MIG Welding Aluminum

mig welding aluminum

There are times when a welder, whether a novice or a seasoned professional, does not need the power or have the resources to use an industrial welding machine. Fortunately, there are many well-made and reliable MIG welders that can handle whatever fabrication you may need to perform.

Although one may certainly use a MIG Welder for purposes of welding aluminum, assuming they have the proper MIG Welding set-up, aluminum welding on a larger scale should be done with an AC/DC TIG Welder. Sometimes, however, one does not have the proper resources to use top-of-the-line welding equipment. For this reason, they must weld aluminum for one reason or another by MIG welding aluminum.

There are some challenges that one may run into when MIG welding aluminum that wouldn’t be an issue with a more common welding metal, such as steel. Namely, the room for error is completely narrowed when using aluminum. So, for any variations you may have in roller tension or wire feed speed when MIG welding steel that wouldn’t normally be a problem will absolutely cause problems when welding aluminum.

As long as these careful considerations are taken, there is no reason that one shouldn’t be able to handle MIG welding aluminum in a pinch.

Supplies Needed for MIG Welding Aluminum

It is extremely important to keep to proper supplies when MIG welding aluminum. Otherwise, your machine could develop some issues, and you’ll develop a headache trying to deal with it. For gas, a carbon dioxide mix will absolutely not do; you’ll have to get pure Argon. For your torch liner, the regular steel liner will not do either; using this type of liner could cause wire to become jammed in the liner. Instead you will to use a Teflon or plastic liner, these won’t scratch from the wire and are less likely to cause jams.

You will also need a torch tip that is larger than what one would usually use for steel welding. This is because normal sized tips will cause the aluminum to jam up at the end (due to Aluminum’s adhesive properties). Finally, you will also need to make sure to tailor the wire you use to the aluminum that you’re welding. For general work, 5356 grade and 4043 grade will suffice.

Setting Things Up

The roller tension will have to be found separate to how you usually weld other metals: through trial and error. We recommend starting at the absolute lowest setting and then increasing the tension until the wire feeds. Set the power a bit higher (50% higher) than you would for working on steel of the similar thickness. Depending on the job of course, set the wire feed speed to approximately double that of what you would use on steel.

Make sure that the aluminum is warm to the touch. This shouldn’t be a problem during warmer months, but during cooler months you will need to make sure to heat up the job so as to promote easier welding. Clean the aluminum. If it’s new, you may only have to wipe it down a bit to get general dust and grime off. If it’s older and has sustained some surface oxidation, you may have to lightly sand off the top to clear some aluminum oxide from the surface.

Time To Start MIG Welding Aluminum

Now for the especially tricky part- actually welding the aluminum. There will likely be some trial and error involved with getting the correct combination of wire feed speed and welder power. This can be a frustrating process but don’t shy away from giving it multiple tries; eventually some combination will work just right.

Make sure to angle the torch a bit when in this process; if the wire speed is too high, the angle (40-50 degrees) will help to prevent the wire from getting tangled inside of the machine. Once you’ve found the correct balance, weld just how you would steel: approximately 70 degrees, slowly along the surface of the aluminum.

Which MIG Welder to Use?

There are a multitude of reliable MIG welders to choose from when looking for cheap and reliable options. The Lincoln 210 MP is capable of welding up to 3/16 inches aluminum, and is very light, weighing only 40 pounds. It has a large color display to help guide the user through set-up. This could be very useful considering the balancing act of wire feed speed and power.

On the less expensive end, the Hobart Handler 140 MIG welder is definitely still a passable option. It’s a bit heavier at almost 60 pounds, which still is not too bad. It can also conveniently be plugged into a household current. While not specifically good or bad for MIG welding aluminum, it is a major perk for hobby welders. Reviewers have found that it is rather annoying having to adjust the wire spool with a wrench every time.

The Vulcan Migmax 140 is another good MIG welder at a modest price point. It weighs 70 pounds and comes spool ready. It is well equipped to handle the welding projects of professionals, while still simple enough to serve as a perfectly decent welder for a novice.

