welding aluminum with fluxcore wire
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  1. #1
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    welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    i know this is possible but what do i need to know about it? I have my gun set up with a .30 tip but i have never welded aluminum before. Any advice?

  2. #2
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    ok, i just did some reading and it looks like some people have never even heard of aluminum flux core wire... its only 15 dollars for a spool on jc whitney. I also read that you need a spool gun since the metal is so soft it cant be pushed through a liner... is this true? Thanks for any help you guys can give me.

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathmetaldan View Post
    ok, i just did some reading and it looks like some people have never even heard of aluminum flux core wire... its only 15 dollars for a spool on jc whitney. I also read that you need a spool gun since the metal is so soft it cant be pushed through a liner... is this true? Thanks for any help you guys can give me.


    Not sure where you saw this. The only alum wire I see listed there is standard .030 5356 alum wire. For this you will need to use 100% argon gas to have it work.

    http://www.jcwhitney.com/mig-wire-fo...49&filterid=j1

    If you click on the pict they have, the roll even says "gas shielded" clearly. I will admit their generic write up covering all three wires, steel mig, steel FC wire, and alum mig is not the best, especially if you don't actually know what you are reading.
    Last edited by DSW; 08-10-2010 at 05:41 AM.
    .



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  4. #4
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    oops, i guess i didnt look at it close enough... question answered i guess
    speedway series 125 flux core welder

  5. #5
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    That's ok Deathmetaldan, "aluminum flux core wire" is a nice dream.
    Just imagine...
    • no $1500 worth of AC capable TIG welder,
    • no $200 compressed gas cylinder,
    • no $100 flow meter/regulator
    • no $50 argon fills

    Actually, I don't quite understand why we haven't seen this.

    They make stick electrodes for mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum.
    They make flux core wire for mild steel and at least one manufacturer makes it for stainless steel... but no aluminum.

    Maybe it is the nature of the flux? The flux in mild steel wire appears to be a gellied liquid - not a powder coat as found on stick electrodes.
    Aluminum stick electrodes have a dry powder flux coating on the outside. The thickness of flux coating is equal or greater than the electrode diameter. For flux core, it's hard to imagine how one could get that much powdered flux into a tube of aluminum and still stay at 0.035 inch diameter. Maybe there is no liquid gel equivalent flux for aluminum, or perhaps an appropriate gel-liquid flux chemically reacts too fast with the aluminum to have a decent shelf life?

    Anyway, if it was available, I'd sure like to use it!
    Rick V

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    alright, so here is a switch of topic. What do i need to get a stick setup ready to go for aluminum? I would be welding 1/8inch aluminum for a motorcycle subframe, yes we have a scrap subframe i will practice on, and im not doing anything that will cause the motorcycle to fall apart. I have seen stick welders going for peanuts and i have been thinking getting one of those would be better than the mig set up i have now. I would use the stick welder for structural stuff and use the mig for sheet metal since i would just be doing tacks anyway. Once again, thanks for any and all help
    speedway series 125 flux core welder

  7. #7
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Deathmetaldan,

    I'd suggest you go to the Miller website (millerwelds.com) and click on the "resources" tab. There you will see a "Student Pack" offered for $25. Best money you'll ever spend on welding equipment.

    If you read those texts, you'll at least "give the impression" that you have a clue what you're talking about. As of right now, it's quite clear you don't.
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathmetaldan View Post
    alright, so here is a switch of topic. What do i need to get a stick setup ready to go for aluminum?
    To answer the 1st part you would need a DC stick machine at a minimum. You will find the cheap stick machines are AC and no good for alum.

    Now the rest.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathmetaldan View Post
    I would be welding 1/8inch aluminum for a motorcycle subframe, yes we have a scrap subframe i will practice on, and im not doing anything that will cause the motorcycle to fall apart. I have seen stick welders going for peanuts and i have been thinking getting one of those would be better than the mig set up i have now. I would use the stick welder for structural stuff and use the mig for sheet metal since i would just be doing tacks anyway. Once again, thanks for any and all help
    Sticks not going to work for this I'm afraid. 1/8" is borderline with stick, and a motorcycle frame would be a PITA at best. You'd better expet to get 2 or 3 hundred frames to chop up and practice on and about 2000lbs of rod. You will need at least that much practice to have a chance with this, and I seriously doubt even with all that it would work.


    To do this you need an AC capable tig machine. Used expect to spend a minimum of $500-800 for an old industrial machine. New expect to spend $2K minimum. Inexpensive and alum welding don't go together. Even a good O/A setup would set you back at least $500. Then there's the practice part. Alum welds completely different than steel. 1st learn to weld well on steel, not just so so. You need to learn to manipulate the heat properly on an "easy" metal especially if you weld out of position. Then you can begin with alum.

