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  1. #26
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    TripR,
    i'd like to second several remarks already posted.

    A used 300/300 or older transformer power supply would be (if its in working order) more 'bang for the buck' than a new inverter AT LIST price. At list 500$ isn't going to reach much of capacity/amperage for 500!!

    But if there's life left in a well maintained 300/300, (or an old Syncrowave if you found one?) regardless if the bells and whistles aren't present- those generations of the basic power supply are a good deal for anywhere around 500.

    All used equipment is sold "where is- as is" so asking for a test drive in a car or power supply is just common sense! If the owner won't demo the power supply - move on!

    Also, TIG does require some practice time before you decide to rely on the welds. I'm not saying your previous welding won't help your learning but unless you can run a gas bead with good looking uniform results (?) you're going to need to forget the calendar and keep working until you hands and eyes "get it". Some guys pick up faster than others- so budget plenty of time before you plan to 'sell your work'!!

    One thing the stack of dimes method of TIG welding gives as a positive benefit is 'rhythm' of the weld. By establishing a "gait" to the weld where a continuous fed puddle is kind of hard without wire feed TIG. If you're filling by hand, and holding the torch in the other hand- setting up your own personal rhythm of moving, dipping rod, and moving again helps increase most welder's root face fusion, toe&top flowing fusion and weld cross section.

    Just more thoughts on the idea of allowing the calendar, or a budget to attempt to make serious plans to TIG weld aluminum.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK

  2. #27
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    TripR,
    i'd like to second several remarks already posted.

    A used 300/300 or older transformer power supply would be (if its in working order) more 'bang for the buck' than a new inverter AT LIST price. At list 500$ isn't going to reach much of capacity/amperage for 500!!

    But if there's life left in a well maintained 300/300, (or an old Syncrowave if you found one?) regardless if the bells and whistles aren't present- those generations of the basic power supply are a good deal for anywhere around 500.

    At used prices IF THEY are still working welll(?); expensive transformer power supplies are a great value. They cost in the 3-5k$ range when new years ago... and if they're still working but only cost 10% of that now- that's the concept I'm relying on to call them "more bang for the buck".

    All used equipment is sold "where is- as is" so asking for a test drive in a car or power supply is just common sense! If the owner won't demo the power supply - move on!

    Also, TIG does require some practice time before you decide to rely on the welds. I'm not saying your previous welding won't help your learning but unless you can run a gas bead with good looking uniform results (?) you're going to need to forget the calendar and keep working until your hands and eyes "get it". Some guys pick up faster than others- so budget plenty of time before you plan to 'sell your work'!!

    One thing the stack of dimes method of TIG welding gives as a positive benefit is 'rhythm' of the weld. By establishing a "gait" to the weld where a continuous fed puddle is kind of hard without wire feed TIG; the welder improves the bead by going slower and allowing more gas out of the root face contaminates.

    If you're filling by hand, and holding the torch in the other hand- setting up your own personal rhythm of moving, dipping rod, and moving again helps increase most welder's root face fusion, toe&top flowing fusion and weld cross section. I use a cold wire feed TIG gun, and can do continuous welds with full cross section control of the bead; however if I go as fast as possible I can leave porosity in some welds' roots due to fast freeze time - where the TIG weld is done at MIG speeds.

    Just more thoughts on the idea of allowing the calendar, or a budget too much influence in your attempt to make serious plans to TIG weld aluminum.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK

  3. #28
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    If you're in that camp, you may as well make a new thread right now about why your aluminum TIG welds are turning out crappy, don't know why, and ask for "any ideas?", without posting so much as a smidge of detail as to what in the world you are doing, and then get pissed off when you refuse to post pictures that everyone asks you for so we can help you on our dime (time), lol.
    LMAO! Sounds like an internet forum for sure!

    Thanks for the input. I've got a few data points for you, that you might be able to further advise me.

    Money is tight. "Making" is my highest priority after my mortgage and utilities but seriously, my income is very low so I'm not just being difficult.

    The priority at least for now for welding aluminum is what I think you could call production work. It's 1/8" 2" x 2" square tube material and the welds have to be reasonably strong but I'm not too concerned that they be pretty. I'm also planning to weld in triangle plates at the critical structural points.

    It's fairly likely that I'll eventually want to get a TIG welder to try to make things out of thinner material and with pretty welds but that's not a consideration I'm willing to spend money on right now since it's near the bottom of a list of "things to do" that may effectively exceed my lifespan!

