Aluminum is one of the most used materials both by DIY enthusiasts and in the construction of professional structures. It is a material with many positive characteristics: light, resistant, and lasting a long time.
However, the problem arises when we have to weld various pieces of aluminum. This metal is one of the most problematic to work on, especially due to the low melting point that brings the risk of breaking through the aluminum foil, especially if it is thin.
Things to Avoid When Welding Aluminum
Welding aluminum is a common practice in manufacturing industries. However, it can also pose some risks to workers who aren’t careful enough. What should you watch out for when welding aluminum?
Aluminum has become a widely used material in various industries because of its lightness, strength, and durability. Welding aluminum is a common technique for joining pieces together. The process involves melting the metal using heat and cooling it down to form a solid bond between two or more pieces.
When welding aluminum, you should always follow these safety precautions for welding:
1. Wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and earplugs.
2. Keep the area around the weld clean.
3. Use proper ventilation.
4. Work on a level surface that won’t catch fire.
5. Never use an open flame near the weld zone.
6. Don’t work alone. Have someone else help with the welding if possible.
7. Make sure your equipment is up-to-date and working properly.
8. Be aware of what’s going on around you. If there are any fires nearby, move away immediately.
9. Always wear hearing protection.
10. Follow all safety procedures.
11. Know how to shut off the power before starting the welding procedure.
12. Keep a safe distance from the arc.
13. Do not touch the molten metal.
14. Never leave a hot spot unattended.
15. Clean up after yourself.
6 Method and Guide of How to Weld Aluminum
Choose the Welding Mode
When planning to do aluminum work that requires welding, the first thing to do is to evaluate which is the most suitable model for our work. Usually, when it comes to this metal, the most popular choice is to use TIG welding machines with a tungsten electrode and inert gas to protect the weld pool.
It will also be possible to use other welding techniques, such as MIG, but the highest quality of the final result is undoubtedly that guaranteed by TIG welding.
The reason is linked to the technical characteristics of the metal and to the fact that being the most used type of welding in the automotive industry, it is the one that has been most developed. Today with TIG welding machines, it is possible to obtain excellent mechanical results and excellent aesthetic results, as long as you operate perfectly.
Aluminum TIG Welding: Preparation
To carry out a welding job, you need to prepare well. It is necessary to obtain protection, masks, gloves, and work clothes. The working tool, the TIG welding machine, must be chosen with care, documenting well the best tools in circulation.
The last step, even before moving on to the pieces to be welded, is to obtain the filler material (i.e., the material that will melt along the weld) most suitable for the work we will have to perform.
Start Working on the Piece
Once you have everything you need, you can start working on the piece. Aluminum must be clean of a very light layer of oxide that forms and has the characteristic of melting at a much higher temperature than the pure metal. This means that during welding on unclean metal, the oxide will sink into the molten metal below, polluting the metal and compromising its properties of the material.
Oxide removal should be done with the help of a metal brush, file, or metal sandpaper, whichever best suits the shape of the piece. After this procedure, to be also done on the metal filler bars, you have to wash the piece well with a degreaser for metals, excellent ones for cleaning the electronics, rubbing with the metal wool, and letting it dry perfectly. When the pieces are dry, you can finally move on to actual welding.
The Best Way to Weld Aluminum TIG Welding: Operational Phase
Starting to work on the welding, the two pieces to be welded must adhere perfectly. TIG welding is no way out in the event of an imperfect fit between the two pieces, so it is essential to use a way to securely clamp the pieces until the job is done.
One idea could be special for aluminum tig welding is ti clamps or even copper heat sinks. One of the problems with aluminum is that it conducts heat very well and can become difficult to handle or overheat in places we would not want the heat to arrive.
Beneficial Operation Phases of Welding
Another beneficial operation before intervening directly on the welding point is to heat the aluminum pieces to a temperature of about 200 degrees. The risk of not performing this operation is that, especially in the case of large pieces, the weld is not as strong as it should be and that the welded pieces yield when subjected to stress.
Moving on to the point, the operation must be done to be as precise as possible by bringing the electrode to a distance between half a centimeter and 7 mm from the welding line. Even though it works even at a greater distance, the risk is that it is not possible to properly control the arc that is created, giving rise to an imprecise weld.
The bar of filler material must be positioned perpendicular to the torch, and the movement must always be forward, that is to say, that you must “push” the torch and never pull it.
Furthermore, the electrode must never come into contact with the metal bar, since this would result in impurities being deposited in the weld, compromising the seal. When you are sure you are in the right setting. You can finally kick off the tool after adjusting the amperage according to the thickness to be welded.
Starting can either use the button located on the torch or use a pedal that many models are equipped with. You have to do a little practice with the pedal since as the metal heats up, you have to press the pedal-less deeply, constantly checking that the quantity of molten metal is the correct one.
Final Step of Aluminum Welding
Once the process is finished, you have to remove the pedal and/or the torch’s trigger (there are tools with a dual control mechanism) and let the work excellent. This guide gives very briefly the procedure to be done to weld aluminum.
As with other metals, the real secret to having an excellent theoretical basis is to do a lot of tests and a lot of experience.
Welding is not precisely a simple world, but it gives a lot of satisfaction. At first, some failure is inevitable, but with constancy, you will come to master the instrument and the technique to obtain perfect welds.
How to Weld Aluminum Without a Welder
Our recommendation for welding aluminum is to use a different method to weld aluminum. We recommend using a high-temperature furnace. This method produces less waste material but does not allow the amount of heat involved in welding aluminum to be adequately controlled.
Use the right cutting torch, get a good flame from it, and then use a high-powered torch to make sure that the metal is cut evenly and cleanly.
The aluminum welding process is a very delicate one. It is possible to weld such thin aluminum sheets without causing any damage. We have discussed the basic steps in welding aluminum sheets. Once you know this, you can easily make your aluminum welding equipment to get results faster and lower costs.