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Discussion Starter #1
It has always been something i had wanted to learn for the longest time.
I bought the new ESAB Heliarc 281I what was literally just released to the market. Liquid cooled, torch and foot control, hot start, and the whole nine yards.



Every where i have read aluminum is the hardest to do and control so first on my agenda was the try aluminum. Playing with the Frequencies, pulse width, pulse drops and balance i thought i did fairly good on 3/8 flat stock messing around with beads.








It has been nothing but a learning experience, even after i started getting pissed with burning the tungsten left and right then realizing i had DCEP instead of DCEN.

With that being said anyone one have tips or pointers or maybe a good book to pick up to learn a little more?
 

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Ice Cream Wolfpack
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nice welder and you look like you are off to a good start!
 

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Nice, people who say aluminum is hard are the ones who A. Shouldn't weld or B. don't know how to weld. Let alone the correct polarity.

Aluminum biggest issue is cleanlyness. Get is clean with a SS wire brush(only use that brush on aluminum) and any kinda degreaser(be careful to not light your shit on fire) and have fun. And keep your filler rod stored away from dust and steel grinding areas, and wipe it before use if its dirty/dusty.
 

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Cast aluminum is a pain sometimes due to all the dirt impregnated into it during the casting. It looks like someone threw sand into it when you start welding it and it doesn't flow for shit and can be a pain to manipulate. It like to crack to if it is a really shitty casting. Soon as you start melting it, all the black casting dirt will rise up to the top of the puddle. It's amazing the amount of dirt in them sometimes.
 

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I would be happy to weld that good.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice, people who say aluminum is hard are the ones who A. Shouldn't weld or B. don't know how to weld. Let alone the correct polarity.

Aluminum biggest issue is cleanlyness. Get is clean with a SS wire brush(only use that brush on aluminum) and any kinda degreaser(be careful to not light your shit on fire) and have fun. And keep your filler rod stored away from dust and steel grinding areas, and wipe it before use if its dirty/dusty.
For cleaning i have also heard of people using acetone and wiping down the filler with it. I played with it with out cleaning it and all does is create a huge mess. Most of what i tried was with a scotch bright pad. Tomorrow ill do a bit more shopping for a stainless brush and some more different sizes of filler rod to try out. Takes time to learn something like this.
 

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Practical Joker
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Cast aluminum is a pain sometimes due to all the dirt impregnated into it during the casting. It looks like someone threw sand into it when you start welding it and it doesn't flow for shit and can be a pain to manipulate. It like to crack to if it is a really shitty casting. Soon as you start melting it, all the black casting dirt will rise up to the top of the puddle. It's amazing the amount of dirt in them sometimes.
Nice, people who say aluminum is hard are the ones who A. Shouldn't weld or B. don't know how to weld. Let alone the correct polarity.

Aluminum biggest issue is cleanlyness. Get is clean with a SS wire brush(only use that brush on aluminum) and any kinda degreaser(be careful to not light your shit on fire) and have fun. And keep your filler rod stored away from dust and steel grinding areas, and wipe it before use if its dirty/dusty.
This guy knows ^

I started learning on Ali and the cleanliness was hammered into me. Have 3-4 brushed if you want. Set them up in sequence so the last one touches almost nothing but pure ali. I would clean with acetone but dont use too much as it makes a mess. Also have 2-3 rags going for your wiping. Dont spread contaminants

I prefer it to steel. Faster and more fun.

I tried welding cast a few times. First was a intake i cut in half and ported and welded it 90 degrees forward to fit the intercooler. Damm if the crap inside didnt bubble up and start screwing with everything.

Would love to get back into it one day. Did some mig but want to get good on TIG.

Keep going and post up the photos man! Dont be afraid to do some bend tests
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have a few peices of aluminum tubing out in the garage ill give a wack at tomorrow. Just working on a few puddles here. haha Probably the best thing is the guy I got a bunch of drops from said bring them back when your done and grab some more to work with. He's gonna have a ball of 100lbs of aluminum by the time i go back for more. lol Makes life easy when someone is willing to help someone learn.
 

