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Thread: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

  1. #26
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Agape,

    It's great you took the time to post this and take all the pics.

    The bigger notched tips are a great idea. When I tried it, I ran through 10 tips in under an hours. I could get a bead going, but burn back destroyed every tip. Once I let off the trigger and attempted a restart, I'd birds nest cause the wire was stuck to the tip. My attempt was with a Millermatic 200, a Teflon liner and a gun shortened to 8'.

    Man, it was quite frustrating to say the least. I realized why people spend all that money on spool guns.

  2. #27
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Several years ago I took on repairing a bunch of aluminum end dump trailers, 3/8" -1/2" thick sections were the most common. I had ordered a lincoln push/pull to do the job and when it showed up it did not work. After fighting with the LWS and Lincoln for a week and not getting anywhere, I decided to try my Miller siutcase 12vs on my old Airco 450 power source. I used a 15 Tweco #2 gun with a teflon liner, an .052 tip and was running .045 5053 wire. Had to keep the gun straight as possible but I got the job done. and now to this day everything I own is blue. screw lincoln for not backing me up on that job.

  3. #28
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    I had no feeding or bird nesting problems whatsoever, so many thanks to the guys on this website who gave me all of those encouraging tips & tricks to try---that part worked out really well! Anyway, today I took the welder (a 2009-made, out-of-warranty Trek 180) to a local authorized Hobart shop to troubleshoot why its circuit breaker keeps tripping after 1 second of welding. I'm hoping to get it back within a week or two so I can get back to this. Check back in a week or two for the results of this experiment!
    Agape Guy
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  4. #29
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Several years ago I took on repairing a bunch of aluminum end dump trailers, 3/8" -1/2" thick sections were the most common. I had ordered a lincoln push/pull to do the job and when it showed up it did not work. After fighting with the LWS and Lincoln for a week and not getting anywhere, I decided to try my Miller siutcase 12vs on my old Airco 450 power source. I used a 15 Tweco #2 gun with a teflon liner, an .052 tip and was running .045 5053 wire. Had to keep the gun straight as possible but I got the job done. and now to this day everything I own is blue. screw lincoln for not backing me up on that job.
    Nice, very cool! Do you have any pics you could post or a link that points to the pics? Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by Agape Guy; 05-18-2014 at 11:09 PM. Reason: typo
    Agape Guy
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  5. #30
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    The latest news is it turns out my Trek 180 is still under warranty and the repair technician at a LWS says it's the main electronic board that needs to be replaced, good news/bad news. But they also did ascertain the batteries are all good, which is pretty cool after all these years. Now it's just a matter of getting the board and hoping that resolves the problem. We'll see. Anyway, I am going to finish this experiment--stay tuned!
    Agape Guy
    Everlast Power I-MIG 200 (dual voltage)
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  6. #31
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Yesterday, I finally got back my fully repaired Trek 180 from a LWS--and Hobart paid for all of it, fully honoring the warranty, so it didn't cost me a penny (except the 7-week wait). I'm told it was approx. $600 worth of repairs, so I'm happy I didn't have to pay for any of it (I paid $1000 for the welder new). What's more, during my seven-week wait for the welder repairs, I found that HTP makes a mig gun p/n-195605 (see attached photo) that is compatible with the Trek 180 and also makes for their HTP mig gun an .035" teflon liner (p/n-15044), which I had installed, so that will help with my mig-gun-based aluminum welding projects. Anyway, I'll finish the aluminum box this weekend and post pictures.
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    Last edited by Agape Guy; 08-03-2014 at 02:45 AM. Reason: typos
    Agape Guy
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  7. #32
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Lol 7 week repair. What a joke that service dept is.
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  8. #33
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    How did the aluminum box come out?

