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Aluminum tig problem with 4043

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  • Aluminum tig problem with 4043

    I have been searching the internet high and low for anything that can be causing my problem. I have had no luck! I have some 6063 square tubing, and some 5052 plate. I have been getting seat time on some of those two types of material I have laying around. I have very little experience welding aluminum but it will be my main focus. Just got a new Miller 280 DX, fired it up with the "pro" settings it has 75 on AC balance, 120 on AC Frequency, and the plate is super thin .63 so I have had it at 75 amperage, and the square tubing is 1/8th" thick and I have had it at 120 amperage. I have two types of filler, the common 4043, and some 5356. I cannot get the 4043 to do a clean puddle. It has silver specs, (not black) in the puddle and is very foggy. My understanding is it's supposed to be the shiny bead of filler rods. The 5356 seems to weld just fine to me. The tubing was cut with a cutting fluid and saw from the metal market. I blew off with air hose any loose shavings. Wiped it down with acetone. Some tests I wired brushed it with a stainless brush that is dedicated to alu. Sometimes I tested with out brushing it. I clean my tungsten and sharpen with a dedicated belt sander, or a diamond wheel for sharpening chainsaws. Both have never touched anything but the tungsten. I sharpen with the tungsten pointing against the direction of rotation. I then wipe down with acetone. I have also ground a fresh one and wiped with clean cloth and no acetone. Also wipe down filler rod with acetone. I did find some torch air leaks at the back of the cap. Changed out the collet, and collet body, and back cap. Using a number 7 and tried a 6 cup. I have swapped out a fresh bottle of Argon gas. Ran my cfh from 10 - 40 trying every spectrum in between. I have stayed at the 12-15 range. I have grounded directly to my material to rule out a ground issue. Given my lack of knowledge and experience from what you see in the pics what does it look like it could be? The tubing welds looked way better than the thin two welds are 5356 - bottom is 4043I believe this is all 4043 with the balance turned down to 50 and other misc settings. you can see I am searching. to much heat, to little...Here is the plate, top bead with 5356, the bottom 4043here is a pic of carbon steel I ground the mill scale back with wire wheel on grinder. Leaves black soot at the end of the weld. I left the torch over the weld to cover the weld with gas. Shouldn't be doing that either right?Any help would be great on something else to try, or troubleshoot!

  • #2
    Grab some new 4043 and try it out.
    Or take very fine sandpaper and rub down a 4043 rod to remove any oxidation then wipe down with acetone and try it. May have a layer of oxide that is floating on the surface of your weld causing the dull finish. The aluminum oxide melts at a way higher temperature than aluminum, try welding on an anodized part and you know what I mean.
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    • #3
      That all looks normal. The speckling on the 4043 is the silicon clumping up from overheating. Try thicker rod and move faster. 5356 does not have the silicon speckles.

      The steel looks completely normal.
      Nothing welded, Nothing gained

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      • #4
        Originally posted by shovelon View Post
        That all looks normal. The speckling on the 4043 is the silicon clumping up from overheating. Try thicker rod and move faster. 5356 does not have the silicon speckles.

        The steel looks completely normal.
        I agree
        Either move faster or turn down the heat.
        Looks like when you weld with 5356 you just move on out like normal.
        But the 4043 welds look like you are sitting in one spot way too long and then can't get caught back up.
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