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MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:27 pm
by dalerod
If anyone is interested, Lincoln Electric has a pdf available for download titled Aluminum GMAW Gas Metal Arc Welding for Aluminum Guide, It has a lot of good info, but a lot is also geared toward industrial welding using their newest equipment. Still a careful study of this booklet (70 pages) could be worthwhile. Go to: https://www.lincolnelectric.com/assets/ ... /c8100.pdf

Lincoln also has a 11 page guide titled AC Aluminum Pulse (GMAW) Weld Process Guide. Again it has a lot of info geared toward their industrial customers, but their is a lot we can use. The troubleshooting section seems especially useful. Go to: https://m.lincolnelectric.com/assets/US ... e12010.pdf

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:44 pm
by Kevin Morin
dalerod, the 70 page generic summary of MIG contains little new, or even some necessary test results (break bend coupons' tests) as references for the one-off builder in marine aluminum- so mostly generic info.

The AC-pulse paper is totally new-material as almost Zero MIG [power supplies] offer this weld mode or configuration of output for MIG. Further, Lincoln's DC Pulsed or Pulse-on-Pulse MIG still not even remotely accepted as a widely used solution in marine MIG. Moving to AC Pulse without clear definition of their 'spring loaded' contact tip??? is pure speculation at this time!

Since the typical test, in the article, shows some or another form of lap joint- a joint rarely seen in a welded aluminum boats- the serviceability of this document to the average new MIG welder in aluminum who proposes to build their own boat is below zero because of the newest (read most expensive) power supply needed!

Not really applicable to boat building at this time.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:34 am
by Yofish
Interesting but as Kevin alludes - so what? I have to laugh in that one might want to believe that it was nearly impossible to join AL together until NOW! When I started as a helper the weldor I was indentured to used a Miller 200 SCP - a single phase transformer machine and a Miller spool gun. This was in the mid seventies. Just about all the boats he (we) made are still in service. AND, I'm telling you that a lot of them were 1/8" material and they were so-called short arc welded. Mind, I'm all for the new but really, c'mon! Things like removing wire from the feeder after only days and wire being unusable after two years are just idiotic. Nothing but the same as HP telling you that you can't use other's ink carts. There is some good info that is cut and paste but it's primarily sales propaganda.

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:10 am
by mcmbuilder
I have been gone from this site for quite a while. For some reason I logged on one day and it would not accept my password and I have been unable to get it changed until today. I have been able to read post but just unable to respond. I know this thread is old but I feel compel to reply to it anyway. The Lincoln pulse and pulse on pulse is so far ahead of the field in this technology it is taking some time for industry to catch up with it. I tested and bought one of the first models in 2000 and still use it today building aluminum fuel tanks. Miller still has not perfected the process. Fronias has a good system but is far out of reach for most hobbyist. The main drawback for the hobbyist welder is the cost, even Lincolns system is around $6,000 for one the size most of us would use.

It is being used in many shipyards now, but it does require weld procedures to be developed for the use since it is so different than the standard SC or Spray transfer commonly used in the industry. For those of you who don't remember me from post years ago, I teach welding in a tech center in the Fl panhandle. We have a local shipyard working on a $700,000,000 contract for the Navy/Coast Guard. We are teaching the technology as requested by the shipyard for our grads who are going to work on the project. The penetration achieved by the process in all aluminum joints is far superior to anything achievable with SC or ST. The arc can be shape for more penetration, it can be trimmed to give the appearance of TIG weld. And it can be use in all positions. The pulse and pulse on pulse allows for more heat energy but less heat input in the heat affect zones and also allows for faster travel speeds and higher deposition rates. Until a local boat builder went out of business I built 130 gal fuel tanks for his boats (23' CC offshore boats). Switching to the pulse system cut my welding time by about 2/3s.

OF course the manual referenced in the thread is a lot of marketing and taking about how good their system is, but have you read anyone's manual that did not do the same? Even though my shop has entirely Lincoln equipment for years I used Miller's education material because it was the best. Even though it was meant for education and training of students it was also very heavily slanted to Miller's products, did not mean the information was not good.

