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  1. #21
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    Some very well written posts here. Thanks to all.

    Ferretlegger that is exactly the info I was hoping to find here on the PM.
    I have seen a few Dynasty welders for sale but did not know how good they would be for my work. As my hand got hotter I also felt the need for a water cooled torch.....
    I have the torch just need to get and set up a cooler.
    Cleanliness is key to a good weld and I give a quick gentle wipe with an aluminum only fibre disc prior welding.

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    I agree with Michael about a dynasty 280 being the correct machine.

    When I did the chairs I had the machine set at 180-200 and stabbed the pedal and then backed off...so the Syncrowave 200 is the minimum machine IMO. I'd want a cooler and small 20 torch too.

    With the dynasty you can set the Hz to 250 or up...which focuses the arc and allows a tighter (and faster) fillet. With the Syncrowave you're stuck with the 60Hz from the wall.

    I learned really fast to not ball the tungsten, as it balls itself anyway...and a sharp tungsten while it didn't last long, got me a tighter arc for a bit. (You don't ball or use green tungsten on a Dynasty anyway).

    I disagree with a lot of people on the amount of cleaning tig needs. I'm never building rocket parts, keep that in mind. I can't remember the level of parts prep I had but it wasn't much, and I didn't have a lot of say, as I was the employee then.

    I had several other production tig jobs over the years and it was never the amount of prep I see that some people say is required for tig...you could waste 2x your time on prep if you're not careful.

    As for the Push-Pull gun and my elbow...it's heavier than a big Bernard Mig gun and not as flexible...and has a leather cover, and I'm getting older, so it's like a semi-permanent tennis elbow.

    Which leads me to another 'trick' that some do, which is to drape the tig torch lead over your shoulder or even hang it from above to keep the weight off.

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  4. #23
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    Hi Jamscal,
    In addition to the Dynasty 200, I have a Millermatic 350P with the alumapro XR gun MIG welder. That system is a BEAST! As an older guy, I have found MIG in general to be a bit difficult, as the weld bead goes FAST, and my eyes don't. I bought the welder for a big heavy aluminum job, but used it very little after that. You are right- the alumapro XR gun is heavy, awkward, and the cables are a pin in the patootie. In a good position, on a long bead, I doubt much can outdo this machine. For a 1" long 1/8" fillet weld, I wonder if one can do a good job. 1/8" is near the bottom end of the 350P's welding range. I am at a bit of a loss as to how to MIG the OP's welds without making a mess with the start and stop. A better welder than me undoubtedly could, but TIG offers so much control that it seems a hard sell to MIG it to me. But I could easily be wrong in a production environment.

    My feeling is that the fixturing, unfixturing, and fiddling around would be the real time waster, regardless of the process. If it were me having to do this, I would spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to be ergonomically efficient. Perhaps a big rotating table with many parts on it, so the welder can sit in a fixed position with good access to the joint to be welded, and then only has to rotate the table to get the next part into his workspace. Since we have no idea of the actual shape and size of the parts, that is about all I can offer. But TIG speeds should be 15 to 20 seconds per weld each. MIG might be 5 seconds. Moving the fixtures probably is a lot more than that. With MIG there is plenty of opportunity to need rework, while with TIG, one can probably fix any Boo-Boos on the spot. It is easy to blend the corners, with a good fixture and some practice. MIG, not as easy, but I have seen people do it in steel.

    To the OP: If you buy a Dynasty 280, with a good torch and cooler, you will be spoiled for life. There are many good welding machines out there, but I have never found the Dynasty to be lacking in any way. It welds above it's nominal weight, and adding a bit of helium to the argon, and with a little preheat, I have welded some pretty big parts. For this job, the reliability and consistency will leave you smiling.

    Best wishes,
    Michael

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    We do a lot of 1/4" aluminum welds with lots of different joint types and all visually appealing welds. We pretty much always mig weld them with a miller pulse on pulse push/pull gun, that we keep well maintained. They are finicky and there are a lot of settings to dial in, but once you learn how to use them they are great and easier and faster than tig.

    They are heavy, but we built a swinging gantry thing to hold the weight.

    We have no issue wrapping corners or manipulating the puddle around corners.

