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What Anodized Aluminum Welds Should Look Like

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  • What Anodized Aluminum Welds Should Look Like

    This weld was laid down from the guys at Pipe Welders in Florida. What is amazing is that ALL the welds on every one of their towers looks like this or better. Additionally, there is only the indication of where the weld began, with no indication of a break throughout the bead. Anybody who has welded anodized aluminum can appreciate how difficult it is to get anodized aluminum to look continuous. The fact that most of these welds are done outside sometimes 30 feet in the air is remarkable.

    I weld anodized aluminum everyday with good success. However, I am baffled by how they are able to produce consistent beads throughout the entire tower. I would appreciate any insight to how this is accomplished.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    looks like a boat part? I know a guy in es*** ct that welds like that, and boy is it slow. He calls it welding like old people f#@k, buzz, stop, buzz, stop, buzz, stop etc. He builds all sorts of stuff out of anodized aluminum.
    Trailblazer 302g
    coolmate4
    hf-251d-1
    super s-32p
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    • #3
      I assume it is a TIG weld? And they have been doing it longer. Its easier once you do a bunch of the same welds, you know where to set everything...Bob
      Bob Wright

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      • #4
        I was on a friend's fishing boat with a tower a week ago and saw welds that look exactly like that. I just got into tig welding a couple months ago and I tried some anodized pipe. I was able to get it joined but it doesn't look good. If anyone here does it for a living can you answer a couple question?
        I've heard that using an argon/helium mixture will help "blast" the anodized coating from the puddle. If it will improve the welds, what would be a good mixture to get?
        Would it be best to tack the pipe in place and do the finished weld on the first pass, or should I weld the whole joint the put a finish bead on top of that? I've been looking at alot of t-tops and towers lately and some joints look like they had to be welded with two or more passes. Most of these would be on a joint at say 45*, if that makes sense to anyone

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        • #5
          The guys down at pipewelders and to some extent the guys over at atlantic towers have been doing this for a number of years, Down at Pipe welders the original owner of the Buisness was a union pipefitter down in Fla. and his boss came to him with a broken/bent/destroyed galvanised tower in 1965+-. and this is where he got his start, Pipewelders has 10-15 enclosed docks where they build their towers and yes some of their welds are done 30' in the air...not all.
          They have a 2 year apprentiship where you can learn how to weld and then you can start on the stuff that isnt out in the open. They do 90% of the WORLDS towers so with a rep like that you do not let shoddy looking welds out.
          But again the Annodized weld is in the set-up, clean-up, position and most of all patience with the weld itself and you own shill.
          Terence

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          • #6
            GT
            It depends on the machine you are using I used pure argon with a 250DX Syncro
            it takes patience and you have to get the setting right
            On shed.40 pipe i used.
            Pure argon 30-35 cfm
            1/8 pure tungsten or Zirtung (just started to try the Zirtung)
            tig setting at 135-145 amps
            arc control to a higher "clean" setting
            A thumbdial on my handle
            start out with the heat all the way up get the metal flowing (base) add some 1/4 4043 Al tig wire and reduce the heat until the metal solidifies move always in a circle CC or CCW and repeat.patience and cleanliness and most of all practice.
            There is a new mig machine out that I have not tried but heard it is the way to go with annodized Al.
            Terence

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Terence638
              Down at Pipe welders
              Welding towers has very little in common with pipe welding...other than the fact that it's the same shape. I dunno why they decided to name their company that...but it's a free country and they can do as they wish.
              Originally posted by Terence638
              They do 90% of the WORLDS towers so with a rep like that you do not let shoddy looking welds out.
              Where'd you get this info?

              Not a bad looking weld, but I'd bet that it was "reflowed"...which greatly reduces the strength of the weld. It's a common practice in the marine industry.

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              • #8
                Interesting post, I have some anodized aluminum tubing to do in the near future on my boat for the bimini to braces .. will start another thread when I can get to it.
                Regards, George

                Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
                Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
                Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

                Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
                Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter

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                • #9
                  I have a Thermal Arc 185 and practiced with 3/32" tungsten and about 20cf argon. Being in the Bahamas, it would be a special order tank and will be expensive but I will get it if it can improve the look of the welds. If I can get better at it, I can get some repair work and eventually do some fabrication work.
                  The settings I liked were,
                  frequency 120
                  45-50% cleaning
                  140 amps max with a pedal

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                  • #10
                    i told you buzz, stop, buzz, stop, buzz, stop. Dont try to adjust current with a pedal, just put a bead in at a time. Afinger micro switch is best, and run it hot. On fill, off, on fill, of, on fill, off, etc.
                    Trailblazer 302g
                    coolmate4
                    hf-251d-1
                    super s-32p
                    you can never know enough

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gtcway
                      I have a Thermal Arc 185 and practiced with 3/32" tungsten and about 20cf argon. Being in the Bahamas, it would be a special order tank and will be expensive but I will get it if it can improve the look of the welds. If I can get better at it, I can get some repair work and eventually do some fabrication work.
                      The settings I liked were,
                      frequency 120
                      45-50% cleaning
                      140 amps max with a pedal
                      Thanks for the settings, I will try them.
                      Regards, George

                      Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
                      Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
                      Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

                      Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
                      Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dyn88
                        i told you buzz, stop, buzz, stop, buzz, stop. Dont try to adjust current with a pedal, just put a bead in at a time. Afinger micro switch is best, and run it hot. On fill, off, on fill, of, on fill, off, etc.
                        I do have a button, I have ordered the tubing so it should be here end of next week. I have a button for my TA so will give it a try, thanks.
                        Regards, George

                        Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
                        Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
                        Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

                        Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
                        Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1/16 filler also, that will make it easier. With our sync 351 we set it at 80% en and about 160 amps with a 1/8 tungsten sharpened down to about a 3/32 flat(maybe a little smaller). It may seem a little hot at first but it keeps you moving at a nice pace. I bet a pulser with a low background current set at about 2 pulses per second would work but I dont like to be a victim of a machines timing.
                          Trailblazer 302g
                          coolmate4
                          hf-251d-1
                          super s-32p
                          you can never know enough

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dyn88
                            i told you buzz, stop, buzz, stop, buzz, stop. Dont try to adjust current with a pedal, just put a bead in at a time. Afinger micro switch is best, and run it hot. On fill, off, on fill, of, on fill, off, etc.
                            I've been doing that but having a difficult time getting the "coins" to look anything like the picture above. Practice, practice, practice

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gtcway
                              I've been doing that but having a difficult time getting the "coins" to look anything like the picture above. Practice, practice, practice
                              From start to finish of the weld, never let the puddle completely "dry" up. It makes the ripples blend in smoother, rather than look so sharp and rough.

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