    Here is an image to give you a better idea of the project. I've made one before, but a different design and out of steel and it's very, very heavy. This image is someone else's rig and it differs a lot from my own design. The red circles mark the points of attachment, so the load bearing points. As I said, I'll be welding in triangles at the corners for strength.
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    PS- As I said earlier, don't worry too much about safety. I inspect the machine before each use and safety features are in place in case of mechanical failure
    Last edited by TripRodriguez; 11-03-2019 at 06:56 PM.

  4. #29
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    After seeing it, I'd still consider a mig welder in place of the tig welder. Why, because it was probably mig welded to begin with.

    Don't be intimidated by a mig welder, they can weld pretty thin material just as well as tig. Its all in how you set your machine up and your welding technique.

    Did you look at the link I provided?

  5. #30
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Morin View Post
    I'm not saying your previous welding won't help your learning but unless you can run a gas bead with good looking uniform results (?)
    Well, I was able to get good looking uniform results when I last did some gas welding. One possible issue though, that was 24 years ago! I've not done anything but wire feed Flux welding for years and on a Harbor Freight (220v) welder at that. I haven't been using a bottle only because for the crude work I was doing it wasn't necessary. I haven't used a decent MIG for over fifteen years but 23-24 years ago when I did welding in school I was possibly the best in the class.

    It definitely sounds like that MIG setup is the way to go for me, so I'd like a bit more info. Using MIG if I'm not concerned about what the welds look like, how difficult will it be for me to get these aluminum joints reasonably strong?

  6. #31
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by sqznby View Post
    After seeing it, I'd still consider a mig welder in place of the tig welder. Why, because it was probably mig welded to begin with.

    Don't be intimidated by a mig welder, they can weld pretty thin material just as well as tig. Its all in how you set your machine up and your welding technique.

    Did you look at the link I provided?
    The link for the Eastwood welder? Yes that's the one I'm thinking I'll likely buy, I've got it bookmarked. As for taking a class, I'll probably do my usual learning by youtube!

    Oh, and that looks like a nice Fox body. =)
    Last edited by TripRodriguez; 11-03-2019 at 07:34 PM.

  7. #32
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    The setup you posted from hackaday https://hackaday.com/2018/10/04/home...ion-simulator/ wasn't cheap to build either!!!! I helped a guy on an identical setup with his brushless drivers. Didn't do any welding related stuff for him but I know he had issues with weight.

    There really aren't huge forces put on the upper structure, some twisting but not really huge as you're only working on a 250 pound load average. So I would agree with Willie, a mig would do fine.
    Last edited by ronsii; 11-03-2019 at 08:34 PM.

  8. #33
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    The Jasic WSME 200 could well be in budget.
    Price on Aliexpress including shipping it to the Netherlands is right at your budget, so shipping it to the US would probably be within budget or just slightly over.

    The Jasic WSME 200 looks very much like the CK MT200, you could even say the CK is actually a Jasic with some small upgrades.

  9. #34
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by TripRodriguez View Post
    The link for the Eastwood welder? Yes that's the one I'm thinking I'll likely buy, I've got it bookmarked. As for taking a class, I'll probably do my usual learning by youtube!

    Oh, and that looks like a nice Fox body. =)
    No, it was for a Hobart set up. I'm not too fond of Eastwood.

    Haha thanks, wish it were mine but being a Fox body fan myself I go through fazes and change my avatar every now and then.

  10. #35
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by TripRodriguez View Post
    Well, I was able to get good looking uniform results when I last did some gas welding. One possible issue though, that was 24 years ago! I've not done anything but wire feed Flux welding for years and on a Harbor Freight (220v) welder at that. I haven't been using a bottle only because for the crude work I was doing it wasn't necessary. I haven't used a decent MIG for over fifteen years but 23-24 years ago when I did welding in school I was possibly the best in the class.

