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Old 03-25-2010, 08:00 AM   #1
Bad Noodle
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Default Cheapest way to weld aluminum ?

So not looking for any professional grade equipment, just something I can use to make some crappy parts for myself that don't need to look good.

Really bottom of the barrel stuff that will be used to weld some IC piping or none safety items...

I know you guys like your uber expensive welders and I understand the value of good tools, but no point spending a lot on a welder that will only be used a couple of times...
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:21 PM   #2
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Cheapest way? JB weld

I think a TIG unit is almost your only bet. the wirefeed migs, will stick two hunks of aluminum together, but will look like ass 99% of the time.

Check your local CL for used units. some of the new inverter welders are getting fairly inexpensive.

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Old 03-25-2010, 10:56 PM   #3
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hahaha
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:15 PM   #4
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spool gun or a push/pull mig setup. Both are almost as spendy as a newer TIG unit, but the versatility and ease of operation out the door compared to TIG might be worth it to you.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:39 PM   #5
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Ebay tig unit is my guess. I have one, it welds just as strong as a normal one though the LCD on mine went out. Luckily I can read the puddle.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:01 AM   #6
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^ is that comparable to the harbor freight Tigs? They sell tigs for like $300 and huge spools of aluminum, but I'm not sure if it'd even work
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Noodle View Post
^ is that comparable to the harbor freight Tigs? They sell tigs for like $300 and huge spools of aluminum, but I'm not sure if it'd even work

I only buy from Horror Freight if I plan on buying a replacement in the future. It would almost always be more beneficial to spend a bit more on a trusted brand welder that is being sold second hand. I don't know much about welding in particular, but this seems the case with most machine tools I've bought.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WC LATHE WERKS View Post
I only buy from Horror Freight if I plan on buying a replacement in the future. It would almost always be more beneficial to spend a bit more on a trusted brand welder that is being sold second hand. I don't know much about welding in particular, but this seems the case with most machine tools I've bought.
I agree that thier tools are crap, but still cheaper than used good stuff. After the project, the welder will just sit in a corner for years on end. Probably alongside the handy mig (no i can't upgrade to alum welding, called lincoln electic and asked for a kit)
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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You will spend just as much on a crappy tig/spool welder as getting pipes tiged up by a pro

Call AREA1320 and ask for an estimate.... www.area1320.com Their in Easton not too far from you and 99% of what they do is turbo Subaru mods. Tiging custom IC pipes is an everyday thing for them.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:22 AM   #10
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Get a oxy/acetylene torch and some do-all aluminum rod. heat your work piece to 650-750F and us that stuff. Works great.

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...ding-rods.html
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:43 AM   #11
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Get a oxy/acetylene torch and some do-all aluminum rod. heat your work piece to 650-750F and us that stuff. Works great.

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...ding-rods.html
I've done stuff with alumiweld, but I'm not sure if it's usable for ic piping. When it sets, it's hard, real hard, but I don't know how it will hold up with vibration and general abuse ic piping takes withthe motor shifthing.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
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You will spend just as much on a crappy tig/spool welder as getting pipes tiged up by a pro

Call AREA1320 and ask for an estimate.... www.area1320.com Their in Easton not too far from you and 99% of what they do is turbo Subaru mods. Tiging custom IC pipes is an everyday thing for them.
agreed, but takes out the fun of a diy project
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I've done stuff with alumiweld, but I'm not sure if it's usable for ic piping. When it sets, it's hard, real hard, but I don't know how it will hold up with vibration and general abuse ic piping takes withthe motor shifthing.




You make a very good point.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:50 PM   #14
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That's why I was looking for a cheap way to weld AL just for a fun diy job.

The other problem with alumiwelding / soldering aluminum is that you can not isolate the heat very well. It's fine if you plugging a hole, but if you want to do a complex joint, you have to do everything at one time.

Example, I made my own AOS out of alumiweld, worked well for the bottom and middle baffles, but once I tried to alumiweld the top on, the inside heated up so much, the alumiweld reliqufied and let go. Similar thing would happen if you tried to take make a 90 deg bend out of a strait piece of pipe.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:26 PM   #15
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My vote is for Oxy/Acetylene or Hydrogen/Acetylene. You can get one of those tote a torch setups with bottles, regulators, hoses, and a torch setup made by Harris for around $300 at Lowes. Then just take the bottles and head to your local welding shop, get them filled/exchanged, and pick up some filler rod. Oxy/Fuel welding is pretty much like tig. It will take a good bit of practice to get decent at it, but if you get good, tig welding is really easy to learn. Plus a torch setup like that can be used for so much more than just aluminum welding. You can weld steel, cut steel, and heat stuff up. Everyone needs a nice torch setup.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:04 PM   #16
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AMEN to a good torch setup.. Helps make those stubborn nuts come loose as well.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Noodle View Post
I've done stuff with alumiweld, but I'm not sure if it's usable for ic piping. When it sets, it's hard, real hard, but I don't know how it will hold up with vibration and general abuse ic piping takes withthe motor shifthing.

It should hold up pretty well. My dad's fishing boat is alumaweld constructed. It gets the living crap beaten out of it on the lake when it's choppy and he's cruising around at ~40mph.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:47 AM   #18
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I bought a hobart tigmate last year....crap for aluminum. You need a good tig unit with quality high frequency start and square wave to make amazing Al welds. I drool every time I've got to use a Miller Synchrowave .
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:14 AM   #19
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I've bough a bunch of stuff from harbor freight. I've had their plasma cutter since 02 and it's still rockin! If you DO get something from there, make sure to get the extended warranty!! It covers eveything. Get the two year warranty....in 1 year 11 months smash it into pieces....and get a new one! PS latest tool find.. Saw it on a infomercial for like a bazillion dollars... 39 bucks and its great! http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=67256
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:54 AM   #20
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Craigslist is your friend. If there was a cheap alternative, it'd be everywhere...
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:48 AM   #21
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For DIY buy a MIG not a TIG.The MIG is pretty easier to use and cheaper than a TIG. And you can change the wire spools to do both Aluminum and steel.
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:04 PM   #22
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For DIY buy a MIG not a TIG.The MIG is pretty easier to use and cheaper than a TIG. And you can change the wire spools to do both Aluminum and steel.




You have to do more than just change the wire. You will need a Spool Gun in most cases. I have done without one but really hard on the drive system of the welder. Aluminum is soft and hard for a machine to push for such a long distance. Spool guns utilize a push/pull method and shorten the distance of wire travel to the work piece. You will also need to get Pure Argon gas. Also you will more than likely need different welding Tips and a silicone liner.
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #23
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You have to do more than just change the wire. You will need a Spool Gun in most cases. I have done without one but really hard on the drive system of the welder. Aluminum is soft and hard for a machine to push for such a long distance. Spool guns utilize a push/pull method and shorten the distance of wire travel to the work piece. You will also need to get Pure Argon gas. Also you will more than likely need different welding Tips and a silicone liner.
Different polarity too if using flux core wire (which sucks by the way ).
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:48 PM   #24
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I've checked and they don't make a the aluminum welding kit for my mig
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Different polarity too if using flux core wire (which sucks by the way ).
try welding DCSP with alum wire
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