Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    30
    Post Thanks / Like

    Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Hello fellow weldingweb'ers,

    Can you please critique my weld and offer some advice?

    I've been practicing A/C Tig welding on a 1/4" 6061 aluminum plate and my welds keep having this frosty quality. I turned the A/C Balance (cleaning) down to ~37% (almost all the way to the left) and it looks like marginally better penetration, but I want a shinier/cleaner stack-of-dimes look with better penetration. The arc starts consistently, but it doesn't seem to focus on one spot very well (frequency in the 100-120Hz range) and dances around until I start adding filler.

    Machine: PowerTig 225LX
    Torch: air cooled hand-held with switch, control in 4T position
    Gas: 100% pure argon
    cup: everlast #7 cup
    Flow: 7L / min
    Tungsten: 3/32 2% lanthanated (sharpened to point)
    Filler Rod: 3/32 4043
    Amps: (I forgot :P)
    PreFlow: ~1-2s
    PostFlow: ~8 seconds
    Pulse: Off

    Metal Prep: 80 grit belt sander on surface, followed by rigorous brushing with a steel brush (only used on aluminum). Then, it's cleansed with 100% cotton cloth dipped in acetone.

    The bead on the left half-way pictured was done with balance higher in the ~10 o'clock position.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    1,647
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    On clean metal you can crank the balance to 10. I usually don't run below 8 unless it's cast.
    To properly weld 1/4" Alum your machine should be set to 250Amps (minimum) with a 1/8" tungsten (minimum) with straight Ar. A bit less with a He mix.
    Buy American, or don't whine when you end up on the bread line.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Philly
    Posts
    20,159
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    You don't list how many amps you are using. My guess is that you have the machine set too low and have to take a while to get the bead going. That will work with steel, but not with alum. You are most likely overheating the material because you have the amps set too low. Alum being a good heat sink pulls heat away from the bead, heating up the whole plate rather than getting a puddle started. You need the amps set high so you can stomp on the pedal and quickly get the puddle going and then back down and go fast. Overheated material will often give you that "frosted" look to the bead itself rather than the nice shinny bead.

    1/4" alum is too thick to start learning on. Get some 1/8" instead. It's thick enough so that you don't burn thru and thin enough that you can get a feel for the material and don't need a machine capable of 300 amps. Set the machine to at least 150 amps and stomp on the pedal to get the puddle up and running fast.

    If you are just starting out learning tig however, get some 1/8" steel instead and learn the basics of heat control 1st on a material thats easier to see the results on. Then once you have heat control down well move on to alum.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    30
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Thanks guys,

    do you know where I can get some cheap 6061 1/8th inches thick aluminum plate to practice on? I saw some on Amazon, but wasn't sure how good it was. Also, any place I can get a cheaper copper plate to use as a base for welding? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    919
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMeatHead View Post
    Thanks guys,

    do you know where I can get some cheap 6061 1/8th inches thick aluminum plate to practice on? I saw some on Amazon, but wasn't sure how good it was. Also, any place I can get a cheaper copper plate to use as a base for welding? Thanks.
    Buy aluminum from the largest distributor in your area that will sell small quantities. A 0.125" x 20' stick will provide practice cupons for a long time. Why do you need a copper plate base to weld something?
    Miller TrailBlazer 251
    Miller HF-250-1
    Miller MaxStar 150 STL
    HyperTherm PowerMax 380 plasma
    Lincoln PowerMig 180
    Millermatic 252
    Miller Diversion 180

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    6,231
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMeatHead View Post
    Thanks guys,

    do you know where I can get some cheap 6061 1/8th inches thick aluminum plate to practice on? I saw some on Amazon, but wasn't sure how good it was. Also, any place I can get a cheaper copper plate to use as a base for welding? Thanks.
    I got some from onlinemetals.com
    Seems to have good prices, but shipping is a bit much so it's better to order a larger amount at first.
    Torchmate 2x2 CNC with Flashcut CNC controls
    Hypertherm Powermax45
    Esab ET220i
    Razorweld 195 Mig
    Razorweld 200ac/dc Tig
    Tormach 770, Tormach xstech
    Razorweld, Vipercut/Vipermig, SSC Foot Pedal Dealer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    429
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    as a side note, it looks like you need to add more filler. This isn't like steel where you just add a drop of filler, you really have to feed it in. Otherwise you are going to have cracking isssues when you start welding 2 pieces together.

    watch at 1:25


    his filler hand. He over exaggerates it a bit, but he's consistent and his stack of dimes is asthetically pleasing.Of course it doesn't make a difference, but sometimes that's just the look people want

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    south GA where its hot in summer and cold in winter
    Posts
    5,100
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Turn your balance fully left. This will improve the frosting, but speed up or use more heat.
    Esab Migmaster 250
    Lincoln SA 200
    Lincoln Ranger 8
    Smith Oxy Fuel setup
    Everlast PowerPlasma 80
    Everlast Power iMIG 160
    Everlast Power iMIG 205
    Everlast Power iMIG 140E
    Everlast PowerARC 300
    Everlast PowerARC 140ST
    Everlast PowerTIG 255EXT

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    In A Nice Comfy Chair
    Posts
    18,764
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Geeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
    You mean to tell me nobody caught this??

    He is prepping the surface with a 80 grit BELT!!!!


    Red flag right there.

    DO NOT use a belt sander for prep!!!
    You know where all that sand gets imbedded correct???
    That's why the frosting.

    The acetone with the stainless brush is more than enough!!!

    You all need to go back to class for another entry level exam..

    ...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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    30
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Thanks guys, your suggestions helped . Regarding cleaning the frosty outer edeges of the weld to look more shiny, do you just use a scotch-brite pad on a drill?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    404
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Frosty looking aluminum weld beads?

    Quote Originally Posted by zapster View Post
    Geeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
    You mean to tell me nobody caught this??

    He is prepping the surface with a 80 grit BELT!!!!


    Red flag right there.

    DO NOT use a belt sander for prep!!!
    You know where all that sand gets imbedded correct???
    That's why the frosting.

    The acetone with the stainless brush is more than enough!!!

    You all need to go back to class for another entry level exam..

    ...zap!
    The easiest things get over looked soo easily. ( I know... because I do it all the time) Over analyzing is a flaw of mine, I won't lie when I read the thread title my mind went AC balance instantly. LOL
    Joe
    Miller 140 Autoset (2010)
    Miller Syncrowave 250 (1996)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Page generated in 1,627,436,275.26287 seconds with 11 queries