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Thread: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

  1. #1
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    Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Guys,

    Please be kind help me clear up on a matter that bothers me in a while.

    Simply put: Is it possible to weld aluminum using a classic (old style) trasformer welder?
    Aluminum plates say, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, with an old sine wave buzzbox machine and a (proper, if any) stick electrode?
    I mean, no rectified DC, no inverter, no MIG/TIG, no oxy no nothing - just plain old buzz.

    Don't know much about AL welding history still my question isn't entirely theoretical. I wonder if that kind of welding technique has ever been in production, since for its present it is quite clear it would rather belong to the museum.

    Topic might have been already covered in here, I did search for it with no full relevance. It may be silly for one to ask that, but here I am..

    I'm a beginner in welding myself, I do it out of mere passion, usually questions stack up faster than answers but I'm committed to understand and practise.

    Thansk for your time,
    Mihai

  2. #2
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Common aluminum stick electrodes are run DC electrode positive.

  3. #3
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Yes they are. I was wondering if there were any exceptions..
    Thanks.

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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    I tried it once, both AC, and DC. It was a fast process. My sample metal was 2 pieces of schedule 40 6013 conduit laid parallel, side by side. If I'd had enough rod, I might have developed enough skill to make a less than pretty weld. As it is I had perhaps ten rods. I couldn't seem to move fast enough to prevent blowing holes in the pipe. As is, I did stick pieces together. It was ugly. If memory serves, I had no success with AC, It was DC EN that showed most potential.

    I believe the old Dialarc TIG welder DC EN was more promising. With that I could form a puddle that skinned over with a gray dull film, and shove filler through into the puddle. It was by no means equivalent to AC TIG.

    Willie
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  5. #5
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    What type of rods did you use, Willie? Aluminum-dedicated or other?

  6. #6
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    "Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1" at http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=58440
    Aluminum Weld Beads

    "Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2" at...http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=58760
    Aluminum Fillet Welds
    RickV Has spent more time on this than anyone I know. Review his threads.

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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    I think SWELLS did a report here on aluminum welding with DC stick, many different rod manufacturers. Quite informative . Bob

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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    tried AC sitk welding aly a long time ago..does not work. went to DC and did a surprisingly effective job. use correct rods..they don't "keep" well, so u have to source "fresh" ones for the job. Apparently the flux on the rod eats the rod up after a short storage?!

  9. #9
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Quote Originally Posted by ironrail View Post
    "Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 1" at http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=58440
    Aluminum Weld Beads

    "Comparison of Stick Electrodes for Arc Welding Aluminum - Part 2" at...http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=58760
    Aluminum Fillet Welds
    RickV Has spent more time on this than anyone I know. Review his threads.
    I know those, quite an expense in time and determination indeed. My full respect.
    If I got it right, RickV has gotten an AC/DC welder but I'm not sure if AC was really used for testing, or DC. It is AC only that interests me.
    Also, four different rod brands came under the scope of his evaluation and all of them happen to be DC+ stated by the manufacturers.
    Rick (beautifully) assesed them under several welding currents and preheat temp (even travel speed and rod angle came in) but if all this has been conducted under DC it would be of a very little use to me I'm affraid..

    If all that work had been under AC it would have been what I am for exactly.

    I hope my english serve me, it's not my first language.

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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Quote Originally Posted by juiceclone View Post
    tried AC sitk welding aly a long time ago..does not work. went to DC and did a surprisingly effective job. use correct rods..they don't "keep" well, so u have to source "fresh" ones for the job. Apparently the flux on the rod eats the rod up after a short storage?!
    Thank you.
    Interesting supposition on aly rods.

  11. #11
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    the biggest problems are
    1) need DC
    2) need big diameter rod
    .
    1/8 aluminum rod only good for 1/8 thick material, i would use 5/32 or 3/16 dia rod for thicker material as small 1/8 rod cannot give enough heat even at max amps. thus why you hear you need to preheat aluminum. the reason you mostly only see 1/8 aluminum stick rod is it can also be used with a oxyacetylene torch as the rod can be used like a brazing rod for torch welding
    .
    for best results you should use the proper size rod. if you Tig weld aluminum at 250 amps why would anybody think they can stick weld it with little stick rods that have trouble with 90 amps.
    .
    very much like 6013 and steel welding most problems people have with 6013 is cause they are using 3/32 and 1/8 when they should be using 5/32 or bigger rod. 5/32 works very well with 1/4 thick material. 1/8 dia barely works with amps at max that rod can take on 1/4 thick material
    Last edited by WNY_TomB; 01-26-2017 at 12:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Aluminum with AC buzzbox?

    Thanks TomB, very synthetic and instructive.

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