The aluminum welding technology area has instructions, tips, and product information geared specifically toward welding this lightweight, versatile material.
November 6, 2014
Q: I do a lot of aluminum GTAW, and I have always used alternating current (AC). Recently a friend told me that I can GTAW aluminum using direct current electrode negative (DCEN). Is this true? A: Yes, it is true, but using DCEN requires some changes in the process. Let’s find out what they are....
November 5, 2014
Q: I am just getting into aluminum GTAW and I have heard many recommendations about which tungsten electrode I should use. Can you tell me how to make the right choice? A: I will certainly try. First, let’s look at the commonly available tungsten electrodes (see Figure 1). Each type is given an...
November 4, 2014
Q: My friend told me that he never worries about what grade of aluminum alloy he is welding on. He always uses 1100 filler. He says since 1100 is essentially pure aluminum and doesn’t contain any alloying elements, that you can use it to weld any aluminum alloy. Is this true? It would eliminate a...
May 3, 2013
The U.S. Navy has been searching for new weld-repair methods on its aluminum-hulled ships beyond dry docking, which is impractical and costly. Phoenix Intl., an underwater services company that has held the Navy’s Diving Services contract for the past 15 years, may have found one: underwater aluminum GMAW in a hyperbaric chamber.
March 1, 2013
Aluminum has garnered a reputation for being difficult to weld, especially when using gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Mastering the process isn’t as daunting as you might think. All you really need for successful aluminum GTAW is an understanding of the metal’s unique properties and the welding preparation techniques and tools you’ll need to address those properties.
December 3, 2012
Aluminum is tough to weld, but its advantages of high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, excellent mechanical properties at low temperatures, and recyclability put it at the top of the materials list for fabrications, including many with substantial bulk. Two industry experts shared tips on how to produce good welds in thick aluminum.
February 1, 2012
For Great Lakes Shipyard, a division of the Great Lakes Towing Co., located on the Cuyahoga River’s Old River Channel just off of Lake Erie, one order posed the ship designer and fabricator’s biggest challenge in recent history: designing and fabricating not one but two aluminum ships, something the company had yet to do.
July 8, 2011
What causes soot and porosity in aluminum welding? Do I need a push/pull gun with my GMAW machine to weld aluminum? Are robots practical for my aluminum application? These questions are answered in this first installment of a new column on thefabricator.com.
May 11, 2011
Q: I want to weld on some 7075 aluminum, but I can't find a recommended filler metal for it. Can you tell me the correct filler metal to use? In a word, no. The reason you can't find a recommended filler metal for 7075 is that it is usually considered to be unweldable with arc welding. No one,...
March 14, 2011
Q: Can you tell me the heat treatment steps necessary to produce 6061-T6? I have heard that heat treating it after welding will increase its mechanical properties.A:Let's first describe what is happening when you heat treat 2XXX, 6XXX, or 7XXX alloys. All of these alloys are heat treated by...
November 22, 2010
The reactive nature of aluminum to the welding arc, which is much more pronounced than that of other base materials, presents many challenges, including excess heat input and burn-through, porosity, poor bead appearance, poor fusion, and cracking. Technology advancements have made tackling these challenges easier by providing a balance of high travel speeds with a narrow, focused arc
June 30, 2009
The first step in learning about welding aluminum is learning about the various alloys themselves (cast and wrought)—the digits used in the aluminum designation system, the properties of the various alloys, and the considerations in matching a filler metal to a base material.
May 19, 2009
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, often is thought of as the most difficult welding process to master. Fortunately for welders, several technological advances have occurred, forcing many to rethink their assumptions. Alternating current (AC) GTAW is no longer...
April 1, 2009
Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is dedicated to researching the impact that oceans have on the Earth as a whole, and sometimes that means diving to treacherous depths to gather pertinent information. For an excursion at Challenger Deep, a portion of the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Marianas Islands, WHOI fabricated a hybrid remotely operated vehicle able to withstand the 15,751 PSI of pressure, allowing scientists to gather valuable data from more than 35,000 feet below sea level.
March 24, 2009
Q: In the last Aluminum Workshop, you talked about improving the welded strength of 6061 by welding in the T4 temper and aging after welding. But what happens if we weld in the T6 temper and age after welding? Does the weld get stronger, or does the extra aging cycle overage the T6 base material...