    It definitely sounds like that MIG setup is the way to go for me, so I'd like a bit more info. Using MIG if I'm not concerned about what the welds look like, how difficult will it be for me to get these aluminum joints reasonably strong?
    Are you making lots and lots of those parts to sell them? If so then yea that is somewhat of a production run. If you're making money off of them, you might be better off renting a suitable machine, so that way you can build them quick, properly, and it would pad your income so you can buy a real TIG welder (or MIG welder).
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  11. #36
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    A spool gun is typically (bu not necessarily) for fast, production type stuff, on 1/8"+ material, and even then it might be a challenge for a beginner who doesn't want to spend money on "wasting" brand new aluminum to dial in the settings. "For intricate aluminum welding, you basically need a TIG welder" ← fixed it for you. Most newbs who want to do aluminum aren't looking into it from a production standpoint, but rather want to do "cool" aluminum welding with fantasy parts like intake manifolds, intercoolers, etc, etc, which is probably why you heard what you heard, and to a certain extent it is true. Aluminum TIG welders afford you more precision typically not available in wire-feed aluminum welding, whether from a spool-gun or not. But about once or twice a week since I've joined this forum, there is always a thread about why someone's aluminum TIG welding isn't going well at all. Everyone wants to just "build the part" without practicing first. If you're in that camp, you may as well make a new thread right now about why your aluminum TIG welds are turning out crappy, don't know why, and ask for "any ideas?", without posting so much as a smidge of detail as to what in the world you are doing, and then get pissed off when you refuse to post pictures that everyone asks you for so we can help you on our dime (time), lol.
    We're sending Oscar to people skill class next week. Nonetheless, he isn't wrong. TIG welding aluminum well is a big subject to learn. Only Mike Zancanado ever learned fast. Don't understand, but me and hundreds of others are still developing skills years into the process. My dimes are still mixed change, not uniform perfect dimes.

    My experience with spool gun is less of a success. I now believe spool gun aluminum is limited to 1/8" thick or more. I tried on 1/16" (.062") (1.6 MM). I was an abject failure.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  12. #37
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by TripRodriguez View Post
    Well, I was able to get good looking uniform results when I last did some gas welding. One possible issue though, that was 24 years ago! I've not done anything but wire feed Flux welding for years and on a Harbor Freight (220v) welder at that. I haven't been using a bottle only because for the crude work I was doing it wasn't necessary. I haven't used a decent MIG for over fifteen years but 23-24 years ago when I did welding in school I was possibly the best in the class.

    It definitely sounds like that MIG setup is the way to go for me, so I'd like a bit more info. Using MIG if I'm not concerned about what the welds look like, how difficult will it be for me to get these aluminum joints reasonably strong?
    I don't believe you've described the stuff you want to weld. Plenty of functional short MIG welds on production stuff. I saw the ugliest, but functional spool gun welds on a set of bleachers. Perhaps I was the only one to see how ugly, and weak each weld was. Still I observed no broken welds. I feel you should avoid MIG welds on material thinner than 1/8"
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  13. #38
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by ronsii View Post
    The setup you posted from hackaday https://hackaday.com/2018/10/04/home...ion-simulator/ wasn't cheap to build either!!!! I helped a guy on an identical setup with his brushless drivers. Didn't do any welding related stuff for him but I know he had issues with weight.

    There really aren't huge forces put on the upper structure, some twisting but not really huge as you're only working on a 250 pound load average. So I would agree with Willie, a mig would do fine.
    I know that guy from our motion sim forums rather than the article Hackaday did on his rig. I use his software and am one of his testers. I'm building my second motion sim which will be similar to that one but a little larger. I've already bought my new servos which are much more powerful than the ones used in that build and near double the power of the motors on my first motion sim (new ones are 1Kw each), and will be buying the remainder of the actuator components this month or next. The frame on the old one is a steel one I welded up over three years ago now and very heavy. I really want to reduce the weight as much as possible on the new one. Less inertia means smoother transitions on direction reversals. Here is my first one which I'll be selling to cover much of the costs of the new one:



    I don't find it smooth enough for flying and I want more heave so here I go again! I love building this stuff.

    Dutch Welder thanks for the info. I'll check the specific models you mention on AliExpress but it's looking more like I'll be going for a MIG with spool gun and argon.

    Oscar, I'm not making lots of them. I didn't mean that it "is" production work, just that it's a production work type of job rather than a fancy job.

    Sqznby Ah the Hobart. That one's a bit too far outside the budget. I still have to think about a bottle and supplies too. Eastwood's got a good warranty (3 year) so I wouldn't be afraid to order from them. I'm not saying they are top of the heap by any means but I trust them "enough".

