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Thread: Aluminum Practice

  1. Default Aluminum Practice

    I've recently bought a Power Tig 200 DX to use specifically for aluminum. It's amazing how it seems like aluminum learning is 2 steps forward to one back. I spent 3 weeks training myself each night and finally became comfortable training on flat peices and now edge welding. Learned to tack every 6" to minimise distortion. Welded out a fairly large project then ran into a wall with filet welds. I read thru this forum learning the tricks to run a bead on the edge and now it's time to search for the filet. Ive welded tig, mig n stick on carbon steel and never imagined aluminum being so hard. But that's why I bought this machine. It's an impressive piece of equipment. Welding on edge seemed best at 100 Hz. What do you guys set frequency at for 1/8" aluminum filet welds....lower frequency to hit both sides or higher frequency to pinpoint the arc?

  2. #2

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    If I am having issues, I bump the frequency up a little. It doesn't really make a huge difference, but it can help a bit.

    John
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  3. #3

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    By the way, be sure your aluminum is completely clean and freshly brushed with a ss wire brush as well as wiped down with acetone or similar. Also clean your filler rods. You really don't have to be perfect, but when just learning it makes it much easier.

    Your gas coverage will play a part as well as this can be a bit tricky with fillet welds.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  4. Default

    Thanks Sportbike. I will tighten the arc with some added frequency and make sure it's clean and brushed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Litchfield Park, AZ
    Posts
    370

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tensas View Post
    I've recently bought a Power Tig 200 DX to use specifically for aluminum. It's amazing how it seems like aluminum learning is 2 steps forward to one back. I spent 3 weeks training myself each night and finally became comfortable training on flat peices and now edge welding. Learned to tack every 6" to minimise distortion. Welded out a fairly large project then ran into a wall with filet welds. I read thru this forum learning the tricks to run a bead on the edge and now it's time to search for the filet. Ive welded tig, mig n stick on carbon steel and never imagined aluminum being so hard. But that's why I bought this machine. It's an impressive piece of equipment. Welding on edge seemed best at 100 Hz. What do you guys set frequency at for 1/8" aluminum filet welds....lower frequency to hit both sides or higher frequency to pinpoint the arc?
    I have found filet welds harder. I have tended to run around 70 to 80 HZ and seems like the heat input fills the joint better. I do find myself moving the arc between both pieces of metal before the filler material will wet onto both pieces of metal forming the filet joint. If you feed filler material too early, it will just ball up and not flow into the joint.

    To get this started you may want to bump your current up to 135-140 amps to heat the material quickly then throttle the heat with your foot pedal as you move along the joint. Once the filler material has flowed between the two pieces of material forming the fillet joint, aluminum seams to flow better than carbon steel for myself and is much faster pace than carbon. If the current is not backed off significantly then at the end of the joint or edge of the material it is easy melt away the base material due to the heat input to the joint.
    Last edited by DVA; 08-19-2013 at 03:48 AM.
    Miller 252
    PowerTig 250 EXT
    Evolution Rage 2
    48X6 inch Belt Sander w/ 9 inch Disk Sander
    ...

  6. Default

    I faced the same predicament, easily running beads across a sheet until it became a thick slab of aluminum, but my first fillet was a disaster. I found my biggest issue was torch position. A little more stick-out and a little more flow helped me get in and control the initial puddle formation much better.

    20hz one way or the other didn't seem to compensate for my technique, so I left it at 100 after that.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the help guy's! Very informative. After I finish a few more hours on "edge" I will go back to filet.

  8. #8

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    Did you use Jody's (weldingtipsandtricks) method of practice on aluminum? I'm hoping to get into TIG soon and was planning to do that.

  9. Default

    Yes, I did use Jodys training tip. A couple of things he said in the video, that I failed to hear was 1) cool the piece with water occasionally and 2) when you start...give it a lot of power to start the puddle in a couple of seconds max and then let off the pedal as you move forward till you get the width of bead you want.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tensas View Post
    Yes, I did use Jodys training tip. A couple of things he said in the video, that I failed to hear was 1) cool the piece with water occasionally and 2) when you start...give it a lot of power to start the puddle in a couple of seconds max and then let off the pedal as you move forward till you get the width of bead you want.
    Cool, I just sold a motorcycle tonight so I'm much closer to my goal of getting a tig in the shop. Pretty exciting stuff. I can't wait, I've been having a blast with just my cheapo HF unit.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by breakneckmot View Post
    Cool, I just sold a motorcycle tonight so I'm much closer to my goal of getting a tig in the shop. Pretty exciting stuff. I can't wait, I've been having a blast with just my cheapo HF unit.
    I see a CL listing for that "cheap HF unit" in your future ~~~~~~~~~
    imig 200
    PowerTig 210 EXT

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnymg View Post
    I see a CL listing for that "cheap HF unit" in your future ~~~~~~~~~
    I'll probably keep my little flux HF machine for awhile. It's nice and small so I can take it over to my friends place and work on his stuff with it. I just got this behemoth:


    Hobart Tig by breakneckmoto, on Flickr


    Hobart side view by breakneckmoto, on Flickr

    I'm going to play with it for awhile. I've got in on CL for an insane price, I figure if somebody wants it bad enough they can buy it for a high enough price that I can afford a brand new everlast system. If it doesn't sell I'll just keep it and continue saving for a newer tig machine to go with it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Disneyland
    Posts
    2,661

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    Looks nice and portable, just bring a crane or forklift.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Looks nice and portable, just bring a crane or forklift.
    I'd say it's close to 500 lbs. total. I had to use a winch and a trailer to get it home. I definitely want a smaller setup for mobile welding, but for the price it was worth it. I spent a small fortune on some consumables and filler metals rods, but those can be used with the Everlast machine when I eventually get it.
    Owner/Operator of Breakneckmoto
    Used motorcycles and parts

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by breakneckmot View Post
    I'll probably keep my little flux HF machine for awhile. It's nice and small so I can take it over to my friends place and work on his stuff with it. I just got this behemoth:

    snip.........
    I'm going to play with it for awhile. I've got in on CL for an insane price, I figure if somebody wants it bad enough they can buy it for a high enough price that I can afford a brand new everlast system. If it doesn't sell I'll just keep it and continue saving for a newer tig machine to go with it.
    So you're the guy posting all those insane priced welders on CL!

    hahahaha............

    Big congrats on that beast! Let us know how it works
    JohnG
    imig 200
    PowerTig 210 EXT

  16. #16

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    I would hate to even move that thing around a shop..
    Jason
    Everlast 255EXT - Perfection
    Everlast PowerPro 256 - UPS Demolished
    Everlast MTS200s
    12 Ton Shop Press
    DeWalt Hand Tools/ChopSaw

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