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  • #16
    HMW Response: AL SMAW Preferences

    Originally posted by HMW View Post
    some good info,
    But you would really choose stick over MIG for aluminum over 1/8"??. Its been along time since I tried aluminum stick and I didn't like but that could have been just me. I may have to try it again it just because
    I'm sure in SC you deal with salt problem too. Never tried the chemical wash except for some aluminum cleaner. Actually I hate repairing the pontoons. almost always upside down and you have to pressure test when done. So I kinda quit working on them. Pontoon boat Railings or something is not bad. John Boats dont seem to be as bad, you can flip them over and its almost always the stern anyway. And its easy to put water in them to check for leaks.

    Thanks for the info
    HMW--I do quite a few pontoon repairs and I have YET to do anything with a stick except underneath re-attaching a 2" channel (1/8" thick) to the 4"X24"X1/8" sponson-mounting plate....not directly on the sponson itself.

    Out of 9 jon boats I welded this summer, only one (A relatively new SeaArk) did I repair with a rod, and that was on the inner-deck where the rivet that held the deck to the top of the strakes had broken due to being exposed to EXCEEDINGLY rough (8'+) seas offshore of Charleston....not a normal situation at all!!! All other jon boat repairs were completed with either MIG or TIG. One particular jon boat was giving me excessive difficulty no matter how well I cleaned it. I should have noticed that there were no existing welds anywhere in the boat...shoulda been a dead giveaway (you already see where this is headed, don't you....NO you cannot laugh!!!). So yep...tried the 3/32" H418 AL SMAW rod and..................blew a hole in the transom you could drive a Mack truck through!!!!!!!!!!!! Turned out the boat was 30 years old and made by a company that no longer exists and was made out of 2024........ever tried to weld 2000-series AL? Do yourself a favor and shoot yourself in the foot....it's over faster and doesn't hurt half as bad!!!

    I do usually go for AL SMAW when I can...easier than pulling out the MIG or setting up the TIG and getting everything ultra-clean. It works really well for horse-trailer repairs and car-carrying trailers....just NOT on boats of any sort.

    Hope I cleared that up and sorry if I confused you when I was talking about always reaching for AL SMAW first.....only when the situation allows for it because it's easier/faster.

    ~Clint
    sigpic
    Clint Baxley
    Baxley Welding Service
    Rembert, SC 29128

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    • #17
      Originally posted by makoman1860 View Post
      The company I work for owns a few of the pontoon companies out there, and we have been called in to look at some of their work. From what I know and have seen the following is normally true:

      1-Pontoons are either 6061 or 5052

      2-heat treat or hardness depends on where the part is ( i.e. the stamped pontoon ends are usually dead soft )

      3-Mig is used due to cost ( not quality by any means )
      4-Protptypes are usually TIG / OA welded

      5-Repair by any method destroys the heat treat, but thats ok since the part is normally engineered in the 0 condition since its welded on after treatment.

      6- for us the OA welding provides the surest weld on the thin material but the skill required to do it is above the heads of most "weldors" nowdays so they use MIG.

      Hope this helps!

      -Aaron
      Aaron...everything you stated matches everything I've run into so far. I find 6061 to be the most common, but I've also run into a couple of 5056's out there (can't remember brand names off the top of my head).

      Also, probably the FINEST aluminum boats on the entire planet are welded right there in your home state of WI....ever heard of S.A.F.E. Boats International? Google "S.A.F.E. BOAT" and "RB-S" and see what you come up with....I have HUNDREDS of hours operating them as both a Coxswain and a licenced Captain.....just can't say enough good things about them....and they're 100% TIG welded construction on 8086 (hull & deck plate) and 5056 (cabin/overhead).

      I haven't run into any O/A stuff (yet!) other than previously-repaired boats that I've come across. Good O/A weldors are hard to find....closest one I know of lives over in GA and is retired.

      ~Clint
      sigpic
      Clint Baxley
      Baxley Welding Service
      Rembert, SC 29128

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      • #18
        Originally posted by 6010 View Post

        I need to put a depth finder on the pontoon since I am into fishing. My goal is to catch the record catfish for South Carolina. So far, my biggest cat wouldn't make a good bait for the big ones at Santee. Mybe you would be so kind as to tell me where and how to mount the depth finder so I can get a good look at the bottom. I will retire in two years and will have more time to spend on my quest for the record cat.

        My suggestion on the depth finder would depend on several things: (1) where is/are your fuel tank/fuel cells located? (2) with you and your wife aboard, full tanks, and full coolers, how does your boat sit in the water? In other words, is there a slight slope from front-to-rear (bow-to-stearn since you're going to spend more and more time on there) or is the right side (starboard side) sitting a little lower? (3) which model depth finder do you like and which transducer does it come with? (4) are you going to stick with a depth-only model or are you going to go ahead and get a sonar/fish-finder model as well? Answers to those questions would help, but let me give you a few generalities: almost all transducers are mounted on the stearn (or the very back-end of the sponson, in your case). This is to reduce distortion (bad readings) due to cavitation from the propeller spinning. Most of the transducers I've seen on pontoon boats were for speed, and most were mounted by screwing the transducer-bracket directly to the back of the sponson. A better suggestion would be to take your EXTREMELY NICE Synchro200 and weld a small "L" shaped bracket to the back of your sponson (see questions above, but whichever is lower...port or starboard) at exactly 1/4" to 1/2" above the waterline with the boat at rest (again, see questions above for how the boat sits in the water at rest). The next time you and The Wife are at Lake Wylie, just after you launch, get close to shore and turn the engine off and slip into the water and around to the stearn. Make as few waves as possible and find a quiet cove or somewhere similar. Take a regular black Sharpie pen and do your best to mark the exact waterline on the back of the sponson...and then continue on with your trip/voyage. When you recover (put the boat back on the trailer), and take a look at your mark. Now, when you back the boat up to the garage to weld, you have a perfect reference line to work from. There are other suggestions I would make as well, but they can wait for another time as I'm sure I've just put everyone to sleep in the middle of the afternoon.

        Hartsville is not too far. Maybe one morning soon I can ride over there and buy you a cup of coffee and shake your hand - I guess in all this heat an ice tea would be a better drink. Also, we will be going to Wateree if I can get my wife out of the pontoon boat. Maybe you can tell me where some good crappie spots are located.

        No Problem. Let me know what your schedule is like and we'll make it happen. There's a GREAT little coffee shop in Hartsville called "The Midnight Rooster" and we can meet and shoot the breeze. Crappie spots on Wateree change from year to year (and month-to-month in the Summer) but I have a few sources I can call for you to find out. Just bring a full cooler and I'll meet you guys up there and show you how to get to my lakehouse/dock and then you guys will have somewhere to evacuate coffee during your outing.

        Please stay on the message board, as I may need some help in the future with the boat. I am in the electrical field but have always wanted to learn to weld good enough that I wouldn't have to lie about the origin of some of my welds. I just bought a Syncrowave 200 and I am having a lot of fun playing around with it. I am still having to lie about the welds though.

        There are lots of good resources on here when it comes to welding aluminum. I'm one of the more-vocal, but SundownIII and Aeroweld and MAC702 have loads and loads more experience than I do. MAC702 is also a IBEW Master Electrician, should you ever have a question about welding current and/or welding electricity.
        Hope some of this information helps answer some of your questions.
        ~Clint
        sigpic
        Clint Baxley
        Baxley Welding Service
        Rembert, SC 29128

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        • #19
          I took it for granted you used tig or mig on pontoon boats I know how thin they are. I was just asking about thicker stuff like 1/8" or up. I will have to try some, but on the other hand the spool gun stays set up and I dont do any portable work.

          thanks
          Scott
          HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by HMW View Post
            I took it for granted you used tig or mig on pontoon boats I know how thin they are. I was just asking about thicker stuff like 1/8" or up. I will have to try some, but on the other hand the spool gun stays set up and I dont do any portable work.

