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  • Aluminum penetration test

    I am going to make a fuel tank for a Pickup truck (one that holds extra fuel in the bed) so I figured I would conduct some test on 6061 .125 Aluminum. Here are my results and please let me know what you think. this is the first test, there is more.

    6061 .125 aluminum, joint, outside corner
    100% Argon Set at about 19 CFH
    3/32 Arc Zone Blue Tungsten
    3/8ths gas cup with lens
    4043 3/32 Filler
    AMPS 140
    Balance 75
    Freq 180
    Technique, floor pedal then back of just a smidge, dip when I see a small keyhole: also, use a piece of angle to keep things square behind the weld
    Test technique; put in vise and pull
    1st pic, ignore the flat weld to the left
    2nd more of the corner
    3rd backside,, notice it appears it has decent penetration
    4th in the vise
    5th broke the weld by pulling back on it
    there is more
    Attached Files
    Last edited by 11b; 01-16-2010, 10:32 PM.

  • #2
    This is pretty much the same test except I kept the pedal all the way down and let a really large keyhole appear then dipped. I was actually kind of messing around because I was almost out of gas. I will admit when I went to rip this apart I had to get very serious and even ripped the plate apart. However I wonder if this is necessary for this application (fuel tank) and that is my question. I don't know,,,,,let me know what you guys think.
    I never took a pic of the "non destroyed weld" because I wasn't planning of taking a pic of such an ugly weld.
    1st the weld
    2nd backside
    3rd ripped plate
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Looks decent just wondering if you worked out the size of tank to how much fuel you have in it and the forces it will put on the tank? Also did you consider the fuel slosh and maybe installing baffles. The welds look decent, however the first one, If it were mine I would want a little more penetration. The second weld is a little to hot from moving slower with to much burn through something in the middle of the two would be good. You want the weld to be penetrated through the joint so it looks like a tig bead kinda on the backside that way the joint won't crack over time.
      Last edited by jrscgsr; 01-17-2010, 02:37 PM.
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      • #4
        Looks good. If it was mine, I'd put a couple of 'anti slosh' baffels in it too.
        You might want to double up the area where the tank contacts the truck, and also pad it with rubber or something to prevent a hole getting chaffed in the tank itself over time from road vibration.
        .
        "Gone are the days of wooden ships, and Iron men.
        I doubt we'll see either of their likes again".

        Circa 1920.
        Author:
        Unknown US Coast Guard unit Commander.

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        • #5
          definitely baffle it.... liquid can slide around with surprising force when unbaffled...
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          • #6
            I go for it if it's diesel, if its gas and for myself I'd go with steel, I've repaired more then one aluminum tank that had been damaged from carelessness.

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            • #7
              one thing i missed in my first post is that your gas flow rate is really high since your using a gas lense. I would be running it at about 12-13 cfm, this will save you some money in the long run you will get equal or better coverage with the lower flow rate running gas lenses. When you have the flow rae to high you can create turbulance in the gas stream which can pull in air and contaminate the weld.
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              • #8
                Fuel cell

                We build a bunch of them during the year. But most of ours are used in the marine environment. Even the ones we build on request for the "pickup" business use baffles. USCG requires a full baffle every 30 inches in the tank. Shifting liquids can easily cause a vessel to capsize. And it can do the same to a vehicle on the road. Even if it doesn't consider this. Even water is 800 times as dense as the air. That's a crap load of force kicking around.

                Put the baffles in. It's easier than explaining to DOT and the HAZ MAT crew why your fuel is all over the environment.

                Also we build our tanks with 5052. It's bendable and you can avoid a whole lot of extra welding by making the appropriate bends in your fabrication. 6061 wont bend without cracking. Just a thought.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by captkipp View Post
                  Even the ones we build on request for the "pickup" business use baffles
                  I have a 120-gallon (24” x 24” x 48”) farm tank with 3-baffles in it. When I take it to town on the back of my 1-ton flatbed to refill, when I stop at a light I can feel the fuel slosh around, hate to see what it would be like with no baffles!
                  Caution!
                  These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                  • #10
                    Hey thanks for all the info, yes I will put two baffles in the tank. And I sure could back down on the gas, probably about 12-15 cfm or there abouts
                    So do you think I should go with the first bead but a wee bit hotter?
                    I seem to think that the most strength comes from a weld that has a lot of bead on the backside, and from pulling on it this, it seems to be the case. However, is this what I need or do you think I can make a serviceable, and safe tank with the welds in the first series of pics?
                    It welds really nice in the first pics (small keyhole) and I think it would suffice because any store bought tank I examined would make me cringe just thinking about the weld on the backside but I am curios to see how you guys do it.
                    5052 Aluminum is what I would ultimately use. Captkipp mentioned this alloy and I also agree it is a good choice.
                    Thanks for your responses
                    Last edited by 11b; 01-17-2010, 09:28 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Being as you’re so concerned, why not weld it on both sides? I suggest you weld everything but the top. Bottom, sides, then reach in and weld on the inside. Drill your holes for drain, and other outlets, clean the inside really well. Drill any holes you might have in the top, fill spout or what have you. Weld any of this inside and out, place top into place, and weld it up!
                      Caution!
                      These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                      • #12
                        Yes I actually thought of that but was wondering if I would be overdoing it? But that would sure do it! I did a test weld like that, not adding to much filler, just in places where there wasn't much metal on the backside, and it was very strong.

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                        • #13
                          I have made several myself and repaired a bunch as well.
                          Joint prep is the key to proper welding IMO.
                          If using 1/8th material then you cut all your pieces 1/4" smaller and tack it together so only the inside corners touch, and that makes a natural 90 degree pocket for the weld to set in. Tacking is very important as well esp. if you have no bends and make the entire thing from flat pieces. Space them no farther apart than about every 2". This stop warpage when welding.
                          You will need to bend "feet" for your baffles to weld in, because you ain't gonna believe the warpage that happens in the middle of a big sheet when welding something you want to look flat when finished. I find this the most challenging part of all. Good place for mig IMO.
                          One of the best parts about using 5052 is you get to use 5356 filler. It welds a bit different so practice with it instead if possible.
                          The shape determines so much that it would be very hard to say how to go about it much more than just general advise without some sort of pics or drawings. Filler neck. pickup tubes, vent tubes, fuel returns, plus nos tubes all must be thought of as well.
                          Keep us posted (with pics of course).....Since about everybody is broke... projects like this are rather sparse around here.

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                          • #14
                            Hey thanks, that sounds good Fusion King. That was pretty much what I planned. Except I was going to use 4043? Thats bad?
                            The guy I am doing this for is a friend. I told him I would weld it, but he has to do all the fab work. He is pretty good at building stuff, so if I tell him I need a nice outside corner he'll do it. Of course I will show him what I mean. The tank is only going to be 11 inches high by about 18 wide and as long or wide as his pickup box about 60 inches. He wants it under the the tool box, the kind that goes across the bed. So I shouldn't have to much trouble welding the baffles in but I will have them folded like you stated and weld a few inches then move somewhere else till I get them full length welded. We were even considering using dimple dies on the holes in the baffles to give them a little stiffness. Thanks for the advice about the tacks and the warp issue. I really hate watching the metal move away from the arc! I never really posted a lot a pics on the site, but I think this time I think I will. I like looking at other peoples work also.
                            Last edited by 11b; 01-20-2010, 01:23 AM.

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