Wrapping Things Up

In summary, it is always best to avoid MIG welding aluminum if you can help it. Of course, oftentimes one cannot help it and must resort to MIG tools for their aluminum projects. Although more difficult, it is most certainly not impossible. By following these general guidelines, MIG welding with aluminum should be entirely doable without many hitches.

MIG Welding Tips and Tricks from the Pros

Whether you are a professional welder or a hobbyist, you must study up and stay safe. In this article, you will discover helpful tips and advice. Ways to highlight on how welding can be more than just a job to keep you grounded.

Staying Safe While Welding with MIG Welding Tips

Safety and protection are of the upmost priority. To prevent electrocution, you will need to ground the work to a reliable source. Inspect your receptacle circuit, on a regular basis, to ensure the stability of the grounding conductor. A receptacle circuit tester can be purchased online or at any hardware store.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Dress appropriately, while using the MIG welder by having the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This includes the following:

  • Helmet – Protecting the eyes and the face from radiation, flying debris or particles, sparks, intense heat.
  • Respirators – Protecting the lungs against the fumes and oxides.
  • Gloves – Protecting your hands from heat, shock, burns, and fires.
  • Heat Resistant Clothing and Aprons – Protecting any exposed skin from burns, heat, and fires.
  • Ear Muffs / Plugs – Protecting your ears from the noise.
  • Boots – Protecting your feet from heat, shock, burns, and fires.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Safeguard your area by clearing out any water. Do not weld in inclement weather. Be sure that you have a well-ventilated area. Do not breathe in the gas fumes and use your common sense.

Focus in on your work and eliminate any surrounding distractions. Only work on a project when you are a 100% sure that you know what to do. Constantly remain dry and grounded, along with complete certainty that the connections are tight.

Use plenty of caution when welding with containers. Have exact knowledge of the contents inside. Items could be flammable, toxic, or explosive. Even when working on motorcycles, cars, or anything that may have a gas tank; try to remove the tank prior to welding. All it takes is a spark to set yourself up for immediate danger.

Educate Yourself

Read through any and all manuals, scour the internet, and watch as many videos that you can. Protect yourself by taking full advantage of the many classes that are readily available. If you have an open schedule, and welding has always been of some interest, there are sessions that you can attend in person. If you are limited on time, or want to freshen up your skills, online courses are always available.

Since there are different types of welding, be sure to research the specific area that you are interested in. As you know, TIG and MIG welding are different forms, which means that there are distinct techniques that you should acquire to stay safe while welding.  Knowing the difference, and applying the knowledge for such, will go a long way in keeping you out of harm’s way.

If you are planning on welding with a MIG for a while; purchasing one, versus renting, will save you money and time. Compare the different models and read through reputable online forums. Stay afloat of the pricing, as many online stores offer specials periodically throughout the year.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even if you have a lot of core knowledge on an upcoming project, you will still want to practice on similar materials until you work on your masterpiece. Become familiar with which materials that you will be working on. Aluminum, low carbon steel, and stainless adapt a great deal with MIG welding. Not all elements work best with MIG.

Consider how deep the penetration needs to be, the characteristics of the material, and the control of the mechanical properties of the weld. For example, when MIG welding with aluminum, it is a non-ferrous metal. Meaning that its main component is nonmagnetic and of flexible metal. In turn, this implies that, when preparing to use a MIG welder on aluminum, it is necessary to use a 100% argon shielding gas.

Try either the forehand or backhand technique, when using a MIG weld. The forehand, or push, style allows for the rod itself to precede the torch when used on thinner materials. Whereas backhand, or pull, welding generates less puddle and works best on thicker components.

Another approach is to utilize skip welding. This type of skill allows for a pattern of infrequent welds. Upon completion, you would then retrace the initial welding line. This will be beneficial in reducing the distortion of the metal.

No matter which method you decide upon, keep your hands relaxed and exercise your form as many times as possible to work out any kinks, prior to tackling your project. Attempting to take short cuts, or not practicing at all, will cause you to lose time and money in the grand scheme.