            thanks
            I still don't have a spoolgun, believe it or not I'm getting one soon, and I've heard the MM210/SG3035 works super, even outside in mild breezes on top of 18-wheelers and such. If you've already got the spoolgun and it stays set up in your shop, there's really not any need for you to screw with learning AL SMAW, unless you just want to have a little fun...you wouldn't believe how fast the puddle forms and flows! It makes CS/SS SMAW look like molasses!!! (cold molasses at that!). It's fun to play with though. I'd like to get an electrode holder setup for my PrecisionTIG 185 and try the 3/32 rods down around 50 amps or so....my Champ10,000 only goes down to 75A, and that's a little hot. I've been up to 90A with the 1/8" AL rods, and if you think 3/32's are fast, SHEESH! 1/8's will scare you!
            sigpic
            Clint Baxley
            Baxley Welding Service
            Rembert, SC 29128

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            • #21
              Clint,

              I think I'd rather drill a hole and put an alum screw/bolt/rivet in 1/8" aluminum rather than trying to stick weld it.

              Tig is great for aluminum boats but it's so slow, compared to other techniques available today. I think if I was really serious about that type of repair (on a constant basis), I'd be looking at a MM350P with spoolgun. Haven't used one, but know several who have. Claim it's the "cat's meow" when it comes to thin gauge aluminum. Nearly as good as tig, but much, much more productive (read faster).

              You may also want to check out Miller's 3545 Spoolmate. Similar to the 3035, but with a highter duty cycle. Only thing is it won't run .023 wire, but that shouldn't be much of a concern with aluminum anyway. Would also recommend the 25' extension kit. I know I like the 30' reach of the 30A. Keeps me from constantly having to move a 200#+ machine around.

              P.S. You'll have to come up and teach me how to do aluminum SMAW with a stick. About the only thing I'm good at in that area is blowing "drain holes" in the material.
              Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
              Dynasty 200 DX
              Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
              Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
              Hobart HH187
              Dialarc 250 AC/DC
              Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
              Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
              PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
              Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
              Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
              More grinders than hands

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              • #22
                i'm really siked about the idea of a MM212 and spool gun setup. its a ways off but really seams to get great reviews no matter what its used on/for. would be a great addition to my little shop. i recently got a TA-185 TIG to learn TIG and stick to cover the thick stuff i cant do with my MM135. TIG came easy after my O/A background but stick is still driving me nuts ?? i suppose its just a question of needing more practice, but i really need some one to show me the right way to do it and then continue with practicing when i know what i should be doing.
                i think i'm doing ok with flat but up is killing me. i also don't have much of anything good for working with so i'm using some very rusty 5/32" diamond plate cleaned up best as i can. not trying to use rust as an excuse mind you just giving an idea of what i have to work with.
                i added a few pic of some 6013 rod (its all i have) first is the best of 3 trys going up a 7" piece of the 5/32". the first 2 trys were so bad i was afraid i would break the camera so i didn't risk a pic.
                this is still my first 5lbs box of stick rods and the only 3 trys at up, so don't be too ruff on me.
                fist pic is my up weld
                2nd pic is it cleaned up before i went over it on the flat to make it look better/
                3rd is the flat over pass
                4th is the thing painted. i went to a flat overpass as i want to keep it as a dinner bell so to speak so i wanted a better looking weld left to be seen for every one passing.
                i don't want to hijack this thread just wanted to show what i did and ask you to look for my stick try post to give me some pointers as it seems we have some real stick welders here. and i do neeeeed the help.
                thanks
                Attached Files
                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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                • #23
                  Sorry,

                  I must have missed something here. I thought this thread was about welding on aluminum pontoon boats and the different techniques/processes available. The pros and cons of different techniques and what has/has not worked well for the respective poster.

                  How the HE11 did we get off on a discussion about stick welding steel up?

                  James, not to be rude, but this same information (to include photos) was posted in another thread (started by you).

                  You don't have to post to every thread. We know you're a very prolific poster who has something to say about everything. Sometimes it just gets a little tiresome to have to sift through all the BS.

