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Finally getting the hang of Aluminum TIG!! (Pics)

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  • Finally getting the hang of Aluminum TIG!! (Pics)

    I'm a college student, been doing TIG on and off for about a year now. Haven't had the time / money for formal training, and TIG is the only welding I've done, so my experience is limited. Learned a heck of a lot from these forums though. Had played around with some aluminum over the summer, and finally welded up some parts over the past week. Not the best results, but for my 1st- and 2nd-ever "real" parts (rather than just sample coupons) I was pretty happy.

    Machine: '80s Syncrowave 350
    Material: 6061, .058 - .125" thick
    Tungsten: 3/32" 2% Lanthanated (I love this stuff), ground to a blunt point
    Amperage: 125amp setpoint, don't think I ever used near that much though.
    AC Balance: 7.5
    Filler: 1/16" and 3/32" R4043

    Baffles - Stitch weld internal baffles for a dry-sump oil reservoir. Kinda big and ugly, tough to get filler and torch oriented properly in there.

    Top, after weld - Top of dry-sump reservoir after welding.

    Top, cleaned up - Same as above, but cleaned up with some scotch brite.

    Bottom, after weld - Bottom of dry sump tank

    Bottom, cleaned - Same as above, cleaned up with scotch brite

    Flange fillet weld - Fuel pump access flange for a fuel tank, .058" sheet to .125" machined flange.

    Flange cleaned up - Post weld with scotch brite. The corner welds on the gas tank are kinda ugly (they were my first real aluminum beads) so I didn't show them

    Any comments / observations? Does it look like I'm doin things roughly right or are there some blatant wrong-doings?

    I'd really like the ME department to get rid of that honkin big, loud old Syncrowave in the cramped welding shop and get a Dynasty. I'd really like to play around on one of those.

  • #2
    more amperage will smooth out the lumpiness. Imagine you're spreading butter on toast...if it's cold, it's lumpy. If it's too hot, it's uncontrollable. You want your weld to be in the hot but workable range.

    Not bad for no training though.

    Work on it and post up more pics. I'm sure we can get you to the point you embarass the ones in that class fulltime.

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    • #3
      Looks good. The cleaning etch zone appears be too wide.
      Wheat Stalker

      Millermatic 210
      Dynasty 200DX
      Fisher CZ-5...CZ-3D..
      Trek 5500
      1966 Amphicar

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      • #4
        The cleaning area tends to get big.. but I'm not sure. Already using a pointed electrode with the balance usually around 8.

        What I'm curious about is how long of a bead is it customary to run in aluminum before stopping and restarting? Inch or two at a time? Keep going till its too hot to go any further?

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        • #5
          I generally go until I'm in an uncomfortable position at my welding table. Usually between 6" to 12" or so depending on the weld and part. I use 36" filler uncut, and a nice pair of TIG gloves.

          When you say "until things get hot", are you welding without gloves? I used to do this, but when I started wearing gloves my welding really improved due to comfort from not burning my hands. Could also weld alot longer...
          Curt
          Dynasty 200Dx
          Millermatic 185

          Hypertherm 600

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          • #6
            I do weld with TIG gloves. But I don't like to go completely free hand. Usually I'll try to rest/balance at least a finger if not 2 or 3 of my torch hand on the part as I go along. More comfortable and steady. At some point though the heat starts dissapating through the aluminum and gets it **** hot where my fingers are at.

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            • #7
              I agree, not too bad for no training. I like the butter on toast analogy, will file that one in the memory bank. I would practice with timing and filler amounts, just getting it down pat, do some more fillets whenever possible as they work the brain and motor skills better than just flat coupons. Keep at er
              hre

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              • #8
                FSAE car? Ive welded up my fair share of those things

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                • #9
                  Indeed an FSAE car. I have been the lead machinist for our program for 3 years now, and feel super comfortable with it, manual or CNC. Swore I'd never get into welding. Then I made the mistake of having somehow show me how to set up the TIG, and since then I practiced like **** and got good enough such that I'm the guy stuck now welding the frame as well as pretty much.. everything. And machining all the trick parts.

                  Its rough. But I love welding. Lightning in a stick and you fuse metal together. What guy doesn't like that?

                  Kinda liking aluminum welding better than steel now, even though I need more practice. Nice and clean and welds so fast and looks cool.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Szelag View Post
                    Indeed an FSAE car. I have been the lead machinist for our program for 3 years now, and feel super comfortable with it, manual or CNC. Swore I'd never get into welding. Then I made the mistake of having somehow show me how to set up the TIG, and since then I practiced like **** and got good enough such that I'm the guy stuck now welding the frame as well as pretty much.. everything. And machining all the trick parts.
                    What school? I may be going back to Michigan this year.

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                    • #11
                      Louis and I went to Purdue.. I never worked on Purdue's FSAE car, but did get involved with Purdue Grand Prix for 3 years.

                      I was too busy workin on other peoples junk in my garage, and chasin skirts..
                      Curt
                      Dynasty 200Dx
                      Millermatic 185

                      Hypertherm 600

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                      • #12
                        Too cold. The Syncrowave is capable of laying down a 'slick' aluminum weld. It is not the machine and less yours is giving you problems.

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                        • #13
                          Looks good
                          I might add make sure you pressure checks it before putting it into service.
                          I don’t know the actual specifics of that tank but I will guess it should hold at least 3 psi if not 5 easily.
                          Personally I like to add enough pressure to distort and draw the aluminum some I pressure check at the higher pressures with soapy water.
                          If you have leaks mark the areas in question repair and re check
                          If your tank is leak free on race day you’re a hero
                          If your welds look like Engloids best and your tank leaks well ???
                          Pliers
                          Screwdriver
                          Hammer

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                          • #14
                            Szelag
                            I usually like to use a "conventional" welding glove on
                            my torch hand, something you would stick weld or mig with.
                            It allows me to rest the torch hand on what I'm welding
                            without cooking it so quick. I don't find it bothers torch
                            control.
                            Dave P.

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                            • #15
                              What school? I may be going back to Michigan this year.
                              Univ. of Colorado, Boulder. http://www.formulabuff.com, check it out.

                              I'm hoping when I finally do get a job after I graduate I find some cool engineering place where there's some shop availability. I've gotten spoiled with 24 hr access to machine and welding shops

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