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mig weld aluminum without a spoolgun

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  • mig weld aluminum without a spoolgun

    Has anyone tried mig welding aluminium without a spoolgun, just feeding the wire the same way you feed steel wire. I just barely talked my wife into letting me get a MM252, I knew she would never go for another $800-$1000 for a spoolgun too. I have an old aluminium truck cap that needs the original tack welds repaired around the back window opening and the cap really isn't worth paying someone to tig it. By the way this is great for us not so experienced to write and ask all sorts of dumb questions and you guys take pity on us and answer them. Ha-Ha Thanks

  • #2
    Yes, I did it with .045" 4043 once in my mm200. Keep the whip fully extended and as straight as possible, also set the drive roller tension as light as you can get away with. I used a milk crate to lessen the angle of the whip sagging off the front machine. It worked fine for the ten minutes I needed it. You still need 100% Argon - no way around that.

    I have never tried it with .035", but Lincoln has some recommendations for using it without a spoolgun. They claim 5356 wire is stiffer and easier to feed without birdnesting. I can't put a link to a Lincoln article on Miller's forum in good conscience but if you type "aluminum mig" in Google, that article will be the first result.
    2007 Miller Dynasty 200 DX
    2005 Miller Passport 180

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    • #3
      Yes i did a test with my MM185 with spoolgun and just my mig without the spoolgun. I welded 2 exact parts and the results were almost the same until i started getting birdnesting with my mig gun. Up until that point i was ready to sell the spoolgun. Now if i had bigger mig wire and the teflon liner the results prob would have been better. When i worked in the shop we had a MM452 set up for alum without a spoolgun and it worked great but that was with 1/16" wire and a short 6' gun cable. So it will work if you can get a teflon liner and take it slow...Bob
      Bob Wright

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      • #4
        You can do it but don't expect to be able to run any long beads with consistent feed with it going through the mig gun. You stand your best chance with 3/64" 5356 wire and use the right size liner for it too. Like 57 said, keep the gun lead straight.
        Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
        Millermatic175
        MillermaticPassport/Q300
        HTP MIG200
        PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
        ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
        DialarcHF, Radiator-1
        Hypertherm PowerMax 380
        Purox oxy/ace
        Jackson EQC
        -F350 CrewCab 4x4
        -LoadNGo utility bed
        -Bobcat 250NT
        -PassportPlus/Q300
        -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
        -Suitcase8RC/Q400
        -Suitcase12RC/Q300
        -Smith oxy/propane
        -Jackson EQC

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        • #5
          Settings?

          If I would try this would I use the same settings listed on my machine for the spoolgun or would I need other settings for voltage and wire speed? I'm don't know if the settings for the spoolgun collaborate with the settings for the welder.

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          • #6
            I would use the same voltage settings and the wire needs to run faster than steel and i can't remember how they compare so bump it up and try it...Bob
            Bob Wright

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            • #7
              When you get the wire, post the wire diameter and alloy and the material thickness and joint type/position and one of us can look up the wire speed and voltage setting on the chart for you, or go to the local welding supply and buy your own mig setting chart and look it up yourself.

              I've forgotten by now what machine you have. If your machine does not set in volts and inches per minute, then you will need to figure out what the settings on your machine mean in volts and inches per minute. You need to find from your machine specs the min/max wire speed and min/max voltage ranges for your machine, then figure out what each tap or dial setting means. Once you have that figured out, you can set in volts and inches per minute from the mig charts.

              EDIT: nevermind, I see you have the Millermatic 252, which has digital meters that read in volts and inches per minute, so half the battle is already won.

