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  • #31
    I am working where I make these very types of things all dang day every day.
    We get one shot to make it perfect or it becomes scrap! Scrap too much stuff and yer fired plain and simple.
    Clean your metal with whatever but one of the main things is if you use a rag or towel the ragged edges will catch and leave small pieces of cloth or paper.
    The technique we use at work is to weld way less than what you have here and tack-weld a lot more....a tack about every 2 inches. By tack I mean "tack" ...like one crater not a little weld. Move all around around the part evenly and tacking and letting it draw the parts together as you go. Don't let one side get under the other use a hammer and lightly peck and a small screwdriver carefully spread apart in places. It takes a lot longer to do this than the welding unfortunately to Otherwise as soon as you begin to weld the parts will begin to spead apart and It will be a warped up mess. What you have so far looks spectacular you just need several hundred more tacks to get it perfect. Then before you weld it get out your little stainless wooden "toothbrush" and super carefully brush out all the edges completely in both directions....this will make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in the shineyness of the welds....which is you ultimate goal.
    If you notice most fuel tanks have a spec plate on them and generally 5052 is the most widely used material. I prefer 4043 for filler but 5356 is designed for using with the 5*** type stuff. (I just keep it simple myself and I got a thing for 4043)
    I am sure that some people on this board could tell you more specifically all this but this is how we do the fire trucks and ambulances.

    By the way I never have mentioned I have used my handle on several non-welding forums for years and have gotten used to it...I am sorta nervous about it on a welding forum and don't want you guys to think that I feel like I'm some high and mighty ******* it was more of a tongue in cheek thing at the time.
    I just had a hernia operation yesterday and was hoping/looking forward to spending some time here and reading and chatting with you guys. 10 lbs is all I get to lift for 14 days so here I set!! I am a computer retard so this is good for me.

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    • #32
      Hi FusionKing! I personally don’t have a problem with your handle. I really don’t have a problem with anybody’s handle. I’m more particular with what people call me. Honestly that really doesn’t matter all that much either, as long as they don’t call me late for dinner!

      I’ am new to this aluminum stuff, but when it comes to steel I’ve been around the block once or twice. I find your advice interesting about the amount of tacks. I’ll definitely take your advice into consideration. What I had planned which would be the same as if it were a steel tank. Is to make a series of 3-inch long welds over all the seams except the lid. I have the lid tacked into place, but will cut it off when the pipefittings arrive. I still have to drill a hole for the drain in one of the lower corners, and cut the holes in the lid / top. I’m a big believer in back stepping, and constantly moving around. It drives me crazy when things move out of tolerance, but then again I’m very good at heat shrinking material back into position. I have much better luck with shapes, than plate tho!

      Here is a link to another thread I did a few weeks ago. This is how I tackle most of my projects. Ifn you’re just running that mouse for the next few days, I’d appreciate you reading it, and giving your advice on the difference between my techniques for steel fabrication, and yours for aluminum fab!

      http://www.millermotorsports.com/mbo...g+starts+stops

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      • #33
        i have been searching the net looking for the weld in flanges we use, we get them at a local truck supply and they are only like $7 or $8 apiece. they have a stamped body, with machined threads, i suspect this is why they are cheaper than the all machined ones. i am having trouble finding them on the net though!!!
        The one that dies with the most tools wins

        If it's worth having, it's worth working for

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        • #34
          I don't use anything to wipe stuff down with...unless it is visibly dirty. If I grind it clean, it's down to clean metal, and I don't wipe it down then either.

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          • #35
            What I had planned which would be the same as if it were a steel tank, is to make a series of 3-inch long welds...
            You don't want to try that if your tank material is the average .100 to .125 thick. Tiny tacks, like FusionKing mentioned, about every 3", are the easiest way to keep the edges straight & undistorted. After placing hundreds of these matchhead size tacks, you can run 36" of filler rod at a time without problem.
            Barry Milton
            ____________________

            HTP Invertig 201
            HTP MIG2400

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            • #36
              Originally posted by precisionworks View Post
              You don't want to try that if your tank material is the average .100 to .125 thick. Tiny tacks, like FusionKing mentioned, about every 3", are the easiest way to keep the edges straight & undistorted. After placing hundreds of these matchhead size tacks, you can run 36" of filler rod at a time without problem.
              I take it as, after tacking this way, I would just run over the tacks? Not worry about feathering them? Just let the heat consume the match head size tack?

              If this is correct, this aluminum fabrication is a lot different!

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              • #37
                Exactly!

                The tacks are so tiny that they'll remelt in an instant (unlike larger steel tacks). As soon as the final puddle touches the tack, it's part of the puddle.
                Barry Milton
                ____________________

                HTP Invertig 201
                HTP MIG2400

                Miller Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
                Clarke Hotshot

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Pile Buck View Post
                  I take it as, after tacking this way, I would just run over the tacks? Not worry about feathering them? Just let the heat consume the match head size tack?

                  If this is correct, this aluminum fabrication is a lot different!

                  that's correct PB, the small tacks will keep from warping too badly and they are small enough when fully welded you won't know they were even there.
                  The one that dies with the most tools wins

                  If it's worth having, it's worth working for

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                  • #39
                    I have worked with a couple sheet metal guys in the past that did a lot of TIG aluminum, when they tacked they used little or no filler, that contrasts to the normal tacking on steel (wire or stick), where you're usually adding filler every step of the way. Very tiny tacks, no problem running right over them with the actual weld.

