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  • Aluminum piping > my welding...need a little input

    Hey everyone, this site is amazing and there are a lot of very talented people on here. Big thumbs up!!

    Anyways, heres the problem I'm having. I'm attempting to weld up some .065 6061 aluminum piping for an intercooler project that I'm working on. On the side of the pipe (or any piece of aluminum), I can run an amazing bead without any problem at all. However, when I try to weld the pipes together, I just blow out the side/edge of the pipe.

    I clean all the pipe with some 400 grit sandpaper, dedicated SS brush for AL, and then wipe it down with denatured alcohol....in other words, the parts are clean.

    I'm running an econotig (I know ), 3/32 2%, ~20 CFH of 100% argon, and I've played with the heat anywhere from 50-85amps.

    What do I need to do?

    thanks guys

  • #2
    forgot to add I'm using 1/16 4043 rod

    Comment


    • #3
      Mark

      I'm not very good at it either but i"ve found holding the torch close to 90 degrees from the work and keeping the rod above and dipping in to get started after you see wetting of both pieces. Once you have it tacked if holding the torch at almost 90 degrees you can watch the puddle and add the rod for the proper overlay of filler. Once there is fusion on both pieces its wetting and adding filler into the puddle, watching closely for adession on both pieces then adding more filler and continuing on.

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      • #4
        well yeah welding two pieces of AL together is a different ball of wax than running a stringer bead. too many people who have never done aluminum run a couple flat beads and say "eh... what's the big deal with AL, this is easy."

        how big is the gap you are trying to bridge between the two pieces of pipe? for 1/16" wall tubing, it should be nearly 0 gap. you can't expect to bridge a huge gap with thin-wall AL tubing, especially if you are a novice at AL.

        if your gap is ok and you are blowing out the edges it is too hot, end of story. heat control is critical. my advice would be to heat up the two pieces of tubing to the point just before a puddle forms. then add a little filler into the joint, so you end up with a small blob of unfused filler laying on top of the two edges. then step on the pedal to increase the heat until the unfused blob fuses. now the two parts are joined and continuing will be much easier. from this point on, control of the foot pedal will determine whether you blow through or get no fusion at all.

        it's harder than it looks, so keep practicing.
        miller dynasty 350
        miller spectrum 1000

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        • #5
          thanks guys...

          I'm using a vert/horizontal (obviously using it horizontally to cut) and I measured some parts that I cut the edges are usually parallel within 200 microns, so there is next to 0 gap.

          There shouldn't be any need to preheat this AL as thin as it is. But, heating it up just a little like ridesideways said, sounds like it would help.

          And I do need to work on my angle, its usually around/guessing 60-75 degrees.

          I'm using a vise to hold the two pipes together too...so its not going anywhere. I've been welding w/ a TIG for about 3 years off and on and really working on my AL work for around a year. Its just this thin wall tubing is whooping my ***

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          • #6
            I agree with Ridesideways, butt welding alum (especially thin) is really hard. I'm trying to figure it out. Someone said; since it will 'melt away', bridging will take a 'lot' of filler. If possible, some kind of backing will help. When it works, I melted a ball of filler onto the joint and pedal up; again like RS. I was using a #10 cup with 5/16" stickout and getting the black pepper specks. Making no changes other than shortening to 3/16" stickout, fixed the problem. YMMV
            RETIRED desk jockey.

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            • #7
              I agree with both of these guys. I found it's easiest to melt a glob of filler on the joint and step on the pedal to attain fusion. Once you have a tack it should be relatively smooth sailing .
              --Andrew
              Frontline Fabrication

              Comment


              • #8
                I disagree...heat the part until puddle forms and then apply filler. 060 isn't that thin. I would still probably be using 3/32 filler on that anyway and think that is part of your problem. The filler cools the puddle. You just need to practice more and learn to react faster...esp. backing off of your peddle (You do HAVE a peddle don't you?)

                Wherever you add filler before the base is melted will more than likely have incomplete fusion on the back side. Even doing it correctly can result in that.
                If you learn to weld in that fashion IMO you have just taught yourself a poor habit. If we were talking about welding soda cans that would be one thing (maybe) but 060 is not really that big of a deal. That is what your peddle is for IMO.
                I would suggest practicing on some scrap before you work on your nicer stuff.
                On my old Airco I have nothing but a momentary button and I just hit the button and the instant it gets "chromish" I JAB the filler in....very basic.

                Sorry for what many will call a harsh answer but better for you to know the right way than you do it wrong and think it is proper. Flame away (altho I did say IMO and all that stuff)

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                • #9
                  My stick out is about 3/16 to 1/4 (estimating) and I'm using a #7 cup.

                  I would still probably be using 3/32 filler on that anyway and think that is part of your problem. The filler cools the puddle. You just need to practice more and learn to react faster...esp. backing off of your peddle (You do HAVE a peddle don't you?)
                  I've noticted that while I was welding at work. I was welding up some 3/8" plate with a synchro 250 and grabbed a 1/8" rod just to see what it would do. It is amazing how the larger rod cools the puddle down and you have to give it some more.

                  Yeah, I have a remote peddle...I hate using the thumb control, mainly cause I've learned on a peddle.

                  If I can eventually some sort of fusion with the pipes (not pretty/complete at all), but I can usually run my bead from there. Its just that inital start thats getting me.

                  I have 10' of 2.5" .065" 6061 AL that I can mess around with. I was just making little round coupons and trying it out...

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                  • #10
                    Sorry for what many will call a harsh answer but better for you to know the right way than you do it wrong and think it is proper. Flame away (altho I did say IMO and all that stuff)

                    I have no problem with this answer. And it's how myths get quenched. It's why the first two lines of my sig are there. I'm doing alum in class right now, and I'll be trying this until I get it. Getting the initial puddle started across the two pieces gives me trouble with alum. IMO
                    RETIRED desk jockey.

