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Is a spool gun mandatory?

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  • Is a spool gun mandatory?

    Just curious. Do I have to have a spool gun to weld aluminum with a 210 MVP?
    "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
    Compressions 9.7:1

  • #2
    According to "some"...NO........ But if you want best experience and more trouble free, less problem plagued weld I think spool gun would be best....

    TO make it work without spool gun you probably need a aluminum alloy wire that is pretty stiff, need to keep gun lead pretty straight, and if you have flex tip on gun make it pretty straight.... Also gas choice (argon) is going to be critical with or with out spool gun...

    Dale

    Last edited by Dale M.; 02-28-2019, 12:06 PM.
    Lives his life vicariously through his own self.

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    • #3
      Thanks Dale.

      I don't need to weld any aluminum right now but someone told me the same thing you just said. Was just curious.
      "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
      Compressions 9.7:1

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dale M. View Post
        According to "some"...NO........ But if you want best experience and more trouble free, less problem plagued weld I think spool gun would be best....

        TO make it work without spool gun you probably need a aluminum alloy wire that is pretty stiff, need to keep gun lead pretty straight, and if you have flex tip on gun make it pretty straight.... Also gas choice (argon) is going to be critical with or with out spool gun...

        Dale
        I don't always quote people, but I'm in agreement. I'm also "some" people.

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        • #5
          i've never done it but have heard it's fine to go without for small jobs. if you find yourself doing bigger jobs or welding aluminum fairly often it's probably better to get the spool gun. the bigger issue is having to buy the gas. i suppose you could always get a very small cylinder for occasional use but it's still an extra expense. would maybe be better off turning to stick for aluminum

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Andy578 View Post
            i've never done it but have heard it's fine to go without for small jobs. if you find yourself doing bigger jobs or welding aluminum fairly often it's probably better to get the spool gun. the bigger issue is having to buy the gas. i suppose you could always get a very small cylinder for occasional use but it's still an extra expense. would maybe be better off turning to stick for aluminum
            Have you ever used stick aluminum? AC-GTAW is the best alternative. But you can achieve fair results if you are willing to change to a nylon/plastic dedicated liner and clean your machine and gun before any attempt, and lay out your cable as straight as possible. You will still experience feeding problems that can be overcome by using a spool gun, You will
            only be able to do quality consistent aluminum welding if you enable all of the above factors.

            "Small Jobs" = Non-Welded - stuck together, porous, partial fusion???
            Last edited by Northweldor; 02-28-2019, 08:39 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Northweldor View Post

              Have you ever used stick aluminum? AC-GTAW is the best alternative. But you can achieve fair results if you are willing to change to a nylon/plastic dedicated liner and clean your machine and gun before any attempt, and lay out your cable as straight as possible. You will still experience feeding problems that can be overcome by using a spool gun, You will
              only be able to do quality consistent aluminum welding if you enable all of the above factors.

              "Small Jobs" = Non-Welded - stuck together, porous, partial fusion???
              yes i've done it and it's been fine. like i said small occasional jobs.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Andy578 View Post

                yes i've done it and it's been fine. like i said small occasional jobs.
                Why not describe the jobs.? And what does" fine" mean? Fix a leaky boat? Do any structural work? Bend any welds? Repair a casting? ......

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Northweldor View Post

                  Why not describe the jobs.? And what does" fine" mean? Fix a leaky boat? Do any structural work? Bend any welds? Repair a casting? ......
                  some cast but mostly smaller things like pins, and weight sensors. like i said small one off jobs.

