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aluminum welding

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by 1leonchen, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. 1leonchen

    1leonchen Member

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    i need to buy a MIG machine i think. i can do arc welding but need to do a project at home for my self but it needs to be aluminum. asking around my area wont help most guys don't even want you to know the info about their machine. and the info on the net is horrible. i figured from what i read so far i need a mig with a spool gun. i know a guy who welds but he does my stuff when he feels like or drunk. i did metal work in school but we only welded corrugated steel same one to build houses. we made burglar bars for the corridors and all the steel benches. thats how i learned arc welding. any ways with my life story;i need to buy a MIG welder i was looking at harbor freight online and northern tools. any recommendations wold be nice. don't feel like breaking the bank. and i don't know who else to ask so i am throwing it out to u guys.

    or according to the post i just read may be i need a TIG
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
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  2. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

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    The spool guns aren't that great. TIG is much nicer. You'd probably be best off getting your friend drunk and having him do it.
     
  3. 1leonchen

    1leonchen Member

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    two six pack cost 20 dollars but its even harder to get him to do it after he is drunk
     
  4. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

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    Only get 1 six with the promise of another while he's working.
     
  5. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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  6. chopper

    chopper Very Active Member

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    I have been welding since 1968 or so and I have used most types of welders for aluminum I used a spool gun with out issue, the biggest thing is to get the metal clean, this would be true weather you were tig welding or mig welding, aluminum is quite porous, and will absorb all kinds of contaminates, and some times the wire will get contaminated also, just the other day my bro who has a metal fab shop went through three spools of welding wire till he found one that wasn't contaminated ...
    //chopper
     
  7. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Depends on what you are trying to weld. If you want to weld aluminum the best setup is a TIG with a high frequency unit and foot peddle for the amperage control.
    I can weld aluminum quite nicely with oxy- acetalene.(requires skill) The best rods I've found are made by Certainium and have a flux core. You can also weld stuff like 1 x 1 x 1/8th angle with a propane torch on mapp gas with these rods. I wouldn't want to do a lot of that way though. I have a small Lincoln Mig that can be used for aluminum. I paid about $500 for it. I haven't used it for that though....I've only used it for steel welding. Works great for steel.
     
  8. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I have a Miller Bobcat 250 with a spool gun for the aluminum (so I don't have to change reals) Yes, a TIG will give better looking results, a MIG is faster and cheaper to do. A little practice and it is easy. Aluminum does take some prctice. But you can't do light sheets like 040 very easily with it, it is too hot and warps too much.
     
  9. JimJenson

    JimJenson Active Member

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    MIG is not that effective on thin materials. You may also want to invest in a torch set to preheat. I will second the necessity of a spool gun, since aluminum wire is so soft and flexible, that it doesn't push through tube to the tip without trying to kink and jam up. For welding steel, MIG is as easy as it comes. For aluminum is can be finicky.

    TIG has greater control, and can weld more precisely, but takes more practice. It is also a more expensive machine, some require a water source for cooling.
     
  10. 1leonchen

    1leonchen Member

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    i am going to weld some aluminum pickets for a small frame the aluminum is almost a 1/6 of a inch thick. the east wood looks nice
     
  11. UFB Fabrication

    UFB Fabrication Member

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    we have 8 migs or so at the shop. 4 of them are inverter style which seems to be a bit better than a conventional machine. We also now have 2 push/pull machines that have the large spools of wire. all guns are by miller. We have 1 cheapy that is a 185 gun that has a curved nozzle for channel letters. We use the crap out of our stuff and I have to only send a machine out 1-2 times a year for service. Most of the time its abuse not a broken machine. I think lincoln makes a good unit as well but we have better service for miller by us. I would not spend any money on off brand cheap stuff as you will end up replacing it with the correct machine anyhow. Buy the best and only cry once.
     
  12. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    +1 miller with spoolgun - I use a millermatic 180 for on-site work...
     
  13. Illuminated

    Illuminated Member

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    Try Lord 406/19 epoxy ....nice for small projects
     
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