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  #1  
Old 06-16-2014, 12:08 PM
Maxakarudy Maxakarudy is offline
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Default Mig welding aluminium

Hi folks,
I thought I'd share a liitle job I did the weekend, a repair on an aluminium wing (fender). This was due to a previous bodge by a body shop many moons ago, who pop riveted and bonded it together. I had to make the repair panel for this wing and weld it on proper styliee...
My daytime job is fabricating signs, mostly in aluminium, folding panels then welding up the corners, grinding them up and sanding of the excess weld. We don't tig or gas to weld them up, for various reasons to boaring to into, mig welding is my prefered method, we weld mostly 2mm & 3mm ali.
So when presented with the dilema to tig or mig the repair panel, as I'm more confident with mig due to the super sophicticated double plus synergic welders I use, welding 1.5mm ali didn't put the fear of God into me.
I tacked the panel every 20mm then I ran the 20" of seam in 2 strikes, I was concerned about blowing it to bits, but I worried unecessarily, I could have done with a tad more power, but I erred on the side of caution (got scared really). As you can see the weld is pretty proud, but no abnormal distortion. After grinding the bead down, I blued the panel up and planished everything, just like normal, there was no weld cracking, although the penatration on the back didn't allow me to get it as nice as I have would liked, but that was due to not being able to grind the weld off the back due to the inaccesabiliity of getting inside the panel, I could get a dolly in, but that was it, also the last 8" was completely inaccessable due the A post. I'm very happy with the result, but would not consider using it all the time, just thought I'd give a go.

photo_1 repair.jpg

photo_2 repair.jpg

photo_3 repair.jpg
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:14 PM
galooph galooph is online now
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That's turned out really well - good skills! I've heard of people using mig on aluminium before, but never seen the results.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:52 AM
Oldnek Oldnek is offline
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Nice job Martin, Did you use a spool gun for your mig or you running nylon line, I have a inverter mig , but not sure to bite the bullet and buy a spool gun or not. I have a tig anyways, but sometimes mig is twice as fast.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:38 AM
Maxakarudy Maxakarudy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldnek View Post
Nice job Martin, Did you use a spool gun for your mig or you running nylon line, I have a inverter mig , but not sure to bite the bullet and buy a spool gun or not. I have a tig anyways, but sometimes mig is twice as fast.
Hi John,

I use 1.2mm 4043 wire with a standard 3m torch with a Teflon liner, actually its only rated at 160amp, it's deliberately small so we can get into tight spaces. I haven't tried the spool guns, they look a bit cumbersome, but you don't have the problem with bird nesting at the wire feed. I have tried a setup with an ordinary inverter welder, but I wasn't happy with the controlability on thin stuff and the wire feed gave me problems, I had to bite the bullet and get a pulse synergic type (Lorch S3). The mig is all about speed, it counts for a lot in my sign business.
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:46 PM
rcv4 rcv4 is offline
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Nice job Martin,it looks like it didnt distort much,how did you clean it up?
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:10 AM
Maxakarudy Maxakarudy is offline
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Thanks Chad,
I hammered and dollied up the best I could, reading the file marks in the blue, then orbital sanded it with 120g disc.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:54 AM
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Kent_323is Kent_323is is offline
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Nice job MIG'ing that up! Particularly in that position too! I'm surprised you were able to MIG it up with that thickness of sheet.
I've got a MIG Miller 251 with an add-on spool gun for aluminum, it is quite bulky though. I use it mainly if I've got some thick aluminum to weld up. Otherwise I would use my Miller TIG welder because of the control that's available.

Looks like it turned out nice!
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:01 AM
aerometalworker aerometalworker is offline
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Very nice!
The S3 is not your typical "mig" welder. This would not be feasible with your run of the mill machine or spoolgun.
-Aaron
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:18 PM
Maxakarudy Maxakarudy is offline
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Originally Posted by aerometalworker View Post
Very nice!
The S3 is not your typical "mig" welder. This would not be feasible with your run of the mill machine or spoolgun.
-Aaron
Hi Aaron,
Thanks, it is very good welder, we have similar spec Kemppi welders that are as good for our purposes.
When training my lads to use them, they were getting good results pretty quickly, I reminded them "Being a good welder does not make you a good fabricator" in the same way being good with a knife don't make you a surgeon.
For some reason I say this in a slightly Manderin stytlie and start the sentence with " Glassopper "
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:30 AM
Maxakarudy Maxakarudy is offline
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Hi Guys,
As a further update to my mig welding 1.5mm ali, after a bit of experimentation my welding technique changed from continuous to overlapping spot welds, this allows for better penetration and helps when have a lot of hammer and dolly work to do, as this work shows up any weakness in the joint.
weld.jpg
This is the rear quater under the bumper, this was cut away because the steel underneath was replaced, so when all the steelwork was done I re-welded it back on with a new section welded in to the bottom where it's attached to the body, electrolytic corrosion, common on Aston Martins
rear qtr.jpg
This was a great day when all the welding was finished and could get on with the next stage....painting
bare metal.jpg
Attached Images
File Type: jpg weld.jpg (70.1 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg rear qtr.jpg (79.0 KB, 87 views)
File Type: jpg bare metal.jpg (79.0 KB, 80 views)
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