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Aluminum methods….

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Your going to want bigger than either machines suggested here, the em190 is 145a @ 30%, prime weld ???@30%, full out maybe 15%

1/8 aluminum isn't to bad, until it's in the middle of an 8' sheet with a bunch of other stuff welded to it, it can really turn into quite the heat sink, eating up 150/200amps no problem

I would look for a used full sized machine, there will be thicker bits here and there that will eat up all the output and duty cycle smaller machine can throw at it

Something 250-300 amps will have the duty cycle and the output when needed
Right I forgot he's welding a boat hull. Bring on the amps!!!!
 

BaitMaster

Super User
Your going to want bigger than either machines suggested here, the em190 is 145a @ 30%, prime weld ???@30%, full out maybe 15%

1/8 aluminum isn't to bad, until it's in the middle of an 8' sheet with a bunch of other stuff welded to it, it can really turn into quite the heat sink, eating up 150/200amps no problem

I would look for a used full sized machine, there will be thicker bits here and there that will eat up all the output and duty cycle smaller machine can throw at it

Something 250-300 amps will have the duty cycle and the output when needed
Ok. So if I take my time will a smaller machine work? Or last?

I’m not exactly a production environment. I can take breaks and pick away at the thing.

The reason I ask is that the price difference is huge.

If I need it, then fine. But if it’s an inconvenience and not a necessity then I may choose inconvenience. I am a “hobby” metalworker after all.

If I genuinely need it let me know. I’m definitely in ignorance about this stuff, and don’t want to buy a 5000$ welder if a 1500$ welder will work.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
They would last, but it will be a painfully slow process, and you will likely not have enough output on some of the heavier fittings

If this were my project I would look at buying something decent size, used, and re-selling it when done, Richie bros in Edmonton gets welding machines all of the time, also Calgary metal market ( Daniel polini) usually has a whole pile of machines, a bit pricey compared to what he probably paid at auction, but you may be able to haggle him down
 

justin1

Super User
If I genuinely need it let me know. I’m definitely in ignorance about this stuff, and don’t want to buy a 5000$ welder if a 1500$ welder will work.
I would consider everlast welders if your budget is 3k or less. I own 3 everlast machines. Haven't had any trouble with em and I use them for industrial work but on a low volume scale. There mid size mig machine has enough amps and duty to do what you need.

Power mig 275


300 amp spool gun


The stingers and grounds are kinda trashy the mig gun is not bad and the Tig torch is on trashy side.

I upgraded that stuff and replaced the Tig torch with a nice 25' weld craft torch.

I haven't used there spool gun but I'm happy with the machines I own and I've had my everlast 210ext for 6ish years and the mig machine 295 for about 4 years now and only 1 year in there 80 amp plasma cutter so far happy with all the machines then selfs. Will probly upgrade my Tig machine next year or two as it's not quite big enough for aluminum work but is perfect for stainless and steel and any aluminum under 3/8.

Good bang for buck I think vs miller or Lincoln and kinda similar to the other off brands at kms or box stores but with bit less of a price tag.

Both the 295/210ext arnt great stick welding machines not enough umf behind the arc and not very good adjustability in regards for stick. so wouldn't recommend them if you primarily want to stick with them but for Tig and mig wicked machines. They do work fine for stick but you'll almost always have prositity in starts.

Edit, I wouldn't worry about being surgical clean when welding aluminum it's good practice to keep separate tool but if your not welding airplane parts then using a cleaner wire brush is fine as long as you keep grease away from weld zone. And you can Tig weld new aluminum that hasn't had any cleaning with Tig just fine aswell just use bit more cleaning action with sharp tungsten. Mig is less picky but pre cleaning does make welding aluminum go more smoothly and flow better. But the biggest killer is oils and grease oxides are manageable.
 
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phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
@justin1 if those specs are true and not inflated that looks like a pretty solid machine, with pulse mig to boot!

assuming the pulse mig works with the spool gun, that would be a great feature for use on a boat. years ago (18/19?) when pulse mig first came out i demo'd a push pull pulse machine, that thing was the cats a$$ on aluminum, really nice feature when you set it up, i think it would be ideal for welding the thinner hull sections on a boat.

those little 4.5" circular saw wheels @skookumrob posted are a great tool with aluminum, albeit a little scary. Also many years ago (20?) i used to repair aluminum fuel tankers (the ones that fill up the gas stations), had one of those on an air grinder to cut out cracks/broken welds, hard to beat, no contamination, and fast, worth the buy 100%. Just be careful, on an electric grinder that sucker could take your finger off in the blink of an eye, gladly mine are all still intact o_O
 

justin1

Super User
I
@justin1 if those specs are true and not inflated that looks like a pretty solid machine, with pulse mig to boot!

