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Is this weldable?

draganm

New member
Well i know someone somewhere can weld it, but for the average Joe?

5052 AL sheet .04" thick & open corner weld. Miller 350 Dynasty,

Settings- 25amps AC with 75/25 Balance control.

First try, the stuff just sagged away from the Arc. Made a small Copper heat sink and it was better but still garbage and not something i would ever deliver. Anyone ever successfully weld something like this? I've done 16 gauge stainless without too much trouble but this one kicking my a**
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If you don't get prompt help on this forum, I would suggest going to Welding Web.com and posting the quest there. A couple of the regulars there are familiar with the Dynasty. I have welded a fair bit of aluminum with a Syncrowave 350, but the Dynasty has a lot more to offer. Or to confuse.
I wish you well - villageblacksmith.

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Lanso

New member
That’s a tricky one for obvious reasons but you have the right idea with the copper heat sink. I could weld it with my 330 BP but I’ve been welding aluminum for 50 years. Don’t get too wrapped up with all the settings on that Dynasty. Make some sample pieces, keep your heat down, get off the pedal if you have to and Practice, Practice, Practice!
 

sfriedberg

Active member
I don't do 5052 in my shop, but I did a bit of reading and found that 5052 is the only 5xxx alloy which pretty much requires filler. I.e., you can't just fuse it with itself. The problem is weld cracking on cooling. 5356 filler is recommended, but the amount of magnesium in 5052 is so low that 4043 filler can also be used. Reference.
 

jamscal

Active member
Make sure you have a 1/16" or smaller electrode. (Likewise filler wire)

Make sure you clean the metal just before you weld.

Tack each end first.

Maybe extend your heat sink out past the start and end of the joint. (you might even start the arc on the heat sink...sometimes the violence of arc starting destroys the edges first).
 

Bondo

New member
Welding that thickness osnt that hard. I've been doing it since I was in high school. I worked at a roofing fabrication place and we did a lot of 032 alum. Miters, downspout, gutter, coping, etc.

Ditch the copper heat sink. You want a steel heat sink. Steel will make it a "normal heat" heat sink. Copper draws too much heat away to fast and then throws it back at you when you are at your corners. Steel is more consistent. You want a 3/32 tungsten with a blunt point. Just point enough to keep the arc stable. This will hold the AC the best.

Use the AC settings for your heat distribution. Like pulse. More DC pos gives less heat and more DC neg gives you more heat. So adjust your settings to accommodate it to your weld. Also make sure your on square wave.


Make sure you run a very thin rod. You want the rod to melt first before the alum base metal does. For steel that means running a rod 1/2 as thick as your base metal. For alum, that means running the same thickness.

Also, dont think of this as welding, think of it as soldering. You want to melt your rod and then flow it into your base material. This helps greatly because when you add your filler rod to the area, you just made that area thicker and can handle the heat a little better. Once you get better at it, then you can learn to dab or lay wire.

5356 wire flows better then 4043. But 4043 is stronger.


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kenton

Member
I would also add your amps are too low, the rule of thumb I was taught is one amp for each .001" of material thickness, usually a little more for aluminum. So for .04 thick material I would probably run 45 to 50 amps.
When welding aluminum you want to be able to punch the pedal and start a puddle and get to welding. Sitting around and waiting for a puddle to build puts too much heat into the part and is why it is turning into a noodle.
 

MichaelP

Active member
Just a bit to add to the good suggestions above...

Check if the material type of your TIG electrode is suitable for AC welding of aluminum.
Then, if needed, you can try playing with balance bringing EN closer to 60 or 65%.
 

BT Fabrication

New member
that is 100% weldable, problem there is looking like the filler is way too thick for the base material. I want my filler to be the same or thinner then the base thickness. and yes backing is 100% needed on aluminum or it will just melt away.
there are also balance settings and EN % you can change and freq and lots of things to change with the right machine.
 

Cyclotronguy

Active member
I think this is a practice thing..... my guess is that you're way to low on your amperage and your travel speed. With a backer I'd probally do a test run at a 0.040" electrode @55A, EN at 60% and be prepaird to up the amperage a bit more (1A steps)

Tight tight arc and probally pulse the arc, 1/16" filler, three tacks. One each end and one in the middle.

And for what it's worth I welded high vacuum systems, mostly AL for close to two decades. But if you don't keep your hand in the skill set goes to hell pretty quick. If you don't do this every day, make a few practice runs with scrap before lighting up on the money part.

