Common welding related questions that we hear. Part 5
Question 5 for the month revolves around customers trying to find the one unit that can do everything without spending major money: What do I need to weld aluminum? Can I do it with DC TIG, MIG or Stick? The answer to all three processes is Yes! But to clarify further, all processes above are valid ways to weld aluminum, but not all are practical.
Welding aluminum is difficult enough and some processes are better than others. Let’s just say that for precision and control, nothing is better than using AC TIG to weld aluminum. But that does not mean you are limited to AC TIG in many cases. Any weldable aluminum over 1/8” thick will be easily welded with MIG, with either a spool gun or push-pull gun.
The speed at which you can weld aluminum with MIG is unparalleled. It can offer you a great advantage during production. We offer several Power i- MIG machines that are able to weld aluminum with a spoolgun, and one machine that can be equipped with either a spool gun or a push-pull gun, the Power I MIG 275P. Of course, many try to weld aluminum with the standard supplied MIG gun. This is a case where it can be done, but it is not without its problems.
To weld aluminum this way, the gun cable must be held as straight as possible and the liner replaced with a Teflon or similar composite liner, instead of the steel liner that is stock. Even then, bird’s nesting may be a problem, or burn back won’t be controlled very well, resulting in regular contact tip replacement. Of course, you must also invest in a tank of pure argon, because whether you TIG or MIG aluminum, it will always require Argon or an Argon/Helium mix. Any CO2 will instantly foul the weld and create multiple issues.