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Thread: Starting TIG with Magnesium

  1. #1
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    Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Hello all,


    I'm looking for alloys that are lighter than Aluminum but still are easy for the average shop to cut, machine, Tig weld, and generally fabricate with. I see that AZ31B is readily accessible for purchase on ebay but I've never used it. Is this alloy safe to touch, fabricate, Tig Weld, etc? Are there any precautions I should take? Is it a good alternative to Aluminum? This is for use in the robotics industry. Wondering if it welds as nice as Aluminum?


    [I always thought Magnesium was toxic to touch or sand and can burn explosively but maybe this is just misinformation I've been led to believe. I'm starting from square one with this material. ]

    Also who makes the best magnesium filler rods? They look incredibly expensive. and can you use blue or purple TIG rods on magnesium?


    I also saw a company called Allite that has a material called AE70 but can't figure out where to buy it. Was wondering if anyone here has Tig welded with it.

    Also if there's anything I should know about working with magnesium that would be great. Don't want to poison myself or explode myself (again lol)
    Many Thanks,

  2. #2
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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Hello all,


    I'm looking for alloys that are lighter than Aluminum but still are easy for the average shop to cut, machine, Tig weld, and generally fabricate with. I see that AZ31B is readily accessible for purchase on ebay but I've never used it. Is this alloy safe to touch, fabricate, Tig Weld, etc? Are there any precautions I should take? Is it a good alternative to Aluminum? This is for use in the robotics industry. Wondering if it welds as nice as Aluminum?


    [I always thought Magnesium was toxic to touch or sand and can burn explosively but maybe this is just misinformation I've been led to believe. I'm starting from square one with this material. ]

    Also who makes the best magnesium filler rods? They look incredibly expensive. and can you use blue or purple TIG rods on magnesium?


    I also saw a company called Allite that has a material called AE70 but can't figure out where to buy it. Was wondering if anyone here has Tig welded with it.

    Also if there's anything I should know about working with magnesium that would be great. Don't want to poison myself or explode myself (again lol)
    Many Thanks,
    Beryllium dust is toxic. Magnesium is simply easy to ignite, which is why they sell magnesium fire starters. But either way, magnesium dust is not something you'd want to ingest into your lungs either! and yes, magnesium anything is incredibly expensive.
    1st on WeldingWeb to have a scrolling sig!



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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Beryllium dust is toxic. Magnesium is simply easy to ignite, which is why they sell magnesium fire starters. But either way, magnesium dust is not something you'd want to ingest into your lungs either! and yes, magnesium anything is incredibly expensive.
    Why do you mention Beryllium? There's no Beryllium in Magnesium that I know of?

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Just in case that is what the OP was getting confused with.
    1st on WeldingWeb to have a scrolling sig!



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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    I never welded magnesium, Can it be tig welded satisfactorily without a complete enclosed environment? I ask because of a welder I knew that refused to weld a large robotic arm for GM. They wanted him to weld it where it stood. He said it would require disassembly and placement inside an enclosed chamber. He felt it was not weldable using just shielding gas from the torch alone.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Tony

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
    I never welded magnesium, Can it be tig welded satisfactorily without a complete enclosed environment? I ask because of a welder I knew that refused to weld a large robotic arm for GM. They wanted him to weld it where it stood. He said it would require disassembly and placement inside an enclosed chamber. He felt it was not weldable using just shielding gas from the torch alone.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Tony
    I used to weld a lot of magnesium saw guards. I would clean them well, and weld them with TIG straight polarity or what they call it now DCEN, and it welded amazingly well. You just poke the puddle after you melt the base metals.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    If I wasn't so.....crazy, I wouldn't try to act normal, and you would be afraid.

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by William McCormick View Post
    I used to weld a lot of magnesium saw guards. I would clean them well, and weld them with TIG straight polarity or what they call it now DCEN, and it welded amazingly well. You just poke the puddle after you melt the base metals.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    Well that sounds promising. I'm always trying to keep the weight of my robots down. More weight equals bigger actuators/motors which in turn means more weight in turn means bigger actuators and so on. You can literally chase that equation into circles that make a robot useless for it's intended purpose. I love welding aluminum but to keep torso, arms, and heads of robots lighter (so they aren't top heavy), something lighter than aluminum would be great (without getting into composites). I'll invest in some test pieces and some ludicrously expensive magnesium welding rod and give this a go. I already watched Joey of WeldingTipsandTricks video on youtube so I have an idea.

    I wouldn't think it would need an atmospheric enclosure to weld this material but since this is my starting point I can't say on that type of application.

    I guess the fumes/dust are no more toxic/dangerous than aluminum?

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Well that sounds promising. I'm always trying to keep the weight of my robots down. More weight equals bigger actuators/motors which in turn means more weight in turn means bigger actuators and so on. You can literally chase that equation into circles that make a robot useless for it's intended purpose. I love welding aluminum but to keep torso, arms, and heads of robots lighter (so they aren't top heavy), something lighter than aluminum would be great (without getting into composites). I'll invest in some test pieces and some ludicrously expensive magnesium welding rod and give this a go. I already watched Joey of WeldingTipsandTricks video on youtube so I have an idea.



