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Old 04-11-2007, 09:58 PM   #136
KTM640Dakar OP
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Originally Posted by honcho
I posted this question in another thread, then saw your thread here, so thought I'd move it.

My boss has assigned me a fabrication project (a small platform to hang on the side of a hopper so somebody can acces said hopper with a shovel or pitchfork) and wants to use aluminum. We only have a MIG welder, and I expressed my concern because I don't believe that a MIG can make a weld that I'd trust with my life. I told him that he should send me to welding classes or buy (or borrow) a TIG welder to do the job safely and correctly. I have always thought that TIG was the standard for aluminum. I believe this because with a TIG you get much better penetration and are left with a convex weld as opposed to a knoby surface weld (not to mention the possibility for heat stress, and warpage) you get when using a MIG.

If I'm forced to use the MIG, what besides setting it to the correct voltage and speed and using the push method do I need to do?

Thanks
Well hopefully your mig welder will feed the wire OK. Use 100% argon shielding gas. Get a nylon gun liner for the MIG gun. Use 5356 Superglaze Aluminum wire. Get 3/64 diameter and gun tips designed for aluminum. Usually the contact tips for the gun will have an "A" on them representing aluminum.

You are right though, you should TIG weld it if you don't have a good MIG welder setup. There are some very good MIG welders that have push/pull guns that will do aluminum equal to TIG and faster to weld.
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:35 PM   #137
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From a physical point of view, helium creates a higher voltage and hotter arc with wider penetration and better surface cleaning on aluminum in a DC process.

From an economic point of view, argon requires a bigger machine to do the same work on aluminum. And as it does not clean surface oxidization from aluminum as well using DC, it suggests buying an AC machine.

Literature from different manufacturer's say both of the above. Maybe the market leader is less concerned about selling you a new machine.

If your machine has enough power to make an acceptable join with argon in the aluminum thickness of your design then argon is good to go. If not, before buying a bigger machine or a different process machine, try helium.

- Jim

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Old 04-15-2007, 10:57 AM   #138
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Another question from a complete noob. I wanna build a hotrod in my garage out of rectangular steel tubing, mid-engined using the drive train out of a front wheel drive Lincoln LS (3.9 V8) and probably Mustang II (aftermarket) front end. I don't know shit about welding other than the half ass stuff I did around the farm.

I have 230V single phase (dryer connection) in the garage. What kind of welding machine do I need? It would be nice to have something that would handle aluminum also. Is there a book out there you would recommend to teach me the welding skills I will need?
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:25 PM   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swjohnsey
Another question from a complete noob. I wanna build a hotrod in my garage out of rectangular steel tubing, mid-engined using the drive train out of a front wheel drive Lincoln LS (3.9 V8) and probably Mustang II (aftermarket) front end. I don't know shit about welding other than the half ass stuff I did around the farm.

I have 230V single phase (dryer connection) in the garage. What kind of welding machine do I need? It would be nice to have something that would handle aluminum also. Is there a book out there you would recommend to teach me the welding skills I will need?
I'd suggest practicing on non-critical stuff while you take classes at a local tech school. Starting out on a car frame might not be a great idea becuase alot depends on the welds being right.

If you're planning on mostly custom auto work, I'd go with a good TIG/Stick setup. A little slower than MIG, but you have alot more flexibility and precision.

My TIG/Stick unit:

http://www.millerwelds.com/products/tig/syncrowave_200/

Chris
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:59 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swjohnsey
Another question from a complete noob. I wanna build a hotrod in my garage out of rectangular steel tubing, mid-engined using the drive train out of a front wheel drive Lincoln LS (3.9 V8) and probably Mustang II (aftermarket) front end. I don't know shit about welding other than the half ass stuff I did around the farm.

I have 230V single phase (dryer connection) in the garage. What kind of welding machine do I need? It would be nice to have something that would handle aluminum also. Is there a book out there you would recommend to teach me the welding skills I will need?
MIG welding will be the easiest process to learn. If you want an excellent and free book to read I can send you one. PM me your address. Here are some MIG welders. If you have 230V power in your garage try to buy a Power MIG 215 or bigger if you can afford it.
http://www.lincolnusmarketing.com/pr...asp?cat=CAT105

Request literature guide C4.200
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolside
From a physical point of view, helium creates a higher voltage and hotter arc with wider penetration and better surface cleaning on aluminum in a DC process.

