Welding aluminum can be a challenge especially if you are just starting out. From having the perfect weld puddle to choosing the right power output of your weld, you might not get it your first time. With these tips it will get you on the right track to having that perfect weld.
Welding Aluminum Tips:
- Understanding the metal you are working with
- Using a wire brush
- Having a clean surface
- The angle of your weld
- Practice makes better
Understanding The Metal You Are Working With
Aluminum is a chemical element that has a density lower than other common metals. Approximately one third that of steel. With its chemical element, aluminum never occurs its form in nature, but its compounds are in almost all different types of rocks, animals, and vegetation. With it having a high thermal conductivity, heat will spread quickly on the material. Keep in mind when TIG welding, your welding travel speed will be a bit faster.
Using a Wire Brush
A wire brush is a must have to have in your arsenal. By using a wire brush, you are making sure your aluminum surface is as clean as it can be without damaging the material. Using a copper or brass brush will give you best results. It helps break up and then remove the oxide layer of the metal. We would advise not to use a steel brush because this will end up contaminating your aluminum. Once you begun brushing the aluminum, you will start to notice that the material has a dull look to it. This is what you want because that means that you have broken up the oxide layers.
Having a Clean Surface
Proper welds require the best setup. By using an acetone or an alcohol, even if they are new, its best to clean your filler rods. Aluminum is sensitive to impurities, so this is a great practice to start on. Your work area should be as clean as it can be. Having your welding table with no old metal shavings laying around. This improves your weld from the aluminum arc that could cause burnt marks. When its time to weld, make sure that you have your settings on your machine to the correct settings such as gas flow. Always good to double check.
The Angle of Your Weld
Why is this important? You will come to find out that if you do not have the correct angle of your torch set when welding, your filler rod would want to ball up before you can dip. Good note is to feed your filler rod fast. 90 degrees is optimal when angling your torch. Certain jobs you can get away with a slight tile, but even with aluminum, it’s not common.
Practice Makes Better
Starting out, you might get anxious, or it may be even upsetting at times because you’re not getting that perfect weld that you want with aluminum. Practice is key, by taking your time, taking step by step and a slow pace, you will see improvements. A good note to remember is to watch the puddle and not your tungsten.