Practice, practice, practice, till you can run either direction.
 

Lanso

New member
A lot of good advice here that I agree with.
I cut some 040 and welded it just to see if I was as good as I was in my heyday, I needed reading glasses combined with the cheater lens in the helmet to see!
 

Milland

Active member
A lot of good advice here that I agree with.
I cut some 040 and welded it just to see if I was as good as I was in my heyday, I needed reading glasses combined with the cheater lens in the helmet to see!

Getting old sucks. Eyes are the first to go, then something else but I forget what it is...
 

Lanso

New member
.040 5052
Clamped to brass
1/16 tungsten - Sharp!
3/64 4043 wire (wish I had smaller)
 

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Lanso

New member
Better size of photo
As you can see I didn't clean the material, or my glasses and lens.
 

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Fish On

Member
Your amperage is too low. You see this often with someone that is gunshy about welding something thinner than they're used to. In an effort to 'keep the heat down', they turn the amperage down, which ends up having the result of a net greater heat input, due to the extra time to get the puddle started. The name of the game with aluminum is speed - get in, get done, get out - aluminum doesn't give you the leeway to mosey around the way steel does.

I'd probably have the machine set to 55 - 60 amps, and use the pedal to get what I needed.

Also, and this will help a bunch, turn the part around, and start the weld from the side the pencil is pointing to, and weld towards the brake bends. The exposed flanges will need the least heat, and the area by the bends will need the most, so you want to do the 'hardest' part while it's still cold. The direction you're heading in the posted picture, you're trying to finish up the flanges while carrying all the heat from the rest of the welds with you.

Main thing is, hit it hard, get done quickly, and get out.
 

draganm

New member
thanks for all the replies. I tried all the advice, 45 amps, 60/40 balance control, steel backer (instead of Copper), moving faster with a smaller (1/16") filler. It definitely helped a lot on a practice piece, however it's still not great and there was some small blistering on the backside.
A Smaller filler would help, they sell a .035", but it will be close to $60. with shipping. For some reason, the smallest filler is double the cost of all the rest, and I'll probably never use it again.
I've decided to send this one back the customer , there's still 2 spares and I'll leave those for the next guy. For me = not worth it. small 3 piece job doesn't pay enough to cover a nervous breakdown.

To be honest, F-in hate welding, even after 20 years. If another welding job never came thru my machine shop that would be best.

Good to know the 5052 though, filler is not an option but a necessity. I'll pass that along to the customer so they can choose something better next time.

thanks again
 

Fish On

Member
thanks for all the replies. I tried all the advice, 45 amps, 60/40 balance control, steel backer (instead of Copper), moving faster with a smaller (1/16") filler. It definitely helped a lot on a practice piece, however it's still not great and there was some small blistering on the backside.
A Smaller filler would help, they sell a .035", but it will be close to $60. with shipping. For some reason, the smallest filler is double the cost of all the rest, and I'll probably never use it again.
I've decided to send this one back the customer , there's still 2 spares and I'll leave those for the next guy. For me = not worth it. small 3 piece job doesn't pay enough to cover a nervous breakdown.

To be honest, F-in hate welding, even after 20 years. If another welding job never came thru my machine shop that would be best.

Good to know the 5052 though, filler is not an option but a necessity. I'll pass that along to the customer so they can choose something better next time.

thanks again

If you ever run into a similar situation again (regarding small filler), don't forget about 1 pound spools of MIG wire. 5356 is pretty readily available in .035 in 1 lb spools.

I'd probably refrain from suggesting a different alloy to the customer. First off, for a part like that (both bent and welded), 5052 is often the best choice, and is my first choice for an 'all around' material.

Additionally, TIG welding aluminum without filler is generally frowned upon for all alloys except in certain specialized circumstances (for different reasons than the magnesium levels as listed in sfreidburg's link). There's no reason to try to weld a joint like that without filler, so that shouldn't be a consideration in part alloy.
 

draganm

New member
thanks Fish for the tip on the spool and the material as well. I actually worked with the engineer on this part and recommended the 5052 in the first place, then i read the thread and second guessed my self.I also said " yeah, I can bend and weld that" . Feel like a total fool now.

Now that you mention it, i never have Welded AL without filler and like you pointed out, you have to have it on an open-corner.

We'll see what they say tomorrow. If it's a flight part it has to be perfect, if ground testing then less than cosmetically perfect weld might be ok. A lot of this goes thru multiple rev's as they shoot for feather-weight and then beef them up just enough to stay together
 








 
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