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Thread: Spool Gun Welds

  1. #1
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    Spool Gun Welds

    I've done a lot of looking around and seen very little discussion on regular run-of-the-mill aluminum mig welding. I'd love to hear from some of you who have done a lot of alum mig and developed ways of coping with the typical issues such as cold starts, not having enough room to backstep on short beads, overheating on longer welds, spatter, etc. I have a TA 252i with the 200A Tweco spool gun, so not hot-start, pulse, etc.

    Anyone willing to share pictures and settings of some good aluminum mig beads?


    To be fair, here are a couple pictures of where I'm at:

    6061 T6511 in 3/16 thickness
    0.035 4043 wire
    22V, 280ipm


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    horizontal fillet

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    flat

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    vertical up

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    both side flanges were welded vertical down, then a horizontal bead to try to try to fill the end craters from the down-hills


    I guess I could've cleaned the soot off before taking the pictures...sorry.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    There is a member here, I canít think of the kid's name right now. He runs a spool gun all day building trailers. The kid is amazing. Hopefully heíll see your thread and post some of his pictures!
    Donít pay any attention to me
    Iím just a hobbyist!

    Carl

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  3. #3
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    There is a member here, I canít think of the kid's name right now. He runs a spool gun all day building trailers. The kid is amazing. Hopefully heíll see your thread and post some of his pictures!
    There is another member that builds a lot of walkways, gangplanks, docks etc in aluminum, Do you remember who that is?
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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  4. #4
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    Do you remember who that is?
    No that doesnít ring any bells at all.
    Donít pay any attention to me
    Iím just a hobbyist!

    Carl

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  5. #5
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    There is a member here, I can’t think of the kid's name right now. He runs a spool gun all day building trailers. The kid is amazing. Hopefully he’ll see your thread and post some of his pictures!
    Yeah, that's exactly the kind of people that I'd be interested in hearing from.

    I don't know if I can edit my original post or not, but I had the wrong settings in my mind...original pictures were actually welded at 24v and 350ipm.

  6. #6
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    No that doesn’t ring any bells at all.
    Welderj is about the only guy I can think of off the top of my head that does aluminum trailers..

    Dunno.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Yofish? There is a different person cep is talking about does Sylvester sound familiar?
    Nothing Ever Got Done By Quitting, Never Give Up.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    heres some of the alu mig work ive done all with 047 5356 wire on a miller 354mpa with a xra feeder with 30ft whip all straight cv no pulse or hot start
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    High Octane Welding

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A749 View Post
    Welderj is about the only guy I can think of off the top of my head that does aluminum trailers..

    Dunno.
    No not Jon.
    If Iím not mistaken this kid has a picture in his avatar of a young guy wearing black horn rimmed glasses. With short hair. Donít know if thatís him or not.
    The kid makes some beautiful aluminum Mig welds.
    Donít pay any attention to me
    Iím just a hobbyist!

    Carl

    Dynasty 300
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  10. #10
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    I think it his name was Puty?
    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    No not Jon.
    If I’m not mistaken this kid has a picture in his avatar of a young guy wearing black horn rimmed glasses. With short hair. Don’t know if that’s him or not.
    The kid makes some beautiful aluminum Mig welds.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by ishuum View Post
    I think it his name was Puty?
    You know, I think youíre right!
    Donít pay any attention to me
    Iím just a hobbyist!

    Carl

    Dynasty 300
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    1937 IdealArc-300
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  12. #12
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Thanks for all your replies so far! abec, those look like some pretty cool projects! What kind of material thickness do you typically work with?

    Here are a couple more, pretty much all welded at:
    20.5V 248ipm
    1/8" 5052 sheet, inside corner weld...finding it almost impossible to not blow through
    28 cfh 100% argon
    0.035" 4043 wire

    The verticals were welded downhill as fast as I could keep the arc lit, so I wouldn't burn through
    The horizontals I was welding about 2" long sections and back-stepping to try to control the heat there.

    1/8" material with a spool gun seems to be about the limit that I've found...gotta be pretty careful that it doesn't end up in a big puddle on the floor

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  13. #13
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    I work with anything from 1/8th 5052 and up to 2inch thick 6061 alu.
    High Octane Welding

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Check out posts by ZTFab.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    You should be cleaning your aluminum better before welding it. It looks a little cold or could use more volts to widen and flatten the weld.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    You know, I think you’re right!
    Thanks...I found a couple posts of his welds now....definitely some sweet looking beads. That led me to a bunch of threads that I had been unable to locate previously. One thing - I think I need to try turning up my gas flow...was running around 30cfh, but suggestions seem to be more in the 40-50 range.


