum cleaner I also beveled all joints that I was able to. Its 1/4" C channel on 3/16 plate. I mig and Tig at work but only mild steel and stainless. This is my first Welder for my personal use, I really want to get good at aluminum. The inside corners are very hard to get to. I would really appreciate any suggestions
    Last edited by Goose14; 06-07-2012, 09:16 PM.

  • #2
    Tig welding 1/4" aluminum 1st attempt

    Get more amps or preheat

    Comment


    • #3
      cant upload pics?

      Keep getting errors when trying to upload pics

      Comment


      • #4
        Preheat

        How do I preheat after cleaning?

        Comment


        • #5
          Pics

          Uploaded pics to profile public folder but cant upload to thread

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          • #6
            1/4" channel to 3/16" plate is going to take everything that 185 has to offer.

            Material must be real CLEAN and more than a wire brush is likely needed - especially on less than perfect finish material.

            What kind of "aluminum cleaner" are you using?

            You could probably turn the cfh down a bit using a gas lens too.

            Preheating can be done with a small propane torch.

            Looks like you may have dipped the tungsten a time or two. Must regrind if dipped to have proper arc control.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would switch to 1/8" tungsten. Won't gain you heat but will give you slightly longer life. Machine maxed, pedal floored, pre-heated with oxy/acet or propane, then weld. You might have to stop for more pre-heat & duty cycle. Did I say duty cycle? Yes you will hit it, watch your welding time carefully. Corners are tuff cause they soak up a lot of heat by virtue of more mass.

              I used a lincoln tig 175 for years & have done this. O/k for occasion but if your doing it a lot look for a bigger machine or mig.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Goose14 View Post
                How do I preheat after cleaning?
                Stainless wire brush, pre-heat, quick brush again then weld.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chem Etch the joints, preheat, and get yourself a bottle of Argon75%/Helium25%.

                  Backfeed into the corners if you have the talent.

                  Back off your balance as far as possible until your tungsten balls back too much. You are not allowing the puddle to form on the surface with your balance at full penetration. The puddle will just not glaze if you are at full pen on the balance knob.

                  Good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shovelon View Post
                    Chem Etch the joints, preheat, and get yourself a bottle of Argon75%/Helium25%.

                    Backfeed into the corners if you have the talent.

                    Back off your balance as far as possible until your tungsten balls back too much. You are not allowing the puddle to form on the surface with your balance at full penetration. The puddle will just not glaze if you are at full pen on the balance knob.

                    Good luck.
                    Confuse the newb some more.Etching, buying helium mix... come on the guy's machine is underweight for doing it anyways.He don't have enough amps welding on a heatsink.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by reggie View Post
                      Confuse the newb some more.Etching, buying helium mix... come on the guy's machine is underweight for doing it anyways.He don't have enough amps welding on a heatsink.
                      That's nice.... but not very constructive.... if the OP was looking to buy a larger machine ... am pretty sure he would have asked for purchase advice...
                      the idea is to help him accomplish the task with the welder he has... ... it can be done and is every day.... sure the welder is marginal... but with the advice from Shovelon...and the others.. he can do a decent job of it.... just part of the learning curve toward the skillset to get the job done with the equipment at hand....
                      Last edited by H80N; 06-08-2012, 08:01 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks

                        Wow, I really appreciate all your responses, ill try 1/8" tungsten, but does that mean changing cup and filler size? Ill definately try clean preheat clean as well. I did notice the welds looking better after the piece got super hot from previous passes. wish I could post pics to thread but they only upload to profile photos.
                        And yes im confused about what exactly etching means or how nackfilling is done
                        I also take it that my settings apart from the penetration cleaning balance were ok?
                        Once again thanks for the great advice

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goose14 View Post
                          Wow, I really appreciate all your responses, ill try 1/8" tungsten, but does that mean changing cup and filler size? Ill definately try clean preheat clean as well. I did notice the welds looking better after the piece got super hot from previous passes. wish I could post pics to thread but they only upload to profile photos.
                          And yes im confused about what exactly etching means or how nackfilling is done
                          I also take it that my settings apart from the penetration cleaning balance were ok?
                          Once again thanks for the great advice
                          Goose

                          you might download and study the TIG Handbook... it is a wealth of basic info and a good general tig reference....it should answer the majority of your questions... and besides it is free...

                          http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/TIGhandbook/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cool

                            Thanks for the tip ill check it out

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shovelon View Post
                              Chem Etch the joints, preheat, and get yourself a bottle of Argon75%/Helium25%.

                              Backfeed into the corners if you have the talent.

                              Back off your balance as far as possible until your tungsten balls back too much. You are not allowing the puddle to form on the surface with your balance at full penetration. The puddle will just not glaze if you are at full pen on the balance knob.

                              Good luck.
                              Gotta a question on this one.

                              Not sure on Goose's Lincoln, but my Syncro 250 transformer topped out at 68% EN with the balance set on MAX. Wouldnt lowering it more put less heat into the part?

                              Comment

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