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    Strostkovy,
    If you could elaborate on how you dial in the push-pull gun and pulse mig welder I would be very interested. I do not use my 350P enough to have really dialed it in, and would like to do that.
    Thanks,
    Michael

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    The high frequency AC on the Dynasty made welding aluminum so much easier.
    The arc behaves more like a DC arc.
    The 280 with a good water cooled torch will do 1/8 aluminum all day.
    Really like the wireless foot petal as well.
    But then I pretty much TIG weld every thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Moore View Post
    Some very well written posts here. Thanks to all.
    Indeed there have been, and consistently good ones of the highest of pragmatic expertise.

    That alone is heart-warming in an era when slapdash, can't be bothered to think ahead, and don't really much give a damn seemed to be overtaking the Good Guys in general.

    Thank YOU for the wisdom in ASKING!

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    This is our setup
    image000000-7-.jpg

    The first step to dialing in a push/pull gun is to make sure your power supply is set to the proper wire size and mode. In the case of our welder there are settings where you wouldn't expect them to be. I forget the details as we only mess with it when we first set up a welder and we have to relearn the menu, but basically just set the wire type and diameter.

    Next you need to make sure your gun and feeder are on the same page. Your gun will either have an encoder or a torque value. If it has an encoder, just connect it and you are done. If it has a torque value, be sure to enter that value into the feeder.

    After that you need to check everything is mechanically setup well, maintained, and clean. Replace the whip liner and jump liner after every other spool. We use 0.052 long tips on 3/64" wire, and that seems to ease up on jams and gives a smooth weld. Make sure the wire is tracking in U shaped rollers of the proper size Put a little tension on the spool with your hand while feeding and reduce the push feed wheel spring load until it just barely begins to slip. Excessive pressure will put a set on the wire which can wear electrodes prematurely.

    Check for rats nests. If you are having issues with the tip burning back it's probably because the wire gets crumpled just past the push feeder at every crash. You change the tip, but the wire will crash in the electrode again and ruin the tip. Any time you suffer a loss of feed (which usually causes burnback and trashes the tip) you must release the feed tension on both the push and pull rollers and spool back 6 inches of wire. Most of the time you will see a kinked area of wire hidden just barely into the liner. Until you cut that out and rethread your gun, you will be destroying tip after tip after tip.

    Get some clean metal. It doesn't have to be amazingly clean, but oil and iron aren't your friend here. We were chasing down welding issues for a long time before we tracked our issues down to a dirty wire brush. All of our welders have a stainless steel wire brush with their name on it in a plastic bag in their booth. They change it every other month or so. It doesn't need to be nearly as clean as it does for tig, but if you get porosity chances are your metal is dirty, but it will look like a gas issue.

    Setup your gas correctly. We run 30 cfh into a tapered nozzle with a slightly recessed electrode. This works well for us. Going to 40 reduces arc stability, while 20 reduces the puddles ability to wet out.

    Now here is where I should mention that I haven't welded any aluminum in over a year. I used to do absolutely everything around the shop but we have grown and hired welders. It is a better use of my time to setup and program machinery and to design new products, but I am still involved in fixing welding issues so I think I still have it. But keep in mind I may forget some details of particular steps, so consider this a guide and not a step by step approach, despite being written in steps.

    The trick that worked best for me to set the pulse parameters is to turn on profile pulse, but set your PWFS and PAL (percent wire feed change and percant arc length change) to either 0 or 1, whichever makes the welder not actually make any pulses. (probably 1 on pwfs and 0 on pal, but you'll know when you've got it). Now, select an arc length to start with. I tend to be around 50 for a fillet weld, and 60 for an open corner. You can go up to 65 to get it to wet out more but that's where the arc starts to jump. You can get a rounder bead with 45, but that's where the puddle struggles to wet out. 50 or 60 is a good starting point. Then choose your heat. We run about 250 or so for fillet welds in 1/4" 5052 and around 140 for open corners. Maybe 160 and 100 for the same in 1/8" aluminum, but that's about as thin as you want to go with 3/64 wire.

    I would like to mention that different brands of wire weld a lot differently. For use, Hobart seems to have the widest range of smooth running. Not totally sure why. But we've run at least 20 spools in a single welder, and we are happy with it.

    Now do a weld. You should have absolutely no pulse or profile. Step a bit manually as the puddle wets, and keep an eye on what speed you step at. This weld will be difficult and not pretty, but it will give you a general idea of what pulse per second you should be at. To be clear, no pulsing should be noticeable during the weld at this point.

