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Thread: AC Aluminum help

  1. #1

    Default AC Aluminum help

    Up front this is probably 100% operator error, but I can't seem to figure it out so I need your input.
    POWERTIG 200DV
    I have been trying to weld aluminum. Cannot get an arc, just seems like many random lightning dots in the torch area and cannot even get a puddle to form, also leaving tiny pock marks in the material.
    3/16 by 1" bar, just for practice. Everything is super clean. Reground the tungsten a hundred times. Furick #10 cup 3/32 tungsten gas turned way up.
    Following all the tips favoring more heat and penetration.
    FINALLY at frequency 220, balance 30, power all the way at 200, trying for the hundredth time, the arc started with a pop and I got a huge cone and it flat melted everything in its path very quickly.
    So now I am satisfied it's suddenly functioning correctly, I obviously have to scale the power and frequency down.
    Unfortunately I don't have any more aluminum to try on, this was my last test piece, going to have to buy some more bar at work next week.
    My question is what was I doing wrong? Why did the arc suddenly form correctly? Why did it do the crazy shotgun arc thing for so long before it decided to behave?
    Please help me learn.
    Thank You

  2. Default

    Yeah,

    Your ground might have been poor.

    You're using a pedal, right, not just the contactor switch? I mean, if there's a sequencer (4T) selection, maybe you have it on with start amps set way too high, even when using a pedal. Anyway, keep the start amps always to minimum, unless you want a little crisper start, up to around 25 amps. Otherwise, keep set to Pedal/Remote, not 4T or 2T.

    "Gas turned way up" is not usually good either, as too much can create harder arc starting. 15 CFH for a #7 cup is plenty, or even too much for a fillet joint. So, 15 CFH may be fine for a #10 cup, unless you get start getting "pepper" in the puddle.

    A tight arc (1/16") is alway a key point too.

    Please let us know how it goes, and upload pics of your progress.

    Yeah, 220 AC Frequency is a bit extreme for learning on. Try 100 Hz.
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  3. #3

    Default

    Ground was directly on the work.
    Using pedal. HF start, no other settings.
    I will try less gas flow in the future.
    It seemed to do better holding the torch about 1/4" away actually. Too close and I am not getting a cone or flame or whatever you wish to call it. It looks like a Tesla sphere or something, not a single flame but a dozen tiny spots.
    I cannot get any heat to weld below 200 on the frequency and 150 on the amps.

  4. Default

    Yeah,

    1/4" is too far.

    Cones are bad.

    Keep at it. You'll get it. Jody Collier and Weld.com videos can help a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Copper_Head View Post
    Ground was directly on the work.
    Using pedal. HF start, no other settings.
    I will try less gas flow in the future.
    It seemed to do better holding the torch about 1/4" away actually. Too close and I am not getting a cone or flame or whatever you wish to call it. It looks like a Tesla sphere or something, not a single flame but a dozen tiny spots.
    I cannot get any heat to weld below 200 on the frequency and 150 on the amps.
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  5. #5

    Default

    When the tungsten is too close to the work, you can see tiny blue dots dancing everywhere, the aluminum does not heat up enough to start a puddle, even after holding the torch in place for 20-30 seconds. When you stop there are tiny pock marks on the surface of the work.When I hold it away a little bit, I get a single arc from the tungsten to the work and it behaves normally like on DC.
    Is there a malfunction with my machine or am I missing something fundamental?

  6. Default

    Well,

    There may be some other issue.

    I'd check the torch collet seating. And ensure that the tungsten isn't fouled.

    Upload a pic of the torch head all ready to go.

    And upload a pic of those "tiny pock marks" too, please.

    Also, what color tungsten are you using for aluminum? Green is no good for an inverter on AC.
    Last edited by christian; 04-05-2020 at 02:01 AM.
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  7. #7

    Default

    Oh Lord I bought the green. Could it be that easy?
    I'm using red on steel, is that right?
    I will go fish the parts out of the bin.
    Tungsten is not fouled, I have learned better after doing that the first 1000 times on steel lol.

  8. Default

    Yeah,

    I've never used Green on AC, but that could be your presenting problem, as it's a well-known no-go.

    Red will work on AC, and is fine for DC.

    Blue is good on DC and AC, too.
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  9. #9

    Default

    Thank you for your help. Fabricator guy at work told me to buy the green. For as a good as a welder he is, probably not familiar with inverter machines as he has been doing this for a very long time..... you get my meaning lol.
    So, preferred tungsten for steel, stainless steel, and aluminum? I don't care if there's three different ones I need to get just want to do it right.
    Thank you

  10. #10

    Default

    Just called another guy, he said use blue for everything with my machine....