    I wouldn't think it would need an atmospheric enclosure to weld this material but since this is my starting point I can't say on that type of application.

    I guess the fumes/dust are no more toxic/dangerous than aluminum?
    What about aluminum titanium alloys? I have welded them and they are strange but do create a powerful bound. It sounds like cast iron heating and cooling but boy is it strong stuff. Warps a lot too.

    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
    If I wasn't so.....crazy, I wouldn't try to act normal, and you would be afraid.

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    I love welding aluminum but to keep torso, arms, and heads of robots lighter (so they aren't top heavy), something lighter than aluminum would be great

    (without getting into composites).
    Why not composites? If you consider cost,, composites will blow away any type metal for an application such as this.
    The ease of coming up with an intricate shape would make composites the way to go.

    Especially since this is a low volume "prototype" build.

    The composite could be made in the required shape from paper thin material,,
    if not strong enough, another layer of composite could be added.
    AND, the extra layer could be added in only the location where greater strength is needed, such as a joint, etc.,,,

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
    Why not composites? If you consider cost,, composites will blow away any type metal for an application such as this.
    The ease of coming up with an intricate shape would make composites the way to go.

    Especially since this is a low volume "prototype" build.

    The composite could be made in the required shape from paper thin material,,
    if not strong enough, another layer of composite could be added.
    AND, the extra layer could be added in only the location where greater strength is needed, such as a joint, etc.,,,
    I definitely could, i've done a lot of that. But generally I stick to composites when it comes to complex shapes and skinning/covering of items.

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
    I never welded magnesium, Can it be tig welded satisfactorily without a complete enclosed environment? I ask because of a welder I knew that refused to weld a large robotic arm for GM. They wanted him to weld it where it stood. He said it would require disassembly and placement inside an enclosed chamber. He felt it was not weldable using just shielding gas from the torch alone.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Tony
    Magnesium tig welds just like alum, just emits a lot of smut while welding. Weld an inch or two then brush off the smut with a brass or bronze scratch brush to continue welding. You want to clean also before the smut hardens up and sticks like a mother. So whatever settings you have for tigging alum use for mag. My filler of choice is AZ61A. Easy Peasy.

    And no you don't need an enclosure. If the smut lights up just cover it with your post flow from your tig torch. But keep a fire extinguisher handy anyway for safety like you would with any welding. But it is the chips and smut or powder that is easy to light up. The solid structure is pretty hard to ignite.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Magnesium tig welds just like alum, just emits a lot of smut while welding. Weld an inch or two then brush off the smut with a brass or bronze scratch brush to continue welding. You want to clean also before the smut hardens up and sticks like a mother. So whatever settings you have for tigging alum use for mag. My filler of choice is AZ61A. Easy Peasy.

    And no you don't need an enclosure. If the smut lights up just cover it with your post flow from your tig torch. But keep a fire extinguisher handy anyway for safety like you would with any welding. But it is the chips and smut or powder that is easy to light up. The solid structure is pretty hard to ignite.
    Thank you that helps a bunch!!

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Magnesium tig welds just like alum, just emits a lot of smut while welding. Weld an inch or two then brush off the smut with a brass or bronze scratch brush to continue welding. You want to clean also before the smut hardens up and sticks like a mother. So whatever settings you have for tigging alum use for mag. My filler of choice is AZ61A. Easy Peasy.

    And no you don't need an enclosure. If the smut lights up just cover it with your post flow from your tig torch. But keep a fire extinguisher handy anyway for safety like you would with any welding. But it is the chips and smut or powder that is easy to light up. The solid structure is pretty hard to ignite.
    Do you know what the various types of TIG magnesium filler rods are for? Like ERAZ92A vs AZ61A vs something like the ER5356 which says its for AL/MAG?

    Thanks

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Do you know what the various types of TIG magnesium filler rods are for? Like ERAZ92A vs AZ61A vs something like the ER5356 which says its for AL/MAG?

    Thanks
    Avie (and others) -- A great source for info on magnesium is the Magnesium Elektron Division of Luxfer Group. Note that the "k" in Elektron is intentional!

    They offer a many hundred page book titled "Designing with Elektron(R) Magnesium Alloys" that is professionally written & edited. It has copious info on many Mag alloys (compositions, engineering properties, etc.), shapes & forms available, joining processes (WELDING methods & filler alloys, bolting, riveting, adhesive bonding), cutting, machining, surface treatments, heat treatment, design conversion from aluminum to magnesium, etc.

    This book (manual!) can be downloaded @ the following URL. Look for an item labeled "Design Guides" toward the bottom of the page. (You may have to create a log-in account & password) --

    https://www.luxfermeltechnologies.com/downloads/

    Alternatively, their contact phone in the USA is 618-452-5190 (in Madison, Illinois).

