Mig welding ali

  1. wyn

    wyn Member

    Messages:
    3,129
    Location:
    Cardiff
    I've used my M-pro 252 on aluminium.
    Bought a 3m torch and teflon liner with the right tips.
    Put it all together, set the welder for aluminium and away to go.
     
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  2. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    I have been welding Aluminium for more years than I care to remember, 35 probably.
    I first started with an all in 1 welder (wire in machine) and never even had a teflon liner or U Groove rollers. It would be a right PITA if you didn't have the torch dead straight, any kink in the torch and birdsnest back at the welder.
    Got Teflon liner and U rollers and it was better, fine at the bench or out in the open but as my work is on fishing boats that wasn't often the case, again bend the torch too much and birds nest.

    I then got a welder with a separate wire feed and things improved a bit as I was able to position the feeder to try and keep the torch straight but still got birds nests every now and then.

    Next move was a spool gun, back in those days they came with a PCB that had to be fitted inside the welder or wire feed unit but what a difference. I continued with that setup for a good while but eventually the gun wore out so the next one I bought was a TecArc one with the inline control module, much easier than having to fit a PCB inside the welder and also meant you could use on any Mig (within reason) that had a euro connector for the torch.

    3 or so years back I got my first pulse Mig and a push-pull gun, would hate to go back to a standard mig now :D
     
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  3. mike os

    mike os just a little insane.....

    Messages:
    6,732
    Location:
    North Wales
    The inline spool gun... just needs a standard euro connector or ?
     
  4. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    Yes, also a connection from the inline box to the return lead
    They supply a wire with a plug to go into the inline box and a small crock clip on the other end to connect to the return lead.
    The control box draws its power from the welding current so no need for any other wires.

    On my welders I fitted a socket on the welder/wire feeder so I could just have a short wire from the inline control to the work lead as I connected the inside of the socket to the return internally. Not needed but makes things tidier and less likely to get snagged and pulled off when out on a job.
     
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  5. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    Sockets I added to the Esab and the R-Tech, just a simple single banana plug socket and internally it connects to the return lead.

    ScreenHunter 975.jpg ScreenHunter 976.jpg
     
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  6. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    You can see the wire in this pic, one end plugs into the control box the other comes with a small croc clip but as said I fitted a socket and a banana plug instead.
    ScreenHunter 977.jpg
     
  7. s410man trainee dogsbody

    Messages:
    1,159
    wales
    Basically it boils down to for me....

    How much of a improvement is a spool gun over just a teflon liner etc

    Worth the £600 quid or so?

    Actually i think i might of answered my own question here-welding will be on all sorts of things trailer roifs etc so will be hard to keep a mig torch nice and straight all the time and that appears to be quite critical!

    Any suppliers recommendations?

    Gas etc all sorted already
     
  8. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    The difference between using a spool gun and normal torch is night and day, especially if not working at a bench.
    I assume your Mig doesn't have a spool gun function on it so you will need one that has a control board or the inline control box. The TecArc SGS360 is probably the best option for you, various suppliers about, including TecArc themselves but sometimes you can get better deals from the other places that sell the TecArc gun.

    Here is TecArc on eBay
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TECARC-S...526333?hash=item1a9803a8bd:g:AsoAAOSws4ReuHK1


    MigTigArc are about£30 cheaper and I think some of the guys here can also get them, possibly @Tom Orrow L or @Jim Davey

    I would highly recommend you get the 30 degree bent neck as it allows you to swivel the neck and get into a lot of tight spaces that the straight won't allow.
     
  9. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,922
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    Welding at a bench I get on just fine with a 3m torch.
    The only feed issues I have are due to heat on long runs. I have small inverter welders on trolleys though so it's easy to position them so that A: the 3m torch will reach and B: I can keep the torch lead straight.

    I would certainly want a spool gun with a nice long lead if I was climbing up onto roofs or down into boats or something.
    Having said that i have actually bought a spool gun, just never fitted it as the stuff I have done on lorrys etc. I have just chucked the whole lot on a pallet and gone up with it on the forklift. Probably not something you could do if working for a company though!

    Having held the spool gun it may actually be pretty nice to weld with on the bench as well depending on what position the weld is in but for the sort of stuff I do (random fabrication/repairs) I prefer the traditional type of torch.

    If you are just starting out and not dedicating a single machine to alloy a spool gun might be a good choice as you can then leave the regular wire and rollers in the mig for steel so changeover would be a bit quicker especially if you fit the same sort of socket as hood has done.
    You can get spool guns with gas solonides as well so if the spool gun socket also disabled the migs internal solonide (use a headphone plug?) It would even save you swapping gas over.
     
  10. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    The socket was just for the thin wire that you normally connect to the return lead, basically just to complete the circuit for the control box as it takes its power from the welding voltage/current. Fitting the socket just tidied things up a bit and made it less likely you would snag the wire and pull it off whilst moving about.

    The TecArc gun just acts like a standard Mig torch with respect gas solenoid, in fact the internal rollers on the welder still turn, just no ire going through them :D

    Swapping the TecArc spool gun between machines is as simple as unscrewing the collar on the Euro and unclipping the croc clip from the return lead.


    EDIT
    Just realised what you were saying regards the gas, personally I would just use a quick connect for that but then again my Migs only ever get used for Alu so it is something I have never even thought about.
     
    8ob likes this.
  11. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    One other option may be to get the TecArc push-pull gun. It works in exactly the same way as the spool gun regards the inline control but obviously no spool on the torch itself and you use the full size reels back in the machine.
     
  12. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
  13. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,922
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    Depends what you are doing I suppose, it's not a quick job to swap, even if you have a second torch with a teflon liner and tips fitted.
    Swap the wire, swap the rollers, swap the gas, change the settings and feed wire through...

    A spool gun would certainly speed up a change over but if you swap everything, weld aluminium all day every day for 3 days, then swap back to steel its probably not even an issue.
    My problem is I don't know who is going to walk through the door and what they will be wanting sticking so I have dedicated one for alloy. I would put the time in to set up the spool gun if I had a big job for it though
     
  14. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

    Messages:
    11,860
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    A spoolgun would be better than a pushpull for your circumstances. Well under a minute to swap between steel torch and spool gun and quicker than swapping dedicated torches as no wire to pull out spool gun and no rollers to swap.
     
    s410man likes this.
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