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Thread: Stick welding aluminum?

  1. #1
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    Default Stick welding aluminum?

    Want to ask the great minds in these forums about the possibility of stick welding aluminum. I've read bits and pieces all over the web. Some say you need AC to break the oxidation layer, some threads talking about DC reverse polarity, others saying you need a lot of amperage as aluminum wicks away the heat so quickly. There are electrodes that are being sold that apparently use DC reverse polarity but there must be some compromises?

    The PowerARC 140st doesn't say anything about aluminum in the web description but the PowerARC 160STH does with "special aluminum electrodes". So forum members, has technology changed in this area? What kind of expectations can I have about welding aluminum as a hobbyist (to start? ) on a tight budget?
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

    Everlast PowerTIG 185 Micro IGBT AC/DC Welder

  2. #2

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    DC reverse polarity (electrode positive) when stick welding aluminum its not a nice clean weld like tig or mig . I like mig welding aluminum since fast and leave a nice weld on aluminum plate
    EVERLAST 250 EX , EVERLAST I-MIG 205 , EVERLAST spool gun NOW have 2 EVERLAST POWER PLASMA 50 plasma cutter's , LINCOLN 175HD MIG WELDER , VICTOR TORCH SET and many more tools to many to list

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by undercut View Post
    Want to ask the great minds in these forums about the possibility of stick welding aluminum. I've read bits and pieces all over the web. Some say you need AC to break the oxidation layer, some threads talking about DC reverse polarity, others saying you need a lot of amperage as aluminum wicks away the heat so quickly. There are electrodes that are being sold that apparently use DC reverse polarity but there must be some compromises?

    The PowerARC 140st doesn't say anything about aluminum in the web description but the PowerARC 160STH does with "special aluminum electrodes". So forum members, has technology changed in this area? What kind of expectations can I have about welding aluminum as a hobbyist (to start? ) on a tight budget?
    The PA140 and PA160 both weld the same. They will do aluminum stick if you get the right electrode rods and follow their instructions. The 160 just has a little more power (and HF start TIG). The PA160 I can confirm, will burn 6010 very smooth, no sticking, thought it does not have the 6010 port on the front (then again, could be the weldor). I ordered a PA160STH for personal use (portable TIG, portable stick and maybe, maybe TIG welding one 110VAC one day).

    On the aluminum, run 20-30% hotter with TIG. On MMA, add a 1/2 - 1 volts and see if you need more. But you will need a little power power for it.

    Post up the information on the aluminum ER you get and let us know how they worked. Stick welding aluminum has its place in the fields for sure.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Stick welding aluminum will have some of the same limitations as stick welding mild steel: it will work better on plate than on thin or light material. From what I've read the aluminum electrodes burn very quickly so you have to keep that in mind to maintain the right arc gap.

    Here's a link to a site that provides some reviews- the guy uses an Everlast machine.
    http://www.hildstrom.com/projects/st...x.html#method1
    Last edited by DaveO; 05-12-2012 at 12:14 PM. Reason: originally posted link had failed
    DaveO
    Oxweld oxy acet gear
    IMIG 200
    PowerTIG 210 EXT... Amazing!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Stick welding aluminum will have some of the same limitations as stick welding mild steel: it will work better on plate than on thin or light material. From what I've read the aluminum electrodes burn very quickly so you have to keep that in mind to maintain the right arc gap.

    Here's a link to a site that provides some reviews- the guy uses an Everlast machine.
    http://www.hildstrom.com/projects/st...x.html#method1
    you had better be a good stick welder before you give aluminum a shot. are you?

  6. #6
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    Default

    Asking me or the OP? I can't make the claim to have that kind of talent, myself. I admire the people who can. FDC, have you done aluminum stick?
    DaveO
    Oxweld oxy acet gear
    IMIG 200
    PowerTIG 210 EXT... Amazing!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fdcmiami View Post
    you had better be a good stick welder before you give aluminum a shot. are you?
    I tried this way back, worked, was a lot like flux core MIG, spatter but it worked.. No not recall the ER names, I know I bought two kinds even back them.

    Someone on here posted up some rods not too long ago, said they were great (pretty sure it was aluminum and stick). Never had time to get them and try them. I normally ask for one-off welding things for me. Like the other day on another thread, there was a filler from Arc-zone but they want more in shipping than for a lb. of the filler.

    Most know aluminum TIG is more complex (a lot harder for some) than TIG and steel. Now, aluminum stick (as fdcmiami said) it's a lot harder than stick and steel, or it was for me.

    But I hear the alloys are getting better. I've not tried the newer stuff yet, so you never know. They might be better. Like 7018

    Anyone doing MMA/aluminum (with success) feel free to share.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  8. #8

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    I use aluminarc dc 4043 for stick welding made by fornney . its very messy and to me just for emergency's when you dont have a aluminum mig spool gun or tig . much better mig welding aluminum . if i get time today i will do some stick welding with some mig and stick today and post pics . the aluminum stick has to be very fresh or weld really bad . mig welding aluminum is very easy- stick welding is very hard
    EVERLAST 250 EX , EVERLAST I-MIG 205 , EVERLAST spool gun NOW have 2 EVERLAST POWER PLASMA 50 plasma cutter's , LINCOLN 175HD MIG WELDER , VICTOR TORCH SET and many more tools to many to list

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Asking me or the OP? I can't make the claim to have that kind of talent, myself. I admire the people who can. FDC, have you done aluminum stick?
    sorry for the confusion. i was responding to the OP. if you're not competent with stick welding steel there is no point in trying to stick weld aluminum. the fact is there's not point in trying to stick weld aluminum period, unless....the boat is sinking. mig and tig are the only processes i use..