    Sundown's suggestion on the Miller packet is a good place to start. If you are serious, you'd be best served next after that, going to a local Votech that's got a night welding program and signing up to learn tig. Use their machines. Don't expect to go and start on your projects, expect to spend at least 2 or more semesters learning if you seriously apply yourself before you might be ready.
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    i have been welding off and on for 8 years, but thanks anyway guys... guess it will just be reading and learning on my own

    I have the welding packet, the i-car cd's and all my old welding class material, so sorry but i have to disagree that i dont know what im talking about... i have never worked with aluminum so when it comes to THAT i dont know what im talking about. In my reading i have found out that AC is the best to use (thanks for confirming DSW) I also read a cheap and easy way to reverse a single polarity machine is to switch the leads in the machine... is this true?

    As far as what im welding its not the actual FRAME its the subframe which will support nothing but a fiberglass tail. As far as going to a vo-tech, i plan on going back to school to learn tig.. while i was in college i learned out of potision welding and slightly touched on tig but i never got the full experience
    Last edited by Deathmetaldan; 08-10-2010 at 11:57 PM.
    speedway series 125 flux core welder

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    I say this with respect, but I think you've got to maybe just slow down a little. It's like you're jumping all over the place. It's hard to tell what your specific questions are.

    AC is not the best to use for stick welding aluminum. DC is. A good AC TIG machine is what you want for TIG welding aluminum.

    Switching the polarity of the lead and the ground clamp (DCEN to DCEP) doesn't have anything to do with switching from AC to DC. It's just different polarity settings for DC welding.

  11. #11
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    I will save you a long, drawn out song and dance... For your intended application, you will NOT be happy using anything else but a GTAW (Tig) machine that is capable of AC and has Hi Frequency Starts.

    Stick Electrodes will SUCK AZZ...

    Spool Guns for "Fine Work" equates to taking a BAZOOKA to a Slingshot Fight.

    As to the question regarding Polarity (DCEP to DCEN) Yes, switching the leads WILL switch Polarity.... Anyone that has been welding "Off and On for about 8 years" and doesn't know THAT has a very limited understanding of DC Arc Welding.

    I will also tell you that you are making the same mistakes that a LOT of newbies are... You are getting your nose out of joint, and more or less telling members of the forum off, THEN asking for more help.... NOT a good way to get assistance.

    Maybe try taking the comments in the context that members are trying to discourage a welder of unkown capabilities (Yeah, You) from making a horrible mistake and getting someone killed....This should make the comments less offensive to you, and you should be able to wind your neck in a little bit... Besides, from your questions, you really DON'T sound like a person that has much experience with Arc Welding at all... Aluminum, or otherwise.
    Last edited by Black Wolf; 08-11-2010 at 12:42 AM.
    Later,
    Jason

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Dang,

    And I thought I was trying to be "politically correct" (for once).

    Everything the OP said after his first post, just reaffirmed my previous assessment.
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    DSW, I'm not responding to the OP, and the threads not too productive as all the info was available in the search function and reading what's been discussed over and over, so hijacking a bit here doesn't seem too far afield?

    I've had the most difficulty converting steel welders to aluminum. Over the years I've found I've had more luck training a new welder on alloy MIG/TIG from scratch over allowing them to get "steel reflexes". I'm not saying my experiences are a rule of thumb, but I've come to prefer that I do the training over trying to retrain a steel welder because I've had so much trouble fighting those 'muscle memories' or reflexes or whatever we can call them ; they came from steel.

    Do you find that learning steel first is a reliable introduction to aluminum welding? I've trained a few dozen guys (and one girl) to aluminum weld and the 'blank slates' or newbies got better welds faster than the steel welders converting.

    The speed of steel versus aluminum MIG was the biggest, hang up but the aluminum TIG puddle seemed to take forever for the certified guys to master? One fine Southern Gentleman, (and he was) was a 789'er who was the next to last hand let go on the TAPS- on which he welded. He didn't do the tie-in but was the standby welder; in case.

    I spent hours working one on one with him and his best never really got good, but he could put a flawless root and hot pass in without a hood on 8" sched 40 using 6010 downhand, and adjusted the welding machine by feel and sound! This man could weld - but aluminum just seemed to give him fits. I always attributed that to the many decades he'd run steel rod?

    You advised the OP to get some steel time under the hood, but I've gotten shy of suggesting that because of the hard time I've had converting employees from one metal welding to the other.

    If you have time to review that I'd appreciate your feedback?

    Cheers
    Kevin Morin

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTiHC7N2r4U]Stick Welding Aluminum[/ame]I did a little digging and I found this video. It'll give you some idea of what stick welding aluminum entails. I don't think you want to do this to a motorcycle frame.
    Last edited by Jack Olsen; 08-11-2010 at 01:52 AM.

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    that video is great, i think that man's been kicking since ww 1

    I love watching old heads weld.

