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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Newbie needs Alum/steel mig rig!

    I know the information is out there but I wanted to post up to speed up the learning curve.

    I am a mechanic with my dad at our own place and currently get by with a cheapy mig flux wire rig which has done all my body work/fab needs thus far.

    I seek this help as I am planning a Jet Jon Boat custom build. A jet ski engine will be installed into a Jon boat.

    Thin metals down to the gage of a stock Jon boat hull MIXED with possible bottom strengthening/remodeling of thicker sheet aluminum.

    Clean like alloys for all add on aluminums BUT possible odd ball alloys in the jet ski pump systems such as the cast aluminum "shoe" that will be bolted to the hull (basically houses the impeller and is a closed cast tunnel for the jet water flow.

    I COULD just bolt the cast shoe pump tunnel to the hull but I figure ill throw that out there since this is always something to consider when customizing existing aluminums

    SO, what are the opinions out there for basically a light weight aluminum rig which can also handle like wise gages for steel up to roughly 1/4" on either would be awesome. Budget is a thing, but I know from growing up that I aint trying to pinch pennies here.
    So im looking for a basic yet tuneable little rig to make me smile after using junk for so long!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles


    Hobart Ironman230

    Mig aluminum is generally only good down to 16g- but 16g is real tricky.


    Steel- no problem
    Ed Conley
    Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
    Miller 125c Plasma 120v
    O/A set
    SO 2020 Bender
    You can call me Bacchus

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013


    Do you know the gauge of the aluminum on the particular jon boat hull you will be using? A quick search show them to range from 16 ga to 10 ga.

    I think TIG is what you're going to want to use. You don't want to be blowing holes in your boat hull. If you're not an experienced TIG weldor, you may want to consider farming out the hull welding work.
    Multimatic 200
    Spoolmate 100
    Arcstation 30FX

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Salem ,Ohio


    The aluminum welding part is the killer here. If you want to go blue MM252 and the 30A spool gun. Sure the smaller migs will do some of it but not large runs just small spurts....Bob
    Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
    Metal Master Fab Salem, Oh 44460
    Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill
    1999 MM185 w/185 Spoolgun,1986 Thunderbolt AC/DC
    Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Northern Arizona


    Do you need to stay mig? If so I second bob. If not then consider a syncrowave 210. Nice acdc tig. Would work well on the small stuff.
    MillerMatic 251
    Maxstar 150 STH
    Cutmaster 42
    Victor Journeyman OA

    A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Northern West Virginia


    The only thing I wanted to say is that I would bolt that water intake to the hull, not weld it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014


    Quote Originally Posted by 1_old_man View Post
    The only thing I wanted to say is that I would bolt that water intake to the hull, not weld it.
    I had been debating that. I think I will just end up bolting it in with a reversable kind of permatex. But that still leaves the frame work/accessory bracketing and so on. I hate the idea of riveting but perhaps that would do for the lighter stuff.

    If I were using aluminum angle for the engine cradle I suppose it would be more like 1/8'' thick which should be easier for mig

    As stated to then weld that to the existing aluminum floor stringers can be done one bead at a time (I wouldnt be welding to the actual bottom of the hull). I should be able to get it done without a whole lot of welding.

    So I guess since I have many other future uses for a mig welder, what are your ideas on a basic yet nice setup that will use an aluminum spool, as well as steel up to decent thicknesses. (nothing real close to stick welding thicknesses)?

    *Remember, I dont weld everyday but I could see using it roughly once a month on misc things*

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