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Thread: Aluminum welding

  1. #1
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    Aluminum welding

    I Need help to find out what requirements i need my machine to meet to do mobil aluminum welding with an engine driven machine. Or what type of machine to rent

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    More information is required. I have welded aluminum boat repairs on thicknesses ranging from 1/4" to .050" at my previous employer.

    If I was setting up to do that with an engine drive it might be used as generator to drive my new inverter.

    I have not checked it welding thicker materials, only thin stuff so far. Having a water cooled torch might be required, LWS says my air cooled torch will work just fine.

    All depends on your existing capabilities and your need for portability going forward.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    i will be welding 1/4" 5052 diamond plate and a 1" x 1" x 1" x 1/8" channel solid to make it waterproof between the two and about 8 feet worth of weld.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    i guess my main question is do i need to get a specific machine that can mig weld aluminum or can any engine driven machine be used to mig aluminum. i typically work in the shop using a millermatic 252 but there are not the proper electrical requirements on site for that machine. that is why i need to rent a engine driven machine i just do not know what kind i need/ what kind would be sufficent or if i just bring my machine from the shop and rent a generator

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    I'd talk to a place like Red-D-Arc and rent a machine that a spool gun can be hooked to. A Lincoln Ranger 305G or similar Miller with spool gun capabilities could be a good option. I think you'd need a big generator to power the MM252. A Magnum SG spool gun with the control module and input cable are shown as accessories for the Ranger 305G.

    https://m.lincolnelectric.com/assets...26-5/e6117.pdf

  6. #6
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    I haven't done aluminium with the MillerMatic 252. I have welded 5/8 steel with an 8 Kilowatt Kohler. This is a serious generator with a 22 HP twin cylinder engine powering it.

    I would rent at least a 10,000 watt continuous generator to power the Miller if that's how you plan to do it.

    The cost of setting up for one project doesn't make economic sense. Find a welder willing to make the weld for you, or bring the metal to the welder.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    All you need is a miller trailblazer with a 30a spool gun. I dont know what the lincoln equivalent is but I am sure it is just as simple. Any engine driven machine can weld mig weld aluminum.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    would i need some sort of adapter for the spool gun or would it hook straight to the machine?

  9. #9
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    If you can bring the MM252 just rent an engine drive welder but just use the generator on the engine drive as it should already have the 6-50R receptacle on the engine drive.

    If you go with the straight up genset rental:

    You'll need to make a pigtail adapter to connect the MM252 6-50 plug into the generator's receptacle. That plug will depend on what is on the generator.

    The aloominin is only 1/8" thick correct?

    I've run my 252 on a Honda 6500 EU.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    OP mentioned 1/4" aluminum. Not sure how clean of power you need to run a 252. If it would run off a Trailblazer would be make it simple to rent a machine.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    So let me ask this. What is the "Thing" that makes a welding machine capable of welding aluminum. is it a certain size machine, is it a polarity or somthing wit the type of current or maybe the type of connection. or is bascially every mig machine capable of welding steel and aluminum by simply changing the wire and switching from 75/25 to 100% argon and letting it rip.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Aluminum is amazing at conducting heat away from the weld. Imagine welding underwater. It cools the weld.
    Even though it melts at around 1200 degrees F the oxide coating needs more than twice that temperature to melt.
    In TIG, we use AC. The EP (electrode positive) half cycle cathodically etches away the oxide.
    MIG you run DC, Electrode positive. Etching action happens simultaneous to weld. You need lots of power & plenty of duty cycle.
    You can't push soft aluminum MIG wire through a 15 foot liner, so a spool gun is needed.
    Aluminum is welded with pure argon, or argon/helium.
    Last edited by Willie B; 07-03-2020 at 09:26 PM.
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    You can't push soft aluminum MIG wire through a 15 foot liner, so a spool gun is needed.
    No, but you can push it through a 8-10ft carbon graphite liner, so a spool gun is not always needed.
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  15. #14
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    so what would be the minimum power requirement for a machine to weld aluminum.

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    Re: Aluminum welding

    I think the bigger question is, Have you done any aluminum welding in the past or with the 252 in the shop? If this is a one off aluminum job it may be better to let someone with more experience do it. The last thing a customer wants is to be the guinea pig for someone to learn how to weld aluminum and have to pay them to boot. Aluminum requires different procedures than steel and can present a lot of different problems. Kind of a if you have to ask, maybe you shouldn't be doing it or don't have the experience sort of deal.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 07-05-2020 at 02:08 PM.

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  18. #16
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by h couillion View Post
    So let me ask this. What is the "Thing" that makes a welding machine capable of welding aluminum. is it a certain size machine, is it a polarity or somthing wit the type of current or maybe the type of connection. or is bascially every mig machine capable of welding steel and aluminum by simply changing the wire and switching from 75/25 to 100% argon and letting it rip.
    I thought you said you used the MM252 at work so I figured you had it already set up for Alooominum.
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  19. #17
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    I thought you said you used the MM252 at work so I figured you had it already set up for Alooominum.
    I think he has a mobile job so he needs to get the welder out some where, and he can't do that with his shop welder the 252.
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  20. #18
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by h couillion View Post
    So let me ask this. What is the "Thing" that makes a welding machine capable of welding aluminum. is it a certain size machine, is it a polarity or somthing wit the type of current or maybe the type of connection. or is bascially every mig machine capable of welding steel and aluminum by simply changing the wire and switching from 75/25 to 100% argon and letting it rip.
    Basically it needs to have enough grunt to run aluminium in spray mode - so think 150 amps plus, and some decent voltage. 1/4" fillets will want around 180-190 amps and 24-25 volts. Then it's down to the wire feeder and gun setup. 4 roll feeders are better than 2, but you could make it work on the MM252. You need a plastic/teflon liner that's trimmed back to the rolls, or a proper guide tube.
    It's a load of little design things that make the difference on a machine as to whether it runs aluminium nicely or not. Pulse, hot start and crater fill are all nice to have, makes tidy seams more achievable.

