Aluminium is a very popular metal in the fabrication field. It is usually found in the form of a thin sheet or plate. Most fabrication shops will manufacture their own aluminium sheets, by rolling or extruding the metal through a rolling mill. It is also possible to purchase new aluminium sheets from a metal supply company or manufacturer, but this can be expensive.
Welding aluminium requires special equipment and technique. It can be done with most welding processes such as TIG, MIG and Stick welding, but it is not easy to do it right. There are many variables involved with aluminum welding and not all of them are easy to control.
There are many ways to weld aluminum, from oxyacetylene to TIG welding. In this article we will look at the best way to weld aluminum with a stick welder.
The most inexpensive way to weld aluminum is with an acetylene torch, but it is not very convenient as it requires either large tanks of gas or a small tank with a very short hose attached to it. In addition, you have to worry about flashbacks, which can be especially problematic when welding thin material, as you have a lot of heat radiating back towards your hands. It also requires a special tip for aluminum.
Another method that many people use is MIG welding. This is an excellent method if you are doing large amounts of welding and want to get in and out fast. But, it is not so great for making shop jigs and fixtures, as it requires a large power source and an expensive welding machine.
A third method that is often used for welding aluminum is TIG welding, but most people don’t want to invest in the equipment or a welder that can do both AC and DC TIG welding.
So, what is the best way to weld aluminum with a stick welder?
The most common method of aluminum welding is called gas metal arc welding (GMAW). This is when you take an electrode and stick it into a pool of melted flux. You then start feeding a filler metal under the electrode. When the two pieces touch, you hit it with an electric charge from your welder that will help the electrode melt the filler metal and flow into all the nooks and crannies. The trick is to keep as much of the flux as possible on top of your weld, so that when you pull back on your torch, it will wick into your weld and form a nice looking bead. It’s really not that complicated.
There are a few things to consider when welding aluminum.
First, most of the time, you will be using a flux cored wire. This is simply a piece of metal that has flux inside of it that you stick into your weld pool. It is important to keep your wire clean and to keep the flux on top of your weld as much as possible. You can do this by using a stiff bristle brush and brushing your electrode before inserting it into the weld pool. You can also try to keep your electrode in the water longer, so that there is more time for the flux to get on top of the metal. When you are finished welding, you will need to clean all of your equipment with a wire brush or an acid brush.
Second, you need to make sure that your welder is capable of delivering enough amperage for the thickness of metal that you are trying to weld. When you are first learning how to weld aluminum, it is best to stick with thin material (1/8″ or thinner), as this will be easier to weld. It is also a good idea to practice on some scrap pieces of aluminum before you start welding on something important. Also, it is important that your welder has a variable voltage control, as aluminum requires more amperage than steel does. A good way to tell if your welder is capable of handling the job at hand is if you notice a lot of black smoke coming from the back end of your weld. If this is the case, then it might be time to upgrade.
Third, when you are welding thin aluminum or aluminum with a lot of nooks and crannies, you will want to keep your arc as small as possible. This is accomplished by using a small diameter electrode (1/16″ or smaller) and by keeping your wire speed as slow as possible. You will also want to make sure that you are feeding in the filler metal at the right angle so that it will run into your weld rather than run along the side of it or fall off of it altogether. Practice on some scrap metal before you try welding something important. And remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try another angle with the wire.
Finally, you should always wear eye protection when welding, as sparks can fly out of your welder and land in your eye. You should also wear hearing protection, as the sound of a stick welder is loud. It is probably best to wear some sort of a face mask as well, but this is optional.
Welding aluminum with a stick welder isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it. It just takes a little practice and patience. If you are careful and take your time, you will be able to get excellent results with aluminum welding.
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