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Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

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Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby JoeyTheWelder56 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:13 pm

Greetings to all,

I've been a pipe welder all my life with my local pipefitters union 725 using SMAW. I'm retired and decided to play around my garage with some tig welding. My machine is the Lincoln Electric Square wave tig 200 inverter. I unboxed it today and set it up with 100% Argon and decide to try aluminum before going to other metals. I was trying to run some beads on a square section of .060 aluminum using 3/32th 4043 filler rod. I finally got my amperage around 55 to 60 amps, 65 negative on the balance and 100 on the freq, no pulse. I'm using the E3 purple tungsten that comes with the unit 3/32. The problem I'm having is that my beads are showing the "stack of dimes" but the bead is almost flat. Any suggestion would be appreciate to correct what i'm doing wrong. A little later I'll upload some images showing my beads. Thank you ! ;)
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JoeyTheWelder56
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby Coldman » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:33 pm

G'day Joey, welcome aboard!

There are at least three contributors for your flat bead, the biggest one is heat build up. If you increase amps a little and increase travel speed to keep ahead of the heat saturation zone you will get a better bead profile. The second is your balance setting, try experimenting with this setting to see what that does to your bead profile.
The third reason is 4043 filler tends to be more fluid in the puddle and can easy flatten out with heat saturation whereas 5356 can freeze faster giving a better bead profile over a wider range of heat. Here is a link to a short vid that shows the difference that can be made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ytRrRkmbIA
Cheers.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby JoeyTheWelder56 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:23 pm

Thank you very much for your suggestions and that video, it was quite interesting and I can see the difference between those two filler materials. I would imagine I have to keep my amperage where it will not burn a hole through that thin aluminum. I guess the rule of thumb is 1 amp per thousands of metal thickness so if I have an aluminum that's .060 then I would run somewhere around 60 amps, is that correct? Also, I will play around with the balance control and see what that does. I'm going to go ahead and order today about a pound or two of that other filler material and play with that one to see how well it does. Thank you very much for your help I greatly appreciate it.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby weldin mike 27 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:12 am

Welcome, I'd like to add, get some thicker material to practice on, 1/8" or more, until you get the feel. It's super hard to do thin stuff, as I'm sure you appreciate.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby JoeyTheWelder56 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:19 pm

Thank you very much for that suggestion my friend. I'm going to visit my scrap yard and see what they have that I can practice on. I found an old boat tuna tower in a junk pile but I also found out that the aluminum used is anodized which I understand it's very hard to weld. I'm just wondering if I can grind it off ?? Might give that a try. Thanks again.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby LtBadd » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:20 pm

JoeyTheWelder56 wrote:Thank you very much for that suggestion my friend. I'm going to visit my scrap yard and see what they have that I can practice on. I found an old boat tuna tower in a junk pile but I also found out that the aluminum used is anodized which I understand it's very hard to weld. I'm just wondering if I can grind it off ?? Might give that a try. Thanks again.

You have a Alro Metals outlet in Miami, check them out.

Alro Metals Outlet - Miami, Florida
6329 NW 74th Avenue
Miami , FL 33166
Phone : (305) 392-9990
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby weldin mike 27 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:33 am

Grinding stuff of aluminium will only cause more pain. While practicing, try for raw stuff.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby Simclardy » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:47 pm

Clean metal is great but when I was practicing in the beginning I used what I could get my hands on. I find I can get decent results if I clean of the anodized layer with a cut off wheel. It's not perfect but....


This is a practice bead I was trying to see if I could weld right into the anodized. Once I hit the anodized it got nasty. You can see where I ground the anodized layer it's not too bad but it is a bit grainy.You got to get it clean and smooth for the pretty stuff

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This was some better results on a different anodized piece that had a mirror finish. I concluded that not all anodized metal is equal. I did not grind this piece. It is sch40
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Last thought. Don't practice on real thin stuff at first and take my advice with a grain of salt. I am new to welding,I just like giving my opinion.
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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby Arclight Ironworks » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:49 pm

@ JoeyTheWelder56 - based on your experience as a PipeLiner, you'll def figure out how to tame the Aluminum puddle for TIG work. Requires time and proper tactics.

Attached are a few shots showing some recent weld lines on .0453in thick 5052-H34 Aluminum.

After properly cleaning the base metal (degrease, SS wire brush, Acetone wipe), here's our mindset when lighting up --> create the puddle...dip and move...dip and move...dip and move. No race. Rather, a smooth/controlled line without pedal pumping. Think of a analog metronome. Dip filler into puddle on a "click", Move the torch on a "click"....repeat. Two distinct and separate/controlled moves.

The measured reinforcement (bead height above the base material) was ~ 3/64in. The backside shot of the coupon shows the approximate desired depth of penetration.

Good fortune with your training and keep hustling.


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Re: Weld puddle almost flat, need help !

Postby RamboBaby » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:41 pm

The rule of thumb with aluminum is 1.1 amps per thousandth thickness. I learned to tig weld on 1/16" wall, square, aluminum tubing. I didnt learn to tig on steel. I just set it on 70 amps and kept practicing. It should take 2 to 3 seconds to get a puddle going and it starts with slow dabbing till the base metal heats up. You have to watch the puddle "push" forward and until that happens you can't add anymore filler due to the parent metal being too cold. Basically that means that molten ball of aluminum that you just put down will start to fall downhill toward the direction of the tungsten. That tells you that the base metal is now hot enough to add more filler. If you don't wait until the puddle follows the electrode then its just gonna ball up your filler wire without having tied into the base. After about 1/2" you'll be moving faster and after a couple of inches you'll have to start backing off the pedal or pulsing with it due to parent metal heat up. If you turn over those flat beads then youll notice that you were pushing metal through the other side. After you've burned through a couple bottles of argon you will have learned how to "read" the puddle and will be able to stack dimes on thin aluminum without pushing any metal out the back side. Do yourself a favor and practice feeding filler wire in a gloved hand while you're watching tv. Not being able to properly feed tig wire will cause you lots of problems in the future. Overheating the base metal is just one of those problems.
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