  10. #10
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    I was getting a bit worried when Rod was the only who initially responded. Thanks everyone. I'm in the chicken and egg category. I don't have a welder and am on a very limited budget so I need to find out what compromises I will need to make for welding different materials while I choose a welder. I really couldn't find any useful information on stick welding aluminum so I came to all of you knowledgeable folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodsmachineshop View Post
    I use aluminarc dc 4043 for stick welding made by fornney . its very messy and to me just for emergency's when you dont have a aluminum mig spool gun or tig . much better mig welding aluminum . if i get time today i will do some stick welding with some mig and stick today and post pics . the aluminum stick has to be very fresh or weld really bad . mig welding aluminum is very easy- stick welding is very hard
    That would be fantastic, Rod. I won't be getting a MIG machine. Pretty much all of my welding will be performed outside and I can't predict how windy it might be.

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    The PA140 and PA160 both weld the same. They will do aluminum stick if you get the right electrode rods and follow their instructions.
    Nice of you to confirm, Mike R. The electrodes I was looking at seem to have their amp requirements well within the 140 and 160 capabilities. I really don't see myself welding anything really thick. Want to know whether the occasional repair is out of the question or possible. Looks like possible if I've the necessary skill but at least the stick welder isn't the limiting factor. It will just make me have to become a very good stick welder!

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Stick welding aluminum will have some of the same limitations as stick welding mild steel: it will work better on plate than on thin or light material. From what I've read the aluminum electrodes burn very quickly so you have to keep that in mind to maintain the right arc gap.

    Here's a link to a site that provides some reviews- the guy uses an Everlast machine.
    http://www.hildstrom.com/projects/st...x.html#method1
    Thanks for the link, DaveO. That is exactly what I've been searching for. Someone who has had personal experience with DC stick welding aluminum. Nice find! There is just too much conflicting information out there from people guessing what can and cannot be done. Hard to cut through the crap. Gonna check his other articles right after writing this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodsmachineshop View Post
    DC reverse polarity (electrode positive) when stick welding aluminum its not a nice clean weld like tig or mig . I like mig welding aluminum since fast and leave a nice weld on aluminum plate
    I really like the nice aluminum welds from MIG and TIG too but I know that those are currently beyond my budget.

    Hope I didn't forget to thank anyone. You've all been very, very helpful.
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

    Everlast PowerTIG 185 Micro IGBT AC/DC Welder

  11. #11

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    If you are stuck in the power arc price range. Aluminum is probably out for you. With great stick skills, it can be done.

    You might look a smaller powered IMIG (200 or less; MIG normally cost less) and spool gun. You have aluminum MIG and steel MIG, and stick to get rolling. Last I knew you liked the 160STH and it is priced well well.

    TIG is a little harder, but depending on the size of the jobs you are doing too. MIG for big, TIG for small or detail.

    What do you plan to weld? That would help in your choice a lot? We have more than one TIG and we MIG 95% of the time on the work we do.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    If you are stuck in the power arc price range. Aluminum is probably out for you. With great stick skills, it can be done.

    You might look a smaller powered IMIG (200 or less; MIG normally cost less) and spool gun. You have aluminum MIG and steel MIG, and stick to get rolling. Last I knew you liked the 160STH and it is priced well well.

    TIG is a little harder, but depending on the size of the jobs you are doing too. MIG for big, TIG for small or detail.

    What do you plan to weld? That would help in your choice a lot? We have more than one TIG and we MIG 95% of the time on the work we do.
    To get my foot in the welding door, the power arc is pretty much all I can afford. Most likely the 140 as it is probably attainable $$ wise. We'll see in a couple of paychecks although I really, really like the 160. Some bloke recently wrote about his experience with the 160 which only made my thirst for it greater. Wait a second, that was you!

    Just about everything I expect to weld will be steel. Just checking out what my options are for aluminum. If I need to do it, I suspect I won't care if it looks very pretty.
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

    Everlast PowerTIG 185 Micro IGBT AC/DC Welder

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by undercut View Post
    To get my foot in the welding door, the power arc is pretty much all I can afford. Most likely the 140 as it is probably attainable $$ wise. We'll see in a couple of paychecks although I really, really like the 160. Some bloke recently wrote about his experience with the 160 which only made my thirst for it greater. Wait a second, that was you!

    Just about everything I expect to weld will be steel. Just checking out what my options are for aluminum. If I need to do it, I suspect I won't care if it looks very pretty.
    Yea, the final 160STH is nice. I screwed up the torch with a bad collet, all good now. Nice unit. But I would look at TIG vs MIG and see what you need. We love TIG, but almost all our steel work is MIG.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Yea, the final 160STH is nice. I screwed up the torch with a bad collet, all good now. Nice unit. But I would look at TIG vs MIG and see what you need. We love TIG, but almost all our steel work is MIG.
    Thanks for all of the advice. Unfortunately, MIG is out of my budget at the moment and besides, it really doesn't mesh with me welding outside where I can't protect my . I'll continue saving up and keeping my eye on the welders in the power arc price range. Thanks!
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

    Everlast PowerTIG 185 Micro IGBT AC/DC Welder

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by undercut View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice. Unfortunately, MIG is out of my budget at the moment and besides, it really doesn't mesh with me welding outside where I can't protect my . I'll continue saving up and keeping my eye on the welders in the power arc price range. Thanks!
    Welding outside with gas it hard for both TIG and MIG? MIG you can run a flux core outside all day long. Otherwise you are limited to stick, and our MIGs and TIGs will stick weld.

    My recommendation would be, if you are looking for stick only, PA200. Sticks and TIG, 160STH. Stick and MIG, IMIG200. Budget and AC (for aluminum), 185micro.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

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