8 Tips for Working Aluminum: How To Tig Weld Aluminum [Expert Guide]

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Aluminum is one of the most abundant yet valuable metals in the earth's crust. It's one of the most versatile pieces of metal on the planet, and it can be used to create everything. It's one of the most used base materials for its properties like lightweight, ductility, corrosion resistance.

The aluminum industry is not only one of the most important industries in the world, but it's also one that has a rich history and an exciting future. It has been used for thousands of years by humans — as an example, aluminum was used to make armor and mirrors in ancient Egypt.

It's one of those base metals that is used in everything from car parts to construction equipment, from custom furniture and art pieces to bridges, roofs, and more. From the food industry to the car, plane, construction, bicycle industry, everyone use these metal materials as their base metal.

As the usage of aluminum is rising, the need for aluminum welding is increasing. You can execute a successful weld by following the method for welding aluminum correctly. Various kinds of welding processes are available such as gas tungsten arc welding, stick welding, TIG welding vs MIG welding, and many more. But the most popular one and the most common method is TIG welding.

What is TIG Welding on Aluminum?

Simple Welding Rods USA Made - From Simple Solution Now - Aluminum Brazing/Welding Rods - Make Your Repair Stronger Than The Parent Metal Every Time - 10 Rods Welding is a skill that is both rewarding and versatile. There is a wide variety of welding, and TIG welding aluminum is one of them.

Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is a method of joining metals using a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. TIG weld is a type of arc welding that creates accurate welding with a minimal amount of visible heat-affected zone.

It is one of the most versatile welding processes available and can be used to join both ferrous and non-ferrous materials. This process is one of the high-quality welds and provides you with a smooth finishing. TIG weld aluminum is used for many industrial and fabricating applications, including building complex parts like aerospace frames, bicycle frames, and automotive bodies.

Aluminum is a difficult material to work with if you are a beginner. But TIG welding makes it easy to work with. Overall, this is one of the best welding processes that ensure quality welds.

What parameters are important in aluminum TIG welding?

Experienced welders, great technique, welding procedure, an experienced operator are definitely important for TIG welding. But apart from them, some factors are needed to be checked. That's why while thinking of doing TIG welding, you must be aware of these facts.

  • Shielding gas: For gas shielding, most welders prefer 90% pure argon shielding gas. This gas is great for TIG welding on aluminum. The TIG welder also uses a mixture of gas. Most of them prefer helium and argon gas mixture for their TIG weld project.
  • Gas flow: Sufficient gas flow is mandatory for aluminum TIG welding. The preferable range is 20 to 30 cubic feet per hour. It basically depends on the cup size.
  • Current settings: Perfect electric current setting is a must for executing a perfect aluminum TIG weld. Various constant current equipment is available in the market with advanced features. In addition, they come with advanced current control features. You can use any new or old model, but your machine must support two vital features: polarity and amperage control.
  • Other parameters: Apart from the mentioner parameters, you should also check the type of the join, it is thicker or thinner material, the position of welding, types of metals, and base materials. In our the material is aluminum.

Equipment for TIG welding of Aluminum:

To execute a TIG welding accurately, you must have the following pieces of equipment:

  • Welding machine
  • Filler metal
  • Electrode
  • Shielding gas
  • Electric current it can be AC or direct current
  • Foot pedal
  • Protective equipment: Dress to cover whole skin, welding helmet, gloves, boots, hearing protection and goggles.
  • Welding torch

How to select filler metal and electrode for TIG welding on aluminum:

LOTOS TIG200ACDC 200A AC/DC Aluminum Tig Welder with DC Stick/Arc Welder, Square Wave Inverter with Foot Pedal and Argon Regulator 110/220V Dual Voltage Brown For TIG aluminum welding, you need high-quality filler metal. In addition, for high-quality welds, the filler material must note be contaminated. The filler rod depends on the base materials. For example: For aluminum base metal EC 1100, the filler can be 1100, EC 1260. You can choose according to your project.

