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Thread: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

  1. #1
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    Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    What are the best techniques for holding small bits (E.g. 1" sq.) of Aluminum sheet in place, specifically at various angles? Do welders use magnets? or clamps?

    I've seen stuff like this https://www.ebay.com/itm/153818417746 but I'm wondering if there's a better way?

    Thanks all,

    Av

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Anything that will be near welding is susceptible to damage,, so you can shop for the cheapest thing that will help you,,

    This is close to half of the price of the item you found on eBay,,

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/26252516572...cAAOSwygJXh~ie

    and is great for holding little stuff, with a couple clamps,,


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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    I would use my hand to hold it and tack it into place. Once tack welded you shouldn't need anything else to hold it. Magnets won't work on aluminum, fyi.

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    If you have a metal welding table, you can attach your work clamp to the table, then metal pieces sitting on the table will be "grounded" for welding. With a metal table, you can also use "third hand" gizmos (making a few of these with your welder is a worthwhile project, BTW, do a search to see what they look like) to hold any pieces that won't sit right on their own. As Louie said, all you need to do is tack pieces to hold them in place, so you can just hold them with your gloved hand. A cheap Chinese drill press vise is also nice to have once in a while. Sometimes when welding a complicated steel object, I just tack pieces to my welding table temporarily, then bust or cut them off. There are lots of ways to skin this cat, limited only by your imagination.

    SweetMK, you use a combination square to hold things for welding? Golly, I've heard of using them to open paint cans or drive nails, but this is a new one on me...remind me not to lend you any tools!
    Last edited by Kelvin; 05-28-2021 at 09:07 AM.

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    I'm with Louie...
    I just hold it with my hand...

    Pro tip: If your fingers get hot. Just pour some beer on them.
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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Lots of ways to hold things. Various blocks or pieces of angle and double sided tape work well. The third hand devices work well in certain situations. Various shims and wedges work also. You need to be creative and a solution usually comes up.

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    Lots of ways to hold things. Various blocks or pieces of angle and double sided tape work well. The third hand devices work well in certain situations. Various shims and wedges work also. You need to be creative and a solution usually comes up.
    This is me all-over

    I collect all sorts of tapered things, stacks of little cut-offs, I've even found something like this to be useful sometimes!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/363348608476

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    For small stuff I often use a small machine vise. I even welded a tang for the work clamp on the one I use the most...just makes it a lot easier.

    The 1-2" jaw examples are usually easy to find used really cheap....like $5 at garage sales, flea markets, etc.
    Check out my bench vise website:
    http://mivise.com


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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    For small stuff I often use a small machine vise. I even welded a tang for the work clamp on the one I use the most...just makes it a lot easier.

    The 1-2" jaw examples are usually easy to find used really cheap....like $5 at garage sales, flea markets, etc.
    Same for me - drill press vices.

    I like the kind that have flat sides too - so I can turn them sideways.
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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    This is like using a hammer, when you really need a screwdriver...
    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
    Anything that will be near welding is susceptible to damage,, so you can shop for the cheapest thing that will help you,,

    This is close to half of the price of the item you found on eBay,,

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/26252516572...cAAOSwygJXh~ie

    and is great for holding little stuff, with a couple clamps,,

    It seemed like a good idea at the time!

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Here's what I also found based on your suggestions....
    No need to pay money for most of these kinds of things, especially when you have a welder. Making jigs is a good exercise both for learning to weld and to think like a millwright...

    When my dad was teaching me woodworking, we always seemed to end up making jigs in order to make the project, which seemed like a huge time-killer to me at the time, but then I realized that you learn a lot making jigs, and once they're made, you can use them again and again to make joints that you wouldn't be able to make anywhere near as well without the jig...

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    I use a old battery charger cable and clamp. Works great to hold piece while you tack it.
    I stripped one end, slip copper tube over stripped end, and flatten.
    Set flattened copper into machine ground clamp.
    I use this for all my artwork projects. Small clamp holds pieces or use baby clamp on the piece. Much better than grounding through the table top. Prevents arc jumping.
    Small alligator clips or needle nose vise grips work great too.
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  19. #14
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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Depends on what you are doing. Many repetitive parts and angles, then I would make a fixture. Door hinges can work for holding angles...relatively cheap conductive and can be fixed in position. Magnets make for difficult TIG welding.

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    Re: Holding Small Aluminum pieces in place for Tig Welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    I'm with Louie...
    I just hold it with my hand...

    Pro tip: If your fingers get hot. Just pour some beer on them.
    I try to apply the beer before my fingers get hot

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