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Precleaning Aluminum

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  • Precleaning Aluminum

    Thought you might like to know.!

    Although the GMAW provides some cleaning action this should not be relied on for all the cleaning.aluminum must also be precleaned mechanically or chemically to remove the oxide film and other residue or contaminants.
    aluminum oxidizes so rapidly the interval between welding and cleaning should be as short as possible.
    you can select one of many ways to clean the metal wiping with a clean rag or emery cloth will remove any oil dirt or oxide film.for more stubborn residue use sandpaper,stainles steel wire brush or stainless steel wool.if this doen't work you may have to use a acetone.caustic soda solutions or a sulfuric acid bath. after precleaning rinse with a distilled water.

    Remember when working with any of these solutions safety comes first gloves glasses and sheild is best.

  • #2
    Yup, Ditto...Bob
    Bob Wright

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

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    • #3
      I would avoid "steel wool" as it will contaminate the Al with steel particulate matter.
      TJ______________________________________

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      • #4
        You are right

        However if you use (stainless steel wool) it would be okay. It is like everything eles to do with stainless it is expensive but worth it in the end.
        Last edited by Darmik; 06-14-2007, 05:32 PM.

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        • #5
          as i undersude it sand papper was a no no!! is this all or just soem types ??
          acitone is good for greasy stuff but adding heat befor can also help bring out the oily stuff.
          i have never MIGed aluminum just TIGed it. but for the most part i would think cleaning fallows the same path, cleaner the start the better the finish.
          thanks for the help
          ......or..........
          hope i helped
          sigpic
          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
          summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
          JAMES

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          • #6
            Cleaning Aluminum

            Your right for the most part but tig is a little more fussy I'LL discuss this one a little later unless you really need to know now kinda thing.but you have been doing this for a while now you could probably teach me a thing or two.

            sandpaper is okay not the heavy stuff; Like 100G or less all you want to do is scratch the surface of the metal thats all break the oxide film.

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            • #7
              Acetone and a SS cup does wonders.

              I've been told that the SS cup can imbed the Al oxide into the metal, but I've been doing it this way and it works very well.

              A grinding wheel is a whole different ballgame. No question a grinding wheel imbeds crap into the Al.

              And clean the wire with SS wool.

              For MIG, definitely less critical (and less aesthetically appealing too).

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              • #8
                i generaly just use a SS cup but not on the grinder. i use it by hand. its got a better brisel pattern then the standerd wire brush dose.
                it realy all depends on the aluminum you are starting with and how clean it is to start with.
                i have to wonder what possesed you to make this post ???? usualy your responce is fallowing a question about how do i .....
                you in school and just cover this or some thing ????
                some food for thought a wire wheel on a grinder will eat up the aluminum fast so if you do use it on a grinder be verry carfull or you will have nothing left to weld.
                also i have found that wax is a good cutting or sanding disk aid. keeps the aluminum from building up on the blade and cloging the teeth. and what lil residow left behind will burn right off when you get teady to weld. it never efected my TIG welds so MIG should have no truble with it. bee's wax is the preferd wax but any candle will work in a pinch.
                thanks for the help
                ......or..........
                hope i helped
                sigpic
                feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                JAMES

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                • #9
                  cleaning Aluminum

                  If you fined that your sanding disks are getting clogged then try using WD-40 this stuff works very well.the same goes for carbide die grinder bits.Never use a wire wheel on a grinder.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Darmik View Post
                    If you fined that your sanding disks are getting clogged then try using WD-40 this stuff works very well.the same goes for carbide die grinder bits.Never use a wire wheel on a grinder.
                    WD-40 on a die grinder bit! ....I'll try it. Even the bits made for aluminum clog up, might help

                    As far as cleaning, If the piece is small, i use a hand SS wire brush, you only have to clean where your gonna weld of course. If longer I use SS on a 4 1/2" grinder, A cup type and I found one thats a twisted stringer type, like would go on a bench grinder, real narrow, that works good in cracks. Also if nasty i wipe down with acetone or a aluminum cleaner I have. Wait I forgot, everything I work on is nasty [salty] It woudl be great to weld on something new for a change
                    Scott
                    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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                    • #11
                      Aluminum

                      When you use WD -40 on a die grinder bit or spray it on the material it will cut a silver storm.So you should use safety glasses and a face sheild.and gauntlet type gloves.and button up your coveralls.I swear to god about the silver storm.

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                      • #12
                        After using a lubricant or coolant on carbide bits on aluminum, the surface should be cleaned of the lubricant. Methyl alchohol works very well, and leaves no film, as well as another product cleaner by the name of S-22. Waxes and lubricants for cutting equipment work wonders with aluminum, which tends to stick to the carbides, plugging up the cuting action and eventually over-heating the carbide. For aluminum pressure welding the accepted method was to use cutting wax or a WD-40 type lubricant for the cutting, (carbide burrs or circular saw blades / band saws) then clean the surface with methanol. Wire brushing was performed just seconds before welding.
                        Jonny

                        Dynasty 300DX
                        Esab PCM 1000

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                        • #13
                          Right on about the glasses, face shield. I Always wear them. A carbide burr will solid throw some, sharp little pieces. I hate em, They work good, but i try not to use them unless I have too. I will try the wd-40 though. I have a couple made for aluminum and theyw ork better than ones made for steel.
                          Scott
                          HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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                          • #14
                            Precleaning Aluminum

                            Stainless Steel Wire Brush Only!
                            LPS Zero Tri is a great chemical cleaner to use.

                            For best results hit it with some type of S.S. brush then wipe it with LPS Zero Tri.
                            Steve Beckman

                            Rockford Industrial Welding Supply, Inc.
                            "Setting the Standard in Service"
                            1.800.226.1904
                            riws.com

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                            • #15
                              Cleaning Aluminum

                              Originally posted by WELD 15 View Post
                              Stainless Steel Wire Brush Only!
                              LPS Zero Tri is a great chemical cleaner to use.

                              For best results hit it with some type of S.S. brush then wipe it with LPS Zero Tri.
                              I'm sorry you'll have to forgive me but just what is LPS Zero or is it just that name it's self?And that's what I should be looking for?

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