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  • Aluminum TIG Issues

    I've read around on here for tips on welding aluminum and I started getting the hang of getting a puddle started but I cannot seem to get a puddle going for 2 separate pieces that I'm trying to join. I was practicing on some scrap and every time I tried to start the puddle it was rip a hole rite away in one of the sheets even if I concentrated the heat away from that sheet.

    Any suggestions? btw I'm using a Syncrowave 180, Red tungsten electrode. Used about 50 amps for these thin sheets.




  • #2
    It is tough to get aluminum to bridge on really thin material. Try cutting the heat some more and lots of practice, you will get there.

    If you are learning I would try some heavier material to start with.

    .0625 material and down gets progressively tougher to bridge at the edges.
    mike sr

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    • #3
      I wonder with that machine if it would help to switch to pure (green) tungsten so it will ball? Or at least a very bunt tip on the one you’re using.
      Caution!
      These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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      • #4
        My suggestion would be to change your tunsten . 2% thoriated is not a good selection for AC welding with this machine .
        These machines seem to like zirconiated or even lanthanated .
        This will not solve all of your issues , but , it is certainly a step in the right direction .
        Miller MM252 with Bernard Q300
        Hypertherm PM30

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        • #5
          What size filler are you using? A trick I have done is lay the filler over the seam and try getting the arc to start on the filler it gives you some metal to help bridge the gap.

          -Dan
          Owner
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          • #6
            like mentioned lay the filler on your joint at the start so the arc can melt it and the material at the same time and it will make the 2 pieces want to join a little easier. if you try to start a puddle with just the 2 pieces your just going to melt the edges back from each other and make a hole. It's just the way aluminum is.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by engnerdan View Post
              What size filler are you using? A trick I have done is lay the filler over the seam and try getting the arc to start on the filler it gives you some metal to help bridge the gap.

              -Dan
              I think the filler rod is about 3/32.

              Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I'll give it a shot with the suggested electrodes.

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              • #8
                I would recommend pure tungsten (green) and 1/16" rod for that thin stuff FWIW. Another trick for bridging the gap is to add a drop near the edge of 1 pc then flow it on to the other. Just my 2 cents..
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                • #9
                  Start with 3mm thick aluminium coupons,
                  S/S wire brush the coupons,
                  Acetone wipe the coupons and electrode to remove oils,
                  Clamp the coupons to brass or steel plate (this will act as a heat sink and remove excess heat from the coupons),
                  Set the welder to 80amps,
                  Use a 2.4mm Zirconiated electrode White,
                  Start the puddle 25mm in from the edge,
                  Use a foot peddle and jamb it down to get the heat into the couplons fast,
                  When the section you are heating goes silver back the peddle off to half, three quater peddle,
                  Add filler rod.

                  It all takes practice just keep at it.

                  Ji
                  Grip it and Rip it

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                  • #10
                    Pedal control

                    Perhaps a smoother transition on the pedal will help as well. Easy on, easy off on the heat. Small tungsten and small filler wire will help and the suggestion of using pure (green) tungsten is probably well founded as well.
                    Mustangs Forever!

                    Miller equipment.

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                    • #11
                      late update but I took a lot of advice from here and tried practicing with it. The one that suited me the best was to hit the foot control to max intially, then dab filler, then quickly release the foot.

                      Here's what I got. The first image is 2 pieces joined together, it's kind of rough to see because I hit it with an SS brush.







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                      • #12
                        Better watch out or that caterpillar is going to crawl into that hole, never to be seen again.

                        Anybody ever mention to you about backing off on the amps while adding filler at the end of your bead.

                        Left handed welders do things backwards.
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                        • #13
                          lol, left hander ftw

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by popspipes View Post
                            It is tough to get aluminum to bridge on really thin material. Try cutting the heat some more and lots of practice, you will get there..
                            I do the opposite . . . increase the current and decrease the time. Here's a sample of 3003-H14 aluminum, .062 thick. The spots were made using the built-in timer, but can be done manually with some practice. No filler was added, and the second photo is the back of the coupon.

                            The parameters are written on the sample . . . i.e. 150 amps, 0.3 seconds, A/C frequency 90 Hz (not critical), and an A/C balance of 80%. The range of acceptable parameters is pretty wide, and changing one affects the spot just as you'd expect . . . more time = larger spot; turn up the A/C balance = larger spot, etc. You can also make good-looking seam welds by making a series of tacks . . . last photo.

                            This really speeds up tack welding parts together. As no filler is added, only one hand is needed. I use minimal stickout of the tungsten and rest the cup on the part to maintain a consistent (short) arc length. The other can be used to hold the pieces together . . . however, fit-up needs to be good, and this will not work well with crack sensitive materials like 6061, which needs filler added to change the percent of silicon in the puddle.







                            I've tried a wide range of settings, including pulse settings, but haven't been able to eliminate the crater.


                            If you are learning I would try some heavier material to start with.

                            .0625 material and down gets progressively tougher to bridge at the edges.
                            I'll agree with that!

                            Jim
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                            • #15
                              Jim,it's not so much your setting that's causing you to have that crater as much as the way you ramp down your amperage at the end of your weld,Also,keep your eyes on that puddle as you do ramp down,you're not done using the filler rod just yet.While you amp down,fill as needed to keep the puddle from evaporating itself into that crater.
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