Welding Aluminum at JD's shop

This is part 1 of an Aluminum Welding project.

Its a fairly large aluminum awning that goes over an entrance door to a factory.

It spans 33 feet overall and most of the welding was done in JD's Brewers shop (Apex Welding).

To complete this project, Tig welding was used on the highly visible welds and a spool gun was used on some of the welds that would be hidden.

you can see part 2 by clicking here

click here  to learn more about my TIG Finger


Part 2 shows some more welding, plamacam cutting, some spool aluminum welding, and hanging the sign in place.

Welding Aluminum with a 200 amp machine

I was using a 200 amp inverter welder ...an Everlast 200dv (dv stands for dual voltage) and was maxed out at 200 amps for a lot of the welding.

Even though the thickness on this 3" tubing was 1/8" (3.2mm) thick it took 200 amps at times to get the puddle good and hot....that was mainly due to the large heat sink.  Once I got the heat going, travel speed was pretty fast.

I set the AC frequency to around 90 with AC balance set to around 30% cleaning and used a 1/8" (3.2mm) 2% lanth electrode and 1/8" (3.2mm) 4043 filler.  After thinking about it, I might have done better to lower the frequency to 50-70 hz.  ( sometimes you can get more heat out of a 200 amp welder by using lower frequencies).

I used a #7 cup with no gas lens and around 20 cfh of argon.

Usually, I would mix a bit of helium for a job like this but we had a gas leak going on somewhere and didnt want to complicate things.

This aluminum tubing was 6061 and could have been welded using 5356. But we used 4043 mainly due to the fact that the drawing did not specify filler metal type and we had plenty of 4043 on hand.

I have used the newer 4943 from hobart  that is designed as an improvement on 4043 and I like it a lot but 4043 was what was available at the shop on this day.

both 4043 and 4943 can have a grainy appearance if the cooling rate is too slow

Cutting aluminum with a grinder

There are cutting wheels that are specifically designed for aluminum but we didnt have those.

I sometimes use Irish Spring bar soap as a lubricant when I cut aluminum with a grinding disc.  It really helps and the residue washes off with water followed by either alcohol or acetone.

 Beeswax works extremely well for cutting aluminum with a hard cutting disc.

It really helps on sanding discs too to prevent them from loading up with the softer aluminum particles.

Using the Build Pro table

The Stronghand Build Pro table is around 3"x6" and the overall span of this Awning is 33 feet.

But it worked out quite well due to being able to easily clamp the part down to the flat surface of the table.

Being able to clamp anything anywhere on the table really makes things efficient.

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