5 Tips For TIG Welding Aluminum – Since TIG welding is the preferred method when working on Aluminum, we thought we’d list 5 basic tips for TIG welding Aluminum:
1. As always, safety first
- Make sure your equipment is in good working order.
- Wear eye protection–not sure if you need an affordable, passive helmet, or a welding helmet with a digital, auto-darkening lens, read the Arc-Zone Guide to Choosing Welding Helmets and Goggles (pdf). you’ll prevent damage to your eyes that could haunt you down the road.
- If you’re just starting out, or you want to upgrade your welding safety set-up, check out Arc-Zone’s Pro-Gear Package for the PRO Welder. It includes flame-resistant BSX™ welding safety apparel built for performance and safety. The package includes: The Stryker Jacket, the FireRag doo rag, two pairs of matching welding gloves and safety glasses.
2. Clean the Aluminum
- Aluminum can quickly produce Aluminum oxide on its surface which can result in needing up to three times as much heat to melt, it should be removed first
- Spray down aluminum with Denatured Alcohol or ZeroTri degreaser which is recommended in video below
- Scrub with a Stainless Steel wire brush (scrub only in one direction so contaminants don’t go deeper into Aluminum)
- Watch this short clip with Tony Anderson, director of aluminum technology, ITW Welding North America, discuss the causes of porosity when welding aluminum and important ways to prevent it
3. Get a cylinder of 50/50 Argon/Helium
- Sometimes you can weld thicker aluminum with a smaller electrode
- Your Aluminum will puddle more quickly
- Your welds will be cleaner
4. Do not use pure Tungsten
- Using pure (green) tungsten is “old skool”– at Arc-Zone we recommend ArcTime, a hybrid all purpose tungsten electrode that performs really well welding all materials.
5. Use a Welder with A/C balance
- This allows you to adjust cleaning vs. penetration
- If you have a larger aluminum job we recommend using a Water-Cooled TIG Torch. If you’re not already set up you can upgrade to a water cooled TIG torch, with our CoolKit–everything you need from the water cooler to the connectors and hoses. This will allow you to keep cooler–and hang on to that torch longer in the A/C welding process
Here are a few other TIG welding accessories that can improve your Aluminum weld quality:
See some more awesome photos from Fabtech 2012 in Las Vegas, NV!
To get more detailed tips on TIG welding Aluminum you can visit:
As always – Good welding,