    Willie B if you are sending folks to "people skill" classes I should sign up too! For now 1/8" aluminum is all I'm planning to weld on. I could even see if my supplier can get me tubing around 3/16 to make the job easier if you think I'm going to have a hard time with the 1/8" but I'd rather not add the weight. I listed the specs on the tubing I'm using in the original post and I've got an image a few posts up of a similar frame to the one I'm building so you can take a look and see what you think. That MIG from Eastwood is looking good. $500 with the spool gun. All I need is a bottle of Argon and wire. I've got a little scrap aluminum I can practice on, and once I get my tubing and cut the parts I'll have more scraps of the exact material I'm going to use so I can practice on those.

    My joints don't have to be pretty, and they shouldn't have to be super strong if I weld on triangle braces.
    Last edited by TripRodriguez; 11-03-2019 at 09:09 PM.

  14. #39
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    I feel you should avoid MIG welds on material thinner than 1/8"
    For typical MIG welders that need to operate on full spray-transfer for aluminum welding, yep I agree. Pulse MIG welders can go very, very thin. But I digress.
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  15. #40
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by TripRodriguez View Post
    I know that guy from our motion sim forums rather than the article Hackaday did on his rig. I use his software and am one of his testers. I'm building my second motion sim which will be similar to that one but a little larger. I've already bought my new servos which are much more powerful than the ones used in that build and near double the power of the motors on my first motion sim (new ones are 1Kw each), and will be buying the remainder of the actuator components this month or next. The frame on the old one is a steel one I welded up over three years ago now and very heavy. I really want to reduce the weight as much as possible on the new one. Less inertia means smoother transitions on direction reversals. Here is my first one which I'll be selling to cover much of the costs of the new one:



    Sqznby Ah the Hobart. That one's a bit too far outside the budget. I still have to think about a bottle and supplies too. Eastwood's got a good warranty (3 year) so I wouldn't be afraid to order from them. I'm not saying they are top of the heap by any means but I trust them "enough".
    Gotcha, its all good.

    That's a pretty cool sim station or whatever you call it haha. Nice work.

  16. #41
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by sqznby View Post
    Gotcha, its all good.

    That's a pretty cool sim station or whatever you call it haha. Nice work.
    Thanks! We call it a "full motion simulator", "6DOF motion simulator", "hexapod" or "Stewart Platform". It's the same type of simulator used by the military, airlines, theme parks etc. just a little smaller in scale. My old one (in the video) used home made servos consisting of a reversible three phase PWM motor, hall effect sensor for position detection, PWM motor drive, and a Thanos motion simulator control board.

    Thanks to cheap chinese servos and ballscrews coming on the market using "real" servos and a linear actuator configuration is much more financially feasible than it was four years ago when I started building the first one.

    As I said I actually have a very low income, but I have perfect credit and "unique" priorities. I tell everyone the way I pay for my toys is by not wasting my money on frivolous things like food and clothing. Not exactly true but based on truth. I drive a beat up old truck, live in a trailer (mobile home), and buy cheap clothes and wear them till they fall apart! I rarely "go out", rarely drink, don't smoke, don't gamble or play the lottery, and perhaps most importantly I no longer spend money on women! I'm a true DIY guy, I never pay anyone to do anything for me unless it's absolutely impractical to do it myself. Since I got rid of the wife I've really been able to keep my non-toy expenses to an absolute minimum.

    I am working on a project I'm hoping will improve my income situation. Not the first such effort and I haven't succeeded yet but that won't make me quit trying! I think I've got some solid ideas this time.
    Last edited by TripRodriguez; 11-04-2019 at 02:07 AM.

  17. #42
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I tend to think that the "flat bead" would be more susceptible to actually being concave, where stress concentrations can definitely affect it if loads are large enough. When you introduce filler manually, you are plumping up the weld bead, leading to convexity because you're more than likely adding in much more filler metal than laywire-technique consumes with the wire just laying there. I have a feeling that the cracking/lack of strength is being incorrectly attributed to the "look" rather than looking at things from a stress distribution/concentration type of perspective. Yes the "stack of dimes" has small stress-risers at each "dime", but I feel the overall larger amount of convexity adds to the ability to "absorb" more stress, where as the flat-bead cannot absorb a whole lot of stress because the next step for it is concavity. The convex bead would have to absorb a lot of stress before it even starts to become flat, leading to a larger margin of safetly. Of course all of this is subject to applied forces and the resultant stresses produced in the actual material/joint.
    When I said "flat bead," what I meant was a normal weld with normal reinforcement (not concave), but without the ripples (and stress risers) of the "stack of dimes."

