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Welding anodized aluminum

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  • #16
    Thanks for the comments guys. These welds on the tower were definately painted, and looked good. I'm gonna try and find some scrap anodized to see how it works. I painted mine with aluminum colored rustoleum paint, which the owner said would be fine. I'm not sure but it seemed the pedastels were coated with something. Maybe clear coated like aluminum wheels, because when i cleaned them with a wire brush it seemed to take off something different than the normal oxide that builds up. But it didn't seem like anodized

    thanks again, I'll let you know when I find some scrape to play with

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    • #17
      Cracker....BDA= bright dipped anodized
      In missouri pontoon fences are made of anodized stock that is bent and welded and then left alone...it is the plain silver anodize not the bright polished stuff but is not painted afterward. When welded it just almost matches the finish that it came with. This is aquired skill.
      I have also repaired and modified wakeboard towers but never ran across one that had welds painted. Not saying they ain't out there I just never messed with one or noticed one either. I'll start looking more now.
      I live in Camdenton MO and have at least six of the major pontoon mfgs within driving distance and know several people working at them. My son was a railing welder for some time for both Bass Tracker and later Voyager and they both just weld pre-annodized stock and that is all. (5356 rod) On this particular type it is like the annodize slag or impurities or whatever you wanna call it just floats along the top and then just freezes like that and looks pretty good still. They have been doing that in this region for over 20 years now and you don't see any corrosion altho we are a fresh water enviroment. I fix a fair amount of it myself from time to time and have gotten better at it as time goes by.(pretty welds)
      Indiana has several pontoon mfgs as well and they anodize their railings after they are made and it shows in the quality of the welds. We have several powder coaters here but no companies that anodize large parts.
      Last edited by FusionKing; 04-16-2007, 08:51 PM.

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      • #18
        Fusion King, I was going to ask if the boats were built for fresh or salt water. But you answered it. We have all salt here [Atlantic Ocean] and these welds were for sure painted with something. Maybe with no salt it doesnt corrode bad like aluminum does here? So they don't need to do anything to it, not sure

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        • #19
          HMW,

          Spoke to a buddy of mine today about what he used to paint his welds on anodized aluminun. He prefers a paint made by Sheffield (silver color). He says he has also used the aluminum colored Rustoleum but prefers the Sheffield because it has better shelf life. Says the Rustoleum gums up before he gets halfway thru a small can (1/2 pint).

          This guy has been building boat towers for over 20 years. He built one for me on a 65' Viking Sportfisherman that I sold and it was a thing of beauty. The member from Ocean City, Md., may have seen the boat (Three Sons) since she spends part of the year there (west OC).

          He used to use a Sync 250 for tower building when he and I worked for the same company. He now uses a Dynasty 300 and loves it. Really impressed with the portability. Says he doesn't use a lot of the "gee whiz" features it has, but then again, he's been doing marine fabrication for over 20 years. Ironically, he doesn't even use a foot or thumb control--just a simple on/off switch on the handle. Today he was welding at 191 amps--says he likes to run hot and move fast. His out of position (most tower welds are) look like they were done (in position) with a machine. Needless to say, I can't hold a candle to this guy. Guess that's what 20 years 6-8 hours a day can do for you. (I don't expect to be around that long)

          Anyway, hope the paint tidbit helps.

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          • #20
            Sorry HMW,

            After posting, I went back and realized that YOU were the guy from OC.

            One more tidbit. He doesn't do any "prep" of the anodized aluminum. Just, like I mentioned, runs hot and fast. He used to do all the tower building for Bluewater Yacht Sales in Hampton, VA. One of our brokers spends a lot of time over in OC (Brian McDermott). Don't know if you know him.

            Do you take off to fish the White Marlin Open?

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            • #21
              Thanks Sundown for info. I have never welded anodized so all the info is good. Matter of fact I have only been learning T.I.G the last 4-5 yrs. Still learning. Where I work, Tig is not used, just MIG [shop] and stick [road work]so I've learned about tig sorta own my own. I really enjoy it. I have a small business on the side and thats where I play with the TIG...ha ha ha [really a mechanic by trade shop foreman now ] but always loved welding and in Fleet equipment repair work have done plenty of it.
              Never have fished the white Marlin open, but been to many of them. Lots of fun but now so many people go its difficult to see. When I was growing up we would just sit on the dock and watch then bring fish in. That was along time ago [I'm 42 now] . Do you know which marina the boat is docked at. My sons worked at both big marinias here.

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              • #22
                Been welding anodized for many a year, but still looking for that magic setup. Seems that the weld result can vary from day to day, not sure why. Oned day the welds are all bright and beautiful and flow like butter, 95% of the oxide will blow away, the next day is a battle with porosity and flow like polar opposites and the oxide will pepper the weld.. 5356 is actually my choice for numerous reasons.

                grinding isn't an option, excessively time consuming in a manufacturing setting, and if you make a mistake, the piece will be unusable. you get one shot to get it right. it's better to use the pulse option to aid in blasting the anodize off without building excessive heat. the welds are usually brushed with an aluminum paint to regain some of the original appearance and provide some protection.

                There are a couple manufacturers with really pristine weld results out there, but I have found over the years that these setups and method will not be posted or disclosed. they are generally hard earned secrets and not easy to attain or replicate. talent is a must when welding anodized even if you have a sweet setup. I found the setups I have come up with are hard on tungsten (orange) There has to be a setup with better tradeoffs.

                but if anyone would care to give up a setup for the 300DX, please shoot me an email.

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                • #23
                  Hi all,
                  Will somebody tell me how to know wether its a clear coat or anodized??
                  Thank you in advance.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by steph View Post
                    Hi all,
                    Will somebody tell me how to know wether its a clear coat or anodized??
                    Thank you in advance.
                    Scrape with a knife in an area that will not be seen, and if you get paint like residue, it is probably paint [clearcoat], you can then try and burn and see what happens, Hope this helps steph, Paul

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                    • #25
                      Thanks a lot Paul.

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