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  1. #1

    Default Welding Cast Aluminum

    I have a 330 Aircrafter here in my shop and I have been asked to weld an engine front cover for a Cat Bulldozer. It's cast aluminum and although I've welded aluminum in the past, I've never welded cast aluminum. What are some helpful tips you guys have? Shielding Gas? Filler Rod? Preheat? The piece to be worked on is about a 1/4" thick which is about as thin as my welder can go for aluminum so any help you guys can provide with the other stuff will be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Casey

  2. #2

    Default

    The first thing you can do is to clean it if its been near any oil or grease. I us brake cleaner, and take a die grinder and Vee it out a little to clean the crack out. but it should weld up good you may have to grind it out a few times to get the porosity out. good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    143

    Default

    Whatever you do AVOID BRAKE CLEANER. It will kill you if there is any residual that burns off while you are welding and you breathe it. Acetone is the best solvent to use. If you haven't welded cast aluminum before I strongly suggest that you find something to practice on before you tackle this job. Oil impregnates the pores of aluminum castings and it will contaminate your weld as soon as the heat is applied. You will need to heat and clean the casting several times to get the oil out sufficiently enough to be able to weld it.

    Are you sure that it's cast aluminum and not magnesium?

    Charley
    Last edited by CharleyL; 05-28-2012 at 06:16 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Cool

    I 2ND THE DO NOT USE BRAKE CLEANER. Usually when i weld cast alum i take a whiz wheel and cut the crack clear out all the way thru if i can. Now i have a gouge and i fill it up. That way you have 100% penetration. If you still get some pores or oil bubbles in the weld cut it out and do it again...Bob
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis Indiana
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    200

    Default

    I've welded lots of cast, mostly Allison transmission cases.

    1.) NO BRAKE CLEANER
    2.) DO NOT SANDBLAST
    3.) USE A HIGH TEMP & HIGH PRESSURE POWER WASHER TO REMOVE DIRT & OIL
    4.) HAVE A BUCKET OF SAND HANDY TO BURY THE HOT PART IN AFTER WELDING TO COOL SLOWLY
    5.) CLEAN CRACKS WITH A CARBIDE BIG FLUTE BURR AND STAINLESS WIREWHEEL
    6.) USE 5356
    7.) ARGON & RED TUNGSTEN FOR YOUR 330 ST. A LITTLE HELIUM MAY HELP
    8.) WELD YOUR FIRST PASS VERY SLOWLY. YOULL SEE ALL THE DIRT COME TO THE SURFACE. BE PATIENT
    9.) GRIND OUT FIRST PASS & REWELD UNTILL CLEAN
    10.) BUILDUP ANY AREAS THAT YOU HAVE TO

    Good luck and keep us posted.
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  6. #6

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by CharleyL View Post
    Whatever you do AVOID BRAKE CLEANER. It will kill you if there is any residual that burns off while you are welding and you breathe it. Acetone is the best solvent to use. If you haven't welded cast aluminum before I strongly suggest that you find something to practice on before you tackle this job. Oil impregnates the pores of aluminum castings and it will contaminate your weld as soon as the heat is applied. You will need to heat and clean the casting several times to get the oil out sufficiently enough to be able to weld it.

    Are you sure that it's cast aluminum and not magnesium?

    Charley
    Ok thanks Charley I'll use acetone next time. It looked like the brake cleaner evoperated in a shot time.

  7. #7
    turbo38t Guest

    Default

    I agree mostly here.....Brake Clean is bad if the chlorinated type. It turns to phosgene gas and chokes you. Non chlorinated does not do this but it's a fire hazard so make sure parts are blown dry and no residual laying around. I use 4043 for most cast aluminum. It's more ductile and does not crack in the craters as easily(important when welding porous cast aluminum parts). Some higher quality casts can be welded with 4043 but most cases, covers etc are better off with 4043. They allow a little more fluidity with the inconsistent castings. I brake clean(non chlorinated) my parts first, then grind with a flap disk and if it's an incomplete crack I'll use a die grinder with a course burr and try to drill the end of the crack if I can find it. I do a light pre pass without filler and grind again then weld it up.....if there is some porosity grind it out and redo it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jontheturboguy View Post
    I've welded lots of cast, mostly Allison transmission cases.

    1.) NO BRAKE CLEANER
    2.) DO NOT SANDBLAST
    3.) USE A HIGH TEMP & HIGH PRESSURE POWER WASHER TO REMOVE DIRT & OIL
    4.) HAVE A BUCKET OF SAND HANDY TO BURY THE HOT PART IN AFTER WELDING TO COOL SLOWLY
    5.) CLEAN CRACKS WITH A CARBIDE BIG FLUTE BURR AND STAINLESS WIREWHEEL
    6.) USE 5356
    7.) ARGON & RED TUNGSTEN FOR YOUR 330 ST. A LITTLE HELIUM MAY HELP
    8.) WELD YOUR FIRST PASS VERY SLOWLY. YOULL SEE ALL THE DIRT COME TO THE SURFACE. BE PATIENT
    9.) GRIND OUT FIRST PASS & REWELD UNTILL CLEAN
    10.) BUILDUP ANY AREAS THAT YOU HAVE TO

    Good luck and keep us posted.

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