                    Hobby weldor with a little training.

                    Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

                    Miller Syncrowave 250.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Craig in Denver View Post
                      Sorry for what many will call a harsh answer but better for you to know the right way than you do it wrong and think it is proper. Flame away (altho I did say IMO and all that stuff)

                      I have no problem with this answer. And it's how myths get quenched. It's why the first two lines of my sig are there. I'm doing alum in class right now, and I'll be trying this until I get it. Getting the initial puddle started across the two pieces gives me trouble with alum. IMO
                      Thanks Craig... I weld that thickness constantly and When you get good it simply becomes second nature to simply just get in position and nail down 2 or 3 dimes before you even think about letting up. I think too much heat is easier than trying too sneek up on it when it comes to tacking up stuff. It takes some effort to burn it up and it is usually because the surrounding area got hot. If you slow down that's when you burn thru. But like I said that is just me.
                      Sometimes I might backhand a tack if it's a tuffie but usually that would be on a fillet or something like that. And that is just one little wierd technique thing I do. Certainly not textbook.
                      I don't move into 1/16th rod until 3/32 seems fat and 1/16th feels just right...which is dang near never.
                      There may be several guys here tho that would prefer 1/16th on that material/joint and I would not want to steal their thunder. I just like to get it over quicker.

                      www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                      Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                      MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                      Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                      Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                      Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                      Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                      Miller WC-115-A
                      Miller Spectrum 300
                      Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                      Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        Thanks Craig... I weld that thickness constantly and When you get good it simply becomes second nature to simply just get in position and nail down 2 or 3 dimes before you even think about letting up.
                        You're Welcome. Pecking order: Engloid & KB doing NASA stuff, FusionKing, like David R, doing Real World Welding. Yeah, right. Just to make sure, you're using 'the button' to do this?
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        I think too much heat is easier than trying too sneek up on it when it comes to tacking up stuff.
                        A question jumps up here: do you always use the button? Coming from a pedal dependant kinda guy.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        It takes some effort to burn it up
                        No, this part comes easily to me.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        It is usually because the surrounding area got hot. If you slow down that's when you burn thru. But like I said that is just me.
                        Sheesh, hot and fast; maybe someday.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        Sometimes I might backhand a tack if it's a tuffie but usually that would be on a fillet or something like that. And that is just one little wierd technique thing I do.
                        Don't talk about your love life online.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        Certainly not textbook.
                        Once upon a time, I thought welding could be learned by reading. Not so much anymore, there's no substitute for experience.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        I don't move into 1/16th rod until 3/32 seems fat and 1/16th feels just right...which is dang near never.
                        This is a pretty big deal. Until I switched to 3/32", I HATED tiggin' alum. This ruined my learning curve. Learning on my own, without the internet, crushed me.
                        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                        There may be several guys here tho that would prefer 1/16th on that material/joint and I would not want to steal their thunder. I just like to get it over quicker.;-)
                        As above, 3/32" is much better for me.

                        Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                        I hate you. Maybe we could co-exist if you sent me yours. If Ultrachop's gets here first, I'll return yours. (I don't mind begging for a Dynasty 200 DX) =)
                        Last edited by Craig in Denver; 03-11-2009, 02:28 PM.
                        RETIRED desk jockey.

                        Hobby weldor with a little training.

                        Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

                        Miller Syncrowave 250.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Craig in Denver View Post
                          You're Welcome.

                          I hate you. Maybe we could co-exist if you sent me yours. If Ultrachop's gets here first, I'll return yours. (I don't mind begging for a Dynasty 200 DX) =)
                          Craig, I thought I could miss a day away from this site: then I ran across this thread and FK's great advice! read all the way through it and saw this quote. I am sorry to say you will probably have to beg a little longer I was watching a AL tig video on the net last night and finally I saw one that showed the guys "foot" rythm at the same time he was adding filler and a light went off!! you add filler on the power stroke, back off to cool as needed, move and do it again!! (am I right Fk?) I was so excited I went to the shop at 2am and unhooked the ground lead that I had rigged for UPS to hook up today (ship to you) and decided to keep the Dynasty for a while longer for practicing on meself (sorry)

                          Tim

                          Dang it is nearly 2am (better either go practice or hit the hay!
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                          • #14
                            I'm going to go pick up some 3/32 rod and get my tank filled...a 160CF goes quick when practicing. I got a few hours out of it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                              I disagree...heat the part until puddle forms and then apply filler. 060 isn't that thin. I would still probably be using 3/32 filler on that anyway and think that is part of your problem. The filler cools the puddle. You just need to practice more and learn to react faster...esp. backing off of your peddle (You do HAVE a peddle don't you?)

                              Wherever you add filler before the base is melted will more than likely have incomplete fusion on the back side. Even doing it correctly can result in that.
                              If you learn to weld in that fashion IMO you have just taught yourself a poor habit. If we were talking about welding soda cans that would be one thing (maybe) but 060 is not really that big of a deal. That is what your peddle is for IMO.
                              I would suggest practicing on some scrap before you work on your nicer stuff.
                              On my old Airco I have nothing but a momentary button and I just hit the button and the instant it gets "chromish" I JAB the filler in....very basic.

                              Sorry for what many will call a harsh answer but better for you to know the right way than you do it wrong and think it is proper. Flame away (altho I did say IMO and all that stuff)
                              not harsh, but i do think the OP is going to have a tough time doing what you suggest given his experience level.
                              miller dynasty 350
                              miller spectrum 1000

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