MIG welding aluminum is an exciting but challenging process. It can join two pieces of metal together in a single pass, which means you don’t have to cut off excess material and weld over it again later. However, this requires proper setup and technique and some knowledge about the type of equipment available for MIG welding aluminum.
Setting your machine is arguably the most critical aspect of MIG welding aluminum.
Correctly setting your machine is arguably the most critical aspect of MIG welding aluminum. The three significant factors to consider when selecting your device are:
- Wire-speed. The wire speed should be set to match the thickness of the aluminum you are welding. If you need clarification, ask an experienced welder or read up on how to do it yourself!
- Amperage/voltage/flow rate (A/V). These settings determine how much current flows through each electrode during a given cycle—the higher they are set, the faster they will heat up and therefore melt through their respective metals faster; conversely, lower values mean less current flow, which leads us back around again… but I digress…
Argon inert gas is the most common choice for MIG welding aluminum.
Argon inert gas is the most common choice for MIG welding aluminum. This is because it has a relatively low melting point, which makes it easier to flow through the material and produce sound welds. To get the best results when using argon or helium as your shielding gas, you should use a 100% mix of either fuel with oxygen or hydrogen/helium mixtures (depending on what type of metal you’re welding).
It’s also possible to MIG weld aluminum with an all-argon mix; however, this method will not be nearly as effective as using other shielding gases like argon or helium because there aren’t any additives present in this shielding gas mixture that could help improve penetration through thicker metals like aluminum.
Argon/Helium mixtures are often used to improve penetration through thicker aluminum materials.
- Argon/helium mixtures are often used to improve penetration through thicker aluminum materials.
- While argon has a lower heat capacity than helium, it is a poor conductor of heat, so the weldment must be preheated before welding begins. This can be done by using an electric arc or gas torch and working at temperatures ranging from 400°C (752°F) to 700°C (1292°F).
- Helium has much higher thermal conductivity than argon and therefore allows for a more efficient energy transfer from the torch tip into your workpiece—this makes for a cleaner weld with less distortion or spatter during contact with your material!
It’s possible to MIG weld aluminum with a 100% argon mix, but you may need help with puddling and creating good welds.
It is possible to MIG weld aluminum with a 100% argon mix, but it will be more difficult. You may have difficulty creating good welds because of puddling and cracking. To get the best results when using an argon/CO2 mixture, adjust your machine settings accordingly:
- Lower voltage setting (if available)
- Higher spool speed
Depending on what you’re welding, you can adjust your inert gas bottle’s flow rate for better penetration or cleaning action.
If you want more penetration in a particular area, increase the amount of gas flowing through that section of the weldment. This will cause more heat to be applied and also allow more oxygen into your puddle where it’s needed most. If you want less penetration but still want good cleaning action from your inserts (as opposed to just making an arc), reduce how much gas flows through that area; this will put less heat into it but still allow plenty of oxygen in so that there’s no need for additional shielding around those parts being cleaned—the extra shielding would only impede this process instead!
A proper setup is essential for successful MIG welding of aluminum
MIG welding aluminum is challenging, and a proper setup is essential for successful results. The following tips should help you get started:
- Use the proper gas mixture. For best results, use Argon-Oxygen (Argon/Oxygen). This will ensure enough oxygen in your current setup to produce a good weld pool with low gas consumption and minimal spatter.
- Check wire size before starting each project. Many customers prefer using 14 gauge wires over 18 or 26 gauges because they’re easier to handle on an aluminum surface without getting caught up in cracks or holes in their workpiece material due to their smaller diameter compared with larger diameters like 24G or 28G ones; however, this doesn’t mean that 16 gauge isn’t better than 20G since it still provides sufficient heat transfer capabilities while providing additional shielding from surrounding elements such as wind conditions which could potentially cause problems during production processes involving large amounts of air movement through open spaces where welding takes place close together at once (for example when building something tall).
We hope we’ve helped you understand the importance of properly setting up your MIG machine. We also want to help you understand how welding processes affect the welds they create. See also 8 Best Welding Inverter Machines – Complete Guide & Reviews, 10 Best Tig Welder for Beginners – Top Picks & Reviews
Walton M. Edwards was born in 1994 in a coal mining town, he has worked as a welder, a hardware salesman, and as a pipe fitter and has been employed as a laborer for about fifty years. Walton is a native of Wabash County in Indiana, but he now resides in Bloomington, Indiana.