Tungsten electrode is being used for TIG welding. There are also various types of tungsten electrodes available in the market. Some are:

  • Zircooniated: This type of electrode consists of 99.1% tungsten and 0.15-0.4% of zirconium oxides. It's great for the beginner who wants to tig weld aluminum.
  • Ceriated: This type of electrode is ideal for both AC welding and DC welding. It's excellent for working in a low amperage and great for aluminum welding as it makes the erosion rate low.
  • Pure Tungsten: This electrode is great for AC TIG Welding but not good for direct current (DC) welding. It contains 99.5% tungsten and great for low-medium AC amperage welding of aluminum.
  • Thoriated: It has 97.3% of pure tungsten and 2% thorium oxide. But never use this type for aluminum TIG welding.
  • non-consumable tungsten electrode

The welding process of TIG welding of aluminum:

  1. Start your TIG welding process after getting all materials ready, selecting the correct filler metal, base materials, doing the welding current settings accurately. But do you know how to do aluminum TIG welding? If not, don't worry. In this article, we are going to tell you about how to tell you the process of TIG Welding on aluminum in the most detailed way. So, follow the steps and execute your first TIG welding of aluminum perfectly.
  2. Safety and preparation: Wear your safety equipment and ensure that no elements near the welding place can catch fire. Set the correct amperage; you can set minimum or maximum amperage accordingly. For AC TIG welding, set the current to AC. Check all the connections, check the electrode, and open the shielding gas bottle's valve and adjust the gas flow with the regulator's help.
  3. Cleaning action: You must have a clean surface to get a smooth and perfect finishing. Clean surface oxides, oil, and other contaminants with the help of a brush. But don't use any stainless steel wire brush. Aluminum oxides are there on the surface. You have to remove the oxide layer before starting the welding. So, oxide removal and clean surface is the 2nd step of the welding.
  4. Set the TIG torch for the welding. First, check that if the torch has a proper duty cycle to run the amperage. Keep the torch in a forward-moving position, and the angle can be between 5-15 degrees. Now, start heating the torch.
  5. The distance between the tungsten and the should be minimum. Otherwise, the arc will spread out too widely and cause overheating, and you will lose the weld puddle control.
  6. Establish the puddle accurately. Again, don't move the torch too fast or too slowly. It will cause you to either lose puddle control or produce extra heat. So, check the speed and the heat.
  7. Now, slowly dab the filler materials. After you have done with the filler metal, wait till it cools down. In this time, keep the torch uptight.
  8. When it will cool down perfectly, turn the heat off of the torch.

By following the above steps, you can successfully execute TIG welding of aluminum.

Advantage of TIG Weld of aluminum:

  • Filler rod is not mandatory depending on the project
  • Quality of the weld is very high
  • Any position welding
  • Can be used on dissimilar metals
  • Works great even on thinner material
  • No splatter or slag
  • Efficiency rate high

Disadvantages of TIG Weld of Aluminum:

  • Less portability
  • Not great for outdoor welding
  • Base materials need to be clean
  • Deposition rate is low
  • Require high operator skill
  • Usually slow

Overall, aluminum TIG welding is a great way as it has many advantages. So, follow our instructions and execute a successful aluminum TIG welding.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ):

  • Why is aluminum welding difficult?

Aluminum welding is difficult because of the properties of aluminum. It's not easy to work with aluminum as it is too soft, lightweight, very sensitive, and reacts to heat. Also, it has a great affection for oxygen.

  • What's the Difference Between TIG and MIG Welding Methods?

TIG and MIG use completely different techniques. Both have advantages and disadvantages. But holding the torch with just one hand in TIG welding makes it more difficult to work.

  • Is argon a good option?

Yes, argon is a good option for TIG welding. Even it's the best option while doing TIG aluminum welding. It helps to achieve a strong weld.

  • Is helium a good option?

Helium is definitely a good option for aluminum TIG welding. But if you want the best, then you should use argon gas for your welding.

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