Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Long aluminum butt welds

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Long aluminum butt welds

    Hi everyone,
    I am building a truck camper out of aluminum. I have it all framed up using 1x2 C channel as my "studs". I just received my skin metal yesterday it is 5052 .080 thick. As purchasing 4'x10' sheets was by far the least expensive and most readily available that is the size i own. My first attempt at a 101" butt weld is not going well. I thought originally i would fit the metal over the framing leaving a gap to weld the butt directly to the framing all in one pass. I am not only rethinking this plan but most certainly abandoning it. I can see within my first 1' of welding this wont work. I think my new plan is to build a fixture to clamp the long butt welds into. I have about 10 welds that are 101" to do.
    My equipment is limited to a non pulse miller 252 and a spool gun. Filler metal is 4043 in .035 diameter currently. I realize the metal size and welding machine is less than ideal. I am only a hobbyist but have had a fair amount of experience through the years. Most of my experience has been with aluminum that was .125 or thicker. I think with some perseverance and some insight from this forum i will be able to produce some reasonable results. I guess my question are about building a fixture and a backstep procedure but, any insight would be helpfull.

  • #2
    Without something more than you simply describing it, I can't even imagine what it is you are actually attempting to accomplish.
    But from what I am getting I think your design needs a LOT of help.

    www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
    Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
    MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
    Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

    Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
    Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

    Comment


    • #3
      Are you trying to weld the sheets for the camper skin together? Like full seem welds on these sheets?

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes. I want to make the sheets of aluminum i have longer and wider. This will be done by using a butt weld.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ezyl74 View Post
          Yes. I want to make the sheets of aluminum i have longer and wider. This will be done by using a butt weld.
          I weld aluminum constanly
          I would never attempt what you are trying to do on any material. let alone aluminum. Too much warp

          www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
          Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
          MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
          Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
          Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

          Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
          Miller 30-A Spoolgun
          Miller WC-115-A
          Miller Spectrum 300
          Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
          Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

          Comment


          • #6
            Fusion King is right, that is going to warp so badly and look like absolute crap! Using the channel as a backing bar and a slight gap between the sheets will make the welding much easier and help with distortion some what but is still not a good idea. Your best bet would have been to have bought bigger sheets, but your stuck with what you have now. Use adhesive to bond the sheets to the aluminum channel. If you put your seams over the channel then you should have no problem with a watertight joint. You need to remove the oxide from the aluminum, so mark on the sheets where the panels land on the channel and sand or wire brush that area really good. You need to also do it to the channel. After that wipe the area down with acetone. Put your adhesive on right away and then fasten it with rivets or sheet metal screws. It will be important to get the adhesive on as soon as possible so that oxide layer doesn't re-form. If you don't do this then the joint will fail. It will seem as though the adhesive has not bonded to the aluminum but what really happens is the oxide layer detaches from the aluminum. There's a bunch of high end adhesives out there that are expensive and hard to find. 3m 5200 should work well for you.
            www.silvercreekwelding.com

            Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
            Miller extreme 12vs
            Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
            Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

            Comment


            • #7
              ezly74....I'm building a little camper myself, but I'm skinning it in .040 aluminum, which is pretty standard. I don't know what your design is, but even if I was using .125, I would not do what you are planning to do.

              Generally, the skin on a camper is floating. It's held down mostly by the trim work and a few screws that fix other components to the sidewalls. If you fix that sheet metal to the sidewall in a rigid manner, every time you park it in the sun, that metal is going to try and move and it will look all oil canned and you'll be sad.

              But hey man, if you're dead set on doing this, it'll be a cool adventure! Expensive, but what else are you gonna do with your money?

              Post up a few pictures.

              Comment


              • #8
                Not knowing anything about your design or structure.........but, .080 aluminum butt joints is doable using thick aluminum angle as "Chill Bars" along both sides of the welding zone path...........Not that I would be happy doing it that way but it can be done.............Personally I would take your Idea to a Heating & sheet metal shop and see if they can put a Hem on one side of your sheets.......the sheets can then be assembled with the weather side down and no moisture will ever find it's way in along the seam........

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post

                  Generally, the skin on a camper is floating. It's held down mostly by the trim work and a few screws that fix other components to the sidewalls. If you fix that sheet metal to the sidewall in a rigid manner, every time you park it in the sun, that metal is going to try and move and it will look all oil canned and you'll be sad.
                  hmmm good point but if the framing is aluminum it should all hopefully expand at the same rate.


