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MM180/Spoolmate100: Different Gas Needed For Aluminum ??

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  • MM180/Spoolmate100: Different Gas Needed For Aluminum ??

    Our son owns a Millermatic 180 MIG machine. We want to surprise him with the Spoolmate 100 spoolgun for his birthday, as we know he wants to do some aluminum welding.

    What else does he need besides the spoolgun to weld aluminum?

    Does it require a different gas? If so, does this different gas also weld steel? Or, will he need to keep two different gas tanks at home ... one for welding steel and one for welding aluminum?

    Thanks in advance for any info.


  • #2
    First you guys are great parents! I would be beyond stoked to get welding gear for a gift, especially something like a spool gun.

    He will also need pure argon for the shielding gas to welding, but this will not work for steel. He will need to keep his 75%/25% argon/co2 mix for steel welding. Also he will need aluminum filler wire.


    • #3
      Welcome Ryan,

      he will need 2 different gas tanks:

      1- For steel a Argon/Co2 mix

      1- Aluminum- 100% Argon

      Does the 180 he have have the ability to accept the Spoolgun?

      Some of the early models requires a retro fit kit

      "For the Millermatic 140/180, prior to serial #LH210051N, use retrofit kit #300409"
      Ed Conley
      Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
      Miller 125c Plasma 120v
      O/A set
      SO 2020 Bender
      You can call me Bacchus


      • #4
        Originally posted by ironmine View Post

        What else does he need besides the spoolgun to weld aluminum?
        Maybe! Depends what the SN is...Bob
        For the Millermatic 140/180, prior to serial #LH210051N, use retrofit kit #300409
        Bob Wright


        • #5
          MM180/Spoolmate100: Different Gas Needed For Aluminum ??

          As stated above y'all are some awesome parents. Also as stated above he will need two different shielding gasses. The biggest cost for gasses are the initial purchase/lease on the tank. After that its relatively cheap to refill. Big appreciation he will give you on that. He will also need some cleaning supplies. A few stainless steel wire brushes( for alum only) and some acetone or denatured alcohol to prep the aluminum. Maybe get him a new regulator for his shielding gas, oh and a new auto darkening helmets are ALWAYS a successful gift. Maybe some leathers too. Some aluminum material would be helpful as well. Gotta have the metal to practice if your gonna get to Carnegie Hall.

          Sounds like I'm making my X-mad list already.


          • #6
            Thanks for the quick replies, guys.

            I went down to the garage and looked at his welder .... serial number is LJ200082N. I'm going to assume that this is the later model, and does not need the stated retrofit kit.

            Dang, I see the list price is now $276 for the spool gun. Seems to me, it was under $200 not too long ago?? Lol. I hope the local welding supply shop, where he bought the machine, will knock some bucks off that list price for my wife and I.

            Thanks again.


            • #7
              Hi Ryan.

              I agree - great present for your son. The spool gun should plug in, based on that serial number. I would suggest the largest argon tank you can safely handle, probably an 80-125 cf.

              Try to contact a local fab shop and ask for their aluminum drops. He is going to need a lot of practice material and it is too expensive for most of us to buy new sheets and shapes to practice on. They may give you plenty if you explain it is for your son, or they may charge a very nominal fee. If you brought them some pizza at lunch time or beer at closing time you will probably get more than enough.

              That and some aluminum filler wire should get him started!

              BTW, if you post your location you may have some members close by that will be happy to help you and your son.
              Miller 211AS
              Miller 375
              Miller Syncrowave 250
              Miller Thunderbolt XL


              • #8
                Thanks again for all the info, guys. We are buying the gun, etc for our boy. Our local welding supply shop does not stock it. I'm going to order online (CyberWeld).

                One more question .... maybe impossible to answer without more information from me ..... but, what diameter aluminum wire should I buy to get him started: .030 or .035? And, I assume 4043, not 5356 aluminum wire?

                We know he wants to build stuff from beer kegs.

                Thanks in advance if you are able to make any suggestions.

                Last edited by ironmine; 09-18-2013, 10:05 PM.