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Is there a good cheap way to weld aluminum?

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by TucsonAZ, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Apr 1, 2018 at 10:40 PM
    #1
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have a broken Hobart 187 that I don't wanna deal with right now or I'd buy a spool gun. I also have a little Miller wire feed that doesn't allow for gas to be used with it. So my two questions are:

    1) Is there a tig welder that can do the job without spending a ton of money on it?

    2) Can I use straight CO2 with aluminum? I just need to build a few basic things so I would rather not buy new tanks.
     
  2. Apr 2, 2018 at 1:58 PM
    #2
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    No !!! Depends what a Ton of Money is to you .

    No!! You can try using CO2 it will make a big mess

    Maybe find someone to weld your Aluminum Projects

    Fix your Hobart and Borrow a spool Gun
     
  3. Apr 2, 2018 at 2:12 PM
    #3
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    How much do you think it would cost to have somebody come out to my house and weld for an hour 5-6 times over the next few months? I was guessing that would cost more than one of the cheap China AC/DC tig welders like the Lotos, AHP, Everlast and so on.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2018 at 12:34 AM
    #4
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    Your projects are so big they need to be assembled in place ??

    Just what are you building ?

    China built stuff seems to either work or not you might get lucky
     
  5. Apr 5, 2018 at 1:22 AM
    #5
    RESQMAN

    RESQMAN Well-Known Member

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    There is no shortcut to welding aluminum properly on the cheap. I had an Everlast, I sold it. Bought a Lincoln square wave AC/DC. The difference was night and day.

    82DD6C23-998F-462C-A519-4C743E27A16E.jpg
     
    Jckdnls and Darth_Yota like this.
  6. Apr 5, 2018 at 1:27 AM
    #6
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing you had to toss in some money on that deal? I'm in the works for something but I'm in an odd situation where I have plan a and plan b, plan a requires the welder, plan b requires a tow dolly for a car. I may be able to figure something out on a used market AC/DC unit but that means a heavier transformer unit, a used unit, and comes with some other issues as well including no dual voltage and it costing more. I guess I need to really think this over well.

    And yes, I'm building a little house inside an aluminum trailer so I need walls welded in there and a ton of things like that done.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2018 at 7:50 PM
    #7
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    *****UPDATE to update, see post #19, I actually canceled the order on the AHP due to bad customer support, rigged reviews and $175 shipping charges on warranty work*****

    Okay to update I went with the AHP Alphatig 200, for the price it's just unbeatable, $680 plus $30 shipping less 5% cash back on my Amazon card means $680 total for an AC/DC tig welder. I thought about Lincoln as I have a little flux core red box and it's been a trooper for 15 years now. In the end though I need portability and wanted an inverter unit versus a transformer and I can buy two of the Alphatigs for the same price as a Blue or Red box so I saw no compelling evidence beyond anecdotal to justify spending more when many of the machines at twice the price aren't even reviewed as well.

    Thanks for all who chimmed in, I'm starking a build soon so will report back so we can call this thread officially "solved".
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  8. Apr 21, 2018 at 10:29 PM
    #8
    Driftns2k

    Driftns2k Well-Known Member

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    I wish I could weld aluminum... I'm building a bed frame out of aluminum tubing. I'm going to use 3m automotive adhesive and rivets to put it together. Didn't want the weight of wood.
     
  9. Apr 22, 2018 at 12:07 AM
    #9
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a budget? That AHP is on pre-order sale through Amazon for $710 shipped which is an amazing deal for the money. With that said I've also used this:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MCTUIUN/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It might clean up your seams and make things look nicer and stronger but I would still use the rivets as I wouldn't trust it for anything structural. In a shear (versus pull) capacity rivets are amazing, 310 pounds for 3/16 and 600 for 1/4, I'll be using the latter for putting my flooring down actually.

    PS Damn, that's a great idea, I may buy some more supplies to make a bed frame myself while I'm at it.
     
  10. Apr 22, 2018 at 9:21 PM
    #10
    Driftns2k

    Driftns2k Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tucsonaz for the advice! Yeah 710 is to much. I wish I knew about those welding sticks tho! I'm gonna get some and try it out with future projects!
     
  11. Apr 22, 2018 at 9:38 PM
    #11
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    It worked super well on one joint I did but not another, I would make sure to use a hotter gas like mapp and make certain you clean it well first. Good luck and post a picture here of your finished product if you don't mind.
     
  12. Apr 22, 2018 at 9:43 PM
    #12
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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  13. Apr 22, 2018 at 9:44 PM
    #13
    Darth_Yota

    Darth_Yota I intend to live forever, or die trying.

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    Home brewed Tom foolery. A couple pieces were made, but most was bought. Now I’m broke.
    Square wave 200 is $1500. Worth the money, best “entry” level inverter machine for the price in my opinion. Easy to use too. Or look on Craigslist for an ac/dc tig. Or machine big enough to run a 200amp spoolgun. Spoolgun is fast AF.
     
  14. Apr 22, 2018 at 9:51 PM
    #14
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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    Like this?

     
  15. Apr 22, 2018 at 10:35 PM
    #15
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I love that thing! I love aluminum and that looks great!
     
  16. Apr 22, 2018 at 10:41 PM
    #16
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, if you can figure out a way to justify the additional double+ price tag I guess that's always an option. For me I could buy two of the AHP machines with the extended warranties and have enough left over for tungsten and filler rod. Another option is to just wait till Miller and Lincoln realize their days of having a cornered market are over and they start dropping prices on consumer units. At the end of the day these China machines are doing a great job and getting a lot of attention while making huge improvements every year. I see nothing to justify Red or Blue over a China machine and trust me I tried HARD!!
     
  17. Apr 24, 2018 at 5:13 PM
    #17
    Driftns2k

    Driftns2k Well-Known Member

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    Yeah! That aluminum bed frame is very similar to the one I'm building.
     
  18. Apr 24, 2018 at 5:24 PM
    #18
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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    I will try not to hijack the OP’s thread too bad. 2x1x.125” aluminum with a 16ga skin. The skin is riveted on due to the possibility of burn through. I had originally bought 1/8” (.125”) but then realized how heavy it was going to be. 16ga is plenty heavy enough IF you have enough supports to take the actual weight. At the ends (head and foot) are 1x1x.125 angle so I had something to attach the ends of the skin.

    Now I might be revisiting the design and chopping the legs off and putting a piece of round tube at the ends so I can use vertical e-track in my trailer with connectors for 2x4 (wood). I should be able to drop the pegs (bars) in the connectors and even pivot the bed up 90 degrees when not in use or lift the whole thing up to ceiling height.
     
  19. May 4, 2018 at 2:41 AM
    #19
    TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Another update, I decided against the AHP, horror stories about customer support and $175 shipping frees for warranty work. I got a deal on the Hazard Fraught Vulcan ProTig 200 and I'm happy I did, amazing one year risk free trial so they clearly are willing to stand behind it and the ability to swap it out locally in under an hour makes it a no brainer!

    Stay away from AHP, Everlast, Longevity, basically anything that has the power switch on the rear of the machine. Or, you can buy an AD/DC Tig machine in lots of 10 for $310 direct from China so start a group buy and go that route. I will update again if there are any issues.
     
  20. May 10, 2018 at 1:06 PM
    #20
    Jamesboy2233

    Jamesboy2233 95.5 sr5

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    i mean theres the arc pig...
     

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