Aluminum alloys present a greater challenge to welders than steel alloys. Aluminum has a lower melting point and higher conductivity than steels, which can cause burn-through, especially in thinner aluminum sheets.
The aluminum feed wire is softer than its steel counterpart and can get tangled in the feeder. The choice of aluminum welding method depends on the needs of the specific application and the skill of the welder who will be performing the aluminum welding.
Inert gas TIG welding is the primary method of welding aluminum. Because an aluminium workpiece requires a large amount of heat to reach the right temperature – but can retain this heat for a long time – a welding machine with current control is useful to keep the aluminium workpiece parameters at the right level. TIG welding can be used on both thin aluminium sheets and thicker aluminium plates. Because TIG welding requires a separate filler rod, the welder must choose an alloy welding rod as close to the work pieces as possible.
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Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding can be successfully used to weld aluminium. When choosing this welding method, you must decide whether arc welding or pulse welding methods will be used. Pulse welding requires an inverter power supply, while constant and rigid voltage equipment can be used for arc welding. MIG welding is best for thinner thicknesses of aluminum sheets because of the amount of heat required. Choosing a protective gas of 100% argon is best for MIG welding of aluminium. The welder has to choose the wire or rod for welding which has the alloy similar to the elements which are being processed in order to get the high quality weld.
Aluminium can be welded using a gas-powered torch, but this method is more difficult than MIG and TIG welding. It is more difficult to control the heat applied to the workpiece with a torch, and burning is more likely when using a torch. Welding aluminium with a torch requires a skilled welder who can properly control the torch and filler rod.
Aluminum milling is a machining process.
Cleaning aluminium working parts
No matter what type of welder is used to make an aluminum welded structure, the work pieces must be very clean before welding. Aluminium oxide has a much higher melting point than the base aluminium, so any oxides that remain on the surface of the workpiece can cause oxide inclusions in the weld, reducing the overall strength and appearance of the weld. Workpieces can be cleaned using a chemical etching process or cleaned mechanically with a wire brush.