Cleanliness is Next to Steadiness

One of the best ways to create a strong weld is by taking care of your MIG welder. This will save you money, and time, as proper maintenance does not require a large amount of effort. With regular care, and attention, your MIG will be able to live up to its effectiveness and durability.

Your MIG welder will not get very far if it is dirty, contains rust, or has any other contaminants on it. Gunk that collects on the MIG weld can get trapped and cause a massive hindrance. Before working on any project, make certain that there are no impurities or toxins that can get onto the MIG weld when working with it.

A common mishap is that the tip, or the gun nozzle, becomes clogged. Try to back up, just a bit, with the machine when working on a project. Sometimes, welders accidentally get the MIG welder too deep into the penetration. This can lead to molten welding droplets sticking and / or hardening causing blockages and obstructions. Use an anti-spatter spray, nozzle drip or gel to clean and maintain the tip on the gun.

The MIG gun liner needs to be clear of any build-up, as it can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of the welding caliber. Try using an air compressor to expel any dirt or dust particles that may have collected along the liner. If that does not fully clear the liner, you may need to use a pad or swab, with a non-residue cleaner, to wipe the blockage away. Try to do this on a weekly basis, to maintain a precise and durable weld. For a piece of mind, have a back-up liner handy when attempting to finish your project.

All Wired Up

Welding on solid-steel typically requires an ER70S-6, which is the most commonly used MIG wiring. Dissected as an electrode rod with a tinsel toughness of 70,000 psi as a solid electrode with a chemical composition of 6. This specific type works well on carbon steel projects.

When using a 220-volt machine, a typical wire diameter of 0.035 is a great fit. If you are starting out in the welding field, or looking to get into it as a hobbyist, a 0.023 works great with a smaller scale MIG.

Determine where you will be accessing the correct amp fuse. Certify that your wiring can handle the current, from which the MIG weld will be producing. Stay safe by double checking every avenue; from the front of the MIG machine all the way to around to the power source.

Smooth Operator

The most common MIG setting is the direct current electrode positive (DCEP), which allows for the positive terminal to be connected to your ground. This will allow for a more stable, and smoother, weld especially with steel. Prior to starting your project, you will need to have the machine in the correct setting to meet your expectations.

The MIG welding machine can produce a lower voltage, by utilizing a short circuit transfer. This is when the wire touches the metal, causing the alloy to become hot enough to merge into the joint. When this happens, a puddle forms from the taction. To know if the short circuit is set, listen for a sound similar to that of cold-water droplets touching a hot frying pan.

Calculate the wire that you will need, to prevent stick-out. Some manuals, and online sources, may suggest a longer electrical stick-out measuring from the crown to the foot of the hardened electrode wire. For a thin gauge, try applying the forehand technique with no more than a stick-out of ¾-inches. If needing to fill in larger gaps, measure out about ½-inch of stick-out.

Shielding gas is important, as it can prevent excessive spatter, reduces porocity, and protects the welding area. If you are welding for fun, a shielding gas of 75/25 (75% Argon / 25% Carbon Dioxide) will be plenty. On your regulator, unless otherwise specified, a basic flow rate should be between 10 to 20 cubic feet per hour (CFH).

Compelled to Weld

Safeguard your welding area, and yourself. Frequently read and research to further educate yourself. Practice, practice, practice as much as possible. Remember, when the helmet is on, shut the rest of the world out.

What are the Various Types of Welder?

Whether you are looking to purchase your first welder, or have the need to upgrade your current one, there are important factors to take into consideration. Do you need the machine to perform small tasks, or to be used for general repairs? Do you need it for commercial use, with a heavy-duty job to perform?

Currently, there are several welding machines to choose from, due to technological advancements in design and safety. With multiple options, you need to find the one that meets your expectations. Which, in return, will make your job complete and seamless.

What are the different types of welders?

With so many welder machines up for grabs, you need to find out which one will produce the best quality for your use. This should be done while staying at a realistic price. Whether you a beginner in the world of welding, or a seasoned pro, we at Tool Guides Hub can help in providing a better insight on various models and welder types. By reading through the discoveries, you may find additional features that you did not think were possible. Or, even, another model that may meet your needs versus the one that you originally had in mind.

