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As I understand it TIG welding aluminum is not like steel in that the puddle you get is different. for the life of me I could not remember what "different" meant.

any tips or hints you guys can throw my way??

I found with the SS tubing Im welding, if I go over the area with a real light peddle & warm up the area, B4 I put heat into it, it wants to weld better. I just strike an arc, back off to where it will just keep the arc going & then run it back & forth over about 1 1/2" & heat it up some. then go back to the starting point, put a little more heat into it & it puddles up nice & I can just run right through that 1 1/2" area.

thanks folks
bob
 

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Its different physically...its still becoming molten, which is what causes it to "puddle". It does however look slightly different. When aluminum gets to the molten stage, it becomes very shiny, and almost mirror like. This is when you know to add filler rod.
 

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The puddle is less fluid, and you shouldn't have to preheat your stainless, either. Stainless requires less input than carbon steel does.
 

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When welding aluminum is will be necessary (most of the time) to set your machine on ac. When initiating an arc, make sure to have a slight tungsten stick-out (about 1/4") and keep your torch angle as straight up and down as possible... note: the only reason we tilt the torch to an angle is to see.... if your angle increases to as much as 45 degrees.. you will lose control of the puddle and start developing the uglies on your weld.... back to arc initiation.... hold the tungsten about 1/16" away from the surface to be welded... you will start to see a surface condition change within a about 10 seconds.. you are actually removing the surface aluminum oxide that melts at approx. 3400degrees f. Once the surface oxide is gone.. you will see a clean and distinguishable puddle (1200 degrees f. )form.... once you visually see a liquid pudde, it is okay to dab filler material... note: aluminum requires filler material in order to reduce hot short cracking... continue dabbing until you either finish the weld or need to reset your position...if you contaminate your tungsten at anytime during the welding process , it will be necessary to snap-off the contaminated portion and regrind your tungsten.... things will only get worse if you don't Caution: never add the filler to the middle of the puddle but rather to from edge of the liquid puddle..... otherwise it may be a shocking experience!!!! good luck Mister Tig
 

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I was also told to start real hot to get the puddle going because aluminum dissipates heat so fast, once you get that puddle then you can back off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks a bunch folks. I appreciate the hints you guys give out, it makes it easier to get the ball rolling. I know its gonna take a lot of practice, Im not afraid of throwing a lot of time into it. this stuff is a lot of fun for me (Prolly cause I dont have to do it all day).

thanks again
Bob
 

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i have had alot of good luck using a red tungsten sharpened to a very fine point. i never welded alum before and it turned out awesome. the alum MUST be cleaned well. i used a blue cookie disc on my hand grinder to clean it. clean, clean, clean!!!!
 

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Yeah, I think I picked up that trick from here actually. Ive used the inverter machines, which dont require changing tungsten. Someone told me not to on my machine either(not an inverter), and I tried it, and it works nicely!
 
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