              Untill you know the size/type of wire and size/joint/position of the work, you can't know what the setting will be.
              Last edited by Desertrider33; 08-28-2009, 08:57 PM.
              Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
              Millermatic175
              MillermaticPassport/Q300
              HTP MIG200
              PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
              ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
              DialarcHF, Radiator-1
              Hypertherm PowerMax 380
              Purox oxy/ace
              Jackson EQC
              -F350 CrewCab 4x4
              -LoadNGo utility bed
              -Bobcat 250NT
              -PassportPlus/Q300
              -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
              -Suitcase8RC/Q400
              -Suitcase12RC/Q300
              -Smith oxy/propane
              -Jackson EQC

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cah8861 View Post
                I have an old aluminium truck cap that needs the original tack welds repaired around the back window opening and the cap.....
                This sounds like pretty thin material?
                Originally posted by cah8861 View Post
                By the way this is great for us not so experienced to write and ask all sorts of dumb questions and you guys take pity on us and answer them. Ha-Ha Thanks
                The problem with that is you may get all sorts of dumb answers from guys like me. Even if I do take pity on you.

                A 252 is on my wish list, along with the other 'not in this lifetime' items. Like LeAnn Rimes.
                RETIRED desk jockey.

                Hobby weldor with a little training.

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

                Miller Syncrowave 250.
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey LeAnn just got divorced and she's over 18 now...
                  Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
                  Millermatic175
                  MillermaticPassport/Q300
                  HTP MIG200
                  PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
                  ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
                  DialarcHF, Radiator-1
                  Hypertherm PowerMax 380
                  Purox oxy/ace
                  Jackson EQC
                  -F350 CrewCab 4x4
                  -LoadNGo utility bed
                  -Bobcat 250NT
                  -PassportPlus/Q300
                  -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
                  -Suitcase8RC/Q400
                  -Suitcase12RC/Q300
                  -Smith oxy/propane
                  -Jackson EQC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    love this machine

                    I've only been able to play with this machine 4 times in the last week because of work and grandchildren watching duties. So far I love this machine. For the last several years I have been borrowing my Dads ac/dc stick welder after mine burnt up and I kept telling myself everytime I hauled it from his place that it would burn up also, and I would have to buy him a new welder and I still wouldn't have a welder. Also what a pain dragging it back and forth. I almost bought the MM212 but wanted a large enough machine to replace the stick welder as much as possible, so I sprung for the MM252. I read on Joe the welders website that you could use the less expensive spoolgun, the spoolmate 100 with the 212 but needed a switch installed. I'll have to research this option for the 252. I can't see where they get $1200 in the 30A spoolgun- thats about 60% the cost of my MM212.

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                    • #11
                      Look around for a used Spoolmatic 15/30A. They pop up here and other welding boards and on ebay and craig's list. I've seen them for as little as $400 and as much as $1000 but $500-$800 is about the norm. You can also use a Python, XR-15/30A, or Cobramax/edge push-pull gun with your 252. Those come up used sometimes too.

                      As far as I know, you cannot use the Spoolmate series spool guns on the 252 or 350/350P migs. These machines put out 24vdc on the 10-pin spool gun connector, as the Spoolmatics run on 24vdc. The Spoolmates run on some other voltage, so to hook one up, you would need a controller that changes the voltage to suit the Spoolmate gun, if such a controller exists. Also, the cheaper Spoolmate 100 and the more expensive Spoolmate 3xxx series are not compatible with eachother either. In the end, it's probly equal money to just get the Spoolmatic, plug it in and weld.
                      Last edited by Desertrider33; 08-29-2009, 08:15 AM.
                      Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
                      Millermatic175
                      MillermaticPassport/Q300
                      HTP MIG200
                      PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
                      ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
                      DialarcHF, Radiator-1
                      Hypertherm PowerMax 380
                      Purox oxy/ace
                      Jackson EQC
                      -F350 CrewCab 4x4
                      -LoadNGo utility bed
                      -Bobcat 250NT
                      -PassportPlus/Q300
                      -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
                      -Suitcase8RC/Q400
                      -Suitcase12RC/Q300
                      -Smith oxy/propane
                      -Jackson EQC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        spoolgun

                        Thanks for the info.

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