Here are the four basic types of welders that are currently available:

Oxy-Acetylene Welding

Oxygen-Acetylene, or Gas, Welding is made up of both oxygen and acetylene gases that burns through a torch. A basic torch outfit can reach a temperature of up to 5,620 degrees to blaze, cut, heat, or weld basic metals. The burn time on the torch itself all depends on the size of the cylinder. Beginner welders can easily learn the basic principal of heat control with using the flame torch. This can apply to other types of welding.

Stick Welding

Stick Welding, or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), is the most commonly used technique amongst the arc welding methods.  Using a set length electrode and an electric power source, this type of welding is easily adaptable. This is because it melts and provides a filler material for the weld. It has the potential of being used in multiple locations. The welding cables can extend quite the distance from its point of supply for the power. Hence the reason for it growing in popularity.

MIG Welding

The Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding system is typically seen as one of the easiest forms of welding to learn. Developed at the turn of the century, of which the core principles from 1948 are still used today, MIG Welding uses a wire electrode feed which passes through a workpiece to create a weld puddle. Like the use of a hot glue gun, it provides efficient work without exhausting effort.

Most of the welders that are covered here on Tool Guides Hub are MIG welders.

TIG Welding

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) is like the MIG system, win which it uses an arc welding process to create a filler substance for accumulation or for added support. Unlike the MIG; TIG can be a bit complex due to it being a more intricate and delicate version of welding. By utilizing an electrode shielded in inert gas; the welder manually feeds a filler rod through the torch. An accelerator pedal is commonly used for lager projects, while a fingertip remote is recommended for more defined jobs, both of which can adjust the heat while working on your task at hand.

Keep in mind that that it is essential to consider the type of material that you will be welding. Buying your own welder is a great investment, and it is important that you do your homework. The Hobart 140 Reviews are great in guiding you through the multiple products that are currently on the market. They offer comparisons, highlighting the pros and cons, which can provide a greater sense of confidence in knowing that you are making the best purchase for you.

Consider Taking an Expert’s Opinion

At this moment, you have a powerful resource in front of you: the internet. Not only is it convenient, but it also offers a multitude of reputable sources for you to investigate and ensure that you are making the best choice to invest in. The vast majority of online marketplaces have evolved to make the sites user friendly, and sometimes offer great discounts or deals making the product more affordable than purchasing in the store. The Hobart 140 Reviews is one online resource that will be beneficial for you to search through. It can provide you with the comprehensive information for the countless welders that are attainable.

Tips for Welding Safely

The Hobart 140 Review can also point out the safety features that each welder offers. It is crucial for you to take safety precautions, when using your machinery, to prevent injury and damage.

Sparks can fly, along with hot metal sediments filing the air causing irritation and severe damage to the eyes. Exposed eyes are more susceptible to what is commonly referred to as “arc flash’. The damage may not be immediately felt. There are auto-darkening helmets on the market that have been proven effective against arc flash and guarding against debris throughout the air.

From the eyes, we drop down to the nose, as you need adequate ventilation when using your welding equipment. Dangerous fumes may gather, creating a toxic gas, versus breathable air. Check the manual that comes with your welder, to ensure that you are following the suggested safety protocol for proper placement while the device is in use.

Moving to the side of your head, as you need to protect your ears from the constant noise and fumes that your welder machine can produce. Not only are there the potential dangers from extreme noises, but combined with the toxic gases in the air, it can create permanent hearing loss. Purchase either earmuffs or ear plugs and visit your general physician for regular hearing check-ups.

Overall, you want to make sure that your full body is shielded from any possible hazards and that you are working in a safe environment. A well-ventilated work space, keeping your distance from the machinery, taking breaks to prevent fatigue, along with full and proper protection will allow for a smoother welding process.

Top Reasons to Buy the Stick Welder for You

Seen as being quite common to have on hand in the past; stick welders are viewed as being “old reliable”. Yet, there are still some great benefits of having a stick welder nearby. Let alone, having one that you own.

