Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Need Help With Aluminum

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

  • Need Help With Aluminum

    We got three new ambulances in at work with the wrong oxygen brackets in them. They sent us the correct ones but, the holes that are drilled in the aluminum diamond plate hit where the new bracket is welded. I need to make plates that have a bolt threaded into it to mount the brackets. I have never worked with aluminum and really want to make sure it is done right.

    Question 1: What is the best way to cut aluminum without a plasma cutter, Grinder, jigsaw or sawzall?

    Question 2: I know you have to clean aluminum very good. What is the best method?

    Question 3: When I thread the Grade 8 bolt into the plate, should I use a anti-corrosive to keep the two metals from reacting (i.e. Noalox)? I know we had to when I was an electrician to keep the aluminum wire from reacting and corroding with the terminals.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Question 1: What is the best way to cut aluminum without a plasma cutter, Grinder, jigsaw or sawzall?
    Jigsaw or Sawzall are fine, Grinder... not so much. A traditional grinding disc on Al. is a bad thing.

    Question 2: I know you have to clean aluminum very good. What is the best method?


    Question 3: When I thread the Grade 8 bolt into the plate, should I use a anti-corrosive to keep the two metals from reacting (i.e. Noalox)? I know we had to when I was an electrician to keep the aluminum wire from reacting and corroding with the terminals.
    Noalox will work fine. Because it's not current carrying, it won't be too bad of an issue anyway, but I would probably use a dab of Noalox just in case.

    Comment


    • #3
      stick a thin cut-off disk on an angle grinder and it will cut right thru it.
      Welders do it hotter!!
      www.Munsonworks.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the help.

        Comment


        • #5
          QUOTE=Steeldriver;140037]We got three new ambulances in at work with the wrong oxygen brackets in them. They sent us the correct ones but, the holes that are drilled in the aluminum diamond plate hit where the new bracket is welded. I need to make plates that have a bolt threaded into it to mount the brackets. I have never worked with aluminum and really want to make sure it is done right.

          Question 1: What is the best way to cut aluminum without a plasma cutter, Grinder, jigsaw or sawzall?
          I mostly use thin cut-off 3 1/2" or 5" grinder and jigsaw. Works well..
          Question 2: I know you have to clean aluminum very good. What is the best method?
          You have to practice a lot to be clean and smooth.

          Good Luck .
          MillerMatic 211

          Comment


          • #6
            Steeldriver,

            Still can't picture exactly what you're trying to accomplish but here's a few tips.

            A jig saw or sawsall will cut the aluminum fine. Even a miter saw with a fine carbide blade works very well. I cut a lot of aluminum on my band saw. Problem with an abrasive wheel on a grinder is that it will clog up very rapidly since the alum is much softer than steel.

            Best way to clean aluminum for welding is with a stainless wire brush. Make sure it's SS since a regular wire brush will leave particles in the alum and make it nearly impossible to weld. You may also wish to wipe it down with acetone after brushing to remove the dust. You need to break up the surface oxide before you try to weld.

            I would recommend using a stainless steel bolt rather than a grade 8 bolt. Less chance for galvanic corrosion.

            You didn't mention if you intended to weld the new plates on. If so, and you haven't welded aluminum before, you may be in for a treat. I would recommend tig welding it, but if you haven't done it with an AC machine, may be best to take it to a shop that does aluminum welding.

            Hope this helped some.
            Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
            Dynasty 200 DX
            Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
            Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
            Hobart HH187
            Dialarc 250 AC/DC
            Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
            Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
            PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
            Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
            Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
            More grinders than hands

            Comment


            • #7
              What kind of welding machine are you using?

              If you've never done aluminum, I'd be willing to bet you don't have an AC tig welder.

              If you have a MIG welder, you can weld aluminum and it will do OK, but it will look nothing like a TIG weld. You'll need a teflon liner, .035 aluminum wire and 100% argon, and you'll need to hold the liner very straight. The slightest kink will birdnest your wire.

