Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250... aluminum..?
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    Default Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250... aluminum..?

    I have a Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 variable voltage AC/DC arc welding power source ( with high frequency stabilization). it's one of the older big red machines From the 90's I can't figure out how to include a picture but anyways And I set it up for Tig welding ,, When it was set up to weld steel and stainless steel it seemed fine,, But once I set everything up for aluminum it is just disastrous.. I have the proper tungsten I have it set to AC,, I mean there's really not much on the control panel where you can't But get it right.. i'm using the foot pedal.. my question is is this machine capable of Tig welding aluminum.. I know a lot of the other newer machines have much more as far as settings go to adjust the Hertz The only AC setting on this machine is just the AC electrode polarity switch ..? Can someone tell me what's missing here or what's going on I would truly appreciate it.. thank you..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaru433 View Post
    I have a Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 variable voltage AC/DC arc welding power source ( with high frequency stabilization). it's one of the older big red machines From the 90's I can't figure out how to include a picture but anyways And I set it up for Tig welding ,, When it was set up to weld steel and stainless steel it seemed fine,, But once I set everything up for aluminum it is just disastrous.. I have the proper tungsten I have it set to AC,, I mean there's really not much on the control panel where you can't But get it right.. i'm using the foot pedal.. my question is is this machine capable of Tig welding aluminum.. I know a lot of the other newer machines have much more as far as settings go to adjust the Hertz The only AC setting on this machine is just the AC electrode polarity switch ..? Can someone tell me what's missing here or what's going on I would truly appreciate it.. thank you..
    That machine will work on aluminum. You say it is a disaster. that tells me nothing. Exactly what is it doing. Have you welded aluminum with any success on other welders? What gas are you using? You should be using pure tungsten, green paint on the end. You don't need most of the extra settings, must of that stuff is used when the welder is controlled by a robot.

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    how thick.. ect.
    second what aluminum some weld some not so much
    is it good and clean?
    the arc will wander around a bit more then on dc
    that's where the higher frequency helps.
    but there has been a boat load of aluminum welded with
    ac transformer welders at 60 cycle.

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    Well to be completely honest with you most of my Tig welding has been on stainless steel,,, i've cleaned the material extremely well.,, wiped it down with acetone,, i'm using 100% argon Along with a green tungsten electrode... I am confused as to what the "spark switch" means.. there's three settings for it on,, off,, and start only... should this be on at all times with aluminum...??
    I just can't seem to get a puddle going.. as if the arc is just not stable.. i've been using aluminum scrap that I have for my milling machine which are pretty big chunks.. I am unfamiliar with the grade aluminum that it is so I'm going to go buy some clean 6061 and try that.. i'm also using 4043 filler metal...

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    Spark should be ON with AC/aluminum to get the high frequency stabilization. Do you hear a hiss from inside the machine when the pedal is down? That is the spark jumping the gap inside the machine. Clean the material right where you intend to weld it by grinding it with a clean aluminum oxide disk or belt right before you weld. Aluminum starts to form oxides on the surface in minutes. Do get some known 6061, Some alloys are considered unweldable. Are you getting a nice ball formed on the end of your tungsten after you strike an arc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaru433 View Post
    which are pretty big chunks..
    I think that is your problem.

    Aluminum conducts heat very well. It takes a lot of power to make a puddle on a large piece of aluminum. Get some 1/8 aluminum material to practice on. I have the 300/300 version of that machine. Once I get to 3/8 material I think of preheating so I don't have to spend all day just to get a puddle started. Welding large aluminum pieces is a miserable job because the entire workpiece gets hot, like welding on a steel structure that must maintain preheat.

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    Ok fellas.. I took into consideration everything all of you have said and I was able to run a nice beard first time around.. in response to the one gentleman who asked me if I could hear the high frequency going The answer is yes.. when I turn it off I don't hear anything when I turn it on I hear a buzzing going on inside the machine so I assume that supposed to be on during tig welding aluminum.. what about welding steel and stainless steel is it necessary for that to be on also...
    You know I bought this machine off of a gentleman that worked for an aerospace company that was contracted to build a special component and the company actually bought this machine brand new for him I believe it was in the late 90s and told him to take it home and make this part in his garage if you can believe it.. it was something that was going to take a good month to fabricate and about two weeks into it things changed and that's as much wear and tear this machine has accumulated.. just a couple hours a night for about 10 days.. from there it just sat in his garage all these years and for whatever reason the guy somehow took ownership of it 20 years later he sold it to me with the bottle a complete water cooled system which I don't really use.. The torch all the components as far as tungsten and cups and such go.. i'm not aware of what these machines cost back in their day brand new but I gave him $700 for the whole package.. and it literally looks like it just came off the showroom floor.. I have another question if you don't mind there is a portion of the nameplate on the front that says adjust spark gap at .040....???
    Can someone explain to me what that is and is it necessary or how would I know when it is necessary to mess with this internal adjustment.. I thought that it might be dirty on the inside when I first bought it and remove the cover thinking I was going to blow it out with compressed air and it's beautiful inside there.. anyway I appreciate all the help as once again you guys have stepped up and taking me by the hand.. Thank you all at once again..