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathmetaldan View Post
    Welding aluminum with fluxcore wire: "I know this is possible but what do i need to know about it?"
    #1 You don't know what you say you know.
    #2 This brings into question everything else you say you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathmetaldan View Post
    i have been welding off and on for 8 years, but thanks anyway guys... guess it will just be reading and learning on my own

    I have the welding packet, the i-car cd's and all my old welding class material, so sorry but i have to disagree that i dont know what im talking about... i have never worked with aluminum so when it comes to THAT i dont know what im talking about. In my reading i have found out that AC is the best to use (thanks for confirming DSW) I also read a cheap and easy way to reverse a single polarity machine is to switch the leads in the machine... is this true?
    #3 Having (and actually reading/watching) "the" welding packet, i-card cd's and old welding class material should have included information that in effect would have made this whole thread unnecessary.

  17. #17
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Kevin,

    I hear what you're saying and agree on one hand but disagree on the other.

    I can understand the difficulty one, who's just stick welded for years, would have making the transition to aluminum tig. Completely different motor skills.

    On the other hand, I'd much prefer to teach a guy who has experience with torch welding how to tig. Chances are he's mastered "puddle control" and filler rod handling. These coordinated efforts seem to be the ones that take the longest to master.

    Taking a guy who's proficient in steel mig and putting him on aluminum mig, in my experience, has not been a problem. Biggest thing he has to adjust to there is the higher travel speed. I see a very close parallel between the two (steel/aluminum).

    Same thing applies with aluminum tig. The guy who has a grasp of puddle control and filler placement/timing has a leg up on the newbie. One of the hardest things I run into there, in working with a steel tigger, is in him getting used to the "harsher" AC arc.

    I think it really comes down to the attitude of the guy you're working with. Biggest problem I've encountered over the years is the "I've always done it this way", or the "this is how I was taught in school". All I can say there (politely) is that you've been doing it wrong for all this time, or that you were taught wrong in school. Some of our vo-tech and Jr. College programs leave a lot to be desired.

    That's just my point of view.

    Then we've got the newbie that thinks all he has to do is ask a few questions on an internet board and he's going to be a "welder". No study, no practice. Feels he's "entitled" to an accurate answer. Sorry, not happening.
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Wolf View Post
    As to the question regarding Polarity (DCEP to DCEN) Yes, switching the leads WILL switch Polarity.... Anyone that has been welding "Off and On for about 8 years" and doesn't know THAT has a very limited understanding of DC Arc Welding.

    Besides, from your questions, you really DON'T sound like a person that has much experience with Arc Welding at all... Aluminum, or otherwise.
    Man, that made a lot of sense. Leave it to Jason to bring common sense to the discussion.

    Of course, quite a few others have as well.

    They should have a sticky for these kind of threads, being they always sound the same & end up the same way.
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
    I did a little digging and I found this video. It'll give you some idea of what stick welding aluminum entails. I don't think you want to do this to a motorcycle frame.
    Now, that was HILLBILLY HACK ALL the way.

    The Harbor Freight helmet & lack of gloves tipped me off.......
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    SundownIII, I see your points, and there is a great amount of;
    'That's not how I do it...'
    in many people's obstacle(s) to learning.

    I usually try to get an agreement- do it 'my way' until you're proficient enough- then I don't mind them using different methods. If I can't get the co-operation I just have to let them go and try someone more willing to co-operate.

    I guess I've had more resistance to change, than slow learning- most all the new hires seemed to be making good effort to follow instructions. But the four or five best aluminum welders I've trained all learned from scratch on aluminum, and hadn't barely seen a steel or ss puddle in the first 1000 hours of their trade.

    Frankly, I hate having to hire some to train people, I'd rather get someone with the skills I need for the job, but that seems so rare in the woods in Alaska that I've acquired the habit of hiring to train for what I need.

    I was just looking for others' experiences in training MIG/TIG aluminum welders, thanks for the reply.

    cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Kevin,
    I know what you mean. When teaching O/F aluminum welding, the hardest group is either steel welders, or tig welders. In fact I think the tig group is the worst, they are used to being slow and pokey. That and the skill of using travel speed to adjust puddle size and not a pedal.

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    ok, so i know this thread is long dead... but i wanted to come back and publicly apologize for my ignorance.... I was one of those guys that thought they knew it all. Obviously i didnt... i still dont, but i am more educated now and realize that some people (althouth kinda harshly) were trying to steer me in the right direction. So once again, i apologize for being a rod burner who didnt know any better. I took some advice and enrolled in welding school. Learned alot and getting ready to take my 3f up and 4f certs.
    speedway series 125 flux core welder

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    Welcome back! Good luck with the certs.
    If you don't want to stand behind our Troops, feel free to stand in front of them.

  24. #24
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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    thank you sir! Its good to be back and actually know whats going on for once! hahaha
    speedway series 125 flux core welder

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    Re: welding aluminum with fluxcore wire

    good for you, too bad knowledgeable people like Sundown prefer not to write on this forum anymore, but we get opinions from hobby newbs with 10 hours of arc time...
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