MIG welder is one of the most popular tools for welding metals. People use this welder because it offers ease of use, efficiency, and high enough power.
Also, it can weld different types of metals, such as steel, mild steel, stainless steel, and others. Even MIG welder is much more inexpensive than other types of welders; you can use it any angle; it produces less spatter and so on.
But many people ask this question that can MIG welder weld aluminum? Well, as you might know, that aluminum has a lower melting point compared to other types of metals such as carbon steel or stainless steel. Meaning that when you use the MIG welder, the chances are high that you will end up burning the aluminum.
Can Mig Welder Weld Aluminum?
Now let’s come to the main question that Can MIG welder weld aluminum? The answer is yes, it can. However, you need to choose the right type of welder to do that. Also, since aluminum is a softer alloy and its thickness and melting point vary as well, it needs special skill and practice to weld aluminum.
You can do it as well if you have the right tools and put some extra caution while welding. Otherwise, it will burn up. A high power MIG welder, a flux core wire technology along with the aluminum wire feed can, and proper technique can give you a successful aluminum welding.
How Mig Welder Work?
Aluminum reacts more than other metals, meaning that when you try to weld aluminum, it reacts to the gas and burns up. However, MIG welders come with flux wire feed that meltdown when welding by using higher electricity. At the same time, it melts the aluminum that is being welded. Thus, both the parent aluminum and wire aluminum get together and provide you the perfect welding.
How To Successfully Mig Weld Aluminum?
Now the question comes how to MIG weld aluminum successfully. Welding aluminum is surely tricky, but if you can choose the right type of MIG welder and follow the process I am going to mention, you can easily MIG weld aluminum.
Select right welder
At first, you need a right MIG welder. So, choose a MIG welder having good enough power output of minimum 90A. Make sure the welder has voltage control and wire feed speed control. Without these two, it will be impossible to weld aluminum. If possible, get one that has a digital voltage meter so that you can accurately control the power and speed.
Use the right gas
For gas, you should use pure argon shielded gas. You can use other types of gases such as CO2 for steel or other types of metals, but for aluminum, only 100% pure argon is recommended. Otherwise, those gases will react to aluminum and destroy the welding. Set the gas flow rate around 20-30 cubic feet per hour.
Prepare for welding
Now take an aluminum electrode, but make sure it is thick enough. Otherwise, you will burn it up, or before you move the welder, the weld paddle will fall down. Its minimum thickness should be 14 ga. to 24 ga. After that, take a spool tool because, without it, you cannot weld aluminum. Why is that? As you know, aluminum is softer than other metals; there is a chance of bird-nesting inside your cable liner. So use the spool so that the melted aluminum does not have to travel through the hose. Use the right filter. ER4043 and ER5356 are the two most common aluminum filters to use.
Set up the welder
Then set up the feed wire speed. In that case, you can keep the speed double to the speed you use for mild steel. However, the voltage should be the same. Also, set your welder on DCEP, direct current electrode positive. Otherwise, your weld cannot come out from the machine.
Clean the materials
Clean the welding materials before welding. Remove all the particles, even any lubricants. Try to use a wire brush to clean it. You have to do it to avoid any kind of contamination. If any contamination happens, you cannot get the desired result.
The process you should use
When it comes to process, you should use the spray transfer method. It is a method where tiny aluminum wire particles are sprayed into your weld puddle. This is the most common method because there is no short-circuiting in your spray transfer, and the efficiency and deposition rate is higher than other processes.
But remember that you need to increase voltage because it requires higher heat. Thus it creates a bigger weld pool with extreme penetration. So, handle the machine carefully though most of the welders can handle it easily.
Now it is time to start welding. Here, machine position, power supply, operation, everything is important. So be careful about these.
Your tip and nozzle should be pointed to the direction at 10-15 degree angle to get the best result. Using a drag angle or pulling can result in dirty and porous welding. Always maintain the tip-to-word space properly. If possible, make the contact tip recessed inside the nozzle approximately 1/8 inch. The weld puddle and reflective heat will be really high. So make sure you hold the welder close to the recommended level. Otherwise, you can burn wire or cause other problems. Try to avoid bigger waves-break. If you have to use it, try several pass straight beads to get the best result.
What Are The Advantages Of Mig Welding?
There are a lot of advantages to MIG welding. That is the reason people use this machine. Among those many advantages, here are some main advantages.
- It offers fast welding relative to other welding methods such as TIG/MMA and others because it uses wire feed to weld.
- With this welding, you can weld different types of metal with different thicknesses such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and others.
- It is extremely easy to use. Any beginners can use it, and you can work it at any angle.
- It needs minimum cleanup since it creates less spatter during welding. Thus it offers extremely efficient welding.
- Unlike most of the welding, MIG welding is relatively inexpensive and handle more projects.
How Dangerous Is Mig Welding?
I have told you several times that you need extra precautions to perform MIG welding. This is because there are some dangers there. To prevent this danger, you should follow these steps.
- MIG welding works with heat, meaning that there is always a chance of firing. So make sure your surface is clean enough from any kind of ignition, and you operate the machine carefully.
- The metal is welded, filters are used, and other materials are welded as well that can create smoke and fume and reduce the oxygen in the working area. So always wear a mask before doing the welding task.
- Its bright and hot metal burning can damage the eye, so always wear safety sunglasses.
- Melted metal drops can be sprayed and splashed anytime to your skin, and that can cause burning your skin. So always wear safety gear.
- Welders can cause ergonomic hazard since you have to hold the machine in a particular position for a long time. So always take a break.
Frequently Asked Question
I hope you have got all your answers related to aluminum MIG welding. However, if you have any further questions, then you should check frequently asked questions from here.
Is it hard to weld aluminum?
It is not hard to weld aluminum. However, you need skill, and you have to be cautious while welding.
Can gasless MIG weld aluminum?
Yes, gasless MIG weld aluminum.
What type of welding is used for aluminum?
Several welding is used for aluminum, including TIG, MIG, and others.
Now you tell me can MIG welder weld aluminum? It is not an easy task for sure. However, with lots of practice and following proper technique that I have mentioned above, you should be able to weld aluminum with MIG welder.
Aluminum welding is great because it looks classic, weighs less, and ensures hard welding. Also, with MIG aluminum welding, you will have less spatter in welding. So try it today. Cheers.