Stick Welding Aluminum and a little known trick for Tig welding with aluminum stick rods

Stick Welding aluminum is not my favorite thing in the world.

I have only tried it a few times and got pretty horrible results so I pretty much dismissed the process as a last resort when nothing else was available.

I gave it one more try for this video page but mainly I wanted to try something I saw a few years ago on a video.

I cant remember exactly, and I cant find the video anymore but this fellow was welding on a cast aluminum pump housing using a scratch start tig rig on DCEN, and he was using aluminum stick rods for filler...with the flux still intact...and it was looking pretty good!

So I wanted to give that a try to see for myself if it could be done.

Hobart Aluminum Stick Electrodes

I ordered a pack of hobart stick electrodes off Amazon in 1/8" diameter (3.2mm) and also a pack of Blue Demon in 3/32" (2.4mm).

I guess I wasnt paying attention to the qty because the cost for each was about the same but I got a whole pound of the blue demon rods for what I paid for about 10 hobart rods.

The amperage range listed on the pack for the hobart rods was 80-120 so I set the amps to 120 and results were not great.

TIG welding Aluminum with an Aluminum Stick Rod

This is something I have been wanting to try ever since I saw that old video.

And actually, the results seem promising.  On my first try I was able to lay down a decent bead on 1/8" (3.2mm) aluminum and I am pretty sure I could have done the same thing on thinner aluminum.

I believe this is an option for some maintenance shops that only have a DC tig welder, or DC scratch start tig.

I need to experiment with it some more to know the limitations but It could be an option for someone to make a quick fix aluminum repair if they dont have the proper AC/DC tig welder.

An aluminum fertilizer spreader, or an aluminum bracket on a conveyor, or an aluminum pump housing , all might be examples of things that can be repaired if someone just has a DC tig welder.

Of course its best to have the proper equipment to weld aluminum but just as in the video I saw, there are parts of the world where people have to make do with what they have and figure out how to fix things that break however they can.