    Any time you create stress risers, you're asking for trouble, particularly with aluminum, which starts fatigue cracking much sooner than steel. But again, my prejudice against "stack of dimes" ripples is based more on theory than observation. A quick run through the Google machine didn't turn up any side-by-side testing...so I dunno.

    I do know that in pipe welding, there is such a thing as "excessive weld reinforcement," where the bead is too high, which also creates a stress riser and also speeds up fatigue failure for the same reasons. So your contention that "The convex bead would have to absorb a lot of stress before it even starts to become flat, leading to a larger margin of safetly" ain't necessarily always true. The issue isn't stretch and resultant thinning of the metal -- the issue is the concentration of strain, and the microcracking, fatigue and eventual failure that results after enough stress-strain cycles.

    If intentionally putting in "stack of dime" ripples actually made things stronger and more crack-resistant than a normal bead with normal reinforcement, I suspect they would have found a way to automate such a process in steel, as well, simply for the cost savings in less filler metal and less operator time. But to my knowledge, no such process exists and I haven't heard of it even being proposed. (Not that that proves anything.)

    On the other hand, I have seen a large number of places where people have tried to justify "stack of dimes" ripples from an engineering standpoint, I suspect because they like the appearance and they "feel" that it must be better. I remain unconvinced.

    Any time you introduce any discontinuity – whether it's in the bead profile, the angle of stress, the surface finish or hardness (think "arc strikes"), or any other quality – you generally create a concentration of stress and resultant strain, which accelerates fatigue. And "stack of dimes" ripples are a discontinuity if ever I saw one.

    We're probably getting pretty deep into the weeds regarding the OP, here, though...
    Last edited by Kelvin; 11-04-2019 at 10:46 AM.

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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    When I said "flat bead," what I meant was a normal weld with normal reinforcement (not concave), but without the ripples (and stress risers) of the "stack of dimes."

    Any time you create stress risers, you're asking for trouble, particularly with aluminum, which starts fatigue cracking much sooner than steel. But again, my prejudice against "stack of dimes" ripples is based more on theory than observation. A quick run through the Google machine didn't turn up any side-by-side testing...so I dunno.

    I do know that in pipe welding, there is such a thing as "excessive weld reinforcement," where the bead is too high, which also creates a stress riser and also speeds up fatigue failure for the same reasons. So your contention that "The convex bead would have to absorb a lot of stress before it even starts to become flat, leading to a larger margin of safetly" ain't necessarily always true. The issue isn't stretch and resultant thinning of the metal -- the issue is the concentration of strain, and the microcracking, fatigue and eventual failure that results after enough stress-strain cycles.

    If intentionally putting in "stack of dime" ripples actually made things stronger and more crack-resistant than a normal bead with normal reinforcement, I suspect they would have found a way to automate such a process in steel, as well, simply for the cost savings in less filler metal and less operator time. But to my knowledge, no such process exists and I haven't heard of it even being proposed. (Not that that proves anything.)

    On the other hand, I have seen a large number of places where people have tried to justify "stack of dimes" ripples from an engineering standpoint, I suspect because they like the appearance and they "feel" that it must be better. I remain unconvinced.

    Any time you introduce any discontinuity – whether it's in the bead profile, the angle of stress, the surface finish or hardness (think "arc strikes"), or any other quality – you generally create a concentration of stress and resultant strain, which accelerates fatigue. And "stack of dimes" ripples are a discontinuity if ever I saw one.

    We're probably getting pretty deep into the weeds regarding the OP, here, though...
    We were actually talking about the same thing, we just didn't know it. When I said "convexity", I didnt mean a lot of convexity due to a high stacked bead profile, just the minimal necessary convexity, in the same sense that you described a "flat" weld having just the same minimal convexity to provide just the necessary weld reinforcement. All good then.
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  19. #44

    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Given you are a beginner, I'd advise you to get a better TIG welder. The now discontinued HF Protig 200 would have been a great choice at abt $900 when it was being sold. If you can wait a few months, my understanding is that HF is soon to intro a new family of Vulcan welders.

    BUT

    Given you are a newbie, I'd steer you towards using a MIG Spool gun. A spool gun is <$500 and for a newbie, much more likely to deliver usable quality welds

    Astrobuf

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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    No experience with TIG, plus welding aluminum into a frame that is partially structural using an inexpensive machine sounds like a really bad combination if you don't plan to spend a long time practicing before you start the project. I'm not saying that to be rude, but you are talking about really jumping right into the deep end of the pool!

