(Last Updated On: September 8, 2020)
MIG welding can be challenging, and it is quite different from MIG welding mild steel. Aluminum is a soft metal and has many uses, but the welding process is a little challenging. It requires a lot of heat to be welded. The properties of aluminum are plenty, and it is different from steel as well. It would help if you had the right equipment and following proper procedures is also quite important. Keep the following factors in mind before dealing with MIG weld aluminum.
Tips To Get Started
Consider The Thickness Of Materials
The thickness of aluminum that can be MIG welded is 14 gauge or sometimes a little heavier. You have to analyze the output capacity of the welder as it will determine the thickness of welding. If you require MIG weld aluminum that is lower than 14 gauges, it is best to use pulsed MIG or AC TIG welding equipment.
Keep It Clean
The aluminum needs proper cleaning before welding processes, and if there are any lubricants, they should also be cleaned well. It will be easy to remove the oxide after degreasing, and that can be done with the help of a stainless wire brush. A hand wire brush or a cup wire brush can work well for degreasing. It will trap the impurities and oxides under the surface to make MIG welding easy.
Choose The Right Gas
Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal, so that it will require a 100 percent argon shielding gas. The flow rates of 20 to 30 cubic feet per hour are also recommended. If the power wire brush is used, it will keep the RMP pressure on the lower side. The best thing is that smearing the material’s surface will become easy before the welding process begins.
Process To Be Used
The MIG welding is based on spray transfer, and it will give the best of results here. It will transfer the molten metal drops towards the molten pool. The droplets that usually cross the arc are a little small in diameter as compared to the electrode. The best thing is that there is no chance of a short circuit in the spray transfer, but the deposition rate and the efficiency are high. However, you have to make sure that spray transfer involves a lot of heat to work with. It is better not to use it on materials that are lesser than 14 gauge.
Gun & Wire Feeding Options
Choosing a proper gun and wire feeding options is an essential step before starting with MIG welding aluminum. The aluminum wires are commonly and easily fed with a spool gun or a push and pull system. The motor on the feeder will act as an assisting motor, and it is user friendly too. The option is perfect for welding, even if it is far from a power source.
Right Filler Materials
You should know about the base of your alloy, and you have to know about the conditions and finished parts as well. There are two aluminum wires which are widely present will include ER4043 and ER5356. If you get in touch with the local welding distributor and get to know what will fit in your applications.
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