              The bracket welds will be subjected to a great deal of fatigue, so I'd recommend you take it to someone experienced with aluminum for the following reasons:

              It's holding something very heavy in a vehicle that drives fast on bumpy roads and tight turns, and can be dangerous if it comes loose. Ambulances are not like NASCAR... pitting or quitting the race is NOT an option. Even if it doesn't go flying around, if it gets loose, it will very quickly tear off the hose that connects it to the ambulance's O2 supply. Imagine if this happened way out in the boonies during an interhospital transport of a critical patient. Or during a resuscitation using a 40lpm demand valve. Would the itty bitty portable cylinder keep an oxygen dependant patient alive long enough for another unit to take over? A lot is riding on that weld.

              I know because I spent 2 years in the back of an ambulance before they let me start driving them. Apparently the insurance company thought I was too young to handle the responsibility of driving a vehicle. Shew! Single-handedly treating sick and injured patients apparently required much less maturity.

              80% of failures are from 20% of causes
              Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
              "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
              "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
              "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

              Comment


              • #8
                Update

                Sorry it took so long to post this.

                We decided to weld the racks right up to the aluminum diamond plate instead of making the mounting plates. Which is what I wanted to do in the first place.

                I also had to make some covers for a joystick that controls the spotlight. The cutting, welding, grinding and polishing went great and most of the drilling as well. Then I get to the next to the last hole and the bit breaks causing the drill that is still spinning the jagged broke bit to rip my knuckle right down to the bone. I didn't notice at first, just thought that it was the chuck that had hit my finger. Then I feel the something warm running down my finger and look and there is a puddle of blood on the table. Well now I'm pissed since the covers had to be done by Monday morning and this is on Sunday evening and I start cussing while I'm looking at the joint that pokes through the lac when I bend my finger. My wife comes out and asks me "Are you on fire again?" I calmly say "No" and ask her if she wants to see something cool and show her how the joint pops out when I bend my finger. So she freaks and wants to take me to the ER for stitches. I then tell her that I'll get the bleeding to stop and then superglue it closed because I had to finish the project. Well after 30 minutes of uncontrolled bleeding I had to go to the ER and get it stitched.

                So I haven't been able to burn any metal for about a week and I'm going through withdrawals and probably won't get to for another week. BTW I still can't bend my finger all the way. At this point I have been trying to type the reply for about 30 minutes.

                Thanks for all the advice you guys gave in the previous posts. I learned a lot about aluminum in a short time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Steeldriver, I think I can speak for all those who are reading your thread:
                  THANKS FOR HANGING IN THERE!!!!!! I know how fustrating it can be typing slow, but just goes to show you have the audacity to finish
                  Thanks for the update!!!
                  bert
                  p.s. Tell your wife you want to play with your new chainsaw
                  I'm not late...
                  I'm just on Hawaiian Time

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bert, it's funny you say that. I started cleaning up my tools Saturday and my wife saw me with the chainsaw. She quickly opened the window and said "Oh **** no!!!!!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      lol...just tell her "honey, it's ok, I'll be careful, I PROMISE!!!"
                      I'm not late...
                      I'm just on Hawaiian Time

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OJ Simpson knuckle

                        It's funny you mention that knuckle. That's called the "OJ Simpson knuckle syndrome."

                        I remember Johnny Cochran vehimently spouting about how ubsurd and preposterous it was that OJ Simpson could have possibly bled that much from a knuckle wound.

                        Not long after that, I was trimming a peach tree with a small pruning saw and accidentally closed it across one of my knuckles. When I got it the house, I noticed the trail of blood drops, spaced regularly a couple feet apart and then it occured to me just how usburd and preposterous Johnny Cochran was.

                        Oh well, Johnny Cochran is dead and OJ is in jail.

                        80% of failures are from 20% of causes
                        Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
                        "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
                        "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
                        "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bert, that's exactly what I told her and she gave me the evil eye.

                          Body, sounds like your injury was worse. Pruning shears can be brutal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ok, in that case, drop a chair or something loud and clangy, swear real loud and run in the house with watery catsup running down your arm with your other hand clamped to it and say "CALL THE AMBULANCE!!!!"
                            I'm not late...
                            I'm just on Hawaiian Time

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              She won't buy the ambulance bit. I'm a paramedic and she knows I will never ride in an ambulance as a patient. The rest would be funny but she'd kill me later. Maybe I'll try it and try to film.

                              Here's a funny Calvin and Hobbes comic about chainsaws. Reminds me of when I was a child and even until today.

                              http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2008/03/27/

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X