                  I'm just going to go bang my head on the wall for awhile now.
                  Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                  Dynasty 200 DX
                  Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                  Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                  Hobart HH187
                  Dialarc 250 AC/DC
                  Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                  Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                  PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                  Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                  Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                  More grinders than hands

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    not to be rude,
                    the post had turned to talk about stick and i had just made an attempt at stick. i don't see the problem, perhaps you should put me on your ignore list if i bother you so much.
                    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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                    • #25
                      Wow, I thought I put that in there about having to run really fast with AL SMAW. I can think a lot faster than I can type and occasionally leave things out because I thought I put them in. I was using 7018 as a way of illustrating the amperage needed to run the AL sticks because most try to run way too cold when they first start trying to use AL sticks. I cheated and called Dad about them, that's the example he used, and it is very close. I don't really like them, but I have had excellent luck with them on heavier stuff (I.E 3/8 and 1/2 or more). I try not to even use them down here because they go bad so fast in this humidity. I watch steel rust while I am welding it some days.

                      You are right on the O/A welding of aluminum. The only other welder I know who can do it is in New Mexico and retired. He taught me how. He also taught me to run stringers in pipe and weld it out with O/A, but I couldn't do it now if I had to. Back in the '60's and early 70's it was all that was allowed on 2" and under pipe out there. I had to learn it all with a torch before I was allowed to start with the arc. He said you had to be good with a torch if you were going to be a welder, LOL. He even made me learn to run it left handed and backhanded. Made me learn to weld left handed as well.
                      Lincoln: Eagle 10,000, Weld-Pak HD, Weld-Pak 155, AC-225, LN-25 wirefeeder
                      Miller: Syncrowave 250DX Tigrunner
                      Westinghouse: 400+ amp AC
                      ThermalArc Handy wirefeeder
                      1 Harris, 3 Victor O/A rigs
                      Arcair gouger
                      Too many other power toys to list.

                      Do it right, do it once. And in all things ya get what ya pay for.

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                      • #26
                        I wish I'd had your dad to teach me! I'm not even going to "go there" to tell you how bad I suck at O/A! I know what you mean about the humidity and AL rods....SC isn't much better than LA when it comes to humidity levels.

                        James, I think SundownIII's just trying to keep us all on-track and on-topic. It isn't a matter of one person disliking another, just a gentle reminder for all of us to stay with the originial topic. One of the main reasons I left the Hobart board was because there were so many people that liked to post that they'd just jump in the middle of a conversation and start taking it off in new directions. Then, later on down the road, someone comes along (like I did) who searches threads to find a particular topic such as "AL SMAW" and they scan through the posts looking for a paperclip to see some pictures, and all of a sudden they're looking at 6013 welds (kewl pics, btw!) and getting confused. I could be wrong, but I've had similar thoughts repeatedly about the Hobart board....one of the reasons I quit.

                        SundownIII,
                        I'd love the 350MP if my budget allowed it. I also wouldn't mind the 15A or 30A spool guns....same issue...$$$. In truth, I've only had two repair jobs on pontoons this summer where I really really wish I'd had a spool gun. I've got three projects underway now that I'm using to justify the expense of a spoolgun and new welder for...TIG'ing is just too slow (for high production numbers). Incidentally, 2 of my current 3 jobs are 1/16" so no SMAW there. SG sure would be nice, I'm thinking.
                        Last edited by BWS29128; 08-15-2007, 06:43 AM. Reason: 2 misspelled words
                        sigpic
                        Clint Baxley
                        Baxley Welding Service
                        Rembert, SC 29128

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Hey Clint,

                          Know all about budgets.

                          You may want to look at the new Hobart HH210. Never used one but the reports coming in are very good. Also comes spoolgun ready. Uses the Hobart version of the 3035 if I read the specs correctly. Base unit can be had for less than $1,000.

                          Going back to the thread regarding welding aluminum, I was reading an interesting article the other night. Author recommended gas welding aluminum using hydrogen in lieu of acetylene. Basically the same equipment required as O/A except uses a tip three sizes larger. Produces a flame in the 4000 Degree range which is closer to the melting point of aluminum than O/A. Recommends a blue lens vs the green lens to better see the puddle. Interesting reading. I may talk to my LWS and see about getting a bottle of hydrogen and trying it.

