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How to Weld Aluminum With a Tig

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding machines---also called GTAW welders, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welders---use pure tungsten melted by a gas such as argon to create welds. This type of machine is something that even the above-average handyman does not usually own, due mainly to the cost. (Low-end TIG welding machines can go for as much as $2,500, and the better machines can cost upwards of $6,000.) When welding aluminum in a non-commercial environment, extra care should be taken to remove flammables such as saw dust or gasoline from the welding area.

TIG Welder
  1. Clean the aluminum to be welded. This is especially true for aluminum that looks new. Spray the aluminum to be welded with brake cleaner and rinse it off with the spray bottle of distilled water. Use the stainless-steel brush to bring the aluminum to a shine where it will be welded.

  2. Use the clamps or vice grips to hold the copper heat sink bar to the metal.

  3. Preheat the aluminum to at least 275 degrees Fahrenheit with the blow torch. This allows the TIG Welder to create a much stronger and cleaner-looking weld on the aluminum.

  4. Fit the parts together as close as possible, eliminating all gaps. TIG Welders operate with a very localized heat source, meaning you will have less opportunity to fill in gaps. It is not impossible to TIG weld if there are gaps, but it is much easier to do without gaps. If there are gaps present, you may have to weld on both sides of the metal and then file off any excess.

  5. Using the TIG welder to weld the aluminum weld. If you notice that the arc from the weld is unstable or the weld quality is reduced, you may have to stop welding and remove the contaminated tungsten tip from the welder. The easiest way to do this is to remove the tip and crack the contaminated part of the tip off. You will have to reinstall the tungsten tip and re-ball the tip on a piece of scrap metal.

  6. Once the weld is completed, allow the metal to cool. Inspect the weld to ensure consistency and weld strength.

Warning

  • Don't neglect to wear long sleeves while TIG welding, because a TIG welder produces UV radiation that can cause sunburn to exposed skin. Never forget to use a welding helmet and welding gloves while welding.