Sizzle, Crackle, Pop: Welding Aluminum

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Mark in Vermont asks:

I am running a Miller syncrowave 250 DX. Frequently welding cast aluminum, it pops and sizzles. I have always been looking for better cleaning techniques or a different tungsten to help get a stronger and prettier weld. There is always alot of black around the weld, and most times holes just “appear” in the weld. Any suggestions or tips to help?

That’s an interesting question — You can try a couple of things and see if it helps.

Gas Lens Collet Body1. Use a gas lens collet body – this will improve the shield gas coverage, and allow you to run higher amperage while lowering the electrode and front-end parts operating temperature.

EZ Wipes2. Use a product like EZ wipes to clean the rod, and the weld area just before striking the arc. First step clean weld area with clean dedicated SS scratch brush – then use the EZ wipe cleaner or equivalent.

3. Do no not use pure tungsten — Use a high-quality tungsten like our new ArcTime™ Hybrid — it’s guaranteed to make a difference or you get a refund!

4. Grind your electrode to a 45 degree angle and remove the pointed tip. Start welding. Do not ball up the tungsten it will naturally ball up. It won’t ball up like most people are used to– the big, shinny, fluid ball that’s real hard to control and very susceptible to contamination.

5. Keep your electrode tip clean. Cut-off any contamination or discolorization and re grind it.

6. Pre heat the material with an “oxidizing” oxy-fuel torch to burn of some of the debris.

6. Test argon flow rates at the torch more is not better.

7. Maintain consistent torch angle and remove any fans of drafts in the weld area.

Hope that helps!

–Jim Watson, aka Joe Welder

PS: what are your best tips for welding aluminum?


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