Mig Welding Aluminium ... 3/4" thick 6061 t6 aluminum
using a Hobart Ironman 230 Mig welder with Spool Gun
and a StrongHand BuildPro precision welding table.
Water jet cut plates and machined parts ready to weld.
Am I dreaming?
If this aint gravy, I dont know what is.
The parts were even cut with notches to make it a no brainer fitting it up...like a puzzle.
The indexed holes in the Stronghand precision welding table make things like this so much easier.
Since I used one of the holes for a center point, getting the outer flange located and getting the center hub indexed and clocked was easy and quick. This would have taken a lot longer if it were not for the table and fixturing.
I already talked about this but it bears repeating.
Mig Welding Aluminium is harder than steel because everything that can go wrong on steel, goes wrong worse on aluminum.
Flow rate of shielding gas is more sensitive on aluminum.
Stickout makes more difference on aluminum.
gun angle matters more on aluminum than steel,
and...temperature of the metal matters more on aluminum than steel.
The Settings on the inside of the Hobart IronMan 230 are fairly close...at least for voltage but the wire speed listings are pretty high.
I assume that is to save tips. If you start out with too low a wire speed setting on aluminum , you go thru lots of tips.
What I did was set the machine according to the chart and then trimmed back the wire speed until I got a nice humm with little or no crackle.
But even then, on cold aluminum, the same settings that just worked on warm metal, sputtered and crackled on cold aluminum....leaving me with this conclusion...
Preheat makes more difference than any other thing I tried when it comes to mig welding aluminum.
Cleanliness is important. gun angle is certainly important.
stickout is important, and travel speed is important
But the one thing that made more of a difference in arc stability, and penetration alike, was preheat.
The first weld I made on the Tee joints was on cold metal and displayed a bit of lack of fusion in the root of the joint.
All the rest were fine because they were hot by the time I got to them from previous welds.
So for thick aluminum . For mig welding aluminum 3/4" and thicker, a 200 F preheat will go a long way.
Read user reviews from people who have bought the Hobart Ironman 230 from NorthernTool..com click link below