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Precleaning Aluminum

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  • DrDave
    replied
    Cleaning Aluminum

    For uncorroded and un-anodized Al, I find a good mechanical cleaning with a SS brush, hand or power after de-greasing is usually good enough for thicker stock ( over 0.125 or so) because enough heat is generated to burn most anything else off. I avoid emery or grinding disks-they put more crap on than they take off.

    For light mat'l, corroded or anodized, I follow this up with soaking or brushing a solution of lye and water on the weld area followed by a good water rinse. I use about 2 tablespoons of lye per quart of water. ( yes, the drain cleaner)The lye actively removes the Al oxide layer (weather natural or from anodizing) and just about anything else! Some alloys will 'smut' - a black film deposit on the surface after being in the lye for a while that is easily removed with a brush and water, or a quick dunk in Alumiprep ( mild phosphoric acid) This grey or black film is the Al oxide, which is what you're trying to get off.

    It may seem like a lot of work, getting the hose out, the gloves on etc.. but when it comes to welding 0.020 or .032 sheet your bead won't stop flowing when those chunks of crap appear in your puddle.

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  • jcoldon
    replied
    tig alum anodized

    Welding anodized aluminum
    I have welded alum anodized and never cleaned
    the process is simply a button on my tig torch
    Full amps a puddle rod stop then next puddle rod and so on
    This is the pipe welding process for anodized pipe

    I use a sink wave 250 ac
    All boat tops and towers are anodized either black silver or gold

    The process works on all aluminum you will have to clean dirt and grease
    Hope this helps

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  • ALCOA035
    replied
    Oh, the humanity........

    I've been welding aluminum sheet, plate, ingots and conduit for over 28 years.
    Cleaning whether it be sheet or plate is done via a dipping process. 1) Caustic for any where from 30 sec to 4 mins. 2) COLD water rinse. 3) NITRIC dip for 30 sec to 4 min to neutrilize the CAUSTIC. 4) Cold water rinse. 4)150 deg HOT water dip for 30 sec to 4 min. Then blow dry with compressed air. The 30 secs to 4 min time is dependant on the thickness of the piece. For smaller items, cleaning the area to be welded can be done with an alcohol based cleaner after using Scotch-brite pads, re-inforced flappers and discs without any residual affects.

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  • fun4now
    replied
    a little wax goes a long way tword keeping the grinding disks from loading up, as well as the cutting tools. bee's wax is recomended ( bees wax dose seem to work better) but any old clear/white candle will get the job done.

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  • diamondback
    replied
    Originally posted by Darmik View Post
    If you fined that your sanding disks are getting clogged then try using WD-40 this stuff works very well.the same goes for carbide die grinder bits.Never use a wire wheel on a grinder.
    To help with unloading the aluminum from your grinder, wheel or whatever WD 40 has the possibility to make you sick when you weld back over where you cross contaminated it. Please be careful and check the MSDS. Instead try some anti spatter spray it works great and is intended to get hot.
    Last edited by diamondback; 12-12-2007, 12:54 PM. Reason: redundant wording

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  • tnjind
    replied
    Yeah it does, I have "seen" people put crumbled al. foil and some bowl cleaner in a plastic pop bottle shake it hard ,stand back watch it expand and explode. Pretty cool.

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  • Steve
    replied
    Do not put your greasy AL part in toilet bowl cleaner to get rid of the grease. It created a violent reaction complete with furious bubbly foaming, heat generating, nasty fuming monsters ......Run around scream and shout!... leaving the AL black after I got the two separated. The cleaner had hydrogen something or another as the only ingredient at 25% concentration. The label said nothing about reacting to AL at all. I should have stayed awake during Chem class. Will give the WD-40 a squirt as I have more gas caps to modify.

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  • tnjind
    replied
    Thanks for the info.
    This site is great , just for this reason. Info sharing is a goood thing.

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  • HMW
    replied
    Brakleen does leave a residue, Don't ask me how I know this If you have to use it to remove something nasty, use water after it.

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  • tnjind
    replied
    Yep, it sounds bad. Glad I asked.
    Thanks,Tim

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  • welder_one
    replied
    brake cleaner has tetrachlorouerethane ( i think i spelled that right) any way when you use it, it leaves a residue on the metal. when the arc gets on that residue it changes into some bad stuff that when inhaled is comparable to inhaling burnt freon. some really bad stuff. i dont know this from experience. i only heard it from a chemical professor. from that point, i am too afraid to use it..... except on brakes

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  • tnjind
    replied
    Would generic brake cleaner work?

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  • welder_one
    replied
    HOT SOAPY WATER!!! be sure to rinse well and then use an etching chemical like nitric and/ or sulfuric acid. be sure to rinse well. then use a ss wire brush by hand. this will be one of the cleanest easiest ways to get al clean. wd-40 will actually imbed itself into the parent metal and nothing you can do about it. it will make a poor weld. alumacut, made by tap magic, is great stuff to keep aluminum from "gumming" up. and it dries, so it is easy to get cleaned up. acetone works pretty good for oil removal, but m.e.k. works the best. just my 2 cents worth

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  • WELD 15
    replied
    LPS - Zero Tri

    This product is Manufactured by LPS see MSDS link below.


    www.lpslabs.com/gettechfile.asp?FileID=13520

    It is a cleaner/degreaser that works very well with aluminum - it's the safe version of Tri-Chlor. Was a reccomendation by Alco-Tec.

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  • Darmik
    replied
    Hey Steve

    You really need to try WD-40 this stuff really does work after this though
    you need to clean the metal and JonnyTIG say's to use this stuff Methyl alchohol works very well, and leaves no film.

    Leave a comment:

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