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Thread: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

  1. #1
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    Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Have a Hobart Handler 210 and think I need to get a spool gun for filling holes in cast aluminum

    Chrysler outboard and it has a casting which holes a hydraulic trim piston. There were 5 stainless screws and managed to get 3 of the 5 out out. Two of them snapped off and the rest of the job didn't go well.

    So I'm going to grind out the small piece of stainless then want to fill the holes. Grind smooth and drill and retap. The casting is about 3/4 inch thick

    Assuming I need argon and a spool gun. Which gun would work best with my Mig? All other comments welcome

  2. #2
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    I am not sure that the handler 210 has enough power to do what you want to do. Also with cast aluminum contamination is an issue to deal with. You can burn it out with a TIG, but not sure you can do the same with a spool gun. I would use a fair amount of pre heat
    Last edited by Louie1961; 09-17-2020 at 12:00 PM.
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    For 2 holes I'd just take it to a shop and have them Tig welded. You could sand and file the welds yourself and drill and re-tap the holes to save a little money. Should take less than an hour. You don't want to ruin the casting experimenting on it. Yes, preheat may be required and cast aluminum can be very dirty.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 09-17-2020 at 12:08 PM.

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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    For 2 holes I'd just take it to a shop and have them Tig welded. You could sand and file the welds yourself and drill and re-tap the holes to save a little money. Should take less than an hour. You don't want to ruin the casting experimenting on it.
    That is a good point.
    Thought about getting a spool gun just to have for small stuff, and have never welded aluminum before. There is a local welding shop I could take it to and it would cost less then the stuff I would need

  6. #5
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    All of my broken studs, drills, and taps go to a tool regrinder/sharpener to have them EDM burned out. With the threads intack I chase the holes with a tap, call the customer for pickup. I charge a good markup and the customer saves money and gets superior results.

    In the absence of a tooling house I use ER312 and my tig welder to add just enough of a bump at the top of the stud to grab with a visegrip plier and back them out. It is actually the heat from the welding that loosens the stud.

    Cast alum thread repair also requires high strength filler to match the original strength of the thread. That means er5356. You can't imagine how many weld repairs I do when people grind out their broken bits and nearly destroy the casting. Cha$Ching!
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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  7. #6
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    I would clean out the holes and epoxy in a keen sert threaded insert.

  8. #7
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I would clean out the holes and epoxy in a keen sert threaded insert.
    Thouht about that when drilling, then the bit went to one side and got ugly after that

  9. #8
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    Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Quote Originally Posted by AllDodge View Post
    That is a good point.
    Thought about getting a spool gun just to have for small stuff, and have never welded aluminum before. There is a local welding shop I could take it to and it would cost less then the stuff I would need
    I had a spool gun with my miller 211
    And used it on a few things and it worked OK but was very temperamental and frankly a pain in the *** at times.

    Once I got my tig machine I sold the spool gun.

    I repair cast aluminum grab handles for cable gym equipment all the time.

    You can kind of boil out the impurities
    With tig

    Anyway
    In your case I would take the above advice and have somebody fix it for you for now.

    If you want to get into aluminum later I would suggest buying the biggest machine that you can afford.

    Aluminum I find is very easy to weld.
    Sometimes easier than steel.

    But of course everything has to be perfect.

    Clean material/proper torch angle/ A gas lens that isnít clogged.... (donít ask)
    Keeping your filler rod/warm at all times.
    Yada yada.

    Iím no expert Iím just a backyard guy


    But I get everything done that I need to be done.

    Summing up,
    I would not waste my time on a spool gun.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Spoolgun on our first gen MM211 was a crap shoot- terrible. We actually sold that MM211.

    Spoolgun on my Passport Plus( Inverter) is a dream.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    Quote Originally Posted by AllDodge View Post
    Thouht about that when drilling, then the bit went to one side and got ugly after that
    Oh boy!

    Now you have to clean out the hole and fill with 5356. Anything softer will allow the bolt to tear out the threads.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
    MillerDynasty700DX,Dynasty350DX3ea,Dynasty200DX,Th ermalArc400GTSW,LincolnSW2002ea., MillerMatic350P,MillerMatic200w/spoolgun,MKCobraMig260,Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm1250,HFProTig4ea,MigMax1ea.

  12. #11
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    Re: Aluminum and Mig spool gun

    I'm pretty new to welding and have a Hobart 190 with a spool gun. I've had pretty good success welding up a jon boat I'm remodeling. I've learned that mig welding aluminum is a fairly cool process. Preheating is almost a must. I have went through quite a bit of 5356 wire to get good welds with a lot of grinding and even drilling to remove porosity. And this is old .072 material, not cast which is dirty to start. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I know a tig welder would be way easier to pull out impurities while welding instead of grinding a mig weld down to find trapped impurities inside the weld.

    I was given an outboard with a cracked lower unit. I was thinking of trying to repair it with my mig setup. Given enough time, I could tear it apart and v out the crack and weld, grind, repeat until I got out all the impurities and had a solid weld. I just know that tig would be way faster and use way less filler. The lower unit is still fairly thin material. Thicker material like the transom clamp I wouldn't even think of trying with mig. A decent tig setup is on top of my list of tools for my diy shop.

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