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Welding anodized aluminum

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  • HMW
    started a topic Welding anodized aluminum

    Welding anodized aluminum

    Anybody with any experience welding anodized aluminum? I have welded lots of aluminum things but never anodized. Some that I have looked at looks like the weld is painted with something. What do they "paint" it with. Almost looks like primer but I'm sure thats not what its, it matches the anodized aluminum pretty well. Also, any info on the welding process would be helpfull.

    Thanks

  • steph
    replied
    Thanks a lot Paul.

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  • paulrbrown
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:


  • TopDog
    replied
    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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  • HMW
    replied
    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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  • SundownIII
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • SundownIII
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • HMW
    replied
    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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  • FusionKing
    replied
    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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  • HMW
    replied
    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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  • Cracker(Jack)
    replied
    On pontoon boats, almost all parts are usually fabricated in flat sections and then anodized. The parts are then bolted together in sections. Unlike the tee tops and tuna towers, which are all welded construction and too large to anodize afterwards, especially since they are now three dimensional. The anodizing process is similar to chrome plating which requires an acid tank for the process. Unless your tank is large enough, you are limited to size. Now they can be rotated in the tank but this is usually too costly. It is hard enough to get customers to pay for custom work with the welds being painted. Yes, I have seen and done this professionally and what I have witnessed is done this way. If you take a tee top, try some paint remover on the welds and you will see the paint come off. Look at pic #1, this was definitely painted with a brush.Oh, BDA? Not sure what you mean, refresh my memory.
    Last edited by Cracker(Jack); 04-15-2007, 10:24 PM.

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  • FusionKing
    replied
    I am around a lot of marine stuff too (both in factories and in the repair segment)... but what I see is not painted afterward. The weld just takes on a frosty sorta look. I seen some people try it in the nineties with little success. Mainly pontoon railings etc.
    Cracker(Jack) are you seeing people (pro's) actually paint their welds?? On BDA?

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  • Cracker(Jack)
    replied
    When welding anodized aluminum, t-Tops,etc.which are too large(and expensive) to re-anodize after fabrication, the anodizing is not grinded off before welding. The welds or painted, hand brush or airbrush with an aluminum color paint found at most hardware stores. Most use the tig process with the high freq. switch on start and use a button type switch mounted to the torch. The switch will close when depressed and the arc should jump to the weld and open when you let off to stop the arc. The process is to create an arc and fill the puddle, stop to allow the puddle to solidify, then move the cup 1/8"- 1/4" and restart the arc. This will produce the "stack of dimes" look. This is one of the most difficult materials to weld due to the anodized coating which makes for a trashy weld.Those who have mastered the technique learn to "throw the trash" to one side of the cap while the largest remaing part of the cap is a shiny silver color. Either way the weld is painted to stop corrosion on the now unprotected metal. I believe the newest techniques use an inverter where the above process probably changes and causes the stack of dimes look to be closer together. I have not tried this new machine, probably a Miller Dynasty, but others who have might comment on this. I think Engloid welds ski arches from anodized. Maybe they use the inverters.
    Last edited by Cracker(Jack); 04-15-2007, 10:21 PM.

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  • Bert
    replied
    HMW,
    THANKS FOR THE PICS
    Nice job welding on the pedastals! Haven't tried THAT position yet! (crouched and so on...) Nice boat and tower!
    regards,
    bert

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