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Welding Aluminum with Oxy/Acetylene or stick


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#1 Rickski OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 11:55 AM

Any tips you can offer? I can run a bead on steel without a problem, but I think aluminum is going to be a totally different animal. I also saw, on youtube, some guy selling aluminum rod for a stick welder. Has anyone seen it, or better yet tried it?

#2 Billygoat OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 02:55 PM

Aluminum for stick welders tends to spatter a lot and makes a mess. I have seen good looking welds with it, but that was done by someone that used them quite a bit. It also takes a lot more sticks compared to mild steel for the same length of weld. When I was in the Navy, I watched a Hull Tech welding instructor weld a broken hub from a grinding wheel w/ oxy-acet. Put some sort of clay underneath to prevent fall away when heat was applied. Again, a very experienced person. I have used the ones for the stick welder, they work, but it wasn't pretty.

#3 Gary400 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 06:17 PM

i have welded with aluminum stick rod a lot and there is a big differences between it and carbon welding rod but you weld with the aluminum rod the same way . one thing that is a must , before you strike up get comfortable and know where your going to end up . once you strike an arc you had better be going some were and at a pretty fast rate . these rods do not last long then there gone . and the splatter Billygoat is talking about is caused by going to slow and the weld puddle starts to boil and pop and splatter . if your a good stick welder you can weld with aluminum stick rod just watch the puddle and and every thing else will take care of itself . i have welded aluminum boats over head with it .

#4 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 08:15 PM

Check out Durafix which allows you to weld aluminum with a propane torch...

Durafix Aluminum Welding
http://aluminumrepair.com/land/index.asp?src=google&gclid=CIud89Wgp6kCFQkSbAodiSM0tQ


Soldering?brazing aluminum has its challenges. First there is no wetting action with stick. Where it melts it stays, it will not be drawn into the joint. Second, aluminum forms a microscopic layer of aluminum oxide naturally. When you heat aluminum the oxide layer is present evn when there is a puddle. The layer of oxide must be broken before with the stick or a stainless brush before the solder/braze will stick. If the layer is not broken then the stick you are trying to use will just bead up and fall off. there will be no bond.
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#5 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 08:26 PM

Hopefully when I run into some money (LOL) I'd like to pick up a spool gun for my Lincoln 180C. I'd have to also get a separate tank with 100% Argon too. Never done it, but would like to learn.

#6 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 08:52 PM

If Durafix was actually as good as it claims, nobody would be buying expensive TIG machines. I've tried some of these kind of aluminum braze rods & was not impressed period. Might be ok for storm window frames.

#7 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted June 08, 2011 - 09:54 PM

I forgot the third problem with soldering/brazing aluminum: It doesnt change colors with heat. One minute it is solid aluminum the next second its a puddle on the floor!

With the aluminum solder and braze, it can be done but you must practice alot on scrap first to get the technique and tricks. When i was younger i tried the snake oil rods like durafix and ruined many a piece. When I must braze aluminum i only use JB Harris products. They have been in the alloy business for over 50 years and they are a technology leader. I only use their products for what I do, specialty refrigeration. I cannot afford to use inferior products. Alloys are cheap warranty repair is expensive.

ETA: Watched the vids. They still use a stainless brush to penetrate the oxide layer then tin the aluminum with the rod. Then build up the rod without using the wire brush anymore. The rod alloy doesnt form the oxide layer so it is not an aluminum alloy. The very first part of the product demo shows the butt joint. They break the oxide layer with the brush and tin the area. They do the same to the second piece. Then they place the one piece on top of the other then heat the joint. you can see the alloy liquify into each other. Then they cut away and do the hammer test. Thats when i call BS. You never see the underside of the brazed area. They also dont do a "twist test" where they would try to shear one piece from the other using a twisting motion. I admit that the demo vid is impressive but then again so is the Ronco infomercials.

Edited by coldone, June 08, 2011 - 10:34 PM.


#8 jscam OFFLINE  

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Posted June 10, 2011 - 01:02 PM

One thing I found with aluminum, if you pre heat the area you're going to be welding it sticks better (penetration) instead of just "balling up" on the surface. Aluminum conducts heat so much faster than steel that it pulls the heat out of the weld area and it won't stick sometimes. And clean the snot out of the weld area..........with a stainless brush, not steel. Very small particles of the steel will stick in the aluminum and contaminate the weld.
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#9 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted June 11, 2011 - 08:34 AM

After watching the video, I must admit it does look like a viable product. I will also add that the rods I bought....that was many years ago, so technology has surely advanced. I have a TIG, but may try this Durafix rod sometime.

#10 ducky OFFLINE  

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Posted June 11, 2011 - 10:29 AM

Soldering?brazing aluminum has its challenges. First there is no wetting action with stick. Where it melts it stays, it will not be drawn into the joint. Second, aluminum forms a microscopic layer of aluminum oxide naturally. When you heat aluminum the oxide layer is present evn when there is a puddle. The layer of oxide must be broken before with the stick or a stainless brush before the solder/braze will stick. If the layer is not broken then the stick you are trying to use will just bead up and fall off. there will be no bond.


Thanks that looks pretty promising.
Going to give it a try.
I also have a TIG torch just have not hooked it up yet.




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