I have found this post really helpful in explaining some of the basics. Many thanks
Cheers for the feedback
Thank you, Richard! Very useful information for me as beginner. I would like to buy a foot pedal for may Fronius Magic Wave 2000, but it's too expensive. These are my welding pieces. Need lot of practise
Am I heading for a world of pain trying to learn on ~1mm alu sheet? I have a massive pile of it lying around that I could practise on. Would I be much better off buying something a bit more substantial to start on?
Be a hero give it a whirl ... sometimes we can be information overloaded and so constipated with it we fail to make easy simple decisions.
I paid something like £25 for six kg of sheet off cuts a few months ago nothing boigger thsan 200 x 300 of 1, 2.5 3 & 5 mm ... it wasn't any where near as much as I'd hoped for .
The Aluminium supply company said that all metal is now computer calculated for weight losses in cuts & remainders .
Everything has to be fully accounted for in the name of profits & losses .
It wont be long before you get the hang of the thin stuff . Meanwhile it gives you a few days to look on freecycle for aluminium pans & other easy free aluminum before you start to dip into your own pocket & buy it .
I have a free source of the sheet I've got, it comes as backing sheets on some light fittings we sell at work, in 600*600, 600*1200, or 1200*300 bits. I've just removed a few from faulty fittings before disposal. On closer inspection I think it's actually 0.8mm but I'll give it a shot. If I'm getting nowhere I'll spend a few quid on some bigger bits and see how I get on.
No mate. Clamp it tight to your bench and use the bench to suck the heat out and 1mm Alu is easily doable when learning.
It becomes more difficult if your plate has nothing behind it and pool control is far more critical.
My first go at TIG on Al was a disaster, I just ended up blowing holes in it (it was only 1mm thick). My second go was much better though as I figured out that you need to actually use the pedal. Up to that point I'd only used it like an on/off switch which is fine for steel, but Al requires you to change the current as the weld progresses. You have to give it full beans to get the weld pool going, then back off on the pedal to keep it molten but not so much that it cools down and solidifies. You also have to travel a lot faster than steel and really whack in the filler.
Yes that is the advantages of a pedal. You can adjust on the fly to keep the pool under control as the Alu becomes soaked with heat.
I've not really mentioned pedals too much in this thread for a couple of reasons really.
1) they are over priced and most people have ploughed big money into there new toy. A lot of people cannot afford a pedal but still want to weld Alu. Pedals are handy yes but not essential.
2) a pedal makes life easier and takes away the skill set requirements you need to adapt when welding Alu with fixed current. Using tools like down slope to eliminate craters and skills like speed adjustment, fill chilling can see Aluminium welded to just the same standard as with a pedal. You also need to know what current you use to weld certain thicknesses, sizes and joints. You'll take much longer to learn this using a pedal.
There are many instances where you can't use a pedal and if you've never learned to do it with fixed current things can get messy. By all means buy a pedal if you can afford it I wouldn't be without mine but learn to be without it so you can be flexible
This guide is based purely on using a torch switch so you all benefit from it and all pics were done with fixed current.
So if the pedal is an available option would you say it's a good idea to learn without it anyway, at least to begin with?
By all means plug it in and get cracking with the pedal
What I'm saying is unplug it as well and teach yourself the essentials of doing it without. Youll find your first paying job requires you to be laying on your back or kneeling down and a pedal just becomes a hindrance so you need the essential skills of controlling your pool without it.
Superb help as always mte .. thank you on behalf of both myself and fellow L plate tiggers.. it's great having someone willing to spend a little oh his muchly valuable time to help those who are of need..
Top geezer our Richard.. X
On my parweld...
Item 16 on the booklet for AC tig with no pulse for Ali .. I can only adj my AC balance from 15 to 50% and adj to the positive side..
so to say get 70% negative as I believe Richard suggested does that mean I set this to 30% on my machine.. if I want 60% to the neg side I set it to 40%..
Also to set the initial current No9 on the booklet, it says I can adj the value from 5% to 15% of the main welding current but, when I try to adj the figure is set in Amps rather than a percentage ? So I guess? If I want 10% background and main current is 100amps I set it to 10 amps.. seems a daft way to set it imo if I'm correct..
Thank you as always .... x
Your dead right with the ac balance. You set the positive side on your machine.
