Tips for Aluminum Welding using a MIG welder:
Aluminum welding has got certain misconceptions tagged to it. People believe that they need to invest a large amount for the aluminum welding machine and should be highly skilled to operate it. Also they think an expensive spool gun is only suited for aluminum. On the other hand, some even think that it is possible to make excellent welds the first time wire feed welder is taken out of box. But all these conceptions are proved wrong. The basic fact is that it is quite easy to tackle aluminum welding jobs by using a compact MIG welder with practice, right equipment and proper set up. If provided with a MIG welder, welding of items like grills, railings, backyard furniture and even decorative elements is possible.
It has been seen that even experts in welding steel may find it quite tough to carry out the aluminum welding process. This is because the aluminum wire is so soft that it is hard to feed. Moreover the wire diameters and machine used of steel may not be appropriate for aluminum.
For any novice, the first thing that should be considered would be the type of machine needed for the job. It is possible for a 115 volt wire feeder welder to handle jobs that range from 22 to 12 gauges. And you can probably weld as thick as 1/8" with moderate pre heating. Then again if you are planning to weld a broader range of aluminum thicknesses, then a 230 volt machine which can weld 22 gauges would be the fine choice. For performing regular aluminum fabrication, a heavy duty machine would be the best.
Once you have selected the input voltage, the next concern would be if you need continuous or tapped voltage control model. In a continuous voltage control model, there would be room for more adjustability, fine tuning and precise control. The tapped control unit is best suited if you are on a limited budget and it is sufficient for most applications.
While using a MIG welder, it is best to make welds in the horizontal and flat positions. It would be quite easy to do fillet welds in lap joints than groove welds in butt joints. Make sure that you are not handling critical welds if you are an amateur as it can lead to serious injuries. Thinking about the shielding gas in MIG welding aluminum, it is better to use 100 percent argon. No special equipment is required as the existing regulators and gas hoses are good enough for pure blends and mixed gases.