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Practical Joker
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No kidding! We used to go through tonz of scrap learning. No big deal just toss the giant welded ball back in the bin and grab the smaller ones to start all over again! Im jealous haha
 

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The aluminum tubing will be a challenge, especially thin wall. The constant moving/turning and stop/start kills me.
 

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Cast aluminum is a pain sometimes due to all the dirt impregnated into it during the casting. It looks like someone threw sand into it when you start welding it and it doesn't flow for shit and can be a pain to manipulate. It like to crack to if it is a really shitty casting. Soon as you start melting it, all the black casting dirt will rise up to the top of the puddle. It's amazing the amount of dirt in them sometimes.
I Find The Older Castings Weld Better As They Were Cast With Better Quality Material.The Newer Castings Are Like You Say,shit. They Also Sometimes Add Magnesium So It Flows Better Which Also Makes For More Fun.
 

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Nice, people who say aluminum is hard are the ones who A. Shouldn't weld or B. don't know how to weld. Let alone the correct polarity.

Aluminum biggest issue is cleanlyness. Get is clean with a SS wire brush(only use that brush on aluminum) and any kinda degreaser(be careful to not light your shit on fire) and have fun. And keep your filler rod stored away from dust and steel grinding areas, and wipe it before use if its dirty/dusty.
NEVER use brake cleaner for welding.
I will turn into phosgene gas or more commonly known mustard gas.
 

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Pro Spectator
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It has been nothing but a learning experience, even after i started getting pissed with burning the tungsten left and right then realizing i had DCEP instead of DCEN.

With that being said anyone one have tips or pointers or maybe a good book to pick up to learn a little more?
You should be using AC for aluminum. I prefer to ball my tungsten.

Practice, practice and more practice.

Here is a little of my bird droppings:
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y2...3-A5D0-3BEAE6BE2514-3846-000009F9CCA44C05.jpg

Just some production work, nothing fancy.
 

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Slick rig.

Tip of the day: Use AC for TIG on aluminum. It has much better oxide cleaning action than DC.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You should be using AC for aluminum. I prefer to ball my tungsten.

Practice, practice and more practice.

Here is a little of my bird droppings:
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y2...3-A5D0-3BEAE6BE2514-3846-000009F9CCA44C05.jpg

Just some production work, nothing fancy.
For aluminum i am using AC electrode negative. For an invertor machine everywhere i have read the weld takes less amps then the older machines. Is there any truth to this? For this being the first time ever with a tig in my hands i feel pretty damn confident that its a matter of time before everything starts to flow and look purdy.
 

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I read 1 amp per .001 thickness is a good starting point for aluminum, ac alternates neg and pos, i don't know how you can have a neg electrode on that setting. With that said, you can adjust the balance for more cleaning or penetration.
 

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For aluminum i am using AC electrode negative. For an invertor machine everywhere i have read the weld takes less amps then the older machines. Is there any truth to this? For this being the first time ever with a tig in my hands i feel pretty damn confident that its a matter of time before everything starts to flow and look purdy.
never used an inverter but they do take less input for a given output vs a transformer machine, but the actual weld current should be the same.

when you're running AC on aluminum you can change waveform for more cleaning or more penetration

TIG is all about cleanliness, also if you plan on doing a fair bit of tig get yourself a decent size argon bottle
 

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For aluminum i am using AC electrode negative. For an invertor machine everywhere i have read the weld takes less amps then the older machines. Is there any truth to this? For this being the first time ever with a tig in my hands i feel pretty damn confident that its a matter of time before everything starts to flow and look purdy.
Inverters require less INPUT for a given output. My old transformer style Syncrowave 250 takes somewhere north of 50% more electricity than your inverter.

As far as running a ball on tungsten I no longer do that. I run 2% lanthanated or 2% ceriated sharpened to a point.

Better arc control that way with my rig. With an inverter you can turn up the frequency to pinpoint the arc too. Very helpful with fillet welds and welding near corners.
 
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