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What machine for .080 aluminum

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  • What machine for .080 aluminum

    Was at the local dealer and tried a 210 w/ spoolgun but kept blowing thru. Is a tig set-up the way to go? I have never welded aluminum before and need to find a machine quickly that will be easy to learn for small production shop. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • #2

    TIG is the way to go for .080 aluminum. There is a leaning curve with TIG. I have nothing but the best to say about the Dynasty 200DX. You mentioned production. How much material are you having to turn out and how fast?


    • #3

      I am making boxes approx. 12" x 16", 26", and 32". Welds will be 4 per box approx. 10" long each. Hope to be able to make at least 5 boxes per hour.


      • #4

        TIG will not give that fast of a weld rate per hour. .080" is roughly 14 gauge sheet. It is fairly easily done with a spoolgun. Technique is the key. Aluminum is a great thermal conductor. What type welding experience do you have? There are a number of tricks to help learn aluminum. Are you expereienced in any type MIG welding?


        • #5
          You might check to see what gas you were using when you tried the spool gun. If it was set up for steel you might have had the wrong gas. Simple rule, no gas with oxygen for aluminum. I use straight Argon. I have been using mig on alum welding on semi trailers for years. It must be clean, use a stainless (only) wire brush to clean area to be welded. Steel brush will contaminate area. Also you need .023 wire for light work. It will take experience but what welding dosen't. Hope this helps.


          • #6
            Millermatic Pulser does a fine job on thinner Alum. Otherwise using a 210/spoolgun with material that thin can be tricky. Use the smallest wire you can fine. Most dealers stock the .030 4043.

            The MM Pulser is great for thin material and is fairly user friendly.

            It comes with the spoolgun and a dual cylinder rack for running your steal mix gas and Argon for Aluminum.



            • #7
              I have some experience welding thin steel with a mig. When the dealer set up the 210 for me I actually had a few good beads going. I was using 100% Argon. The metal was new but I didn't clean it with acetone nor did I brush it with a stainless brush. Would the thinner wire make that big of a difference? Would the millermatic 175 w/spoolgun be adequate? Where can I buy a single pound spool of the .023? My local dealer has to order a case. I will be doing the welding initially but I would like to be able to train someone to do it eventually. Thanks again, I appreciate all your help. You guys are a wealth of knowledge.


              • #8

                The smaller wire diameter such as .023" or .025" will make a tremendous difference when working with 14 gauge aluminum. Adjust the wire speed and voltage to a "sweet spot" where the wire leaves the short arc and starts into a spray arc. Push the torch rather than pulling it. Keep the gun angle around 75 degreee above the horizonal (for in position).

                If you are going to invest the dollars in a new machine, get the MM210. Here you will have room for expansion as well as the ability to buy the MM210 and Spoolmate as a package deal. Save some cash!

                National Welders stocks some .025", 4043, 2 pound spools. The .030" will probably be sufficient, but the .025 " will shine for your application.


                • #9


                  That is pretty much what I was doing, pushing the torch but I blew thru as much as I made a decent weld. Do you think not prepping the surface is what made it blow thru the work? I will buy some .025 and come prepared to demo the machine again.


                  The MM Pulser looks like it might work perfect for what I am looking to do. If my experiment above doesn't work out that is the machine I am going to order.


                  • #10
                    Where in Florida are you located? I'm just south of Jacksonville. I've had a MM 210 for 2 1/2 years and I can't say enough good things about. I weld 1 1/2" shafts that are worn from spun bearings. I weave pass while turning them by hand and then turn them down and polish them on a lathe. I set the machine on #4 and wire feed in the center. This machine is so under rated. I am amazed that I still have 3 hotter heat settings. If you can afford the extra money for the MM 210 it's worth it!


                    • #11

                      Not prepping made it harder to weld. You were not able to melt the oxides, but melted the aluminum. Also the longer you stay on the plate the hotter it gets and the faster you have to travel. It can be done with the 210, but you have to fly(!!!)once you get started. The pulser Andy is speaking of is the way to go for the 14 gauge and thinner aluminum in a production type enviroment. It will take practice with either machine to get it right. Like timw said the 210 is under rated as is the Dynasty 200DX. I know TIG is too slow for you application, but I just wanted to plug the machine! It is my favorite of all the Miller TIG machines.


                      • #12

                        Its not the money as much as I would like to buy the best machine for my purpose. If you have a spool of .023 that has a couple of feet left I would buy it from you. I am in Cape Coral. My email is [email protected]


                        • #13
                          Blow-out on Thin Al

                          How long were the welds before they blew out on you? I have a mm130 and even it will weld along fine with thin gauge Al, then it will blow out. They key has been to do small lengths (1" - 1 1/2") then fight hte temptation to keep going. Stop! Weld either end of the joint, going back and forth. Takes longer than one end to end pass, but not melting holes in the work is worth it. All that being said, I've done only a few of things like this (repairing boats mostly) so take it for what its worth.