Whether you are tinkering around at home on a project or need to weld at a commercial level; by owning a stick welder, you can take pride in knowing that you have made a sound investment. When you are looking to compare stick welders, be sure to look at the Harbor Freight Welder Review. It has the knowledge in what is currently available on the market and allow for great comparisons on the stick welder models.

Finding the Best Stick Welder for You

Purchasing a stick welder will be saving money, since renting expenses will be a thing of the past. Time will be on your side, as you no longer must wait around to use a stick welder. Having the ability to take the machine with you, especially if you work outside, provides more freedom and confidence when working on your project.

Whether you are a beginner welder, or a seasoned professional, scouring through the numerous options that are available can be exhausting. The Harbor Freight Welder Review can assist you by alleviating the stress that can come from having multiple options. By having the necessary information easily accessible, the it is a reliable go-to in order to find the one specific stick welder that will best suit your needs.

Online storefronts have created a better sense of accessibility, along with the convenience of making a purchase at home or at work. While looking through the Harbor Freight Welder Review, make sure to keep the following in mind:

Buy a Trustworthy Welder Brand

Most name brands offer a warranty and are more reliable than an off-brand machine. When investing in such a purchase, you want to make sure that the welder is from a trusted source. Occasionally, some of the well-known brands may offer rebates or discounts, making the product even more affordable and possible to stay within your budget.

Knowledge is Key, For Your Projects

What do you plan on using your stick welder for? Will it be kept just at home, or at a work site? Will you be using it in tight areas? What amount of electrodes do you need it to produce? Being familiar with what you will need the tool for, will be essential in your buying process.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Stick Welder

There are many important options to consider when spending your hard-earned money on a stick welder. Technology has made some great advancements to accommodate for the multitude of different options that one may need to use such a machine for. It will be beneficial to utilize the Harbor Freight Welder Review as the main online resource. While at the site, you will be able to receive the crucial information of each stick welder that is obtainable.

Here are some important bullet points that you may want to consider, upon acquiring your new stick welder:

Where This Is A Weld, There Is A Way

At least in the realm of a stick weld, there is a great chance that there is a means to weld in almost any tight spot. A basic stick welder works with a slender electrode and can basically fit into most cramped spaces. Go through the different brands of stick welders on the Harbor Freight Welder Review and verify that it is made from a reputable company. Investigate and confirm that it will be able to produce the kind of work that you require to get the job done right the first time.

Location, Location, Location

Portability makes a stick welder quite the crowd pleaser amongst farmers, industrial workers, beginners, and those who weld at home. Because it is simple to use, and can be used outdoors in dismal weather, the stick welder retains its popularity amongst the welding community. You can use it with a variety of materials, as it uses different electrodes to accommodate for a multitude of jobs. Another added benefit is that it does not depend on shielding gas, which makes for an important tool to have on hand.

Spark a Plan of Action

Utilizing a stick welder allows you to spend more moments on the actual weld itself, versus grinding and sanding down your metals. Especially on tasks where the final project’s appearance is last on the order of importance. Think ahead and take into consideration which projects will be best suited to operate with a stick welder, in order to save on expenses and time.

Keep Your Cost of Materials Grounded

A wonderful benefit of having a handy stick welder, is that is does not need much upkeep. It contains the necessary parts inside of it. While some other welders may be more visually appealing, a stick welder’s basic structure of its outer components guarantees less maintenance and more time for you to relax.

Electrode Options and its Current Production

A lot of welders enjoy the simplicity of the stick welder, and that it does offer different options for their electrode settings. Sensitive materials, or ones that may be a bit flimsier, will respond better to a small-diameter electrode. While a thicker, or more denser, object will react better to a higher setting. If you own a stick welder, you will have additional time to play around with your different options, to find the settings that will best work for you.

By owning a stick welder, you will have an easily accessible tool that can accommodate to a multitude of projects and environments. Refresh your familiarity, or learn about the latest stick welders, through the Harbor Freight Welder Review. Enjoy the time, and money, that you will be saving after you make the best investment for you.

