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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    16

    Lightbulb Tig welding aluminum.... Total rookie here...

    I'm completely new to this... I've been tig welding just mild steel for about a year. I walked into a welding shop and bought a mig welder and a tig welder, brought them home and thought to myself "what have I done?"... I've never welded anything in my life... not even shop class. Anyway, now I'm trying to get aluminum tig welding down and I'm having a little trouble. I'm trying to do some really nice corner welds on 1/8" aluminum sheeting. It's 5052 aluminum with the coating on it. I clean everything really well, but I still have a horrible time with the starts of the weld. I close out the weld real nice by backing off the pedal, but the starts look horrible. Does everyone else start on the corner where the two plates meet or do you start in the middle and work you're way out to the edge? Anything you can do to help would be great!! Oh, and I'm using 3/32 filler with the same size tungsten. Pure tungsten. I really would like to make these welds look nice... please help...

    Thanks,

    Rich

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    i found a quick hit with a SS wire brush realy helps the starts. also dont be afraid to put some heat into it. when you first start out on cold aluminum it realy sucks up the heat.
    i have found as soon as i get a puddle started i hit it with some filler to get the 2 sides to conect. and feed the filler in dont just tap it or dab, you realy gotta shuve it in there. add about 2X what you would with steel. othere than that its just about seat time and getting the feel for it. it will come with time just keep at it.
    welcome aboard.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    106

    Default

    What I do is start not at the edge but about 1/8" in from the edge. Get the puddle started, dip, and then back up one "dip" to get the edge, then go forward with the bead as usual.

    Starting at the very edge is tough.

    I don't know if what I'm doing is the right way, but it works for me.

    The 3/32" tungsten and filler size sound right for 1/8" Al -- that's what I use. How many amps are running at and what machine do you have?

    I use lanthanted tungsten with my syncro 200. It won't hold a super sharp point when welding Al, but the point forms a ball only ever so slightly, just sort of blunts a little. Works for me.

    Oh and don't be afraid to post some pics. 3 out of 4 of my beads look like crap too -- there's always that one that comes out really nice that makes it all worthwhile.
    Last edited by phila.renewal; 05-19-2007 at 07:15 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I'm using a Syncrowave 350LX set at about 130 amps, no pulse, 7-8 on the balance, but I'm using pure tungsten. I think I figured out one of my problems today... I turned up my gas flow a bit and got much better results. I get pretty good beads but still need to work on the starts where I stop to let the metal cool. I'm pretty proud of my stopping points, but I really want to get that fatter bead look. Mine are still kinda small but decent looking. The stuff I was welding on today was 3/32" aluminum... Would 1/8 filler give that fatter look if I run a little more amperage? Should I be pulsing it? I'm not having problems with burn through. I could probably get a little more penetration from the looks behind the weld. Before I was having problems getting it to flow and take in the filler but I think I solved that with higher gas flow.

    I really appreciate you're help!! You're 100% right about the sweet success of getting just one bead out of 100 tries... If feels great!!

    I'll try posting some pics tomorrow of some welds and maybe you could point out some flaws for me..

    Thanks!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

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    give it as much heat as you can without burning threw, and add lots of filler. dont be afraid to give it some heat, a quick back off on the peddle will cool it fast. but remember as you go along the matereal will keep some of the heat and start to get hot so you will need to drop back a lil on the heat when doing long runs,anything over about 1" and you will start to see the heat build up haveing an efect.
    sounds like you have reached the point where TIG is getting fun insted of frustraiting. still lots to lern but it will be a lot more fun now.
    now if i could just get some time to go play with mine some more, i still havent tryed the Stick side yet.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    16

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    These are some of the welds I've made.. Any advice would be great.. I know I need to work on my starts and finishes.. but let me know what you think..

    Fun4now... I've played with some 7018 quite a bit and loved that, but it was a really friendly rod... haha.. 6011 was a real good time.. talk about a mess.

    Thanks for the info... I'm having a blast with this.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    106

    Default

    Um, yeah well OK. Those beads look pretty fantastic (compared to most of mine).

    I have nothing else to say.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    i gotta agree, only thing i can see you should do diferently maybee is not start right on the corner, but rather continue threw it so you dont have 3 starts in one spot or start & stops all on the corner. it will look a lot nicer if you run the bead threw the corner as its easyer to restart on the strait and not have it look like a start/stop point.
    as for the stick tryals, i got some sticks a wile ago, dont even remember wich ones they are i think they are 7018's but wouldnt put any $$ on that as i just cant remember that far back, well i cant realy remember much from yesterday eather but you get the idea,
    i realy want to give it a try. it just seems like when i do make it out to the shop i have too many things i have to do and not enough time to just play with some stick's.
    heck the only reason i got off my butt and even built any thing with the TIG part was when i almost tipped over my cart with my MIG welder, my plasma cutter, and my TIG welder all on the same cart. at that point i made it a priority to make seperate carts and got a chance to do a lil TIG welding wile building my TIG cart out of aluminum. fun project that realy helped me improve my TIG welds. although a bit more $$ i think every one should build there TIG carts with the TIG welder out of aluminum. its good practis, a lot better than doing coopons, i had stopped practising TIG on coopons due to boredum so the cart project go me welding with it again.
    i'll post some pic's if i ever get around to trying some stick.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    16

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    I've got to agree with you on the coupons... They really are kinda pointless, but I hate to spend the time cutting and fitting nice aluminum just to get all freaked out when it comes to laying a bead on it and messing up perfect aluminum. I'll be starting an aluminum project here real soon... I just need to work past that fear and just relax and weld it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    I just need to work past that fear and just relax and weld it.
    yep, thats what i did, i needded it so i just sat down and did it. needless to say some welds are better than others and i blew a few holes threw but no biggy i had the TIG there to fix it.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    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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