                  Even with chill bars and such I dont think he would end up with very flat sheet after.
                  www.silvercreekwelding.com

                  Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                  Miller extreme 12vs
                  Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                  Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see your point, but I would expect thin aluminum sheet to expand much faster than the aluminum framing underneath and not exposed to the sun.

                    I'm all in for an adventure, I think we should do this.

                    Aluminum sheets are overlapped all the time with great success in keeping the moisture out. A little fancy schmoo, some pop rivets, good to go.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ya thats all you need to do really. Overlap the sheets where theres a seam with a bit of silicone in it. So if the skin is screwed or rivited on tight it wouldn't be much different then if it had adhesive as well would it? Unless the screw holes on the siding are slotted I dont think it would make much difference. Vynil siding has the holes slotted and nailed on a bit loose for that reason. Also the aluminum skin may heat up quicker but aluminum is a good conductor so it should all flow into the framing pretty good. A tight fit to the framing will help and the adhesive should act somewhat as a thermal paste.
                      www.silvercreekwelding.com

                      Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                      Miller extreme 12vs
                      Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                      Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Most adhesives will give it a little flex anyway, but your don't even need that to be honest.

                        I'm having a hard time imagining what the OP is planning, mostly because it does not compute with my experience in this stuff. I'm by no means an expert camper builder, but I also don't believe in pole vaulting over a mouse turd.

                        I'd love to see some pictures so we have a better idea of what's going down here.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ezyl74 View Post
                          Hi everyone,
                          I am building a truck camper out of aluminum. I have it all framed up using 1x2 C channel as my "studs". I just received my skin metal yesterday it is 5052 .080 thick. As purchasing 4'x10' sheets was by far the least expensive and most readily available that is the size i own. My first attempt at a 101" butt weld is not going well. I thought originally i would fit the metal over the framing leaving a gap to weld the butt directly to the framing all in one pass. I am not only rethinking this plan but most certainly abandoning it. I can see within my first 1' of welding this wont work. I think my new plan is to build a fixture to clamp the long butt welds into. I have about 10 welds that are 101" to do.
                          My equipment is limited to a non pulse miller 252 and a spool gun. Filler metal is 4043 in .035 diameter currently. I realize the metal size and welding machine is less than ideal. I am only a hobbyist but have had a fair amount of experience through the years. Most of my experience has been with aluminum that was .125 or thicker. I think with some perseverance and some insight from this forum i will be able to produce some reasonable results. I guess my question are about building a fixture and a backstep procedure but, any insight would be helpfull.
                          I'm not a camper builder either. The discussion surrounding what your doing and plans to do it have me thinking, if you post a picture of what it is you placed for a weld, we might see something your missing? Or a better way of doing what your doing? You were building a tank out of carbon steel we wouldn't be having a conversation. But you chose Aluminum.

                          I'm not sure if you were short circuiting things or spray transferring the crap out of it, but by the sound of it, things went south. Now I to could offer up a better way, my ways always better right? Lol...But what you want to do is by all accounts doable even if most of us wouldn't do it that way.

                          To your benefit, you got some good information given. And if you post a picture we can focus less on your design and more to improving the welding?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Update on my camper project.
                            i revisited my original construction ideas. I decided it was infact a good plan that just needed some tweeks I tack welded and used screw to try to restrain movement. I also revisited my back stepping technique and changed to .030 wire. The combination of revised procedures led to some very satisfactory results! Warp and distortion is very minimal and certainly good for a camper roof that nobody ever looks at. I now have a roof to last a lifetime free of maintenance that is strong enough to walk on or tent on.
                            Next step is to start on the floor on the exterior. Same .080 aluminum will be used throughout the entire process. After the floor is complete i will start on the walls. Obviously the wall are what everyone will see, so the practice from the roof and floor will be helpfull. Hopefully by the time i get to the walls i can limit( throug technique and machine setting) the amount of weld transferring to the exterior. Im definitely comfortable enough now that distortion is not major problem.
                            btw, i am using the same construction methods used to build boats. I have a popular 32 foot welded aluminum boat in my shop now with almost identical construction as my camper
                            Thanks for the comments.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This thread is almost entirely worthless without pics!!!

                              www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                              Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                              MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                              Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                              Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                              Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                              Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                              Miller WC-115-A
                              Miller Spectrum 300
                              Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                              Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X