How to Use a TIG Weld to Weld Aluminium
Welding aluminium with a TIG takes plenty of concentration and skill but anyone can do this weld process with the right knowledge and a little bit of patience. In today’s guide we wanted to take you through the steps in how to do just this, whether you are a beginner or someone who has yet to even pick up a TIG weld you will learn a lot from this article so go and put the kettle on, sit down and take some notes on what we are about to tell you.
Getting Your Hand Positioning Right
The first rule of any welding is to get your hand positioning right as this is key to how successful the actual weld is going to be, you need to feel comfortable but you also need total control of what you are about to do.
Step 1 is to get a good hold of the torch, so hold it with the base of your hand from your wrist to your smallest finger and make sure that it is flat against the surface, occasionally moving it in a forward-moving position but remaining steady at all times and close to the work-piece. If you come away from the work-piece what you will see if that the arc will become wider and you could risk overheating the piece and ruining the join.
Have You Got The Right Tools for The Job?
Obviously your main tool is the TIG welder but you will also need an aluminium filler rod and a canister of argon gas. The filler rod is basically the material that will bond the join and the gas is used to shield. Argon is one of the cheapest gases but you can add a percentage of helium to the mix if you want better stability of the arc.
Both of these equipment types can be purchased from authorized dealers and welding supply stores.
If you don’t have the cash for a TIG welder (remember they are the most expensive welders) then you may want to look at the possibility of renting one for the day as it will save you plenty of money in the long run.
Make Sure You Have Cleaned Everything
Before starting you want to make sure the aluminium is clean and the filler rod is clean to get the best experience and results from the welding process. We will let you into a little fact here, aluminium is prone to a build-up of aluminium oxide which generally melts at higher temperatures than the actual aluminium so clean away this thin layer of oxide before you start.
Then you will want to double check the filler rod to make sure that it has no contaminants on it from previous jobs. Just use an abrasive cleaning pad which will work a treat here and clean the rod up for you.
Get The Aluminium Preheated
The next step is to heat up the aluminium as the welding process will be much more successful if the actual work-piece is hotter than the current room temperature. To do this simply put the aluminium into an oven with a temperature of about 350F. If you don’t have an oven on hand then just use a gas torch and work your way up and down the work-piece in order to get the heat up to that 350F mark.
Once this has been done you can then fit the two work-pieces together, and at this stage of the process it is vitally important to make sure that there are no gaps between the two so fitting them together as tightly as possible is so very important. If you need to file any of the pieces down then do this first before you move onto the next stage of the weld.
The Final Part: Welding the Two Pieces
Firstly you need to set the amperage of your welder so the right power supply is going into the welder. Best practice is to use about 1 amp per 0.025mm of the aluminium’s thickness. Most welders will set the amps up higher than needed though and then they just work it back down with the hand or foot control until the deserved effect has been achieved.
Now tap the electrode tip on the work-piece and then use the foot or hand control to create the arc. Once you have the arc created you can then create the puddle and then begin to introduce the filler rod which is used to fill the join. Repeat this process until you can see that the join has been completely sealed without any gaps.
Finally, use that puddle by pushing it down the join as well as adding some filler while you do so, keeping this consistent don the join is key, and once completed let the work-pieces cool down.
There you have it!