Aluminum Fabricators: The Challenge Of Welding Aluminum

by | Sep 21, 2017 | Metal Fabrication

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Lightweight, inexpensive, durable and recyclable, aluminum is a popular metal in many shops. aluminum fabricators remark on its versatility and its strength. However, they also note that it is not the easiest material to weld. In fact, it can be quite challenging. This is particularly true for those who are beginners.

Welding Aluminum

Few doubt that welding aluminum can be difficult. It prevents a casual approach to the tasks because of two issues. Aluminum has:

1. Higher thermal conductivity than steel does

2. Lower melting point

These two properties combine to result in burn-through. The only way aluminum fabricators can avoid this is by paying close attention to and following welding procedures with care and caution.

The common method for welding involves using gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) equipment.

 * Preparation Work: Always remove any coatings on the surface of the aluminum. Clean it, making sure no aluminum oxide is present at the weld zone

 * Equipment: Never use materials unless they are recommended by the manufacturer

 * Technique: Aluminum is NOT steel. Do not employ the pull technique. Use, instead, the push technique for best results. Also, remember, more amperage than for steel is required, and the preferred welding transfer method is a pulsed spray, not a short-circuit method.

Fabricators have to keep in mind how aluminum welding is different if they want success. Even the speed of welding is dissimilar. When welding aluminum, it is essential to start slow and then increase the speed as the fabricator moves the welding torch across the aluminum workpiece.

Aluminum Fabricators

Aluminum is durable and strong. It has admirable properties. It is also becoming increasingly popular, replacing steel in certain applications. Yet, many aluminum fabricators consider it as difficult to weld. Yet, because of its utility in certain applications, they also believe it is worth the challenges that can get in the way of producing a final, corrosion-resistant, recyclable and lightweight product.

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