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Thread: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

  1. #1
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    How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    This is, I think 1/4" aluminum tubing. We are setup with a spool gun and would like to try and repair this. How would you guys do it?
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  2. #2
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Remove and replace... that looks like it had water in it and it froze. I wouldn't think twice about cutting it out.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    I'd want to know what are the forces on it? Looks like you're on a roof? Is this a component that's in Compression as part of a mount?

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    I think welding it will give you fits... with all the contaminants ...
    maybe try heating it first to cook out any crud.... still a crap shoot... no pun intended.

    I would tig it.
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by BaTu View Post
    I'd want to know what are the forces on it? Looks like you're on a roof? Is this a component that's in Compression as part of a mount?
    It's the bottom of a tall platform(around 20 ft). It is in compression and I think maybe a twisting force (in a hurricane) caused the split. I'll post some more photos
    Last edited by Noidea87; 02-25-2021 at 04:26 PM.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    What is it? If it's up on a roof you won't be able to weld it there anyway. I can see it being a pain to weld with all the contamination. Sometimes on aluminum you have to weld and grind out several times to get rid of all the contamination. Might be best to just replace it.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    I think welding it will give you fits... with all the contaminants ...
    maybe try heating it first to cook out any crud.... still a crap shoot... no pun intended.

    I would tig it.
    Do you think you could clean the area well enough with stainless wire brush and acetone?

    I'm wondering it we could cut the section out and weld on a large scab plate

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Here is a photo of the platform. The cracks are in the lower diagonal support. There is a large flat metal enclosure on top, and I think in the last hurricane with the wind pushing on the back it caused the platform to twist slightly clockwise.
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  9. #9
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Looks like a good candidate for "get a chainsaw, flop it in the bay and put up a new one" to me...not sure I'd want my fingerprints on it Last one who touches it owns it!
    Last edited by Kelvin; 02-25-2021 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Vee it out with a burr so you have a good bevel full length, removing the cruddy parts. Fill it up with 5356 wire, good to go. It's a diagonal brace not a bridge beam.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Run a cutting wheel in the crack to clean it. A carbide Burr or aluminum specific grinding wheel to vee it out.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    It's outside so argon coverage becomes a big problem.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    It's outside so argon coverage becomes a big problem.
    There are workarounds for that. Of course not the most convenient thing.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Would you guys drill holes on each end of the crack before you weld it?

    Also the crack where the upper material is warped outward would you still just fill that with weld or cut it out and weld in a flat solid piece?

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    If there's a chance that the split happened while the structure was being twisted by the wind,,, then it's an engineered structure and I wouldn't touch it! You "fix" it, it breaks again (now not just an "Act of God" but your doing) and causes further damage or even injury, this might well fall on your shoulders

    I mean, if it were a simple stiff-leg and in compression only maybe, but from what you describe, it's an intrical part of distributing load. Do you own it? Are trying to save yourself money on this or are you doing it for someone else? I'd think long & hard before I'd assume the risk....

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  20. #16
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Wrap the corner with some aluminum angle and weld it with your spool gun, if the owner wants a structural inspection they can hire an engineer.
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    ]

    Quote Originally Posted by CrookedRoads View Post
    Wrap the corner with some aluminum angle and weld it with your spool gun, if the owner wants a structural inspection they can hire an engineer.
    This is kinda what I was thinking.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by BaTu View Post
    If there's a chance that the split happened while the structure was being twisted by the wind,,, then it's an engineered structure and I wouldn't touch it! You "fix" it, it breaks again (now not just an "Act of God" but your doing) and causes further damage or even injury, this might well fall on your shoulders

    I mean, if it were a simple stiff-leg and in compression only maybe, but from what you describe, it's an intrical part of distributing load. Do you own it? Are trying to save yourself money on this or are you doing it for someone else? I'd think long & hard before I'd assume the risk....
    I run a crew that maintains the equipment on these. We do own it, our engineer designed it and then it was fabricated and installed. This would be a fix to keep it going a while until we can replace it. Basically keep it from getting worse

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    try finding the end of the crack. I bet it goes up under your elbow and about to the other end past your finger tips. Drill stop both ends, gouge it out, clean real well, clamp and weld it goin up hill, then add some angle to it beyond drill stops. My thoughts anyway.

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by BaTu View Post
    If there's a chance that the split happened while the structure was being twisted by the wind,,, then it's an engineered structure and I wouldn't touch it! You "fix" it, it breaks again (now not just an "Act of God" but your doing) and causes further damage or even injury, this might well fall on your shoulders

    I mean, if it were a simple stiff-leg and in compression only maybe, but from what you describe, it's an intrical part of distributing load. Do you own it? Are trying to save yourself money on this or are you doing it for someone else? I'd think long & hard before I'd assume the risk....
    Quote Originally Posted by BillE.Dee View Post
    try finding the end of the crack. I bet it goes up under your elbow and about to the other end past your finger tips. Drill stop both ends, gouge it out, clean real well, clamp and weld it goin up hill, then add some angle to it beyond drill stops. My thoughts anyway.
    I was thinking I could use some of the penetrant stuff for tracing cracks? I've never used it before but it seems pretty straight forward

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  26. #21
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    I think I'd also drill a weep hole further down near the bottom... because that sure looks like a freeze issue... especially since it's near the bottom of the brace... unless you're absolutely sure it's not freeze damage

    I've seen the magnaflux dyes.. sounds like they work pretty good.. IF you follow the directions exactly!!!

  27. #22
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noidea87 View Post
    Would you guys drill holes on each end of the crack before you weld it?

    Also the crack where the upper material is warped outward would you still just fill that with weld or cut it out and weld in a flat solid piece?
    If you trust your welding, why not just put in a whole new support member? You can cut through that with a circular saw like it is wood if you put a little beeswax on the blade. You can use a saws-all with a very coarse blade, and a little beeswax as well. I would TIG weld it with a blanket around it to block the wind.


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  29. #23
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    ]

    Quote Originally Posted by William McCormick View Post
    If you trust your welding, why not just put in a whole new support member? You can cut through that with a circular saw like it is wood if you put a little beeswax on the blade. You can use a saws-all with a very coarse blade, and a little beeswax as well. I would TIG weld it with a blanket around it to block the wind.


    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    I don't trust my welding that much haha. I'm trying to advance my skills .I've built a few things but not with aluminum. I trust it enough that I could weld in a patch to repair it. I wouldn't trust my welding to weld in a whole new support though

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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronsii View Post
    I think I'd also drill a weep hole further down near the bottom... because that sure looks like a freeze issue... especially since it's near the bottom of the brace... unless you're absolutely sure it's not freeze damage

    I've seen the magnaflux dyes.. sounds like they work pretty good.. IF you follow the directions exactly!!!
    This is in south LA, but it still could be caused by a freeze overnight or something. I'll see if I could find where water may have gotten in

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  32. #25
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    Re: How would you repair this crack in aluminum tube?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noidea87 View Post
    This is in south LA, but it still could be caused by a freeze overnight or something. I'll see if I could find where water may have gotten in
    LOL!!! yeah, couldn't remember where you were located and if there was any chance of a good freeze... that much water would take a decent freeze time and temperature to expand in there... so probably not...

    Have you put a good straight edge on all sides of the brace? it just looks strange from the pics if it was only one face that was bulged??? I see your reasoning that the brace was getting compressed from the tower pushing clockwise(looking down at it) and the other side of the tower being in tension would not get the same effect... although the next brace up would... however at a reduced rate...

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