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Thread: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

  1. #1
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    TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    We have some TIG welding processes which could be done without adding material using pulsed mode with no filler rod. I made some tests producing a very nice weld bead but most importantly, the operator is less tired, me. The welded material is 5052-H34 aluminum. Always a 2mm sheet welded with a 1.5mm sheet, butt-joint, corner-joint and overlap configurations.

    Question: Is there a risk of cracking occurring while using our product with this autogenous welding method?

    The welded parts are offroad motorcycle panniers (side cases).

    Until today using primarily 4043 and more recently 5356, no cracking problems have ever occurred.
    I weld these boxes all day 6 days a week. Earlier this month I reached the mark of 1000 boxes.
    Autogenous welding would be a less stressful way of doing this work, if there is no compromise to our product, of course.

    Thanks all.

    A box picture bellow (using filler rod)...

    Name:  WhatsApp Image 2019-08-29 at 9.07.50 PM.jpeg
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  2. #2
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Yes, there is a large risk of cracking when not using filler rod.
    Dave J.

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  3. #3
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    d'Lima,
    you need the right tool for the job!



    cold wire feed TIG, shown loaded with steel, but works all day long in aluminum, pulsed TIG down to 0.023" wire on 1mm sheet. But will carry 300A pulsed, single pass w/ 5/32" tungsten on 1/4" to 1/4" plate.

    fast, relaxing and consistent welds.



    outside corner on 0.080" to 0.100" 5086; w/ 3/32" pure tungsten, 0.030" 5356 filler wire, 12ft^3 argon, gas lens, pulsed. Almost as fast as MIG and very low fatigue.

    With all that said.... OTC in their wisdom - no longer offers this gun in the US!!! I have scoured the internet to buy the few that I've collected, and some welding distributors may be willing to try to important one from JApan where they are an off-the-shelf item!!!

    I'm currently welding hull seams on a 34'er of welded aluminum- all 5086 using 5356 filler. Overhead TIG is somewhat tiring, and very difficult with two handed TIG.... I don't do it very well. But with this gun I've put in hundreds of feet of beads overhead- no other way for me to get that work done. Pushing 70, I get tired just looking at work! so having the wire feed TIG is a life-saver for me.

    You might look at a cold wire feed TIG system; CK has one that might work? If you can find someone to sell one of these?- tanks, boxes, and brackets become 10-20 minutes work. If you're fixtured for the boxes you show, a cold wire feed system will sure reduce your welding time/effort.

    I don't think 5052 will autogenous weld as shown. There are some very light wt tanks where the edges are flanged deeply- the two flanges are held together and they are just floated/fused/autogen' but they sure use a lot of the flange (5 or 8 thicknesses) to obtain a weld. So the 0.060" thick flange uses from 3/8" to 1/2" of the material (width) to obtain a weld!! Outside any experience I have to offer.

    Hope you figure a way to reduce your weld time/effort/fatique!

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK

  4. #4
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    5052 is prone to hot cracking and brittleness when welded without a filler formulated to prevent it.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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  5. #5
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    silly question time,
    but why not pulsed mig?

  6. #6
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Quote Originally Posted by tweake View Post
    silly question time,
    but why not pulsed mig?
    Messy in comparison. Just doesn't usually produce the nice clean finish product like tig.
    Mig welding aluminum seems to me best for cheap aluminum trailer construction and other structural fabricating that is of similar construction but don't really know much about the process just personal observations of what I have seen others do with it.
    Black soot it often leaves isn't too pretty. Could have been skill level of welders work is what I was seeing. Not sure how well it does when the materials are thinner.
    Last edited by danielplace; 08-30-2019 at 10:44 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Morin View Post
    d'Lima,
    you need the right tool for the job!



    cold wire feed TIG, shown loaded with steel, but works all day long in aluminum, pulsed TIG down to 0.023" wire on 1mm sheet. But will carry 300A pulsed, single pass w/ 5/32" tungsten on 1/4" to 1/4" plate.

    fast, relaxing and consistent welds.



    outside corner on 0.080" to 0.100" 5086; w/ 3/32" pure tungsten, 0.030" 5356 filler wire, 12ft^3 argon, gas lens, pulsed. Almost as fast as MIG and very low fatigue.

    With all that said.... OTC in their wisdom - no longer offers this gun in the US!!! I have scoured the internet to buy the few that I've collected, and some welding distributors may be willing to try to important one from JApan where they are an off-the-shelf item!!!

    I'm currently welding hull seams on a 34'er of welded aluminum- all 5086 using 5356 filler. Overhead TIG is somewhat tiring, and very difficult with two handed TIG.... I don't do it very well. But with this gun I've put in hundreds of feet of beads overhead- no other way for me to get that work done. Pushing 70, I get tired just looking at work! so having the wire feed TIG is a life-saver for me.

    You might look at a cold wire feed TIG system; CK has one that might work? If you can find someone to sell one of these?- tanks, boxes, and brackets become 10-20 minutes work. If you're fixtured for the boxes you show, a cold wire feed system will sure reduce your welding time/effort.

    I don't think 5052 will autogenous weld as shown. There are some very light wt tanks where the edges are flanged deeply- the two flanges are held together and they are just floated/fused/autogen' but they sure use a lot of the flange (5 or 8 thicknesses) to obtain a weld. So the 0.060" thick flange uses from 3/8" to 1/2" of the material (width) to obtain a weld!! Outside any experience I have to offer.

    Hope you figure a way to reduce your weld time/effort/fatique!

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK
    Interesting. Doesn't it get too heavy (if I get it right) all this set attached to the torch? What is the brand of this set? I looked at the CK WF-5 models but they are quite expensive for me and would have to import them adding more customs fees.

  8. #8
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    Yes, there is a large risk of cracking when not using filler rod.
    Ok. Thanks.

    So, no autogenous way. Product quality comes first.
    I really like welding. If I don't like it, I wouldn't have proposed to do that. But after more than a thousand welded boxes and always the same thing, it starts to get boring and we start looking for shortcuts to the process. Increasing productivity is also important to us. I can't make more than 6 of this cases and lids a day is absurdly stressful.
    Last edited by Dalzani Lima; 08-30-2019 at 12:29 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Quote Originally Posted by tweake View Post
    silly question time,
    but why not pulsed mig?

    We have already seen some companies welding thin aluminum like this with mig. The finish is not good. TIG was hard to learn (this forum was very helpful to me in this process and I'm very grateful) But once you master the technique I think (I have never used a MIG) you can do amazing things.

  10. #10
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    Re: TIG Aluminum autogenous (no filler rod) strength

    Quote Originally Posted by danielplace View Post
    Messy in comparison. Just doesn't usually produce the nice clean finish product like tig.
    Mig welding aluminum seems to me best for cheap aluminum trailer construction and other structural fabricating that is of similar construction but don't really know much about the process just personal observations of what I have seen others do with it.
    Black soot it often leaves isn't too pretty. Could have been skill level of welders work is what I was seeing. Not sure how well it does when the materials are thinner.
    that sounds like cheap and nasty setup and low skill level.
    you can do soot free and good looking welds with it. not sure about long term consistency.
    i've done a tiny tiny bit of it, just a pita to dial in.
    the pulse welders handle thin material ok and you can get double pulse for that dime look.

    however not sure if it would end up requiring more post cleanup which may not mean any advantage time wise.

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