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  • Basic TIG

    I have had some success with my basic TIG setup running off my Champ 16 on steel. I do need a LOT more practive though. Yesterday I tried to weld aluminum for the first time with this setup. OUCH....I am having a hard time maintaining the arc, and the filler won't stick. Is it a matter of technique (practice, practice, practice) or is a basic TIG setup not capable of welding aluminum?

    The setup consisted of 1/16 inch pure tungsten, argon at 15 CFH, welder on AC at 50 to 70 amps, and the aluminum was wiped down with acetone.

    I expected it to be hard to start the arc because of the lack of HF, but it was VERY sensitive to the distance from electrode to the base metal. A slight increase in the distance would snuff the arc, and if I was any closer, the electrode would be in the puddle. I was simply trying to lay a bead down on 1/4 inch material....not trying to join 2 pieces. This setup works pretty well on steel set up on DCEN and using 2% thoriated electrodes. HELP! Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Basic TIG

    Originally posted by Will
    I have had some success with my basic TIG setup running off my Champ 16 on steel. I do need a LOT more practive though. Yesterday I tried to weld aluminum for the first time with this setup. OUCH....I am having a hard time maintaining the arc, and the filler won't stick. Is it a matter of technique (practice, practice, practice) or is a basic TIG setup not capable of welding aluminum?

    The setup consisted of 1/16 inch pure tungsten, argon at 15 CFH, welder on AC at 50 to 70 amps, and the aluminum was wiped down with acetone.

    I expected it to be hard to start the arc because of the lack of HF, but it was VERY sensitive to the distance from electrode to the base metal. A slight increase in the distance would snuff the arc, and if I was any closer, the electrode would be in the puddle. I was simply trying to lay a bead down on 1/4 inch material....not trying to join 2 pieces. This setup works pretty well on steel set up on DCEN and using 2% thoriated electrodes. HELP! Thanks.
    Aluminum dissipates heat very rapidly, and you need AC current for welding it. I use a minimum of 3/32" tungsten, or better 1/8" tungsten and 200 0r so amps for 1/4" aluminum. Pure tungsten is not used much anymore, however it was used for aluminum only welding. Go to Lanthanated tungsten or as a last resort use 2% thoriated tungsten. Turn up argon to 20 - 25cfh even for steel.

    Ther's a lot of info already said on this forum about welding aluminum, do a search "aluminum welding'

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    • #3
      Thanks Rocky D. I ordered some of the Tri-Mix electrodes you mentioned before, but they haven't arrived yet. I thought the pure tungsten would work on Al. I will try turning up the current and the CFH and see what happens.

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      • #4
        Will
        Along with the info that Rocky gave you on current and tungsten you also need to add a HF unit. The HF does more then help start the arc, it also fills in the blank when AC cycles from + to -. Without it you are probably going to loose the arc quite frequently. also a foot pedal to control current would be nice to aluminum is more difficult to weld without one.
        MigMaster 250- Smooth arc with a good touch of softness to it. Good weld puddle wetout. Light spatter producer.
        Ironman 230 - Soft arc with a touch of agressiveness to it. Very good weld puddle wet out. Light spatter producer.


        PM 180C



        HH 125 EZ - impressive little fluxcore only unit

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        • #5
          Well It looks like the basic TIG setup is for SS and steel only. I did get some filler to stick on the aluminum with the higher amps and argon flowrate. But the arc is VERY difficult to maintain, and the beads look like I was trying to solder without flux instead of trying to TIG weld. It was worth a try, but I agree with you Dan-you need continuous HF for aluminum TIG welding. It looks like I have found yet another reason to get a Syncrowave 180SD! I assume the squarewave will help some as well? Has anyone used the new 180SD on aluminum? Maybe some 180SD sample bead pictures?

          Thanks for the help Rocky D and Dan.

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          • #6
            I think you should get one Will...then I can play with it.

            Bob
            Short Term Memory GONE!!
            Hobby Weldor/Machinist
            Photobucket Shop Pics

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