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Aluminum Workshop: The truth about welding aluminum castings

March 23, 2017 | By Frank Armao

Q: A group of friends and I were talking the other day. Some people said that all aluminum castings are weldable. Others took the extreme opposite position and said that aluminum castings usually aren’t weldable. What’s the truth?A: The short answer is that, yes, most aluminum castings are...

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Aluminum Workshop: Choosing a filler to repair 356.0-T6 casting

January 30, 2017 | By Frank Armao

A reader wanting to make a repair to a 356.0-T6 aluminum cylinder gets Frank's advice on what filler metal to use.

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Aluminum Workshop: 6061-T6 cracking

November 30, 2016 | By Frank Armao

Q: My company recently purchased a piece of equipment fabricated from 6061-T6 structural shapes. The welds do not seem to be very good and we have found several cracked welds. However, it is the weld shown in the photo that is puzzling. This weld shows a crack in the 6061 base metal about 2 in....

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Aluminum Workshop: Know the Mg content of your 5XXX alloy

September 23, 2016 | By Frank Armao

This month’s topic doesn’t deal specifically with welding aluminum, but I think you will agree it has important implications in the design and fabrication of aluminum structures. This topic and its associated problems have come up in conversations twice in the past two months. It deals with...

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Aluminum Workshop: What are the advantages of AC in aluminum GMAW?

July 22, 2016 | By Frank Armao

Q: Lately I have seen a few welding equipment manufacturers offering gas metal arc welding (GMAW) power sources that use alternating current (AC) instead of the direct-current electrode-positive (DCEP) current. Can you tell me what, if any, advantages there are to using AC instead of the more...

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Aluminum Workshop: The perks of a push-pull gun for GMAW

May 12, 2016 | By Frank Armao

Q: I will be getting into aluminum welding much more than I have in the past. I want to buy a new set of equipment for gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and I’ve already picked out the power supply and feeder. Should I buy a push-pull gun or stick with the simpler and less expensive push-only gun? A:...

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

March 28, 2016 | By Frank Armao

Editor’s Note: Part I appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of Practical Welding Today®.

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

January 29, 2016 | By Frank Armao

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 | By Frank Armao

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 | By Frank Armao

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 | By Frank Armao

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 | By Sue Roberts

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 | By Frank Armao

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 | By Galen White

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 | By Frank Armao

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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