    Now that you have a pulse per second idea, a general idea of heat, and a general idea of arc length, start messing with PWFS. Wire speed is directly related to heat. 25% more PWFS is 25% more heat during the pulse and 25% less in the background. Inch that up in maybe 10% increments. You'll start to get a feel for pulse starting to work how you want, however, there is a limit. As you increase PWFS you'll notice that the distance between the wire and work changes drastically, to the point of the weld becoming unstable. Adjust PAL along with your PWFS increments for the most stable arc and the best wetting out. Be aware the arc length setting also has a big effect on wetting out, so if both the pulse and background need to wet out more or less you should increase or decrease your arc length.

    Now you've got a pretty good weld, but the starts are too cold and the stops leave a big crater. Turn on hot start. The default auto settings aren't aggressive enough, so you'll want to set hot start to manual and select a percentage and time. Just play with those until the beginning of the weld looks the same as the rest. Crater fill just has a time setting. If the time is too short on a weld, tap the trigger again in the middle of the crater fill taper and the time will reset. Very useful for wrapping around sharp corners and filling edges. You absolutely can use crater fill in the middle of a weld when the metal transitions once you are used to it.

    I think that's about it for my process. From there just adjust pulses per second to what is comfortable, and work on techniques for manipulating the puddle within the pulses. Sometimes you need to wash the puddle over an edge, and other times you need to move during the pulse and sit still during the background to prevent burning through thin metals.

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    Some welds. Some are by me, some are by others, one is a repair. Either what we had lying around for me to take a picture of or what I had in my phone for reference for fit up changes.


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    Strostkovy's rig is very nice- especially that slimline alumapro XR gun.
    Do be aware that a setup like that, which will indeed give very nice welds, is a good $10k out the door- more at list price.
    Even my clunkier non-aluminum XR push pull set up is around $3500/$4000 for the wire feeder and gun alone these days, plus another 4 or 5 grand for a pulsed mig power supply.

    you pays to play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Strostkovy's rig is very nice- especially that slimline alumapro XR gun.
    Do be aware that a setup like that, which will indeed give very nice welds, is a good $10k out the door- more at list price.
    Even my clunkier non-aluminum XR push pull set up is around $3500/$4000 for the wire feeder and gun alone these days, plus another 4 or 5 grand for a pulsed mig power supply.

    you pays to play.
    Yes, the first welder was $5k from an artist who couldn't really set it up right and who was also being sent to collections by airgas. Second one we bought new, and you have to do a lot of welding for it to be worth it. But it's so darn fast compared to tig. Travel speed for 1/4" aluminum is faster than travel speed for a regular mig welder on 1/4" steel.

    IMO the gantry is critical to avoid fatigue and we try to keep our welders at it only 6 hours per day max. Once you get fatigued your weld quality suffers. Work angle needs to be split dead even (with some exceptions) and your push angle needs to be 0-30 degrees, and that can be tweaking your wrist and elbow in weird positions.

    That being said we have also run a push/pull gun on a millermatic 255 (we actually got a prototype welder and exceeded the 30 arc hour limit on it several times) and it works very well but lacks the profile pulse. If you are doing all fillet welds you don't need much more than that.

    I actually have to build a second gantry and if anyone wants one I can make one for time and materials, which shouldn't be too much. Shipping kind of kills it but I'm happy to share the dxf files once I'm sure it's good.

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    Stros,
    Thanks for all the info. Very nice setup you have there but almost a bit too much like an operating room.....( I like a bit more chaos)
    Which welder do you have? I can see it in the photo but I didn't see that info? Will the alumapro xr gun work with other power sources or just inverter welders?
    I also really appreciate your description of the dial-in process. Interesting to know how the hot start and crater fill can make some really nice looking welds. Great photos as well and it seems like you guys weld a lot of aluminum.

    In case I missed it do you think that your setup would make great looking 1" long fillet welds for 1" x 1" x .125" tubing? I will post a pic of the chairs but definitely not any closeups of the welds.....

    I also learned a bit about the synergic dual pulse mig setups and it seems they are directing the marketing towards auto repair shops. Some of the machines have three torches all set with different wire. One if which is silicon bronze, not sure where that is used in auto repair? The description of the results sounded excellent however the machines seemed designed for thinner materials and I would need to be able to weld thicker materials quite often.