  11. Default

    Yeah,

    Blue is probably a best "one color" tungsten solution that's reasonably priced.

    But, Red may actually be a tad better on steels, while Blue may be a tad better than Red on aluminum.

    Otherwise, I most often use a "Cream" color TriMix for both. They cost more, as they're German produced. But they're undoubtedly the best, and I don't weld a whole bunch, so they're easily affordable.

    https://www.arc-zone.com/tri-mix-tun...trodes-wfm-tri

    So, Cream, Blue, or Red are all a good one-color solution, and in that order.


    Quote Originally Posted by Copper_Head View Post
    Thank you for your help. Fabricator guy at work told me to buy the green. For as a good as a welder he is, probably not familiar with inverter machines as he has been doing this for a very long time..... you get my meaning lol.
    So, preferred tungsten for steel, stainless steel, and aluminum? I don't care if there's three different ones I need to get just want to do it right.
    Thank you
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

  12. #12

    Default

    Oh shoot. Just ordered the blue.... Followed your link and ordered the cream as well.. hopefully I can stop the blue order!!

  13. #13

    Default

    Make sure you have your torch in the negative, not the positive. Set balance for 30, and set frequency for about 90-100.

  14. #14

    Default

    Yup torch is negative.
    I will start with these settings when the new tungstens arrive.
    Thank you

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Copper_Head View Post
    Yup torch is negative.
    I will start with these settings when the new tungstens arrive.
    Thank you
    It's not the tungsten stopping a puddle from forming. It would really help if you post a clear picture of the front of your machine so we can see what's going on. It's probably something simple.
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  16. #16

    Default

    Are you in 4T?

  17. Default

    Make sure that the machine is set AC for aluminum and for 2T or pedal. Keep the amps up, that's why you have the pedal. lower the freq to around 95/100. Keep the tungsten close to the work and tilt it just so you can watch the puddle. Just practice making a puddle without filler for a while to learn the machine. Make sure the argon is turned on, things get really ugly if not (how do I know??) Did anyone tell you that practice is good? try to find some bigger pieces to practice on, as the aluminum will heat up in a hurry. Oh yeh, practice helps.

  18. #18

    Default

    Thank you christian, got it licked. You are exactly right. I received my order of the TriMix tungstens and all is well. Welding 1/8" aluminum at 70 amps. Also tried some .100 mild steel, welding at 55 amps.
    I had planned on trying the blue for comparison but there's no point as these are working so well.

    On a separate note, do you have any place online where you buy filler rod? Locally, reduced hours are making it difficult for me to get more supplies as I am working long hours at an essential business and can't catch the store open.
    Thank you
    Last edited by Copper_Head; 04-12-2020 at 01:50 PM. Reason: typo

  19. Default

    Nice to know you're rolling on aluminum now, as it's sometimes common on other forums to see anti-Asian comments trying to almost instantly blame a new Everlast machine for what is just an initial setup mishap.

    Otherwise, I most often buy Weldcote filler in 1lb clear plastic tubes, usually 1/6" and 3/32". I've got 4043, 5356, and the newer 4943, which has a damned State patent on it by Hobart (making it more costly, a mini-monopoly, and trickier to find). Of course, filler rod is cheaper per pound when you buy in larger amounts.

    I buy online via Amazon, most times, as it's usually free shipping and no State sales tax paid, since Weldfabulous is the seller on Amazon, not Amazon itself.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I like those clear plastic tubes, which just cling to the side of my welding cart/cabinent with a bungie cord. And I can easily see the color and sizes of filler.

    That 4943 seems to have previously only been able to be gotten in 10 lb boxes though. And I now use it as my default or go-to filler for aluminum, since it seems as good or better than 5356, and easily better than 4043 too, to me.

    But now ArcZone seems to carry and sell 4943 in 1lb clear tubes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Aluminum was a new material for me too, about 5 years ago, when I upgraded to an AC/DC Everlast TIG unit. Aluminum diamond plate is a favorite material and fabricating choice of mine.

    So, have a ball with that new Everlast unit, and your endeavor into aluminum TIG welding, and feel free to upload pics of something you may be fabricating soon.
    Last edited by christian; 04-12-2020 at 05:18 PM.
    Everlast 210 EXT (2015)

    www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

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