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TIG or MIG better for welding aluminum items?

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  • TIG or MIG better for welding aluminum items?

    Q. When welding aluminum items such as heads or intakes, which is the preferred method? TIG or MIG? (Submitted by: Tony Champion from Knightdale, NC)


    A. The TIG method is used to weld these items because of its complete fusion and accuracy of the repaired area. MIG being more of a production process would deposit too much material in the affected area causing excessive post repair machining and clean up.

  • #2
    So it is safe to say that it is possible to Mig Aluminum together.

    I hate to say this, but I recently purchased a Lincoln SP-135 plus(got a deal I couldn't pass up.) I don't have much experience, and my first little project is a welding cart. The frame is .090" mild steel, and I was planning on making all the side panels out of aluminum(for weight). I need to do a little bit of aluminum welding so I bought the aluminum feed kit. The dealer kind of gave me a strange look, but I have been told it's possible.

    Any pointers? Besides buying a TIG?

    Thanks

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    • #3
      aluminum GMAW

      Use 100% argon shielding gas. Aluminum, because of its great conductance needs fewer things trying to get everything hot, and the more CO2 in your gas, the hotter your arc is. Be prepared to weld larger sections in "stiches" that you go back and fill in, or you can also find yourself having to weld faster and faster as the Al is very good at preheating itself further down the line as you keep welding. Best advice, this is a good project to practice on, so take advantage of it.

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      • #4
        Welding Aluminum with the MIG process is done all the time. Like I said before, It is usually a faster production environment but can be done on small jobs as well. A couple things to keep in mind.
        1- Always "push" the gun, not pull/
        2- No Co2. Co2 will contaminate your weld.
        3- Bump your shield flow rate up to around 25-30
        4- The weld will be in a "spray transfer" not the typicle short arc you would normally use in mild steel. The normal sizzle sound should be replaced by more of a hissing sound in the arc.
        5- don't expect the best results from the "hobby" class machine you bought. It will do your project but I don't think it's the type of machine I would try to make a living at.
        6- practice, practice.
        7- Have fun

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        • #5
          Hey Mac702 and Andy,

          THANKS A BUNCH FOR YOUR TIPS!!!

          Yesterday I picked up an argon bottle. I now have everything to get started. I'm kind of excited. I know this is just a "hobby" machine, but I am looking forward to stepping up to a good Tig machine in the future. I want to get some more experience first. As a Miller rep Andy, what machine would be good for the less experienced "hobbiest"? Is there one that runs on 110vac? I know it's kind of a dumb question, but I don't have 220. Perhaps by the time I get to that point I will.


          Thanks again guys

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