What should I use for welding Aluminum?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by CKP, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. CKP
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    CKP Junior Member

    Tig or Mig? All things being equal which one gives you the strongest welds?
  2. stonebreaker
    Joined: May 2006
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    stonebreaker Senior Member

    Assuming the welder is competent, tig will give you a better weld - but it's very, very slow compared to mig. I'm using my next project to justify buying a tig machine, although if I were planning a commercial venture I'd opt for a good mig machine with a spool gun.
  3. SaltOntheBrain
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    SaltOntheBrain Senior Member

    MM250/30A spoolmatic

    Mig is much cheaper, easier to learn, and FAST.

    Miller's Millermatic 250 with a 30A spoolgun is as good as you can get without going broke. They also offer a spoolmate gun for a few hundred less, but it's a little dinky and less versatile. It works well, but it's a lesser product.

    Come to think of it, the Millermatic 210 might be able to run either gun(definitely runs the spoolmate gun) and is $500 cheaper, but with the MM250/30-A setup, you can stick a mixed gas bottle on the welder and leave it set up for steel, then run an argon hose along your power cord, around the left or bottom side of the 250, and to the spoolgun. Both setups are always set up and can be selected by the flip of a switch.

    I used one like this for a while, and there really aren't any weak points. It will work as well as anything else on the market, and anything better probably can't be touched for twice the price.

  4. alaskatrawler

    alaskatrawler Previous Member

    Currently I am running a 350 miller XMT with 30 A spoolgun works very nice.

  5. Lancerbye
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Lancerbye Junior Member

    It kind of depends on what you are planning on doing. As peviously posted a Tig will give you the strogerweld and a beautiful finish if you know what your doing but it should be reserved for the shorter bead projects. I know exactly what Stonebreaker is talking about. I bought a small Lincoln 175 square wave tig for my personal enjoyment trying to justify this to my first mate that I needed it for a job I was working on. Great for doing thinwall aluminum pipe. The joints look like they were formed. But to do some production welding involving long beads in an aluminum boat refit had to use a spoolgun.
  6. RAWRF
    Joined: Dec 2006
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    RAWRF Junior Member

    The only thing you need TIG for is high stress applications, like BMX race and freestyle frames, or stainless high pressure apps ie hydraulic lift cylinders. but MIG has to be done right, or you can end up with a piece of junk. I used to be a commercial welder and I was tested on every TIG weld I did.

  7. Rusty Bucket
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Rusty Bucket Junior Member

    TIG vs MIG

    The tig and mig welding processes are two different techniques developed to address different situations encountered when welding. It's all about control. The TIG process allowes the operator to start and sustain an arc and thus a puddle of molten metal without introducing filler metal into the point of weld which gives the operator more control over the rate of travel. Additionally with the TIG process an arc can be started "hot" and then turned down using a finger control or foot pedal while welding, this really helps when trying to weld thin materials-1/8 inch or less aluminum without blowing holes for example. With the Mig process the filler wire is used as the electrode that creates the arc and the molten puddle so the operator has to deposit filler metal to weld=less control. This is not a problem when attemting to weld thicker material but makes it virtually impossible to weld something like a beer can with a mig setup. Pulse mig is a process that strives to have it both ways by rapidly cycling the electrical pulses of a mig welding machine. This allows the operator to weld both thick and thin mat. R
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