Aluminum electrode wire welding to MIG gun tips.

I frequently have to remove and clean the contact tip of a MIG gun, occasionally as many as three times in the welding of a one pound spool of aluminum electrode wire (.035, spray transfer mostly, 3/16" stock mainly). Apparently this is not an uncommon problem. I've used tip cleaners (as made for gas torch jets) and twist drill bits to clean the orifice. But once the wire starts to stick in the contact tip, it will do so again shortly after, so it seems sometimes better to throw the tip away rather than monkey with it. Any suggestions??

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Once I get a burnback, I might try once to clean the tip using a torch tip cleaner but if it does it once more, I toss it.

an interesting note....I have been playing with a Hobart IronMan 230 and spool gun and welded several pounds of aluminum wire without changing any tips. I dont know exactly why it did not burn back any , but I am accustomed to going thru a few tips with that much welding. IT was a welcome surprise.

anyone else got any suggestions on reusing tips.



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Feb 23, 2012
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Fouled MIG contact tips NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the feedback on fouled MIG tips. I've tried notching the end, with some success ('though I'm not sure why it works!)--but in my case the problem usually results from the electrode wire catching on buildup within the bore of the tip. Cleaning the bore with tip reamers or even a suitably sized twist bit in a spare chuck extends their life a little, but it seems once aluminum begins to adhere it isn't long before the tip is ruined...it's no longer worth wasting time on it. I'm using an air-cooled Miller gun. Perhaps water cooled equipment is the answer??

Feb 23, 2012
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Fouled MIG contact tips NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the feedback on fouled MIG tips. I've tried notching the end, with some success ('though I'm not sure why it works!)--but in my case the problem usually results from the electrode wire catching on buildup within the bore of the tip. Cleaning the bore with tip reamers or even a suitably sized twist bit in a spare chuck extends their life a little, but it seems once aluminum begins to adhere it isn't long before the tip is ruined...it's no longer worth wasting time on it. I'm using an air-cooled Miller gun. Perhaps water cooled equipment is the answer??

Feb 21, 2012
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notched tip NEW
by: Anonymous

I have a lincoln spool gun and the tips are notched so if it does durn back it doesn't scrap the tip. You can just get it off with plyers. I'd look for one tht fits your gun.

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