    I am greatly appreciating all of the posts on this thread, mostly on topic and very well written.
    Amazing amount of knowledge available here for free. My PM apprenticeship continues. I started with a post about a free shaper and now I have a CNC machine that I am learning to run and it is now making parts. (with help from PM members)

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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Moore View Post
    Stros,
    Thanks for all the info. Very nice setup you have there but almost a bit too much like an operating room.....( I like a bit more chaos)
    Which welder do you have? I can see it in the photo but I didn't see that info? Will the alumapro xr gun work with other power sources or just inverter welders?
    I also really appreciate your description of the dial-in process. Interesting to know how the hot start and crater fill can make some really nice looking welds. Great photos as well and it seems like you guys weld a lot of aluminum.

    In case I missed it do you think that your setup would make great looking 1" long fillet welds for 1" x 1" x .125" tubing? I will post a pic of the chairs but definitely not any closeups of the welds.....

    I also learned a bit about the synergic dual pulse mig setups and it seems they are directing the marketing towards auto repair shops. Some of the machines have three torches all set with different wire. One if which is silicon bronze, not sure where that is used in auto repair? The description of the results sounded excellent however the machines seemed designed for thinner materials and I would need to be able to weld thicker materials quite often.

    I am greatly appreciating all of the posts on this thread, mostly on topic and very well written.
    Amazing amount of knowledge available here for free. My PM apprenticeship continues. I started with a post about a free shaper and now I have a CNC machine that I am learning to run and it is now making parts. (with help from PM members)
    Our welder is an Invision 352 MPa. I know a version of the gun works with our 255 and another version does not. They have incompatible connectors due to the encoder feedback. I am almost certain that you can get a push pull gun for whatever pulse capable welder you have. We have also run straight mig with no pulse whatsoever, and it welds cleanly and gives strong welds but will not allow enough puddle manipulation to stack dimes. Basically it runs too hot.

    Our setup works great on 1/8" fillet welds, and will do nicely on square tubing. However if your primary material is 1/8" I would use 0.035 wire. 3/64" works fine for 1/8" but requires a bit more finesse, especially on open corners, and often at an uncomfortable step speed. 0.035" wire can weld 1/4" aluminum here or there if needed.
    Same gear either way, just different tips and rollers.

    Also worth noting that the gun we have has a knob on it for adjusting the wire speed on program 1 (Our welder has four programs that can be accessed by tapping the trigger. Absolutely critical if you are jumping between different types of welds, because the settings vary widely). We generally weld at 250 ipm but will do the first weld at 300 and may end up as low as 200 as the part is hot.

    Distortion tends not to be a major issue as long as you are smart with your clamping and keep it clamped until it is cool. It is okay to unclamp it after welding to move it to another table to cool once you reclamp it.


    I know there are major training programs for frame repairs on aluminum framed vehicles. We are an offroad shop and sort of ended up specializing in aluminum stuff. It is an entirely different beast and you can't design aluminum parts the same way as steel.

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    Another vote for TIG on 1" Ali welds. Your syncrowave 200 should have enough of power, I assume you have a water cooled torch. I have a Dynasty 200 and a old 500 syncro and a 350p mig, this job would go to the Dynasty in my shop. You will get very quick with TIG on 1" Ali welds once you've done a hundred or so of them.

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    Gary,
    I did the welds with the 200, I don't have a water cooled torch at the moment. I have the torch but no cooler.
    The air cooled torch does get a bit hot after doing most of the welds.
    What would your preferred settings and setup be for the Dynasty on 1/8" Al tubing fillet welds? Cup, tungsten and amp settings?

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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Moore View Post
    Gary,
    I did the welds with the 200, I don't have a water cooled torch at the moment. I have the torch but no cooler.
    The air cooled torch does get a bit hot after doing most of the welds.
    What would your preferred settings and setup be for the Dynasty on 1/8" Al tubing fillet welds? Cup, tungsten and amp settings?
    I would run 200 Amps (more if you have a later Dynasty), 120 HZ, 3/32" Tri-mix tungsten (Wolfram), #6 cup, 5356 rod, just my two cents and works well for me.

    I would highly recommend getting a water cooler and a WP-20 or the CK equivalent torch, at 200 amps with Ali you will definitely get a hot torch with air cooled. With the flex hoses and water cooled torch it's so much easier to position and move the torch.
    Last edited by gary-sc; 03-01-2021 at 03:28 PM. Reason: typo

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