    Lee Johnson

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee J View Post
    Avie (and others) -- A great source for info on magnesium is the Magnesium Elektron Division of Luxfer Group. Note that the "k" in Elektron is intentional!

    They offer a many hundred page book titled "Designing with Elektron(R) Magnesium Alloys" that is professionally written & edited. It has copious info on many Mag alloys (compositions, engineering properties, etc.), shapes & forms available, joining processes (WELDING methods & filler alloys, bolting, riveting, adhesive bonding), cutting, machining, surface treatments, heat treatment, design conversion from aluminum to magnesium, etc.

    This book (manual!) can be downloaded @ the following URL. Look for an item labeled "Design Guides" toward the bottom of the page. (You may have to create a log-in account & password) --

    https://www.luxfermeltechnologies.com/downloads/

    Alternatively, their contact phone in the USA is 618-452-5190 (in Madison, Illinois).



    Lee Johnson
    Excellent info, many thanks.
    I found their design guide manual here
    https://www.luxfermeltechnologies.co...-design-guide/

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Excellent info, many thanks.
    I found their design guide manual here
    https://www.luxfermeltechnologies.co...-design-guide/
    It should help by providing more than anecdotal guidance to you. I have a print copy of the Design Guide; I think you can still get one by making phone contact with them.

    Keep us posted on your progress & what you learn (perhaps in a "Welding Web/Projects" thread)!

    Good luck.
    Lee

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee J View Post
    It should help by providing more than anecdotal guidance to you. I have a print copy of the Design Guide; I think you can still get one by making phone contact with them.

    Keep us posted on your progress & what you learn (perhaps in a "Welding Web/Projects" thread)!

    Good luck.
    Lee
    Hi Lee,

    While I got you can I ask does Luxfer sell magnesium sheet and other dimensional magnesium metals? Because I couldn't find any distributors nor anyway to purchase materials from them? Or do they just sell to their contractors, like the military?

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Avie --

    Where are you located (update your profile to show?). It might help another Welding Web follower help you.

    I don't know if Luxfer sell sheet or other mag metals. Several years ago I did buy some 1/8" diameter ZE41A/RZ5 Mag TIG rod from them for a gearbox case repair job. At that time, they also had other TIG welding rod alloys on offer. The RZ5 rod was expensive!

    I strongly suggest calling them @ 618-452-5190. They were very helpful to me back when I was looking for help with type, source & post-weld heat treatment for my little project.

    I haven't ever bought it myself, but a quick internet search brought up several USA suppliers of magnesium sheet such as:

    https://www.avionalloys.com/magnesium/

    For small quantities, ALRECO, an aluminum surplus materials dealer near Denver (I have dealt with Bob Doerksen for literally decades), sometimes has surplus magnesium (& titanium) on hand. He buys surplus materials from various industrial users (including Lockheed Martin & Ball Aerospace in the Denver area). I don't think Bob has a website, but a phone # is: 303-287-7210.

    So, some of phone/web contacts that may help you out...

    Lee

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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Magnesium is fun
    I was casting aluminum and was sold Magnesium so had 250 pounds on fire 🔥. What a fun day.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Hello all,


    I'm looking for alloys that are lighter than Aluminum but still are easy for the average shop to cut, machine, Tig weld, and generally fabricate with. I see that AZ31B is readily accessible for purchase on ebay but I've never used it. Is this alloy safe to touch, fabricate, Tig Weld, etc? Are there any precautions I should take? Is it a good alternative to Aluminum? This is for use in the robotics industry. Wondering if it welds as nice as Aluminum?


    [I always thought Magnesium was toxic to touch or sand and can burn explosively but maybe this is just misinformation I've been led to believe. I'm starting from square one with this material. ]

    Also who makes the best magnesium filler rods? They look incredibly expensive. and can you use blue or purple TIG rods on magnesium?


    I also saw a company called Allite that has a material called AE70 but can't figure out where to buy it. Was wondering if anyone here has Tig welded with it.

    Also if there's anything I should know about working with magnesium that would be great. Don't want to poison myself or explode myself (again lol)
    Many Thanks,

  22. #20
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    Re: Starting TIG with Magnesium

    Quote Originally Posted by Avie View Post
    Do you know what the various types of TIG magnesium filler rods are for? Like ERAZ92A vs AZ61A vs something like the ER5356 which says its for AL/MAG?

    Thanks
    Forget 5356 as it is an alum/mag alloy for welding alum, not for magnesium. AZ61A is a softer mag for light duty welding, also cheaper. AZ92A is for high strength weldments, more expensive and welds dirtier IMO. I only buy the cheaper AZ61A anymore and my customers are fine with it.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
    MillerDynasty700DX,Dynasty350DX4ea,Dynasty200DX,Li ncolnSW200-2ea.,MillerMatic350P,MillerMatic200w/spoolgun,MKCobraMig260,Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm1250,HFProTig2ea,MigMax1ea.

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