I'm sure there is some inflation but nothing as bad as those China direct machines. 140amp machines but only really do 90 amps at best.

I welded some 1.25 qt100 with my mig machine and I ran hotter then I usually would for the size of plate had to turn it down a bit as I was digging in bit too much. It wasn't same setting as ln-25 suitcase welder but was close.

They do run lower voltage so they can get better amps but for Tig and mig it isn't as important. Stick need the volts and amps.

My 210ext isn't as refined as a miller dynasty machine but it's 1/5 the prices and can do a good 80% of setting as a miller dynasty so I'm pretty happy for what I do with it. I think if you used it in full time production shop it would probly fall short but for what I do it works fine and if I burn it out I can buy couple more with money I saved vs miller dynasty lol
 
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Stuart Samuel

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I would consider everlast welders if your budget is 3k or less. I own 3 everlast machines. Haven't had any trouble with em and I use them for industrial work but on a low volume scale. There mid size mig machine has enough amps and duty to do what you need.

Power mig 275


300 amp spool gun


The stingers and grounds are kinda trashy the mig gun is not bad and the Tig torch is on trashy side.

I upgraded that stuff and replaced the Tig torch with a nice 25' weld craft torch.

I haven't used there spool gun but I'm happy with the machines I own and I've had my everlast 210ext for 6ish years and the mig machine 295 for about 4 years now and only 1 year in there 80 amp plasma cutter so far happy with all the machines then selfs. Will probly upgrade my Tig machine next year or two as it's not quite big enough for aluminum work but is perfect for stainless and steel and any aluminum under 3/8.

Good bang for buck I think vs miller or Lincoln and kinda similar to the other off brands at kms or box stores but with bit less of a price tag.

Both the 295/210ext arnt great stick welding machines not enough umf behind the arc and not very good adjustability in regards for stick. so wouldn't recommend them if you primarily want to stick with them but for Tig and mig wicked machines. They do work fine for stick but you'll almost always have prositity in starts.

Edit, I wouldn't worry about being surgical clean when welding aluminum it's good practice to keep separate tool but if your not welding airplane parts then using a cleaner wire brush is fine as long as you keep grease away from weld zone. And you can Tig weld new aluminum that hasn't had any cleaning with Tig just fine aswell just use bit more cleaning action with sharp tungsten. Mig is less picky but pre cleaning does make welding aluminum go more smoothly and flow better. But the biggest killer is oils and grease oxides are manageable.
I’ll second the ‘doesn’t need to be flawlessly clean’ for TIG.

When I went through trade school, they told us to degrease and wire brush. It does help, but the vast majority of the time, you can get away with being a little lazy. For me, it’s the same as brazing. Cleaner will always be better, but… there are only so many hours in the day.

I’d say start out cleaning everything thoroughly, so you can see the ‘best case scenario’. Then get gradually lazier, until you start to have problems.

Generally? Be just slightly less lazy than that.

Have very little aluminum MIG experience, used a friend of a friend’s shop to tack together (of all things) some ostrich leg stilts for a busker. I did find the MIG tacks were a little dirty to weld through nicely with TIG afterward, but not prohibitively so. Interestingly, that shop (Punchclock, in Toronto, really excellent folks) is working on an electric drive aluminum boat for an architect, now.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
i would agree, i have lots of experience with aluminum tig working in a Tig shop for a couple years. It does not need to be meticulously clean, imbedded grinding material or a plasma cut edge is more problematic than grease or oil, the tig will burn that grease and oil away without a problem, breathing in all of those carcinogens is another story

mig however, it is far less tolerant of grease/oil/oxide layer's. Cleaning is much more important with mig, you can have a perfectly fine looking mig weld full of inclusions or lack of fusion, clean the grease and oil, sand away any plasma cut edges, stainless wire wheel, use a jig saw or other toothed cutting tools rather than a zip cut, etc....

also...

there is a trick for grinding aluminum, wax, and a sanding disc rather than grinding stone. A 36g or 24g sanding disc, grind some candle wax into the disc and it will take that aluminum away like its butter and not plug up, the wax burns away, and the sanding disc doesn't imbed anything
 

justin1

Super User
I would recommend starting a new thread once you have bought a machine and post your progress as you learn. The members who have welded aluminum and the members who are professional welders would probly be more then happy to give you pointers especially if you post pictures of your welds and unlike some welding forums or groups you won't get the roasting.