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                  • #10
                    Nipper, In the long run, the reality of it is, aluminum is a BIG step for a hobbyist. The capability will be expensive. Think long and hard about whether you want to go down this road. If your decision is to go for it, jump in with both feet and go big to start with. If you are thinking about much production aluminum, then a push-pull gun will be the hot setup. A spool gun needs loading one one-pound roll of filler wire at a time. Plus, it is heavy and difficult to get into tight spaces. If you are going to do much aluminum welding beyond "hobby" (read occasional and thin), then you probably will find the 210 a bit under powered. It probably won't give you sufficient voltage to be able to spray and even if it does, it will be only on 240 volts and it won't be for very long before you come up against duty cycle. Think about a 250 class machine minimum. It will be less expensive to purchase the spool gun or push-pull gun with the machine as part of a "deal" than to buy the two separately if you are going new. Hey Nipper, you don't have to thank me for spending your entire hobby-equipment budget for the next 10 years. On the other hand, if you decide you like doing aluminum with your spool gun and HH210, then you'll have to upgrade and the small equipment you bought will be just money sitting on the shelf unused. Here is something to think about: get a square wave TIG outfit (with AC capability). Search for used transformer-based from the late '80s or early '90s. Something with the torch, water cooler, and a handful of consumables from a hobbyist who is downsizing and doesn't use the equipment enough to justify keeping it. This purchase will still blow out your equipment budget, but less so. Your knowledgeable friends and associates will say (with awe), "Nipper does TIG." That statement is much more valuable than "Nipper tried to MIG aluminum, but it didn't take". Hang in there buddy. ~0le
                    "If a problem can't be solved, enlarge it." (The 34th president of the United States)

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                    • #11
                      Thanks ~Ole...... I think. : )
                      "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
                      Compressions 9.7:1

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                      • #12
                        "Thanks ~Ole...... I think. : )"

                        Nipper, you sound a little doubtful , but Ole's post is excellent, and even a little on the conservative side, since to do a full range of aluminum welding, you would probably need pulse capability too, which brings you up to machines in the $5000 class , like the Miller 3500-P, for power alone!

                        There is another cheaper alternative for anyone with a spool-gun capable machine, or, an OA torch, that will produce stronger results than any short-circuit aluminum patch jobs, and is seldom mentioned, but can be ideal for occasional repair. Aluminum Brazing.

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                        • #13
                          Not doubtful..... And I appreciate the input, but I am not a professional weldor or have any intention of doing a full range of aluminum welding.

                          What I was thinking about was using my 210 to repair a tear (hit a rock or something) in a small aluminum boat. I can get a good deal on it. Last summer I could have picked up a pontoon boat that had a damaged aluminum pontoon (had a hole in it) pretty reasonable.

                          Hobart has a ad showing some guy using a 210 and he's working on an aluminum canoe. I have no idea what he's supposed to be doing but from what you guys are saying it seems the 210 is not particularly suited to do this kind of work.

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Last edited by Nipper; 03-08-2019, 04:30 PM.
                          "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
                          Compressions 9.7:1

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nipper View Post
                            Not doubtful..... And I appreciate the input, but I am not a professional weldor or have any intention of doing a full range of aluminum welding.

                            What I was thinking about was using my 210 to repair a tear (hit a rock or something) in a small aluminum boat. I can get a good deal on it. Last summer I could have picked up a pontoon boat that had a damaged aluminum pontoon (had a hole in it) pretty reasonable.

                            Hobart has a ad showing some guy using a 210 and he's working on an aluminum canoe. I have no idea what he's supposed to be doing but from what you guys are saying it seems the 210 is not particularly suited to do this kind of work.

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	hobart-500553-handler-210-mvp-1.jpg Views:	7 Size:	46.2 KB ID:	703975
                            Not at all, and no one said this! And, it would have reallly helped to have this information in your first post!

                            If this really is a collision gouge, your welder can easily make the repair, but the reason all these bargain deals are available in marine equipment is that the seller has already taken it to a reputable aluminum weldor, and been told that this is the first of many fatigue cracks, and essentially, the hull is aluminum scrap. Often, boats in this condition are given away for the price of the trailer they are on.

                            Ask the pontoon boat seller why he is selling with a hole, rather than repairing.
                            Last edited by Northweldor; 03-08-2019, 08:30 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Probably best repair for something like ripped/cracked aluminum boat skin is going to be "Flex Seal" tape... If gap is to big try a repair patch of aluminum sheet and rivets....

                              Dale
                              Lives his life vicariously through his own self.

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