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Newbie needs Alum/steel mig rig!

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  • Newbie needs Alum/steel mig rig!

    I know the information is out there but I wanted to post up to speed up the learning curve.

    I am a mechanic with my dad at our own place and currently get by with a cheapy mig flux wire rig which has done all my body work/fab needs thus far.

    I seek this help as I am planning a Jet Jon Boat custom build. A jet ski engine will be installed into a Jon boat.

    Considerations:
    Thin metals down to the gage of a stock Jon boat hull MIXED with possible bottom strengthening/remodeling of thicker sheet aluminum.

    Clean like alloys for all add on aluminums BUT possible odd ball alloys in the jet ski pump systems such as the cast aluminum "shoe" that will be bolted to the hull (basically houses the impeller and is a closed cast tunnel for the jet water flow.

    I COULD just bolt the cast shoe pump tunnel to the hull but I figure ill throw that out there since this is always something to consider when customizing existing aluminums

    SO, what are the opinions out there for basically a light weight aluminum rig which can also handle like wise gages for steel up to roughly 1/4" on either would be awesome. Budget is a thing, but I know from growing up that I aint trying to pinch pennies here.
    So im looking for a basic yet tuneable little rig to make me smile after using junk for so long!

  • #2
    Hobart Ironman230

    Mig aluminum is generally only good down to 16g- but 16g is real tricky.

    Video-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AT4cEHtMn8

    Steel- no problem

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6174_200456174
    Ed Conley
    http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
    MM252
    MM211
    Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
    TA185
    Miller 125c Plasma 120v
    O/A set
    SO 2020 Bender
    You can call me Bacchus

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    • #3
      Do you know the gauge of the aluminum on the particular jon boat hull you will be using? A quick search show them to range from 16 ga to 10 ga.

      I think TIG is what you're going to want to use. You don't want to be blowing holes in your boat hull. If you're not an experienced TIG weldor, you may want to consider farming out the hull welding work.
      Multimatic 200
      Spoolmate 100
      Arcstation 30FX

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      • #4
        The aluminum welding part is the killer here. If you want to go blue MM252 and the 30A spool gun. Sure the smaller migs will do some of it but not large runs just small spurts....Bob
        Bob Wright

        Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
        http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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        • #5
          Do you need to stay mig? If so I second bob. If not then consider a syncrowave 210. Nice acdc tig. Would work well on the small stuff.
          MillerMatic 251
          Maxstar 150 STH
          Cutmaster 42
          Victor Journeyman OA

          A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...

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          • #6
            The only thing I wanted to say is that I would bolt that water intake to the hull, not weld it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 1_old_man View Post
              The only thing I wanted to say is that I would bolt that water intake to the hull, not weld it.
              I had been debating that. I think I will just end up bolting it in with a reversable kind of permatex. But that still leaves the frame work/accessory bracketing and so on. I hate the idea of riveting but perhaps that would do for the lighter stuff.

              If I were using aluminum angle for the engine cradle I suppose it would be more like 1/8'' thick which should be easier for mig

              As stated to then weld that to the existing aluminum floor stringers can be done one bead at a time (I wouldnt be welding to the actual bottom of the hull). I should be able to get it done without a whole lot of welding.

              So I guess since I have many other future uses for a mig welder, what are your ideas on a basic yet nice setup that will use an aluminum spool, as well as steel up to decent thicknesses. (nothing real close to stick welding thicknesses)?

              *Remember, I dont weld everyday but I could see using it roughly once a month on misc things*
              Last edited by flexnuts02; 01-17-2014, 10:57 AM.

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