I probly won't be as useful when it comes to the finer details of aluminum welding as it's something I don't see very often in the field. I can do it just not as well as someone who works in shipyard or in shop environments who specialize in aluminum products.

But if you ever find you self asking about materials for wear applications or piping/structal related stuff that's more down my ally. As I'm more of a generalist welder vs specialist welder.
 

BaitMaster

Super User
Really appreciate the tips guys.

If I decide to jump at this project I will post a bunch of weld pictures and you guys can (constructively) roast them.

The welding game is no joke. It takes awhile to get good and solid advice helps.
 

Dabbler

ersatz engineer
Many years back I had to weld 1/8" 6061 aluminum tubing into structural connectors for a tent. There were 35 of them, welded into T, over/under and other connector types. In a wind, each of the connectors were subject to hundreds of pounds of pressure, including torque loads.

The tent was used dozens of times, in loads that were well above the design limits, but none of them failed.

I was told by a guy at a very respected welding shop that I couldn't use a MIG welder to do this.

So I bought my first MIG welder, a Clarke weld, with a very cheap stinger, but it had a teflon liner and a mercifully short lead from the welder. After several failures, I managed to get them all welded quite nicely. (I can be a contrary pissant when challenged)

If I dig them out of storage one day I'll post the crude but effective results in this thread...
 

BaitMaster

Super User
So @justin1 and @phaxtris , if I bought the everlast mts275 lightning with a spool gun that would be a suitable machine for this project?

If I did that I could sell my Canaweld and end up with a better welder out of the deal that does everything….
 

justin1

Super User
Ye I would say it would work fine 27.8 volts at 35% duty cycle. You could run some pretty big wire with 28 volts comes with few more options too vs 275p and being able to plug into 110v and 220v is bonus but you'll probly want to be plugged into 220v. For best performance. Tig welding with 110v is fine up too around 100 amps ish and limited with 3/32 7018 for stick. 110v wire I think you would under welmed so stick with 220v


Edit.

I would buy longer ground for the machine at around 25' is good size. Just take old ground into welding supply and have them match the size nothing worse then short leads.

Also would buy depending on size of your garage a extension cord rated for minimum 35 amps that that can go bit better then half way between your next 220v plug if you have two. 25' or 50' are good lengths for anything under 40x60 garage or shop. You can usually make up the difference with longer stinger and ground but if you plan on doing any work outside garage or buy some #10 or #8 cabtyre length of shop and make a coord :)

The machines max draw is 35amps 220v but you'll probly not draw that much for what your doing so if you get #10 cabtyre it's rated to 32 Amps I think if I remember correctly you should be fine you'll probly won't be able to weld at max on that machine long enough to get the cable warm. Unless you are carbon arc gouging.
 
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BaitMaster

Super User
Ye I would say it would work fine 27.8 volts at 35% duty cycle. You could run some pretty big wire with 28 volts comes with few more options too vs 275p and being able to plug into 110v and 220v is bonus but you'll probly want to be plugged into 220v. For best performance. Tig welding with 110v is fine up too around 100 amps ish and limited with 3/32 7018 for stick. 110v wire I think you would under welmed so stick with 220v


Edit.

I would buy longer ground for the machine at around 25' is good size. Just take old ground into welding supply and have them match the size nothing worse then short leads.

Also would buy depending on size of your garage a extension cord rated for minimum 35 amps that that can go bit better then half way between your next 220v plug if you have two. 25' or 50' are good lengths for anything under 40x60 garage or shop. You can usually make up the difference with longer stinger and ground but if you plan on doing any work outside garage or buy some #10 or #8 cabtyre length of shop and make a coord :)

The machines max draw is 35amps 220v but you'll probly not draw that much for what your doing so if you get #10 cabtyre it's rated to 32 Amps I think if I remember correctly you should be fine you'll probly won't be able to weld at max on that machine long enough to get the cable warm. Unless you are carbon arc gouging.
My shop is 24x32. I have an extension cord for my existing welder that is sufficient.

I’m an electrician, so we have a bunch of welder cable at the shop we sell to the local welders around here.

If I need a ground, I live 5 minutes away and I can easy sell some cable to myself for that purpose.
 
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