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                    • #40
                      Ummm, this is all very interesting . I’m going to try it ! But I have to say if someone working for me tried this on steel it would be he!! to pay for wasting so much time!

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                      • #41
                        Don't have anything to add except to thank everyone for the great information in this thread. Oh yeah, I use acetone and scotchbrite to clean with.
                        Regards, George

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                        • #42
                          hi all, interesting change of direction

                          Pile Buck,

                          lots of small tacks isn't a slow as it seems. sure it feels like it takes ages when your tacking up but factor in the time you DON'T spend feathering your starts and stops and its not too different

                          i too tack up tanks this way, as others have said small tacks will be invisible once the welding is finished. i just keep a file to hand and take the top off of any big tacks (where i got sloppy/nervous and added a bit too much filler)

                          normally i make the body of the tank out of one piece as there's much less welding to do then. the nice thing about aluminium is, being so soft it can be bent using a very basic/home made brake (a piece of 1/4-1/2" pipe welded to some angle for clamping purposes works great for shorter bends).

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                          • #43
                            TIG aluminum, when they tacked they used little or no filler
                            That's the best way to tack thin Al. Bring the two edges together so there's a 90* channel between the two - only the bottom edges of each piece will touch. It takes only 2 or 3 seconds to tack with no filler, and the tack is so small that it remelts in an instant.

                            My earlier post said 'matchhead size', but that's wrong. They are closer in size to the head of a pin.
                            Barry Milton
                            ____________________

                            HTP Invertig 201
                            HTP MIG2400

                            Miller Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
                            Clarke Hotshot

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Pete View Post
                              it's not even close coalsmoke- 3003-H14 has about 1/2 the UTS of 6061-T6.

                              however it's very ductile- less likely to crack in impacts, which is good if your making a gas tank

                              pile buck,

                              3003 is Al and 1.2% Mn. you can use pretty much any Al rod but i think 4043 or 1100 are the recommended ones. it's very crack resistant anyway as there's no mag, copper or silicon in it
                              Thanks Pete

                              Originally posted by precisionworks View Post
                              Carl-

                              If you have access to a lathe (or a friend with one) the NPTF fittings are quick & easy to make ... and better looking than most any I've seen.

                              Acetone is probably the most widely used Al degreaser - but only for metal that's already clean. If the metal has been stored outside for some time & had lots of oxidation, an Al cleaner like PROTEX® Alclean Aluminum Cleaner works great. Available at your LWS for under $10/quart.

                              For grinding, an Al-specific wheel works much better & will not contaminate the weld. The Rex-Cut Sigma Green is the best I've ever used: http://www.rexcut.com/sigma-green-aluminum-details.asp

                              The choice of filler material for Type 3003 depends on what you need regarding strength/elongation. For maximum strength, use either 5183 or 5356. For maximum elongation, use either 1100 or 4043.
                              Sorry barry, not trying to pick on you today, but I went and got some of that Protex stuff and I was less than impressed with it. It took a little bit of the dull off the aluminum, but really nothing in the big picture. Was my aluminum too clean or does this stuff just not work very well One thing it does do well is stain the aluminum if you don't wash it off with water in time

                              I also use the rexcut wheels, they are good for aluminum, but way overpriced and because of the high price local distributers won't carry them. I am now switching all of my grinding stock to Walter. Same quality, reasonable price.

                              Cal, maybe take a look at these online sources for flanges:
                              www.ancorp.com
                              http://vacuumshopper.stores.yahoo.ne...orwelstu3.html
                              hre

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                              • #45
                                Man this thread has sure grown fast!!
                                Hey Pile Buck I had already read that thread you posted on your steel tank and found it very interesting! I read a lot and post little. Seems like somebody always says what I would anyhow but on this matter I knew a little.
                                One way to look at it is aluminum expands a great deal more than steel does so on tanks like this you must have all those tacks. If you notice sometimes on those short welds the 2 sides come together too much causing a mis-match. This technique is how you get those ultra-nice looking welds that you are looking for. On the ones I build I lay down welds the entire length. You can even weld the whole dang thing with less than a rod if you get it fitted up close enuff cause you'll only need it to start and stop. Lately tho I like to use rod prolly about very other puddle or so and the coining and shinyness are enhanced immensely.
                                As far as time goes it is really faster because I suspect you would only be happy with perfect and without those tacks you would be chasing warpage like crazy....BTDT
                                And as Engloid said I don't use cleaner either...on anything unless it is nasty.
                                I have found that sheared is the best edge. Sometimes I order aluminum for tanks I contract at home already sheared to dimension because the edges are SSOOOO much nicer and the amount of waste is saving me money over cut cost!! (WIN-WIN) My supplier shears them more accurately than I could ever cut.
                                Plasma is really a pretty nasty edge for tigging aluminum and requires a lot more prep time. On parts that are smaller than your tank for instance I would tig the edge once sometimes and then they weld nicely. A circular saw also makes a fine edge for tigging. I am currently using a Freud blade that says for wet lumber...it is thin and has a lot of teeth and looks a lot like the one they(Freud) make for chop saws on aluminum. Got them both at Home Depot bought 2 years or more ago. Before that I just used a Diablo from Wal-mart (on the circular saw). That carbide is great on aluminum. Just cover up cause man does that $h!t fly!!
                                I have so far not found any limit on the circular saw as I have cut 3/4" thick with it so far. I am sure that there is a point where It would bog out tho...just not in my job description (skegs etc..)

                                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

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