Aluminum Welding Articles

The aluminum welding technology area has instructions, tips, and product information geared specifically toward welding this lightweight, versatile material.

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Aluminum Workshop: What not to do when excessive contact tip burnback occurs

January 29, 2016

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Frank Armao explains why contact tips are important in the welding process and what you shouldn't do to remedy burnback problems.

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Aluminum Workshop: Fine-line lack of fusion and its causes

November 16, 2015

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Q: I recently fabricated a large component from 1-in.-thick 5083 aluminum. The customer required it to be radiographed. His inspector failed one of the radiographs because of a lack of fusion (LOF) discontinuity. I looked at the radiograph and I can’t see any discontinuity. Could the inspector be...

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Aluminum Workshop: Defining, stopping porosity in aluminum welds

September 28, 2015

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Q: I’m having quite a bit of trouble with porosity in my aluminum welds lately. Can you tell me the sort of measures I should take to minimize the porosity? A: Let’s first define the basic cause of weld porosity in aluminum and then go on to summarize the major causes. All porosity in...

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Aluminum Workshop: The real deal when welding aluminum and steel

July 23, 2015

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Rumor has it that fabricating aluminum and steel components in the same building can cause contamination in the aluminum. Is this true or is it just a myth? Frank Armao has the answer.

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EBE Reduced Raw Material and Tightened the Production Belt for Fat-zapping Device

May 14, 2015

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Production difficulties due to the complex design of a heat exchanger for ZELTIQ® Aesthetic Inc.’s CoolSculpting® equipment designed to selectively reduce fat caused the company to fall behind on shipments. A redesign by Electron Beam Engineering Inc., Anaheim, Calif., reduced the amount of 5052 aluminum needed by about 15 percent, simplified production for a 20 percent time savings, and upped quality to over 99 percent. The 15-in.-long electron beam welds are pressure-tight, narrow, and do not require postweld finishing.

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Aluminum Workshop: What to know when changing shielding gas with pulsed GMAW

May 12, 2015

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Q: Recently I bought a new high-end pulsing power supply, which has different modes for all of the common materials and wire diameters. I was getting great results with 3/64-in. 5356 wire and 100 percent argon shielding gas. When I changed to a mixture of 70 percent argon/30 percent helium, the arc...

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Best practices for welding aluminum

May 1, 2015

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Don’t wait for defects to appear in your aluminum welds. Be proactive by understanding how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

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Aluminum Workshop: Matching filler alloys with A356

March 16, 2015

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Q: I need to do a lot of welding on A356 aluminum castings. Can you tell me which filler alloy I should use? A: Alloy 356 and its variants (A356, B356, C356) is an aluminum-silicon-magnesium (AISiMg) alloy containing about 7 percent silicon and 0.35 percent magnesium. It is heat-treatable in the...

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Aluminum Workshop: Why it’s so hard to weld anodized aluminum

January 20, 2015

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Q: I bought some anodized 6061-T6 tubing to make a structural framework and I’m having trouble welding it. The welds are black and ugly. Can you help? A: I think I can help. First, it would be helpful to explain what anodizing is. Anodizing is a reverse plating operation of sorts in which the...

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Aluminum Workshop: Welding 6061-T6 without filler metal; choosing shielding gas for GMAW

January 6, 2015

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Q: I’m trying to use gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) without filler metal to join 6061-T6, and almost every weld I make cracks. What’s going on? A: A common aluminum alloy, 6061-T6 is welded every day, so we assume it must be easy to weld. Unfortunately, it isn’t. In fact, 6061 and the other...

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Aluminum Workshop: Welding anodized 6061-T6 extruded tubing, 7075 series aluminum

January 6, 2015

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Q: I bought anodized 6061-T6 extruded tubing and have been trying to gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW) if, but the results so far haven’t been satisfactory. The welds look black and porous. I’m an experienced welder, and I’ve welded aluminum before, but I’ve never run into this. Is there...

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Aluminum Workshop: Choosing an aluminum alloy

January 5, 2015

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Q: I have a project I want to build from aluminum sheet and extrusions. Some of my friends tell me to make it entirely from 6061-T6. Other tell me to use other alloys, mostly 5000 series. The project entails a lot of welding. Which alloy should I use? A: Without knowing more details about your...

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Aluminum Workshop: Defining cast and helix

January 5, 2015

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Q: What are cast and helix? I keep hearing about them, but no one seems to really know what they are. A: First of all, cast and helix are two separate attributes of spooled wires intended for gas metal arc welding (GMAW). The terms have no meaning for straight cut lengths of wire meant for gas...

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Aluminum Workshop: Understanding AC and HAZ ‘cracks’

January 2, 2015

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Q: I know that when aluminum alloys are gas tungsten arc-welded (GTAW), usually we use alternating current (AC) because it give some sort of cleaning action. Can you explain what it is and how it works? A: Sure, let’s try. But before I start, let me admit that this explanation is a bit of a...

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Aluminum Workshop: Defining arc rectification

January 2, 2015

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Q: Sometimes when I’m AC gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) aluminum, the arc will start to flutter for a while. I can see it and hear it. Usually it goes away after a few seconds. What’s going on? A: First of all, the good news is that you’re not imagining it. This phenomenon is fairly common...

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