    If you haven't ran any aluminium MIG before, I wouldn't start with a customer project

  21. #19
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    I've done lots of 1/4" aluminum with my Lincoln 210, and my snap on 230 amp machine running off a Honda EU6500 inverter unit , its a great unit, and never even struggled. The Honda is a great machine, strong, and quiet. Any other brand I would recommend minimum 8KW, 10KV to be sure. I prefer running a 10 ft whip with plastic(teflon?) liner, and .035" 5000 series wire(5356?) , over 4000 series in a spool gun. Haven't tried the 5000 in the spool gun yet.

    Can you get the MM252 close enough to weld the project ? If yes , then rent a 10Kw genset, or welder with 10kw 240v output. As mentioned above you will need an electrical plug adapter and lead long enough to reach genset to machine.As the simplest option its still gonna cost you a few hundred dollars. Is this up on a roof or somewhere hard to access ? The last 60 ft. outdoor lift I rented had 230v 3ph(as well as 120v for hand tools) power generator, and a 500 lb capacity.


    Does it really have to be welded there ? Those dimensions don't seem big, or heavy(its aluminum). I'm sure you have reasons to do it that way, but its hard to guess from the amount of info given. There are lots of options, but for less than 10 ft of welding, whats gonna be worth it.

    Yes, almost any mig welder with Argon can weld aluminum if it has enough power for the thickness aluminum. Thats a little oversimplified, some will make a spattery mess, and burn back to the tip, crater out, and trip out thermally. The devil is in the details, wire run in , burn back , pulse, good voltage regulation, all factor into making a good weld. The MM252 seems like a good machine to use if you can get near it.

    Pics are always helpful.

    Good luck
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  22. #20
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    i ended up figuring it out. i used a 17500w generator and took the mm252 from the shop since i was comfortable with it. i ran about 20.5-21 volts with a wire speed of about 550 with 5356 on the project and had our electriction make me an adapter for the generator. worked really well. still not sure as to what a machine needs to run aluminum wire but i know the mm 252 required 240v with a 50 amp breaker on a generator and it worked perfectly. may have been over kill but my "boss"/ ops manager called a favor in to get the generator so i we got it done for a low price. not sure if we could have got by with a smaller generator or not but the one we had worked nicely. still not well educated on the matter but at least now i know what will work if i need it in a pinch again.

  23. #21
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by h couillion View Post
    not sure if we could have got by with a smaller generator or not but the one we had worked nicely. still not well educated on the matter but at least now i know what will work if i need it in a pinch again.
    Quote Originally Posted by albrightree View Post
    I've done lots of 1/4" aluminum with my Lincoln 210, and my snap on 230 amp machine running off a Honda EU6500 inverter unit , its a great unit, and never even struggled. The Honda is a great machine, strong, and quiet. Any other brand I would recommend minimum 8KW, 10KV to be sure.
    17500 KW genset !! Probably didn't even break Idle.

    Glad it worked out good, usually better off with a machine you know. 21v@550ipm, was that ,035" wire ?
    Last edited by albrightree; 07-18-2020 at 09:46 AM.
    Airco 250 ac/dc Heliwelder Square wave
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    Lotos Cut60D

  24. #22
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    yes it was .035 wire in a 20a spool gun with a mm252. ran about 21.7-22.2 volts with sire speed around 600ipm and 5356 wire alloy. project came out good

  25. #23
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    Re: Aluminum welding

    Quote Originally Posted by h couillion View Post
    i ended up figuring it out. i used a 17500w generator and took the mm252 from the shop since i was comfortable with it. i ran about 20.5-21 volts with a wire speed of about 550 with 5356 on the project and had our electriction make me an adapter for the generator. worked really well. still not sure as to what a machine needs to run aluminum wire but i know the mm 252 required 240v with a 50 amp breaker on a generator and it worked perfectly. may have been over kill but my "boss"/ ops manager called a favor in to get the generator so i we got it done for a low price. not sure if we could have got by with a smaller generator or not but the one we had worked nicely. still not well educated on the matter but at least now i know what will work if i need it in a pinch again.
    1. Argon gas
    2. Any MIG machine can run aluminum wire*

    Just like welding steel- the machine used, depends on the thickness of the material.

    The issue with Alooominum is that it sucks the heat up way more than steel so you need more heat/amps/power to get'r done.

    this pretty much eliminates any 120v machine- technically it could be done but not very well.

    The aluminum wire is soft, so trying to drive the soft wire through a regular gun/whip is not ideal so a Spoolgun is a much better choice.
    They do make Push Pull set ups.

    My Passport Plus and Spoolgun is actually a fantastic aluminum welder using 120v. I welded up a bunch of 1" sq. tube 11g.
    Ed Conley
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