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    For stainless and ferrous turn the switch to start only, and you'll hear the buzzing only before the arc starts. I'm willing to bet you'll never need to even check the spark gap while you own that machine. A manual would give more specific instructions, but it should go years under daily use before being set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaru433 View Post
    Ok a complete water cooled system which I don't really use..
    Are you using an air cooled torch? If you do much welding you will want to get a water cooled torch. Then you will be needing that cooler system.

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    There's a small door on the power source that covers the internal panel with the capacitors and adjustable arc gap points.
    With the machine off use a insolated handle screw driver and with the blade of the screw driver lightly incent between the points.
    Not all ways the case but this will bleed the capacitors , some self bleed. Then you will see that one side of the point gap holding frame is adjustable. loosen the holding screw and using a feeler gauge adjust the arc gap to .040 you want an ever so slight drag on a.40 feeler and retighten. You should hear a good crisp buzz when switched to High freq.
    Use high freq on continuous when ever AC welding aluminum. You really want to switch from air cooled to water after about 125 amps.

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    Well once again thank you for all your input.. As I mentioned before this machine even though it's 20+ years old has literally less than 40 hours on it so like the one gentleman mentioned I'm Just going to leave those points and the adjustment alone I do hear a Crisp buzzing sound going on when I switch it over.. as far as the water cooled torch goes this is just a machine that I have in my garage that to be honest with you I can't remember the last time I used it.. I would use A different welding process if I needed to weld something heavy rather than TIG weld it.. far as aluminum goes we're talking an eighth of an inch and a little bit here little bit there..So what I gather is that the spark switch should be on continuously for aluminum and just for start only for non-ferrous metals as in stainless and regular steels.. can someone tell me exactly what that switch is.. Why on continuously but just starting off with other non-ferrous metals..,
    Another question I have is should I be Adjusting my machine where the main selector switch will cover the highest amperage I'm using and the fine current control on the low end of things or should I be on the lower side of the main selector switch and using the fine current control on the high end of things.. or try to find a happy medium between both of them.. in other words for example if I set my main current control to medium that gives me between 25 and 130 A and then if I were welding something that needed 125 A my fine current control would be on the very low end of the scale like number one or two,,,does it matter Where I am regarding both of them as long as I reach a desirable setting or would it be better to stay on the lower end of things regarding the fine current control... like for example today I am welding And my current selector switch is at medium but I'm pretty much maxed out on my fine current control. Should I jump up the current selector switch to high and back off the fine current to a medium or lower setting or does it even matter Where I finally arrive at my necessary setting....???

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    You need the high frequency when welding with AC. The polarity changes on AC 120 times per second and the high freq stabilizes the arc when the polarity is switching sides.

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    If you are welding aluminum you will have to use the water cooled torch. If you weld much other than small tack size welds you will want the water cooled torch. You will either melt the air cooled one or burn your hand trying to melt the air cooled. If it came with a water cooled torch how did an air cooled one get on it?
    The high freqency is to jump the arc so it will start without touching you tungsten to the work piece ( like stick welding) On DC for your stainless the polarity never changes so once the arc is established the hi-freq is no longer needed- this is the start only mode used for DC tig.
    With AC every time the polarity switches, 60 times per second, (60 hz) the arc needs to "restart" so that is why on AC the hi-freq is on continuous. If you set it to start only on AC you will se a quick arc flash and the sa soon as the AC switches it will not re start the arc so it will be nothing. The arc just ran for 1 AC cycle.
    You would use the off position for stick welding (or mig with the right feeder)
    The .040 setting is the gap between the points, they should be cleaned every now and then, depending on how much you use it. Maybe after 5 yrs of 40 hr weeks would think about cleaning and adjusting them.
    One good thing to freak people out is to have the hi-freq arc jump to your hand, just hold the tungsten next to your skin and push the pedal, the little blue arcs should jump right over and dance around a little on your skin, you should be able to pull the torch away to 1 1/2" or so away and really show the little arcs to others. (then start flopping around in your chair making some gurgling noises with your eyes rolled back in you head....) If you are afraid just make sure the ground lead is unplugged.


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