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Aluminum Workshop: To reheat, not to reheat T4 temper material

December 5, 2014

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Q: Three years ago I bought 6061-T4 extrusions for a project. My idea was to weld in the T4 temper and then to improve the strength of the weld by performing an aging treatment after welding. The project sat dormant until now. Will the T4 temper material need to be heat-treated again before...

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Aluminum Workshop: Using 4043, 4643 when welding 6061-T6

December 4, 2014

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Q: Most 6061-T6 is welded using 4043 filler wire. If you heat-treat the weld, will the 4043 get stronger? What happens if I use 4643 filler instead of 4043? A: Is the weld heat-treatable? Well, yes and no. Remember, the first step to producing T6 temper is heat treating at around 1,050 degrees F...

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Aluminum Workshop: Tips for repairing cracks

December 4, 2014

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Q: What is the best way to repair cracks? Is it better to use GTAW or GMAW? I have heard that sometimes the crack will grow while being repaired. Is this true? Are there any tricks to avoid this? Is repairing cracks in aluminum any different than repairing cracks in other materials? A: Yes,...

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Aluminum Workshop: Charpy V-notch testing—Why not aluminum?

December 3, 2014

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Q: In many cases, when I qualify welding procedure specifications (WPS) for steel, I am required to perform testing of Charpy V-notch (CVN) samples, but I’m never required to test Charpy samples for aluminum welding procedures. Why not? A: Charpy V-notch samples are used to determine a...

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Friendship and loss on the job

December 3, 2014

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A young ironworker learns the value of job friendships, how to make work fun, and how devastating an on-the-job accident can be.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Cap-offs, springs, and threads

December 3, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis shows CAD operators how to use two separate design functions to create the same cap-off treatment.

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Aluminum Workshop: Aluminum-scandium alloys—Strong yet scarce

December 3, 2014

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Q: I’ve seen various references to aluminum-scandium (AlSc) alloys. Apparently, the addition of scandium makes aluminum alloys stronger. But I never see these alloys used in common welded fabrication. Why? Can I weld them? A: The major aluminum companies experimented with Sc additions to a lot...

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Aluminum Workshop: Sizing up feedability and conductivity in contact tips

December 2, 2014

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Q: There seems to be a lot of controversy about what size contact tip to use for GMAW aluminum. Can you give me any advice? A: The contact tip has two functions. First, it provides guidance for the welding wire. Second, it provides a means of conducting welding current from the welding torch...

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Aluminum Workshop: The ABCs of anodizing

December 2, 2014

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Q: What is anodizing? Is it the same as hardcoating, and can I do it myself? Can you weld on anodized parts? A: Anodizing is a process in which a thin, uniform coating of aluminum oxide is formed on the surface of aluminum. Any aluminum alloy can be anodized, but different alloys form anodized...

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Aluminum Workshop: Guidelines for preheating T6

December 1, 2014

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Q: We are welding 6061-T6 that is ¼ in. to 1 in. thick. To weld the thicker materials we are preheating to 300 to 600 degrees F. We are not happy with the strength of the welds. Is there something we can do, such as heat treating after welding, to increase the strength of the weld? A: You can...

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Aluminum Workshop: What determines aluminum filler strength?

December 1, 2014

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Q: I’m confused about various aluminum filler metal strengths. Does the filler designation tell me anything about the strength of the filler or the weld? I looked in AWS A5.10, the specification for aluminum GMAW and GTAW filler metals, and there are no strength requirements even in there. Why?...

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12 great gadgets and die components

November 26, 2014

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Sometimes it’s the small items that make your workday easier. Standard die components with incremental improvements, such as roller cages with cylindrical rollers, and special gadgets, such as auto-indexing dimplers, can help smooth the stamping process and extend uptime.

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Aluminum Workshop: Weldability of aluminum mold plate

November 26, 2014

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Q: I’m trying to weld some very thick aluminum mold plate. I don’t know what the alloy is. The plate thickness is about 12 in. I’m having lots of cracking problems. Can you tell me what the problem might be? A: In the way of background, most of the molds used for injection or blow molding...

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Aluminum Workshop: Common porosity problems (and how to fix them)

November 26, 2014

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Q: I’m having a lot of problems with porosity in my aluminum welds. Can you tell me what’s causing it? A: As we’ve said before, all porosity in aluminum welds is caused by hydrogen, which is very soluble in molten aluminum but insoluble in solid aluminum. Generally, hydrogen comes from two...

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Vessels for coal mines

Upsizing in a downsizing economy

November 25, 2014

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Different shops have different ways of coping with and surviving business downturns. Some downsize, while others take advantage of opportunities and invest in people and equipment. Upsizing paid off for Wilson Works, Morgantown, W.V.

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