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  • D-54D wire feeder

    I have a D-54D wire feeder w/CP300 as a power source . The wire feeder is a double sided 4 roller drive. I have .045 mild on one side. The other side is loaded up with .023 rollers that I am assuming fed Aluminum wire. Besides the wire and a bottle of argon......what else is required to start mig welding aluminum?

  • #2
    What mig gun are you using? Alum is a hit and miss thru a regular mig gun. Most times its birdnest city esp with tiny wires. You may get by with a larger size wire and thats no guarantee its going to work well for you...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      Most sheet metal shops i worked at used .023 steel wire so that may be what they were running...Bob
      Bob Wright

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      • #4
        If those drive rolls are like the current Miller Drive rolls, there are a lot of deals on eBay for U-groove 4-drive rolls (3/64 and 1/16"), and your CP-300 shouldn't have any issue powering either wire. For some reason, they don't come with Teflon or nylon input or transition conduits for the feeder. Depending on your mig gun, you can buy a nylon liner (Tweco guns, 44N-3545-15 or 44N-116-15 depending on wire size) or Teflon liner (search Bernard Teflon on eBay - Weldingcity sells them). You can also get appropriate aluminum contact tips, which are slightly oversize. Tweco has the 14AH-364 or 14AH-116 depending on wire size. Bernard's Centerfire Tip is T-047AL for 3/64" aluminum, I have never looked up it's other tips, but.am pretty sure they exist. I had a suitcase feeder set up with 3/64" aluminum and a 12' Tweco gun and didn't have too many issues, but since have used spool guns and an old Cobramatic push-pull.
        Hope this helps,
        Jon

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        • #5
          Thanks. I don't have a gun on that side yet. All the info helps. I've not welded w/.023 mild before. I would like to change out the rollers and put a full size spool of aluminum on it. Gonna check out the sites that were suggested.

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          • #6
            Aluminum tends to oxidize faster than steel, so you may want to toss it in a bag with some absorbant (I read somewhere a guy used rice in the bag) if you're not going to go through that roll quickly. Or just go with a smaller spool and put a spacer or other spool adapter on your hub for the 12 lb rolls. If you're going through that much aluminum where it's not an issue, a Spoolmatic with WC-24 controller is a better option. A push-pull (Cobramatic cabinet and gun are fairly cheap if you look around and test it) is another option and pretty easy to set up to your CP-300.

            What thickness range of aluminum do you plan to weld?

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            • #7
              I agree that is unlikely that there was .023 aluminum wire ran through that machine, I’m not even sure that’s a thing, I’ve never seen it. Never looked for it either to be honest.

              Mig aluminum is not as simple as sticking a roll of aluminum wire in there and the right gas. Trying to push the aluminum wire down the lead is the problem. There are some wire manufacturers that claim their aluminum wire is stiff enough for that. I actually just got a roll if that from Hyundai welding products to try.

              I run 3/64 5356 wire through my machine with great success, but I made a 10’ whip and have to keep it very straight for it work well. I don’t think I would try it with anything smaller than 3/64.

              If thinner aluminum wire feed welding is your goal, consider a spool gun.

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              • #8
                Thank you again. Very good advice that I will try when I get the opportunity. We really don't do much aluminum but I would like to work up an alternative other than tig welding aluminum

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                • #9
                  Spool gun. That’s an immediate solution to your aluminum welding alternative.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jjohn76 View Post
                    Aluminum tends to oxidize faster than steel, so you may want to toss it in a bag with some absorbent (I read somewhere a guy used rice in the bag) if you're not going to go through that roll quickly....
                    It doesn't just oxidize more quickly. It oxidizes pretty much immediately, and its oxidized layer protects it from further oxidation. The good news is that it's perfectly okay, and nothing needs to be done about it.

                    Desiccant doesn't do anything about oxidation.

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                    • #11
                      Even better, not sure where I picked up that info about the desiccant, but will disregard it. Than you.

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                      • #12
                        Might help with flux core wire though.

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                        • #13
                          After some consideration.....going to go with a spool gun. Reading the replies here and talking with an Airgas rep has brought me to that conclusion. Probably going to drag yet another power source out of mothballs and set it up strictly for aluminum wire feed welding. .....I will keep you posted. Thanks again.

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                          • #14
                            Good deal. Glad you’re on the way to a solution.

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