From an economic point of view, argon requires a bigger machine to do the same work on aluminum. And as it does not clean surface oxidization from aluminum as well using DC, it suggests buying an AC machine.

Literature from different manufacturer's say both of the above. Maybe the market leader is less concerned about selling you a new machine.

If your machine has enough power to make an acceptable join with argon in the aluminum thickness of your design then argon is good to go. If not, before buying a bigger machine or a different process machine, try helium.

- Jim
You almost have it right Jim. Helium increases the ionization rate of the shielding gas and increases penetration. Usually you get a deeper penetration profile that is more narrow. Have you seen helium prices lately? It is in shortage.

And yes I am less interested in selling a machine verses helping people with welding.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:31 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by KTM640Dakar
You almost have it right Jim. Helium increases the ionization rate of the shielding gas . . and increases penetration. Usually you get a deeper penetration profile that is more narrow.
Sales engineers, gotta love 'em.

Excerpt below is from your boys. Maybe you were out that day.

SUPERGLAZE™ ALUMINUM MIG WELDING GUIDE
Lincoln Electric Publication C8.100

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Old 04-16-2007, 06:22 AM   #143
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Thanks for the advice on welding machines. I am recovering from sticker shock. Are there any pitfalls to watch for buying used equipment?
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:07 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolside
Sales engineers, gotta love 'em.

Excerpt below is from your boys. Maybe you were out that day.

SUPERGLAZE™ ALUMINUM MIG WELDING GUIDE
Lincoln Electric Publication C8.100
Well Poolside, you answer the questions.

I'll just sit back and critic you.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:14 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swjohnsey
Thanks for the advice on welding machines. I am recovering from sticker shock. Are there any pitfalls to watch for buying used equipment?
Make sure that it is single phase, not three phase industrial voltage that won't work on your home/shop power.

Make sure it is good quality, because you get what you pay for with welding machines. And you want to be sure you can always get parts for the wire feeder, gun, etc.

Make sure it works. And make sure it will weld with low settings since most MIG/TIG welders will weld in the high range but not all have a good low end.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:23 PM   #146
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Probably the only way I can afford one of the Miller or Lincoln machines recommended is to find one used.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:25 PM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolside
Sales engineers, gotta love 'em.

Excerpt below is from your boys. Maybe you were out that day.

SUPERGLAZE™ ALUMINUM MIG WELDING GUIDE
Lincoln Electric Publication C8.100

So poolside if a MIG welder is a constant voltage machine how does the voltage increase?

Does the helium turn the voltage knob up higher with it's lighter than air invisible hand?

I would like to know.

Maybe you should read that whole book first then answer.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:33 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by swjohnsey
Probably the only way I can afford one of the Miller or Lincoln machines recommended is to find one used.
If you can find a Lincoln SP125T or SP135T those two machines are both very inexpensive used and are nearly the same machine even though they have different number names. The T stands for "tapped" which means that the voltage adjustment is set with a tapped switch. It is less expensive to build a tapped voltage switch then one that is infinitely adjustable that also requires an PC board to work. The SP125Plus and SP 135plus machines use PC boards and potted switches so they are more expensive to find used.

These are all 110 Volt machines.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:58 PM   #149
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I have a Pro-core 100 that I bought for the occasional welding that I do (anything serious I just tack and take to a freinds shop). Two questions: is it worth upgrading this machine to use argon (as opposed to the flux wire)? Secondly, I don't weld much, and sometimes I make a sloppy weld, whats the best (fastest) way to dress an ugly weld?

Thanks
Eric
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:18 AM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KTM640Dakar
So poolside if a MIG welder is a constant voltage machine how does the voltage increase?

Does the helium turn the voltage knob up higher with it's lighter than air invisible hand?

I would like to know.

Maybe you should read that whole book first then answer.
I didn't get my comments from that publication, the near quote was coincidental.

The image excerpt is what your factory's literature says about how helium affects the weld in aluminum. And it was different from what you mentioned. Maybe take the discrepancy up with the editor?

User guides are use-ful, but aren't where I turn for technical data on arc physics.

You're kidding with the questions right?

- Jim

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