Tips for TIG Welding Aluminum at Your Home Shop
TIG welding aluminum often proves to be one of the most challenging welding processes for new and weekend hobby welders. Aluminum heats up faster than steel and most other metals in welding shops, and it becomes particularly brittle and prone to cracking if you aren’t careful during the TIG welding process.
We’ll look at a few welding tips that will help welders create better aluminum welds with their TIG machines, and then recommend a few machines that will create better welds.
The Basics of TIG Welding Aluminum
Details and precision matter when it comes to TIG welding, and that is only more important when it comes to TIG welding aluminum. Starting with a clean weld and the right size electrode can literally make or break your weld before you even start. A long arc, too much amperage, or an angle that’s off center could all wreck your weld in a matter of seconds.
While your process and project will determine your setup, it’s often to practice TIG welding aluminum with a blunt electrode and to then let it round off or ball at the end. Starting with a balled electrode tip could put too much heat into the puddle and send your weld downhill in no time.
With a blunt electrode tip, you can start with a small bead and then take better control over the weld puddle using a foot pedal to moderate your heat input. Aluminum is very effective at conducting heat, so if you want to avoid brittle metal, keep a close eye on your amperage as you keep your arc tight.
At the end of your weld it’s possible that your weld could crack, especially if you’ve put in too much heat. Adding a small amount of filler to the puddle right at the end can help prevent cracking, filling it in effectively as you finish off your arc.
The Lincoln Square Wave 200 for TIG Welding Aluminum
The Lincoln Square Wave 200 TIG welder is a highly portable and easy to use machine that new welders and hobby welders have long depended on for small welding projects, especially with aluminum.
The Square Wave 200 provides a smooth and steady arc for AC TIG welding, but you can also switch over to DC TIG welding for steel, stainless steel, and chrome-moly. You’ll be able to start quickly with its high frequency arc starts, and you can customize your arc with wider or tighter configurations in order to better control your heat input.
This portable and versatile TIG welder comes with standard 120V and 230V circuit plugs. If you need to weld some dirty metal or work outside, you can switch over to stick welding with the flick of a switch.
Miller Diversion TIG Welder for Aluminum Projects
Beginning and hobby welders should also check out the Miller Diversion 165 AC/DC TIG welder with a foot pedal and a remote foot control. The primary power cord runs 230V and it comes with a Weldcraft WP-17 TIG torch.
The machine is a snap to setup, choosing settings based on the material type and thickness so that new welders have a reliable starting point for their welding projects. Like the Lincoln Square Wave TIG welder, the Miller Diversion models are light and portable for a variety of workshop and garage set ups.
Impurities and cracks are minimized by the auto-postflow setting that protects the weld and electrode by matching the welding amperage to the post flow time. With the invert-based AC/DC power source, this welder is more efficient, using power only when necessary. The Advanced Squarewave AC option helps the weld puddle freeze faster and penetrate deeper into the weld joint.
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