Aluminum Welding

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: Using 4043 versus 4047 filler wire

December 30, 2014

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Q: I usually use 4043 filler wire for welding 6061-T6 and castings. My friend told me I should switch to 4047 because it’s stronger. Is that true? It’s more expensive than 4043. Is it worth it? A: As you know, 4043 and 5356 are the most common aluminum filler alloys. In fact, these two alloys...

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Aluminum Workshop: Cleaning aluminum before welding

December 29, 2014

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Q: What’s the best way to clean aluminum before welding? How long can I wait to weld it before it needs to be cleaned again? A: Preweld cleaning requires two operations: oil and grease removal and oxide removal. Before you do anything else, remove any oil, grease, or water vapor from the...

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Aluminum Workshop: Fabricating aluminum plant boxes

December 29, 2014

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Q: I am bidding on a job to fabricate aluminum plant boxes. They will sit inside 4-foot-tall walls in an office. These rectangular boxes, or troughs, will be 7.5 inches tall, 7.5 in. wide, and 48 in. long, placed end-to-end to form 16-ft. dividers. I plan to use 5052 aluminum. A 1.75-in. flange,...

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Aluminum Workshop: Passing tensile tests for 6061-T6

December 26, 2014

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Q: I am having problems passing the tensile tests for my procedure qualification of aluminum alloy 6061-T6 on 6-inch-diameter pipe, Schedule 120. I am using ER4043 filler metal for a gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)-gas metal arc welding (GMAW) combination process on the first joint and ER5363 on...

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Aluminum Workshop: Aluminum arc welding with other processes

December 26, 2014

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Q: Columnist’s Note: This issue’s column addresses several questions subscribers have asked about shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) of aluminum. Some of you asked about a flux cored welding (FCAW) wire for aluminum and where to get it. Others asked whether aluminum has ever been submerged arc...

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Aluminum Workshop: Arc blow, contact tips

December 24, 2014

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Q: Is it possible to encounter arc blow when welding aluminum? Since aluminum isn’t magnetic, I don’t think so, but my friend thinks it is. A cup of coffee is riding on your answer. A: It looks like you’d better get ready to pay up. It is possible to encounter arc blow when welding aluminum....

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Aluminum Workshop: An introduction to pulsed MIG power supplies

December 19, 2014

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Q: What’s the story behind pulsed gas metal arc welding (GMAW) aluminum? Some think it’s great, but others say it’s just a way for equipment makers to sell expensive power supplies. A: GMAW transfers metal in three ways. At low currents, you get short-circuit transfer, in which the molten...

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Aluminum Workshop: TIG welding and radio frequency interface

December 18, 2014

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Q: When I gas tungsten arc-weld aluminum using AC, my portable radio speakers buzz. Does the high frequency that stabilizes the arc cause this? Will it hurt the radio or other electrical equipment? Can I shield adjacent equipment or minimize the effects? A: The high frequency (HF) that...

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Aluminum Workshop: Why 6061 filler metal doesn’t exist

December 15, 2014

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Q: The most common grade of aluminum I see is 6061-T6, but I’ve never seen 6061 filler metal. Why is this? Why does everyone seem to weld 6061-T6 with 4043 or 5356 filler metal? A: You never see 6061 filler metal because, if it existed, it would be an awful filler metal. Virtually every weld you...

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Aluminum Workshop: Cleaning aluminum parts

December 15, 2014

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Q: What’s the proper method to clean aluminum parts before welding? A: Cleaning aluminum parts before welding is a two-step process. First, remove oils, grease, and other contaminants to prevent weld porosity. Second, eliminate oxide from the areas to be welded to prevent lack of fusion and...

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Aluminum Workshop: New wire brand may mean new parameters

December 12, 2014

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Q: When I run out of aluminum gas metal arc welding (GMAW) wire and buy a different brand, it doesn’t seem to weld as smoothly. Is there that much of a quality difference among brands? A: While there may be a difference in quality, you may be experiencing something else entirely. If you’ve...

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Aluminum Workshop: Preheating aluminum

December 12, 2014

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Q: What preheat temperature should I use when welding aluminum? I’ve heard different numbers, and I know they can’t all be right. A: Let me begin with a bold statement: If you have the right equipment, you never need to preheat when welding aluminum. I have gas tungsten arc-welded (GTAW)...

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Aluminum Workshop: Alloys for furniture fabrication

December 11, 2014

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Q: Which alloy would you recommend for cold bending aluminum tubing or fabricating aluminum law furniture? A: First consider alloy availability. Many alloys are available as round tubing, but not all are obtainable. Most small-diameter tubing is extruded because it’s relatively economical to...

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Aluminum Workshop: Electrical current in TIG and MIG

December 11, 2014

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Q: When I gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW) aluminum, I always use alternating current (AC), but when I gas metal arc weld (GMAW) aluminum, I always use direct current electrode positive (DCEP). Why the difference? Does anyone GTAW aluminum using DC? Does anyone GMAW using AC? A: In both GTAW and GMAW,...

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Aluminum Workshop: Determining aluminum metallurgy

December 10, 2014

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Q: Most of my aluminum welding involves the repair of components my customers bring me. How do I know which alloy they are made of and which filler metal to use? A: This is a good question and one to which there is no easy answer. There is no quick, cheap test that will tell you which aluminum...

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