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:38 am
by Kevin Morin
mcm', glad you're back posting here and thanks for your input.

Could you post some pictures? Have you done a section/polish/etch to confirm your assertions about the Lincoln Pulse-on-Pulse weld penetration and performance?

I have an MP 350 Lincoln and would absolutely appreciate learning enough about that weld mode to make use of it in more work. A small set of settings listings, and a brief explanation would be worth their wt. in platinum to me.

I do realize that most of the metal boat builders, here, aren't at shipyard levels of welding training and I've spent most of my posts and points of view trying to provide references for those who're just getting started in aluminum welding.

but, if you've got a detailed explanation for Lincoln's weld modes- beside #40!!!- that would be a very welcome contribution to the community's knowledge on the subject of MIG - Like - TIG and MIG in general.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:14 am
by mcmbuilder
Kevin,
I am currently working from home due to the virus stuff. At work I have some "cheat sheets" with neighborhood settings for the process. Also have some good info about the process. I will be going in later this week to start getting things ready for the new school year. I will get the info and get it to you. As for pics I do not have any but I am actually doing a demo for a local fab shop next week and will take some then and post them here. It is an amazing process and one that should be more widely used in industry than it currently is. Huge time saver. As for cutting and etching the welds, yes I have done that. You can get the pen as deep or as shallow as you want. What it does do is give you as deep if not deeper pen than with a spray transfer with out the possibility of "bridging" a weld as can happen with ST and letting the stickout get away from you in difficult positions. Also not near as likely to have an expanded HAZ as you will with ST.

Not sure if you do any carbon steel work, but the machine pulse modes will work on carbon also. Using hard wire deposition rates and penetration is equal or better than with FCAW and you save a butt load of money on wire.

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:12 pm
by DonovanStinson
Kevin I have an esab rebel 205 ac/dc inverter and I have been having trouble setting my spool gun. They give some parameters on the inside of machine but they don’t seem right. The image is 2 pieces of 1/8 using .035 wire and they recommend 435 wire speed and 17 volts. They don’t give me anything on using .030 wire. I welded this at 400 wire speed and 18 volts. I’m looking to see if anyone can help maybe it’s all in my head but can you give me some pointers or help in dialing in my machine.

Re: MIG Welding Aluminum Guide

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:17 pm
by Kevin Morin
Don,
I'm not familiar with the power supply or the wire feeder you're using so I'll just make some generic remarks based on bead appearance.

First, the individual puddles seem to be pretty uniform, so that if you continue to use this method of welding (?) you're probably going to have a decent looking weld.

To my eye, the weld might have a combination of several adjustments- none should be radical. First, I'd slow the wire feed speed slightly, then add slightly to the wattage/amperage/voltage (heat) and last I'd move the travel speed up just slightly- not travel distance, but the rate you move along the weld.

The decreased wire feed speed would reduce the pronounced bead to bead division 'ripple' or ridge by slowing the rate of fill of the wire. Increasing the weld power (wattage) will wet the puddle a little more, and that will reduce the slight cold laps visible in the toe and top between the individual puddles. Last, by increasing your own travel speed, a small amount, you'll spend less time in any given puddle so the deposition would go down lightly.

A note on whipping the bead in aluminum MIG. Lots of welders tend to make a uniform travel and pattern movement. That is; the time in the back of the puddle which involves a curved motion of the wire will tend to be equal to the time moving ahead or at the center of the (lower case) "c" or backwards "e". to obtain a more uniform surface of the bead, and to have a little more uniform top and two line of fusion; the time during the weld's patterns are slow- then fast; and repeat.

By this I mean to express the time is not uniform in the entire pattern of this type of welding method. The time on the back swept curve is faster than the time in the lead edge fill. In words that might be expressed as whip -pause-whip pause as a rhythm. The travel is done at the lower arc of the 'c' as you come out of the lower curve- and move the even distance forward.

Hope this makes sense in words? But the adjustments will help your MIG bead to flatten out, and have uniform toe and top edges.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK