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: Preventing porosity in humid environments

March 11, 2008

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Q: I'm having problems with excessive porosity when TIG welding aluminum. My friend says it comes from water vapor in the air (it's very humid here) being broken down by the arc. Is this true? It sounds pretty far-fetched.A: I hope you didn't bet on this one. If you did, get ready to pay up. All...

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Aluminum Workshop: Eliminating fine shavings from 5356 wire

January 15, 2008

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Q: I've been using my welding equipment to weld aluminum with 4043 filler for a long time without problems. Now that I have a project that requires me to use 5356 filler, I'm having problems with fine shavings that come off of this particular wire. Eventually they clog the torch liner so that the...

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Wheelchair rugby players

These aren't your grandparents' wheelchairs

December 11, 2007

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Vesco Metal Craft, a manufacturer of rugby wheelchairs, makes specialized wheelchairs from 6061 seamless aluminum tubing. This violent, collision-oriented sport causes cracks in the welds' heat-affected zone, so the company sought better manufacturing methods. It added heat-treating to its process and switched to an inverter-based welding unit that gives the company's welders advanced waveform control.

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Aluminum Workshop: Minimizing weld cleaning stripes

September 11, 2007

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Q:I'm fabricating toolboxes for pickup trucks using gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and polished aluminum tread plate. The cleaning stripes along each side of the weld are wide and detract from the appearance of the toolbox. Please don't tell me to wire-brush the weld because this stands out even...

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Aluminum Workshop: To weld or not to weld Alclad

July 10, 2007

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Q: I have some aluminum sheet that I would like to use to fabricate a project. The only marking on it is "Alclad." Other than that, I have no idea what alloy it is. Can you tell me what filler metal to use to weld it?A: Whether you realize it or not, you have seen Alclad sheet hundreds of times....

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Aluminum Workshop: Selecting filler wire for 5454 Al plate

May 8, 2007

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Q: I have a fabrication project involving 5454 aluminum plate, and I was told to weld this alloy using 5183 filler wire. Is this correct?A: If you check any of the charts showing the recommended filler metals for the various aluminum alloys, you will find that 5554 is the recommended filler wire...

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Aluminum Workshop: The best filler wire for welding 6061-T6 aluminum

October 3, 2006

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Q: Which filler wire is best for welding 6061-T6 aluminum, 5356 or 4043?A: Both are acceptable for welding 6061-T6, but each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application.An aluminum alloy containing 5 percent magnesium, 5356 generally is stronger and more ductile than 4043. But...

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Little Giant takes flight

September 12, 2006

Wing Enterprises started out with a product and a patent -- for its Little Giant brand ladders. However, in time its sales lagged, and the company needed to figure out a new marketing strategy. With an infomercial and automated welding, Wing Enterprises was on its way to successfully growing its company and its sales.

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Innovation rides the waves

July 11, 2006

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As aluminum becomes more and more readily available for various manufacturing applications, the boat-building industry is taking notice. To build its patented vessel design, Aluminum Chambered Boats has found that arc welding - both GMAW and GTAW - is a critical technology.

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Welding aluminum piping

October 11, 2005

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Steel and aluminum have distinctly different properties, and this is important if you're manufacturing aluminum piping systems. Learn the differences in welding steel and aluminum pipe and how they apply to the best practices you can use to weld aluminum pipe effectively.

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Aluminum Workshop: Choosing a MIG machine for occasional aluminum welding

September 25, 2003

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Q: I want to buy a small gas metal arc welding (GMAW) machine, preferably one that runs from 120-V input power. Most of my welding will be steel, but I would like to weld aluminum occasionally. Can these machines really weld aluminum? I've heard a lot of different opinions. Some companies claim...

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Aluminum Workshop: Inverter versus transformer power supplies for aluminum GTAW

August 28, 2003

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Q: I'm looking for a new GTAW power supply for AC aluminum welding. I had intended to buy a conventional transformer unit, but several people have told me to buy an inverter-based power supply. Which one is better for my application?A: Inverter-based power supplies do have some advantages over...

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Welding aluminum with inverter-based power supplies

July 24, 2003

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It's easy to look at such a long-established technology as welding and believe that little or no technology development is taking place. In truth, however, the capabilities of welding power supplies are changing constantly and rapidly, especially in the area of inverter technology. These power supplies are suitable for welding aluminum alloys, including thin aluminum alloys.

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Aluminum Workshop: Al MIG: CC or CV?

June 12, 2003

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Q: I've read that constant-current (CC) power supplies are preferred for gas metal arc welding (GMAW) aluminum, but when I visit companies that sell welding equipment, they tell me I want a constant-voltage (CV) power supply. What's the real story? Can I use the more common CV power supplies or...

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Aluminum Workshop: How to recognize, minimize weld smut

April 10, 2003

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Q: When I weld any aluminum alloy, I see a covering, light gray to black in color, over the weld. I see it when I gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW), but it's worse when I gas metal arc weld (GMAW). What is it? Does it affect the mechanical properties of the weld? How do I get rid of it?A: A common...

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