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  • Sheet metal & aluminum welding?

    I do a little welding with an AC/DC stick welder. I would like to do light duty sheet metal and aluminum welding. What is my best (cheapest) option. MIG, TIG, wire, gas? Confused ...Don

  • #2
    What thickness aluminum and how critically do you really need aluminum ability?
    A Hobart HH140 is a very economically priced and good quality MIG. It CAN weld thin (as thin as 14-guage) aluminum, and will weld steel as thin as 24-guage. You need argon gas for the aluminum and either CO2 gas (as thin as 22-gauge only) or an argon MIX with 15 - 25% CO2 for the steel.

    By far the best option for aluminum capability is an added spoolgun, but this is much more efffective on slightly larger machines, like the 180- and 210-amp classes, which need 240V power.

    Most people find their need for aluminum to be overanticipated, especially in light of the added expense to do it properly.

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    • #3
      You're BEST option for thin metal and aluminum would be a TIG machine like the dynasty 200 dx. Your CHEAPEST option would be what MAC702 suggested.

      You COULD gas weld aluminum, but I hear it isn't easy. I haven't tried it myself.
      Lincoln Idealarc 250
      Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
      Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
      Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
      Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products

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      • #4
        Additional info

        My welder is a 240 volt machine with 230 amp AC and 180 amp DC capability. Can you expand on your comment about adding a "spoolgun"? I am a retired electrical engineer with experience in military electronics (radar, avionics etc) but nothing in the power field. I want to weld a lightweight aluminum mast support for winter storage for my sailboat. My current steel fabrication works fine, but is getting heavier as I get older! Eventually I would like to weld a stainless steel wind-vane support for self-steering gear for my sailboat so I do not have to hand steer all the time. ...Don

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        • #5
          What is the make model of machine you already have?

          Picture a spool gun being a hand held wire feeder. Many MIG machines require them for aluminum welding.
          Lincoln Idealarc 250
          Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
          Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
          Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
          Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products

          Comment

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