    .
    Been there done that........Yes, Yes.... What he said. AL welding will take a "LOT"of practice
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Astrobuf View Post
    Given you are a beginner, I'd advise you to get a better TIG welder. The now discontinued HF Protig 200 would have been a great choice at abt $900 when it was being sold. If you can wait a few months, my understanding is that HF is soon to intro a new family of Vulcan welders.

    BUT

    Given you are a newbie, I'd steer you towards using a MIG Spool gun. A spool gun is <$500 and for a newbie, much more likely to deliver usable quality welds

    Astrobuf
    Yup.........I sold my tig welder and bought a spoolgun..........I did the right thing.
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    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Mig and a spool gun might be the way to go, you can get some good looking AND strong welds. Takes less time to learn than Tig, faster for production work, less expensive than Tig. Save the Tig for pretty work, use the spool gun for the type of work you are doing. Just my 2 cents, this method works for me.

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Mount Tabor VT
    Posts
    6,177

    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    When I said "flat bead," what I meant was a normal weld with normal reinforcement (not concave), but without the ripples (and stress risers) of the "stack of dimes."

    Any time you create stress risers, you're asking for trouble, particularly with aluminum, which starts fatigue cracking much sooner than steel. But again, my prejudice against "stack of dimes" ripples is based more on theory than observation. A quick run through the Google machine didn't turn up any side-by-side testing...so I dunno.

    I do know that in pipe welding, there is such a thing as "excessive weld reinforcement," where the bead is too high, which also creates a stress riser and also speeds up fatigue failure for the same reasons. So your contention that "The convex bead would have to absorb a lot of stress before it even starts to become flat, leading to a larger margin of safetly" ain't necessarily always true. The issue isn't stretch and resultant thinning of the metal -- it's the concentration of strain, and the microcracking, fatigue and eventual failure that results after enough stress-strain cycles.

    If intentionally putting in "stack of dime" ripples actually made things stronger and more crack-resistant than a normal bead with normal reinforcement, I suspect they would have found a way to automate such a process in steel, as well, simply for the cost savings in less filler metal and less operator time. But to my knowledge, no such process exists and I haven't heard of it even being proposed. (Not that that proves anything.)

    On the other hand, I have seen a large number of places where people have tried to justify "stack of dimes" ripples from an engineering standpoint, I suspect because they like the appearance and they "feel" that it must be better. I remain unconvinced.

    Any time you introduce any discontinuity – whether it's in the bead profile, the angle of stress, the surface finish or hardness (think "arc strikes"), or any other quality – you generally create a concentration of stress and resultant strain, and accelerate fatigue...

    We're probably getting pretty deep into the weeds regarding the OP, here...
    I make no claim to expertise. It has been explained that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. To weld with no filler is leaving the aluminum very hot. While it is hot it has very little tensile strength, no ductility. Once cooled to a solid, it is still hot enough to be very weak. It still has some shrinking to do before it gains any ductile strength (where it stretches rather than crack)

    I believe the melting of filler sucks heat from nearby weld, cooling it to a state where it gains tensile strength.

    Certainly, adding more metal reinforces a joint, but in a groove weld there might be no reinforcement, the weld using filler is stronger. Be it lay wire, or stack of dimes, I know too little to have a strong opinion.

    Aluminum is a different metal. Steel must cool slowly to gain tensile strength. Aluminum has to get below a given temp to have any.
    Last edited by Willie B; 11-04-2019 at 01:21 PM.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    10

    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post

    We're probably getting pretty deep into the weeds regarding the OP, here, though...
    No worries, I've got extremely severe ADD so I'm often guilty of that myself. Usually I don't even realize it though!

    Also, thanks for all the replies and recommendations guys! Spool gun definitely sounds like the way to go. I hope I get to TIG eventually though.
    Last edited by TripRodriguez; 11-04-2019 at 10:15 PM.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Laredo, Tx
    Posts
    4,228

    Re: Advice needed: Inexpensive TIG for aluminum

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    We're sending Oscar to people skill class next week.
    Thanks, but I'm too busy at my work to take any class. But I have plenty of classes that I took (and passed) under my belt while getting my degree, so I'm good, thanks.



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