  9. #34
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Hi again folks and sorry I have not responded sooner, but it turned out that the batteries went to heaven---go figure! Is there anything else that could go wrong? At this point, we can all laugh!! Anyway, I needed two of them. I found that the replacements range from $29 - $200 for one battery. This simple experiment is turning into a long, drawn-out affair due to equipment "aging" issues (it was made in 2009), but at least I got a pretty much brand new welder, all-new innards of the welder anyway at zero cost to me (thank you, Hobart, for standing by your products!)---except for the cost of the replacement batteries that are NOT warranted. Anyway, I just got the replacement batteries tonight and I also just posted a separate thread on the Hobart forum, because now I can't figure out how to swap them out. What an ordeal! Thank God for my other welders and other projects--I'll be posting photos of the projects, which include a two-bike parking stand (for my Specialized MTB and Vilano road bike), a bike-repair stand, and an update to my Jeep rear-cargo rack project. (NOTE: A weldor friend suggested that for this experiment to just terminate the project and buy the spool gun for my Longevity MigWeld 140 and call it a day. No way, I'm going to finish this experiment!) BTW, if you are curious, I got the little motorcycle-type made-in-China batteries for the Trek 180 from here: http://www.apexbattery.com/hawker-ga...FaY-MgodDT8AYQ
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    Agape Guy
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  10. #35
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Quote Originally Posted by tackit View Post
    Good to see you on the board aging AG, hope everything works out for you. I'll be watching for your test results.
    Thanks guy! It's good to be back--been a fun, busy summer. But now I am so annoyed by not being able to figure out how to swap out those stupid batteries!! Oh well, what are you gonna do? If I don't get a response over the weekend, I'll just call Hobart first thing Monday morning then just plan to finish up the project on Labor Day.
    Agape Guy
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  11. #36
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    I'll target Labor Day to finish this. New batteries are charging now, after fashioning the posts with new nuts & bolts that came with the new batteries. The old batteries are black and dated July 2009! To get to them, it was 5 screws off compartment cover #1, then a combination of lifting off/prying off the cover in a certain manner while applying a stout screwdriver on the side tab toward the inside direction--which was not intuitive to me, but still made me feel like that bone-headed "Dinozzo" actor Michael Weatherly (of NCIS fame) while on the flip side, the attitude of the local LWS acted like "Gibbs" (actor Mark Harmon).
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    Last edited by Agape Guy; 08-25-2014 at 10:00 PM.
    Agape Guy
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  12. #37
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    I'm back in business! Although the Trek is working again, thanks to some brand new batteries, I only got to complete one bead run on the aluminum box that I'm making for this experiment. A Pastor friend of mine called, just when I was starting the box. He had a welding project for me that he needed done right away for the trailer owned by the church where he serves: The project pictures are here: http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php...obart-Trek-180 Anyway, for this aluminum mig welding experiment, I dropped down to .030" (from .035" originally) Hobart ER 5356 Aluminum Mig Wire, which worked really well with my Trek for the short time that I used it today---I'll finish up this experiment next weekend for sure!! Just from what I experienced today, you can definitely do some clean aluminum mig welding with this welder, if you use a dedicated aluminum mig gun with a teflon liner, use oversized tips (.045" tips on my gun), you notch your gun tips, keep the gun cable as straight as possible, use some good-quality stiff wire (ER 5356), and you also clean & brush the heck out of your work pieces. Anyway, to prep my equipment I first swapped in my 3rd-party HTP mig gun with its teflon liner that is compatible with the Trek 180, set the gas regulator attached to a 20 CF Cylinder filled with 100% Argon to 22-23 CFH, and then set the welder to "4" Voltage / "40" WFS settings for the thin .100" aluminum that I'm using for this experiment. I ran some test beads, using the "push" directional gun technique, kept a near vertical gun angle and distance close to the work piece to keep the wire within its gas shield as much as possible (there was a tiny bit of wind today), then began to weld the first joint for the box, before the abrupt work stoppage--I'll probably increase voltage a little bit next weekend (from 4) to "4.5". I completed only one short bead run (see picture), when my phone rang and my Pastor friend asked for some welding help---my duty called! Anyway, I'm just happy to have a fully functioning welder again, and if you read the linked thread on the trailer jack fix that I did today, you may pick up on how much I enjoy using this welder in general. Anyway, to be continued. . . Cheers!
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    Last edited by Agape Guy; 09-07-2014 at 03:49 AM.
    Agape Guy
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  13. #38
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    While you weren't looking some bird crapped all over your work pieces.



    Beads are uber cold. Scotty we need more power! Typically a 180 amp class mig needs to be maxed out both in voltage and wire speed to give satisfactory results on 1/8" alum. Most times there's really not much adjustment left at that point beyond maybe moving from 9 to 10 on the wire speed.

    You may find once you get the voltage and wire set correctly, things don't weld as well as you may wish. With the wire cranked up that high, it won't take much to cause a slight change in wire speed. With the voltage up close to spray, as soon as that wire hesitates, it will burn back to the tip and birds nest just about instantly.


    Also you need to fly with alum. Once you get the settings correct, remember that alum is a great heat sink and will out run you if you dawdle. then things fall apart. Reducing voltage/wire to combat this is wrong and you'll end up with cold welds and poor beads. The solution is to go faster so you stay ahead of the heat build up.
    .



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  14. #39
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Quote Originally Posted by JJW View Post
    wb4rt, A small 90 degree notch is what I do. On agape guy's I would just clean them up a bit, but they should work fine. Good Luck
    Thanks JJW. I meant to respond sooner! I'll actually try your 90 degree notching for this upcoming weekend! Your comment has value with none of the BS or smart aleck attitude you get on this website from some of the moderators or members, which I either block or simply ignore. So many thanks for the input! I'll let you know what that 90 degree notch on the tips does. I have the settings dialed in pretty good (any hotter and I disintegrate the thin .100" aluminum.) I'm looking forward to finishing the box. - Cheers!
    Agape Guy
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  15. #40
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Deleted.
    Last edited by Slob; 09-08-2014 at 12:00 AM.

  16. #41
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Getting back to this, weather permitting, tomorrow!
    Agape Guy
    Everlast Power I-MIG 200 (dual voltage)
    Everlast SM200N Spool Gun (aluminum mig welding)
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  17. #42
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    UPDATE on batteries!! Mine are still going strong! And for any of you needing the replacement batteries for the Trek 180, they are $26.88 for one, the APEX 12180 "top" battery (product code APX-APX12180F3-ABX-78983). Here's an updated link: http://www.apexbattery.com/top-12180-battery.html

    I also found the Genesis 12V 16EP batteries here ($140 for one): http://www.tnrbattery.com/genesis-g1...p-replacement/
    Agape Guy
    Everlast Power I-MIG 200 (dual voltage)
    Everlast SM200N Spool Gun (aluminum mig welding)
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  18. #43
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    Re: Aluminum Mig Welding ($51 Experiment) Using Hobart Trek 180 w/ No Spool Gun

    Some real tip sizes. Might find short tacks will probably give you the best results using a setup like that. The longer the weld bead, more issues seem to show up..

    I do find the bird crap joke funny as heck.. No offense, just good old welding humor (IMO)

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