To Benefits of Buying A Quality Welding Machine

You already at a hot start by knowing that you want to buy a welder, but perhaps you need further reasoning. As I am sure that you are aware; investing in a welder machine can provide an additional source of income, save on overall costs, or just to have on hand for tinkering on random projects. Renting expenses on machinery can be extremely draining especially if you purchase a welder that does not fit your needs, was poorly made, or is not a good fit for the job that you need it to perform on.

Take into consideration the following:

An Additional Source of Income

If anything happens to your new machine but there is no warranty. Or, you purchased from an online source that was not reputable but offered a similar machine to the one that you actually wanted. Now is not the time to skimp out on such important factors. This is a valuable contribution to your future, so that you may use it at home or on the job site. Possibly offering more gigs for some additional pocket money. You would not want to produce a poor project, on account of cutting corners on your welding machine. Just as you would for your welding task; take the same approach to time in studying up on the welder that will be your prime choice.

Save On Overall Costs

At this moment; if you are in need of a welding machine, you would have to patiently wait to borrow one from a friend, or travel to a local store in hopes of renting one. Let alone making the return trip to deliver the machine back. Having possession of your own welder can create more time for you to work on the project, or to have a moment of down time between jobs.

Having One to Use as A Hobby

If you are looking to weld as a hobby, then having a welding machine on hand is a must. It will be much more convenient to have one at your disposal, versus having to go out and rent or borrow one. Besides, the time that you will save on having to go out, you can now utilize towards your craft.

Advancements in technology have opened the doors in creating more user-friendly welding machines. Research is key, whether you are looking to buy a Stick, MIG, TIG, or Flux-Cored Arc Welder. The Forney Welder Review can help you to sort through the variety of brands and manufactures that are currently available on the market.

Choosing the Best Welding Machine for You

Online marketplaces have become much more user friendly for the consumers, by offering easy to understand storefronts from the convenience of your own home or workspace. While taking everything into account all that you are looking for in a welding machine, it will be greatly benefit you by looking at the Forney Welder Review. There you can research which machine will offer you the best quality, which one will be best for your upcoming projects, all the while staying within your budgeted range.

Remember the following, while shopping online:

Ensure the Welding Machine Quality

During the renting process, you indiscriminately commit to a welding machine that may have not been well maintained and could cause a glitch in your final product. The last thing that you would want is for a job to cost you time and money. Hence the reason why it is crucial that, when shopping for your own welder, you ensure the quality of the product. Numerous reputable companies and brands are available on the market. Most offer a warranty, which provides a sound mind and reassurance in making that crucial purchase.

Eliminate the Guesswork

Before you begin your task, it is important to know exactly which type of welding machine that will best suit your needs. Knowing the type of undertaking that you will need to use the welder for, can keep you on track for which exact machine that you will need to complete the upcoming action. It can be an issue, when renting or borrowing a machine, if you are unsure as to which welder you will want. If you have to rent or borrow, the store or a friend / coworker may only have a MIG on hand, but perhaps you need a Stick Welder. By having your own welder easily accessible, you know that you can tackle your plan of action without hesitation.

Examine Your Budget

Depending on your location, and the type of welder that you are looking for; daily rental fees can cost on average between $40 and in upwards to $150. Let alone weekly or monthly expenses, which can be as high as $900 or more per month. Take into account that a welding machine is a long-term investment. Something that you will be able to use for years to come, and to accomplish many demanding projects. To make such a well-informed purchase, make sure that you have organized a financial plan to include the cost of your new welder. Decide if you plan on buying outright, or financing to lower the immediate expenses. Over time, you will reduce the spending costs from renting and devote more valuable time on completing upcoming welding jobs at work and / or for your own leisure.

Welders are known for bringing things together, with a whole lot of spark. Do the same with your upcoming purchase on your welder! Investigate which machine will provide you with the result that you demand. Research your upcoming jobs, to guarantee that your new purchase will be your go-to equipment. Analyze and compare the prices to stay within your budgeted means. Remember to check out the Forney Welder Review, to help in your search and for an easier means during the process of elimination. Just think of how nice it will be, when you have your job completed in a shorter amount of time, because you are now the proud owner of a high-quality welding machine.