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  • MSM69Z28
    started a topic cleaning aluminum filler rod necessary?

    cleaning aluminum filler rod necessary?

    I clean the base metal really well (1/8" 6061) by sanding it, and then wash it in soapy hot water. When I arc, the pool looks very shiny and clean, but as soon as I go to add the filler, total crap. The filler rod obviously is oxidized and contaminating the weld. I then sanded the filler rod really well too, and washed it in hot soapy water, but I got the same thing. Dirty black welds, and the filler rod gets nasty before I can even add it to the puddle by just balling up into crud. How can I clean my filler rods before welding? My filler rod is in a plastic case, but probably had it for months. Should I just buy new filler rod? If it wasn't for this problem, I think I could do quite well on my aluminum welding. Any tips appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Michael

  • coronan
    replied
    I bumped up to a 3/4 " cup and I think it solved all of my Woes.
    Acording to the miller Tig Calculator I should use 1/2 to 3/4 cup on 1/4" butt welds.

    I had 5/8 cup but couldnt run a bead larger than a pea with out contamination.

    When in doubt go up a cup size.

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  • Kpack
    replied
    http://www.sancoclean.com/catalog/ca...no=01010100-GL

    I like this for cleaning alum not to harsh. I mixed up some in a gal bucket and dropped a spool of alum mig wire that was real old in it for a couple of minutes rinsed it of blew it out and let it dry welded like it was brand new I don't know why it wouldn't clean your filler rod a gal will last you a long time and it beats wire brushing or sanding. I buy it at a local cleaning supply.

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  • Goodhand
    replied
    Try to shorten the arc by holding the tung closer to the puddle; suspect you are melting/balling the rod before it hits the puddle, as others have said. Keep the tip close to the puddle and back up a bit (but don't pull away), as you dip the rod to the puddle. By keeping a shorter arc the heat is more confined to the area, so hopefully, the rod will hit the puddle before melting.

    Suggest you watch some of the videos at http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/ to see how a pro does it.
    Last edited by Goodhand; 04-14-2013, 10:25 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • bayweld
    replied
    scotch brite yer rod

    Originally posted by JSFAB View Post
    scotchbrite, you can omit the acetone.
    +1 ...I don't like using acetone or other fast evaporating liquids for cleaning because of fire danger.....But then I welded on aluminum gillnetters ....Manual cleaning always works.....sometimes it takes more that one or two attempts...Cleaning your rod is a basic..If you have greasy gloves you may have to clean your rod often if you want those welds that shine on and on..good luck...

    Leave a comment:


  • coronan
    replied
    I'm cleaning every thing with laquer thinner. (has acetone in it. Leaves no residue.)

    I may have to much leading angle. The effect looked like arc blow. Hot gas would slightly melt and oxidize the filler and also allow arc wander towards the filler.

    THE BEST TIP ON THIS THREAD WAS TO "SNEAK THE FILLER INTO THE VERY EDGE OF THE PUDDLE.
    Kudos to who ever posted it.
    Last edited by coronan; 04-11-2013, 10:20 AM.

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  • weldonwelding
    replied
    I used to weld fuel cells for racing boats and had to get certified for it. They made us clean the filler with acetone and cut the end of the filler off before every start.

    Leave a comment:


  • coronan
    replied
    Sooo.... Whats your advice???? What am i doing wrong? Or is that a trade secret?

    Leave a comment:


  • BearM
    replied
    cleaning aluminum filler rod necessary?

    Aluminum Hi-freq welding is the easiest and prettiest welding there is.. It's super easy to diagnose any problems your having if something goes wrong. It's also very nice to make a nice uniform robotic looking weld, it just takes some "hood time" to find that rhythm. I use a thumb control and I wouldn't trade it for a foot control, EVER. I make the prettiest welds in any position on any given day. Prepare prepare prepare! I've never cleaned filler rods either, if they are dirty enough that they cause contamination I will toss them. If this was the case with my filler wire I would also have to look into my storage techniques. I actually leave mine sitting on a "mini" a-frame rod holder on top of the syncrowave uncovered wrapped in a rubber band and I still have never had problems.

    Leave a comment:


  • coronan
    replied
    The best way I have found to get my filler into the puddle is to pull the torch back to the heal of the puddle slightly. Then I can completely remove the rod from the shielding gas and get good bead aperance. I think the high amperage is cooking the filler rod on the edge of my gas shield before I can get it into the puddle.

    However I have Butt joints on I beam in which I get contamination when I cannot get much leading angle on the joint. Looks like gas contamination.
    The Lap / T joints are easier.

    Could it be that the AC cleaning does not work if it is not pushed away???!

    Yes 5/8 = #10. I ordered a 3/4 but its not here yet. Project needs to be done Tomorrow.

    At 120 htz its easier to sneak the rod in, than 60 htz; despite extra cleaning.

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  • shovelon
    replied
    Is that a #10 cup?

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  • coronan
    replied
    I'm having a similar problem.

    350 amps, 1/8 toungsten, 1/8 filler, 5/8 cup, 30cfh argon. Welding 1/4 to 1/2" lap joint.

    I cant get the filler to the puddle before it oxidizes.

    I Scotch brited the 4043 filler. Not helping.

    Leave a comment:


  • MSM69Z28
    replied
    Thanks for the help. I tried scotchbrite and acetone on both the base and the filler. I increased the flow a little, and tried your recommendations with the angles. Came out much better. I think I probably had the flow to low, and using a scotchbrite instead of sandpaper to clean up my filler helped. I'll keep practicing, but the welds were much better. Must have had contamination somewhere, and just more attention to cleaning makes all the difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • Craig in Denver
    replied
    I use a #8 cup (1/2" ID), for better argon coverage.

    Stickout no longer than 1/2 the cup diameter, shorter is better; again for better coverage. Alum is more fussy about this than mild steel. If you have gas lens, use them.

    A steeper torch angle was mentioned; because an angled torch will push the heat out in front of the torch, melting your filler (the gray ash you're probably seeing). This is much worse with 1/16" filler, it has little mass and will overheat and oxidize quickly. I'm much better with 3/32" filler, or even 1/8" filler.

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  • FusionKing
    replied
    I agree with MMW.
    Nobody has this sort of problem that welds aluminum everyday.
    I would say you are "frying" your filler before it gets to the puddle.
    #1...change your torch angle
    #2...watch your filler rod much more carefully and sneak it over to the edge of the puddle and let it stream in. From there you can learn better dipping techniques. Or just make a puddle and then just quickly jab the filler in.
    Aluminum requires much more heat to weld than steel but the arc required to do this is so much more hotter it will waste the filler long before it gets to the puddle if it is in the air close to the arc.
    You would be better off IMO to leave everything nasty and just work on technique. Just learn how to run beads on metal using filler. Then you will appreciate and know the difference cleaning makes on aluminum. It is not near what many would make it out to be.
    I do many welds that appearance is quite important and breaking the patina with a bunch of sanding and brushing leaves areas that would have a worked over appearance. By learning how to weld aluminum that is less than perfect has become quite desirable in the long run.(for me, not everyone) It can make the item seem more original ie. not repaired, once the welded area oxidizes. A welder can tell but the average Joe can't.
    Btw I wipe my rod on the cuff of my glove by wrapping the glove around it and pulling the rod thru. It will leave a black mark on the cuff. Old timer trick. Down and dirty and works when you ain't got nothing else.

    Leave a comment:

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