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Aluminum penetration problem

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  • Aluminum penetration problem

    Hi guys, hoping someone can give me a tip on my aluminum welding. I have a miller diversion 165 and I'm welding .125 5053 al. I'm fairly new to aluminum, but I sand the pieces with 120 grit then clean with acetone and then preheat a little with a propane torch. Then I weld. Problem I'm having is to get real good penetration and a solid weld, the bead gets really hot and wide, the dimes start to melt together. I'm at about 100 amps and pulsing my foot pedal. It's not cracking , it just breaks when stressed quite hard. I want my welds to never break!!

    Do I just need more practice or am I missing something?

  • #2
    Tell us everything about the weld setup you're using. Filler, joint configuration, gas type and setting, tungsten ect. Also which way are you "stressing" the joint when trying to break it?

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    • #3
      They are butt joints, I'm using argon at 20 cfh. I believe I'm using 2% th. no settings on my 165 other than ac. My filler rod is 4043, I think. I weld scrap together and then my girlfriend beats it in the vice with a hammer. Sounds dumb but shouldn't the metal bend before the weld breaks? I would love the dimes look but right now I just don't want it to break.

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      • #4
        Are you prepping the four edges with a chamfer? That will help your penetration big time.

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        • #5
          I have to force myself to feed and move faster on aluminum or it overheats. That may be your problem.
          CG

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          • #6
            Thanks guys, I'm finding the chamfering the edges helps. I didn't think penetration would be a problem on .125" but I guess so. Also wishing I had a liquid cooled torch. Ouch!

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            • #7
              Do you weld on both sides before handing the hammer to your girlfriend?

              I doubt that you need to preheat on 0.125... you may be getting the material too hot, and it's crystalizing, making for easy breakage under stress of the bend.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dan_fpc View Post
                Hi guys, hoping someone can give me a tip on my aluminum welding. I have a miller diversion 165 and I'm welding .125 5053 al. I'm fairly new to aluminum, but I sand the pieces with 120 grit then clean with acetone and then preheat a little with a propane torch. Then I weld. Problem I'm having is to get real good penetration and a solid weld, the bead gets really hot and wide, the dimes start to melt together. I'm at about 100 amps and pulsing my foot pedal. It's not cracking , it just breaks when stressed quite hard. I want my welds to never break!!

                Do I just need more practice or am I missing something?
                If you are new to aluminum-you need practice. I still do! You should not have a problem with penetration with your Diversion on .125 material. I just sold my Diversion 180 when I bought a Dynasty.

                The general thought is 1 amp per .001 of material thickness. Miller says that you require less on an Inverter machine. So, set your Diversion around 120 amps. Forget playing the foot pedal to get the pulse effect-you don't have enough amps for it.

                Set your amps and hammer down until the puddle starts to widen-then ease off.
                Use the pause and advance method to get the "stack of dimes" look. Takes practice-but you will get there!

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                • #9
                  Pictures would help.

                  If you weld aluminum and hit it with a hammer, it tends to break in the area next to the weld. The "HAZ" gets softer.

                  I also think you're overheating the metal. You want to concentrate the heat at the weld and you have the amps for .125 with your machine.

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                  • #10
                    I would ditch the thoriated tungsten on a and grab a ceriated. Don't preheat your plates as you're likely getting it to hot, especially if the bead is not shiny and looks dull. Don't pulse the pedal.

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                    • #11
                      Theres a few things that could be going on here. Id say you are to cold rather then too hot. Alum turns dead soft at around 800 and will have a yellowish tint when u over heat it. If its real cloudy and white it needs more amps. The size of the piece u are welding also has alot to do with amp settings. Smaller pieces will heat up quick and have nowhere to go and continue to heat up and require less heat. I also recomend using a stainless steal brush to knock the oxide off before you weld. If you do not do this you will never get penatration because aluminum oxide melts at like 3 times the temp of aluminum.

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                      • #12
                        And if u are practicing and new to aluminum i recommend messing pieces up on purpose. Yes i just said that lol. What i mean is crank your welder all the way up and put to much heat in it and pay attention to what it does. Then go super low and see the results of not enough. Experiment around. Push your filler in real hard and notice how it will droop through. Use very little and notice how it will tend to want to crack. You will begin to tell when your puddle is getting to hot and when it needs more. Im one that pulses the pedal alot but i do not do it to get the stack of dimes look. I do it for heat control. You can get that look by not pulsing at all by munipulating the puddle with your torch. Properly welded aluminum should be shiny. Sometimes depending on brand 4043 will come out a little gritty looking. I always stick with alcotec filler because ive always had excellent results with it. Ive never used a diversion and dont know what they offer for settings but if you can adjust your positive and negative amps mess with those. Remeber neg gives penetration and positive gives cleaning. I usually never go below 70% on my balance and have my htz at 220 or so on inverters.

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                        • #13
                          5356 is a better filler for 5000 series sheet. 4043 is dependant on base metal dilution for strength and 5000 series has little alloys for strength. 5000 series sheet is a strain hardened material as opposed to 6000 series which has strengthening alloys for heat treating and such.

                          Does not matter which tungsten you use as your machine does not have the killing power others have. Actually 2% thoriated is a good all around for your machine. Grind it to a point and let it round over some.

                          Beveling for penetration is always a good idea if needed. Then there is helium.

                          Good luck.

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                          • #14
                            Ya I wish I could adjust the ac balance but you can't on diversions. I grind my tungsten to a point and then flatten it off a little . It doesn't really ball though. Kinda lots of small balls on the end. Help?

                            Also when you brush it with stainless, do you do that last? Or acetone last? Like right before you weld.
                            thanks for all the help guys, I'm having fun.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dan_fpc View Post
                              Ya I wish I could adjust the ac balance but you can't on diversions. I grind my tungsten to a point and then flatten it off a little . It doesn't really ball though. Kinda lots of small balls on the end. Help?

                              Also when you brush it with stainless, do you do that last? Or acetone last? Like right before you weld.
                              thanks for all the help guys, I'm having fun.
                              I have a D165, and tested all of the common tungstens. Jody from WT&T agrees with me, in that lanthanated 1.5 or 2.0 seems to hold a point best. Ceriated is okay, but lanth is better. I found that thoriated splintered.

                              If you must try for a balled tip, try popping the arc with the machine switch set on steel before changing to aluminum.

                              Photos might help us.

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