                          Were you serious about taking the show on the road? How does the family feel about that? A friend of mine runs a pretty large fabrication shop here locally and has a couple of shutdown's already booked. Most of what they do though, is cold steel and SS. They don't do much aluminum.

                          Gotta run,

                          Later
                          Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                          Dynasty 200 DX
                          Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                          Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                          Hobart HH187
                          Dialarc 250 AC/DC
                          Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                          Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                          PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                          Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                          Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                          More grinders than hands

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
                            Hey Clint,

                            Know all about budgets.


                            Going back to the thread regarding welding aluminum, I was reading an interesting article the other night. Author recommended gas welding aluminum using hydrogen in lieu of acetylene. Basically the same equipment required as O/A except uses a tip three sizes larger. Produces a flame in the 4000 Degree range which is closer to the melting point of aluminum than O/A. Recommends a blue lens vs the green lens to better see the puddle. Interesting reading. I may talk to my LWS and see about getting a bottle of hydrogen and trying it.


                            Gotta run,

                            Later

                            Both fuels work just fine for Al. Hydrogen while cooler is more difficult to set the correct flame. For one there are only 2 envelopes of combustion and you simply have a hard time even seeing the flame so it becomes a little more technical. I use both daily. The lens is not for the fuel its actually to block the sodium orange flare given off from the welding flux. In the past Cobalt melters glasses were used, but they dont block the UV and dont have much of a shade to them. Didymium Glass blowers glasses also were used but are not the safest. Today there is a glass lens called the TM2000 and the guys at Cobra have a cheap plastic set. By far the TM2000 is superior but costly ( $105). Either one of these will work fine for you. Grab a good flux and away you go. Funny thing though, once you get into it, welding on AL sheet like pontoons with a torch will be probably one of the fastest minus the time spent cleaning up flux after.

                            -Aaron
                            "Better Metalworking Through Research"

                            Miller Dynasty 300DX
                            Miller Dynasty 200DX
                            Miller Spectrum 375 extreme
                            Miller Millermatic Passport

                            Miller Spot Welder
                            Motor-Guard stud welder

                            Smith, Meco, Oxweld , Cronatron, Harris, Victor, National, Prest-o-weld, Prest-o-lite, Marquette, Century Aircraft, Craftsman, Goss, Uniweld, Purox, Linde, Eutectic, and Dillon welding torches from 1909 to Present. (58 total)

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                            • #29
                              i weld aluminum for a living, not on boats, but specialty signs. the mig process for aluminum has a very good cleaning if you have a machine that can handle it. i use an xmt 304 with an xra push-pull feeder with a 30 foot xr edge gun. for 0.63 i set the volts to 22.5 and the wire speed to 600 but youll have to move very fast. on 1/4 i set the volts to 26 and 800 ipm. when you set a high voltage you'll see the arc "burn" the oxide away from the weld. the high ipm is to fill in the gap you just created. i use 0.35 5356 alloy for most jobs. occasionaly i will get asked to use a 4043. with the 4043 you'll have to turn it down a little b/c the puddle is so much more fluid. most of the things that i make are not post heat treated therefore the 5356 alloy. aws first pick is 4043, if you are going in for x-ray test, use it... for repairs on a boat, mig with a 5356 alloy, a brand new stainless brush should be used immediately prior to welding. m.e.k. or acetone works extremely well on removing old "water stains". but when the al starts to "white rust" you'll have to remove it mechanically, just dont use a grinder, the grinder will actually smear the face of the parent metal on put oxides into the parent metal, and most welds from that point are going to be inferior. clean it, brush it, weld it. aluminum also likes to be welded downhill. about 10 to 15 degrees push angle and 3/8 or less stickout. i am cert. unlimited fillet 5g nuclear.
                              Last edited by welder_one; 08-15-2007, 06:39 PM.
                              welder_one

                              nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal
                              www.sicfabrications.com

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                              • #30
                                i use a 3.5" SS cup brush for my aluminum, but not in the grinder just by hand. the cup brush has a good concentration of bristles and works really well.
                                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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