Aluminum Welding

Aluminum Welding has a very different "feel" from other welding materials. You use different settings, you move along the bead faster, and you "feed" the rod quicker than other type rods.

Upon my first try at aluminum welding with an electrode, it reminded me of SOLDERING. Just make sure you practice on scrap materials first.

Aluminum rods: (Tensile Strength = about 34,000 PSI)
* They come in 2 most common sizes: 3/32" and 1/8"
* The amperage ranges to set: 50-80 amps for 3/32" & 70-120 for 1/8"

Benefits of using "stick" aluminum:
1) The whole set-up is cheaper, simpler, & easier to move to a site.
2) No need to have tanks, set pressures, or keep the wire guide straight.
3) A few pounds of rod is cheaper than spools of wire.

Some procedures & tips to consider when arc welding aluminum:
1) It works best if you can run beads that are flat, horizontal, or vertical.
2) Use a pretty short arc length & nearly vertical rod angle.
3) Remember that both "feeding" the rod & moving along the bead path will be faster than regular mild steel rods.
4) It's best to use DC versus AC.
5) Stick aluminum can also be used for cast aluminum jobs.
6) Also, cleaning the weld areas will help you get better weld results.
7) If you're using aluminum MIG wire, it really is softer & more difficult to feed. (If you're doing large projects, you may need to get an "aluminum feeding kit")
8) Settings for MIG or stick will need to be lower than equivalent steel sizes.
9) When loading the wire spool, DON'T let go of the end before it's locked into the drive roller assembly! (If the spool gets unraveled, it may not feed right)
10) Set the drive roll assembly tension so that the wire feeds without slippage.
11) Keep the whole wire guide tube & gun reasonably straight to improve wire feed.

If you choose to "do" aluminum with MIG it certainly is a good way to go. But you will need to work out various machine & human issues.

I'd choose the stick just because it's easier for ME:

aluminum welding

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