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Mig welding aluminum, advice is needed

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tonyimpala, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Need some advice.
    I have been welding with a Lincoln 110 MIG welder, with gas, since 1993. However, I have never MIG welded al. aly. sheet-metal. How much different are the techniques. Also, what tip size should I use and what type of wire, diameter. Do I use Argon/CO2?
    I will be welding in small patches on a 50 year old year CA license plate.
  2. timothale
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 234


    welding aluminum. You need to get a new liner, any steel residue will contaminate the weld. the aluminum needs to be super clean, and I use Argon.
  3. tapkoote
    Joined: Feb 6, 2013
    Posts: 70


    Argon only.
    If your trying to save that plate, take it to a shop with a tig welder.
    We've got a community college not far away where they like teaching opportunities like that.
    Helps to bring a box of donuts with you too.;)
  4. ottoman
    Joined: May 4, 2008
    Posts: 292

    from Wisconsin

    Man welding in patches on a license plate... not really the best thing to learn aluminum MIG welding on. Yes you need Argon. I would TIG it but thats just me.

  5. kelzweld
    Joined: Jul 25, 2007
    Posts: 295


    If you've never done it something you want done nicely may not be the place to learn. Also for a licence plate repair TIG may be a better method. But to weld ali with a MIG, use pure argon as a shielding gas, and if you're using your standard gun and feed roller setup at least put a teflon liner in it. Tips also tend to have a little more clearance than one for equivalent sized steel wire, and in this part of the world at least, come stamped with the wire size followed by an A. A for ali.
  6. outlaw57
    Joined: Aug 12, 2009
    Posts: 56


    I've done quit a bit of mig aluminum, and a license plate would be tough with my machine(Miller 251). Find a buddy with a tig

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  7. Thanks guys.
    I just may use JB weld/a patch and be done with it.
  8. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,856

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    NO :D As noted, find a tig welder and do it right. Step away from the JB weld. :)
  9. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,222

    from Oregon

    If you're only going to do a small amount of Mig welding on aluminum then a new liner and straight argon is a costy expense for a few jobs. You'd be better off buying a small spool gun for your Lincoln and a small tank of argon. But I agree with others that a Mig for your plate is not the best choice.
  10. 32v
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 951

    from v.i.

    maybe try some muggy rod and a torch or similar low temp alum rod
  11. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,648


    I never knew that there was a MIG aluminum welder, sure would like to see what those welds look like. Bob
  12. outlaw57
    Joined: Aug 12, 2009
    Posts: 56


    ive done quite a bit of mig alum, alum boats are for the most part mig. with the right settings it looks good, not as pretty as tig.
  13. pretty is one thing weld penetration is another. I guess the operative words here are "weld strength" . Am I right. Your opinion.
  14. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    It LOOKS like a good video, but he's hard to understand.
  15. A 1963 (50 year old) California license plate is not aluminum - they are steel. As far as I know None of the Old California License pastel were ever Aluminium, one of the first things DMV checks is to make sure that all YOM plates submitted are steel before allowing them to be used.......
  16. Do you want to place a wager?
  17. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 679


    Ummm. I have a rusty 1963 California license plate. What was that wager? Does aluminum rust in New York?
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898


    The CA black plates on my '60 Falcon, are steel. I believe that they are actually '63 plates.
  19. go-twichy
    Joined: Jul 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,650


    my 64 dodge a100, steel. 69 Datsun roadster, still steel.
  20. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck quacks like a duck………………… must be a duck!
    Yes I found it a surprise myself. Well here they are. As you can see there is no sign of rust on the right photo. The big feature is these plates are very light and are non-magnetic. You be the judge.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  21. My boss bought me the aluminum set up for my 110 mig at work. Figure we would try it we were fixing a lot of mail trucks at the shop. No matter what I did that thing worked like shit and got no penetration. It was a total wast, now he bought me a nice tig.

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  22. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,862


    Mig welding aluminum is waaaaay faster than steel, I mean you physically have to move way faster and it's very hard to weld it, especially when you have to get the big gun adapter with the spool attached to it, so now you have a huge gun to maneuver and try and weld with!! Tig welding aluminum would be way easier!
  23. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,648


    MIG requires more grinding time than welding, I'd like to know how much built up crap has to be ground off if you MIG aluminum? Cloged disks are another cost. Bob
  24. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,362

    dave lewis

    Well.....I have 3 sets of California black plates..
    Steel. ..
  25. I know all about CA (worked on 1933 -1970 tags) that were made from steel. Many CA tags have crossed my path. This al. aly. one is an odd ball. This is just a bit of trivia. FYI. There is nothing here to argue about and of case!
  26. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,091

    from so-cal

    My guess is that the inmates were hoarding the steel to make shiv's and used the alu. food trays to hide that
  27. Commercial plates were aluminum in the '63 series. "69-'70 was the car change over to aluminum and colors.
  28. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,666

    296 V8
    from Nor~Cal

    Do yourself a favor and don’t go there (alum mig)
    Its ok on heaver gage stuff but the wire is very temperamental … iv never seen / had pushing the wire work well at all and every spool gun iv used was problematic also.

    Like said you have to move very fast … making it difficult to get clean nice results on 1/8” and up. On thin stuff? … it would be a nightmare.
    Tig is a much better choice whenever doing aluminum with the exception of doing high production heavier material
  29. Ok guys thank you

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