Your manual says you can set the initial current from 5-100% of the main current.
This is only used in 4T trigger mode. It's start up current and will apply when you press and hold the trigger. Once you release the trigger the current will slope up into your main current. I wouldn't worry too much unless your more comfortable welding in 4T. I rarely do it myself unless some really long runs are at hand.
Get her somewhere near mate and crack out some welds.
Something that occurred to me the other day during a tuition session with a new member was I haven't actually covered tacking on this thread yet it's absolutely critical when learning to ac weld you know how to tack up the job properly. My experience is that tacking frightens newcomers. And everything that seems natural to do when performing a tack on ac is actually the worst thing you can do. I see people striking up at seriously low current and trying to jam a big lump of filler into it straight away before the arc has had chance to even get out of bed and it all goes down hill. Another rule of thumb here add 50%.* If you intend to weld your joint at 100 amps then you want to be tacking it at 150. Now I've added a * to that because there are exceptions. Gaps been the main one. 50% might be a tad hot if your joint set up has a big gap down the middle of it but you certainly never want to be tacking up at lower current than you intend on welding it with.
A tack on ac is quite different to dc in the respect aluminium is Most brittle when it's hot. On dc I'd turn off all slopes and hit it hard and fast and come straight off the power instantly. On ac I do the same but with a fraction of down slope I'm talking a second here not much but it's vital you don't create a crater on the tack as it will crack. The technique I adopt is this.
2mm butt joint good fit up.
I'd weld it at 80-90 amps.
Set my current 120-130 amps. No slope up at all.
Filler size should be capable of melting straight away in that pool cos we ain't gonna hang around here. A 2.0mm is probably perfect but one either side will do fine.
Short arc and a clean tungsten ground up like my usual prep as shown earlier.
Bang.... strike up and immediately your pool comes through
It's unlikely it's going to always fuse between both sides of the joint. Don't try to make that happen until you have filler in there or you'll be on the job too long at that current and blow it away. So get a nice positive dab in that pool where ever it is. Don't mess about, don't tickle it or ease it towards the pool slowly as you haven't got time and you'll likely melt the filler across the arc.
Once your filler dollop has successfully hit home you now have a bit of time to sort it out if it hasn't bridged the gap. Manipulate the reinforced pool over to the other side and get off the power. Now your slope down is taking over. Slowly move your arc away from the centre of the tack as this is happening and you should avoid a crater. If you don't do it again.
Inspect all your tacks properly and address them if they ain't right. Below are some pictures of some tacks I did to show you. And one of them I didn't down slope on. Yes it's pretty obvious which one it is (pic 4 close up. )
As above they are on 2mm plate at those exact settings. Try and keep your tacks to a small size. I welded directly over the top of the top of them all and because they were small and flat they didn't appear to interfere with the weld profile too much. No one wants a lumpy welded joint. Hope this helps if you find yourself struggling. Also would be interesting is if you have another method that works. Please share.
OK guys, I am an absolute complete beginner. I've done some arc welding in the past but now need to weld some 6061/6082 alloy for a project which I'm working on and have purchased a cheap TIG welder (with pedal) from fleabay.
Having read through the thread, I'm a lot clearer now than I was before but before i go ahead and try my first welds, there are still a few things which I don't understand...
How do you set up the regulator?
What is the switch on the torch for? I'm guessing gas, in which case is it just a matter of pulling the trigger just before the weld and releasing the trigger just after?
How far should the tungsten protrude from the torch?
See above hope it helps.
Hi, and congrats on such an informative post, I am totally new to welding, just bought a 200 amp inverter off ebay, lottse of features so I think with your info and lot's of practice I will get there, all of the welds I have seen so far have been done flat on a bench, I am going to build a canopy frame for my boat lift which will involve a lot of verticle welds, any tips on how to do this.
thinking that the puddle is going to want to run behind the tungsten.
Cool just read this from the start to end and great guidance as always from Richard.
Is there any ways of telling what series alloy I have??
Or is there a generic filler rod for practicing?? And thickNess?
I don't have a foot pedal yet only the 3 button parweld torch so that may take a bit of getting used to.
I have purple tungstens also, would they be OK for ac welding also as no mention of them? (1.6mm and 2.4mm)
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