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Thread: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

  1. #1
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    TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    I have an intercooler that is cast aluminum -- no idea what it is other than "aluminum" and its clearly cast and rough.

    I can TIG weld shiny new 6061 aluminum fairly well with my Diversion 165, but this end tank is a different animal. I get some popping and impurities no matter how much I grind and clean. And I'm noticing an orange flame glow outside the arc. Is that because the cast metal just isn't pure? It's an old part and was exposed to oil mist for many years -- so maybe that soaks in no matter how much I clean?

    I'm using 3/32 4043 filler and a 3/32 Ceriated electrode (and pure argon). The 6061 is fresh new 3/16" plate and the cast part is "about" the same thickness.

    All tips/suggestions welcome!

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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Hello Tom, it is possible, as you say, that this casting has "absorbed" some oil/other impurities, do you have access to a hot water pressure washer of any kind? A combination of heat and soap might be enough to help with removing this from the welding equation. Additionally, on a more industrial/radical note, if you have enough acetone and a large enough container to immerse your part in it the acetone will help to bring all of the oils out of the porous areas of a casting. Let it soak in a large bath of acetone, remove it, then clean it with alcohol and then allow it to thoroughly dry before you try to weld on it again. It might also be such a thing that you will need to weld it, grind it out, weld it again, and repeat this process until you can "boil" the impurities out and come up with an acceptable weld. Good luck and best regards, Allan
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Yup...
    Contamination from use in cast is nothing new...

    Cleaning like suggested is good but sometimes you have to weld/ grind out over and over and over again to cook out all the trash...

    I find 5356 is better in this situation but that's just me.


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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    just like zap said,keep welding cooking black particle to top sometime don"t even dip rod, then, i have Milwaukee straight grinder with 2" wide x 6" dia stainless wheel , this looks like die grinder but slower speed

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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    You will have to pre heat the bitch. The 165 won't have the balls to do an intercooler unless it's the size of a book
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    I have had good luck lately with the new maxel 4943 rod with cast. Yes as others have said, just "butter" over the area with the tig to float up the crap and add no filler, try not to wet it out though, just at the verge of wetting out. Grind the crap out and do it again till you get better results then add filler.
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Thanks guys, that's very helpful! I'll weld and grind, and try those other fillers as well.

    Is the orange arc glow just a function of the impurities as well? It's normally green or aqua colored...

    As for the Diversion 165 having enough power, that doesn't seem to be an issue. I'm welding 1/8 plate to a cast wall of about the same thickness, so the Diversion can blast straight through if I let it... I do wonder if additional adjustments would help in these situations though.

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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Funny colors are the direct result of crappy oil impregnated aluminum and touching the tungsten to it.

    The crappier the material the uglier the colors..
    Most times you don't think you contaminated the tungsten and you don't have to directly touch anything but the result is the same...
    Check your tungsten often.


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  9. #9
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom86951 View Post
    Thanks guys, that's very helpful! I'll weld and grind, and try those other fillers as well.

    Is the orange arc glow just a function of the impurities as well? It's normally green or aqua colored...

    As for the Diversion 165 having enough power, that doesn't seem to be an issue. I'm welding 1/8 plate to a cast wall of about the same thickness, so the Diversion can blast straight through if I let it... I do wonder if additional adjustments would help in these situations though.
    1/8" plate is different than an intercooler
    And intercooler is designed to remote heat. Don't be surprised if you welds crack right away
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    The first thing I do with any cast anything is skin off the rough surface texture.....As mentioned there could be oil in the cast material although I have never experienced so much oil that it wont weld?



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  11. #11
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble View Post
    1/8" plate is different than an intercooler
    And intercooler is designed to remote heat. Don't be surprised if you welds crack right away
    The original intercooler had end tanks welded on the end. I cut off the original end tanks, leaving about an inch of the original end tank walls to weld to, if that makes sense. I'm making custom end tanks out of the 6061. Not sure if that changes your advice above. If not, I'm open to suggestions/tips! The original end tank was welded on and it didn't crack...so I assume it's possible

  12. #12
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    Re: TIG welding cast aluminum to 6061?

    I would not worry about it at all.

    Weld it..get it nice and forget about it.


    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

    Just because I'm a dumbass don't mean that you can be too.
    So DON'T try any of this **** l do at home.

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