    Quote Originally Posted by abec View Post
    I work with anything from 1/8th 5052 and up to 2inch thick 6061 alu.
    Where would you start for settings on 1/8" 5052? The thin stuff seems to cause me the most headaches - seems like once I get settings close enough to hold a clean and stable spray arc, it's just dying to pull through on the back side.

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    This is a lap in 1/8" 5052 that I ran at 20.5V, 248ipm 0.035" 4043 wire. Like I said, having a tough time getting the sweet spot for a stable arc and consistent puddle while being concerned about overheating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Check out posts by ZTFab.
    I'll do that when I get a little more time...I knew there had to be threads out there, just a matter of knowing what to look for...thanks for the suggestion!


    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    You should be cleaning your aluminum better before welding it. It looks a little cold or could use more volts to widen and flatten the weld.
    Ok, I can try bumping up the volts a hair, but last time I tried that, I just ended up burning through. The picture may be deceiving - my concern was that I wasn't getting enough fillet thickness - these beads are actually quite concave when you look at them. I really can't afford any more heat input, you can see it pulling on the backside here:
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  17. #17
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    To clarify...the beads that I'm referring to as being pretty concave, are the ones in Post #12

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Are you running a spool gun without a WFS adjustment knob?
    When I did that I hated it.

    I bought a used push-pull Cobramatic and the WFS adjustment lays right under my thumb - allows me to dial my spray arc length as I weld - much much better.

    Keep at it

    (Still prefer tig though)
    Dave J.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Hmm one thing is your whipping your weld on 1/8th try doing a straight push. I run 50cfh of argon with a 5/8 nozzle works great I have to step up to a 3/4 in nozzle to pass vertical weld tests.

    1/8th alu flat fillet or but I run 22.5v at 450-500ipm vertical I go to 21.5v and drop down to 350-400 in a open corner I do 22.5v and keep the wire speed low say 400 to keep the arc back in the puddle to help prevent burn through
    High Octane Welding

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    If you google the Glen-L boat building forum and "aluminum MIG", there is a long post about aluminum MIG techniques written by Kevin Morin (I think, also a member here). There is some really really great info in that thread about joint prep and setup, dealing with cold starts and restarts, definitely worth checking out. I saved it as a pdf.

  21. #21
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    Are you running a spool gun without a WFS adjustment knob?
    When I did that I hated it.

    I bought a used push-pull Cobramatic and the WFS adjustment lays right under my thumb - allows me to dial my spray arc length as I weld - much much better.

    Keep at it

    (Still prefer tig though)
    My spool gun does have a WFS adjustment under the base of the handle, but it is easily bumped out of position, so I put a piece of tape over it until I can find a better way to deal with the issue. Just trying to eliminate variables until I can get dialed in. Know what you mean about TIG...I 'm tigging anything that's critical, just trying to get better with spool-gun for better productivity.

    Quote Originally Posted by abec View Post
    Hmm one thing is your whipping your weld on 1/8th try doing a straight push. I run 50cfh of argon with a 5/8 nozzle works great I have to step up to a 3/4 in nozzle to pass vertical weld tests.

    1/8th alu flat fillet or but I run 22.5v at 450-500ipm vertical I go to 21.5v and drop down to 350-400 in a open corner I do 22.5v and keep the wire speed low say 400 to keep the arc back in the puddle to help prevent burn through
    Thanks, I'll give those settings a try...I know my WFS sounds low, I'll have to check if the calibration is right. Will be a couple days before I have time to get at anything though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jieve View Post
    If you google the Glen-L boat building forum and "aluminum MIG", there is a long post about aluminum MIG techniques written by Kevin Morin (I think, also a member here). There is some really really great info in that thread about joint prep and setup, dealing with cold starts and restarts, definitely worth checking out. I saved it as a pdf.
    Thank you for this! Kevin clearly put a lot of work into the thread, cheers for that. I'll be looking through that more closely as I have time.

    I think part of my issues stem from being out of position and not having the experience and muscle memory to make the beads in awkward positions. I was in the shop last night and found a couple of the test strips that I used to get my starting settings and they look much better than the pictures I posted of welds on an actual workpiece.

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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    So who's going to be the first to try using a spool gun to weld two of these newer, heavier, bottle style aluminum beer cans together base to base?

  23. #23
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    Re: Spool Gun Welds

    just remember I use a diff wire then what your using I believe your using .035 4043 and I'm using 047 5356
    High Octane Welding

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