In order to weld aluminum, you can use an AC TIG welder or MIG welder with an aluminum spool gun.
Yes, you can weld it with other processes like laser beam welding and stick welding using a special electrode for this metal and in other ways. However, since most of the aluminum welding is done with these two processes we mentioned first, we will look at our YesWelder line of AC TIG and MIG welders for aluminum.
Aluminum welding is very tricky and you should use a reliable quality welder. The last thing you want when working with it is for your welder to behave in a way that is not in accordance with the settings you set. Good examples of this are your arc not being stable, TIG frequency not being a consistent asset, MIG spool gun not providing consistent wire feed speed etc.
Depending on the quality of the finished product you expect, you will need some previous experience.
Why is Welding Aluminum So Difficult?
Welding aluminum is difficult because it doesn't behave like most other metals that welders work on and with. This metal is nothing like steel, for example. Steel will let you know exactly what is going on with it while, when welding aluminum, you have to use judgment and experience.
The first thing you should know is that this metal forms the oxide layer on its surface. This oxide layer needs to be cleaned as good as possible prior to welding. That is because the oxide layer melts at a temperature of 3700°F while the aluminum under it melts at mere 1200°F.
Photo by materialwelding.com
In order to melt through the oxide layer, you need high heat, but you must not burn through the layer under it. A large part of this problem is solved by using AC TIG welding because the current alternates between electrode positive and negative. This targets the surface layer and the inner layer differently so that you can achieve penetration without burning through.
Other problems when welding aluminum arise from its proclivity for absorbing hydrogen and becoming porous. A lot of other impurities can happen because it is highly sensitive to any dirt, air, water, and other kinds of contamination.
YesWelder Machines For Welding Aluminum
Here at YesWelder, we have two machines that are designed with aluminum gas arc welding in mind.
All of YesWelder machines strive to provide the best value for the price. We pack as many useful features in them as possible without making them overly expensive. Keeping our price down allows more people to get into welding.
YesWelder machines for aluminum welding are meant for high-quality work. They are precise and offer fine-tuning adjustments for professional work, pre and post flow of gas, pulse frequency control for AC TIG welding, up and downslope time control, AC squarewave, MIG synergic settings, they have enough welding power and great duty cycle etc.
YesWelder 250Amp AC/DC TIG Welder With Pulse
This is our best TIG welder that is capable of AC welding which means that you can do aluminum without any issues. It is meant for professional work, but it is also affordable enough that any DIY hobbyist or welding artist can afford it.
The 250A of power will be more than enough for almost every plate size other than the highest thicknesses which need industrial-level equipment. This YesWelder machine is also capable of a low-amperage start of the only 5A which means less burn-through when working with very thin metal.
This welder has an AC squarewave feature which improves your weld quality while making the welding process easier. Unlike sinewave machines, the squarewave has the ability for a sudden switch between the negative and positive electrode charge. This improves the weld quality because the old sinewave method would gradually taper off from negative to positive and vice versa.
The squarewave provides you with a clean and, most importantly, expected situation while the sinewave requires that you have more experience when welding aluminum because you have to take into account the low and high moments of the positive and negative electrode that happen while they are switching many times in a second.
On top of that, this YesWelder machine has AC pulse TIG welding, DC pulse too and can also perform spot welding which comes in handy when working with any sort of fabrication or autobody work. It has an HF arc start which is essential when welding aluminum. Due to the nature of this metal, you shouldn't even attempt to use lift arc TIG for it because the tungsten electrodes material will contaminate the weld.
You can fine-tune the settings like pulse frequency and pulse current, start amps, up and downslope, pre and postflow and it also comes with a high-quality TIG pedal and other equipment and accessories. the specifications of this system and its relative cost when coupled with our 3-year warranty make an excellent choice for almost all welding jobs.
Overall, this YesWelder is your best bet for welding aluminum, stainless steel and mild but there is also an option for MIG welding machine which you will find below.
MIG Welder 250A MIG Pro Welding Machine
Our YesWelder MIG Pro 250A machine is a professional MIG welder that works with weldable materials like mild, stainless steel and aluminum.
With the 250A of power, just like our TIG above, this MIG welder will weld thick sections and with a high duty cycle too so that you can weld more instead of having to walk around until the machine gets cool.
This YesWelder is also a 3in1 welder because it does MIG, TIG and stick welding too, but the TIG is not capable of aluminum welding. However, this is a MIG aluminum-capable machine.
The welder has Synergic MIG controls which are very helpful for both newbies and seasoned welders. Newbies will benefit from this feature because it automatically uses many settings while the pros will get their work done for them so they don't need to set things up manually. The manual MIG settings are also easy to use. Sometimes you know better than the machine and in those cases just switch to the manual mode and set things up the way you like them.
This MIG welder does not use a spool gun. It welds aluminum without the spool gun.
In order to weld aluminum with this YesWelder MIG welder, you need to set the setting on the front panel to "Ar 100% AL" and use a U-type roller for wire feed. You also need to use the Graphene liner torch that is supplied with the machine.
You can use .035”/.045” aluminum wire when working with the it or .023”/.030”/.035” solid/SS wire for mild and stainless. This MIG machine can also do flux core welding.
If you have a welding shop and MIG is your tool of choice, then this welder will be an excellent choice in the professional environment. However, thanks to its simplicity and affordability, everyone can use this MIG welding machine, even a hobbyist (you do need 220v input voltage). While TIG is a difficult process to master, the MIG can be learned in a shorter period of time which could tip the scales in favor of the latter and affect your final welding choice.
Arc welding this metal is difficult enough as it is, so you should make it easier for yourself and get a quality welder that will perform as expected and provide you with excellent results.
We at YesWelder believe that our aluminum arc welding-capable machines will do just that and they will do it at a budget-friendly price. We strive to offer the best welding experience for the money you invest. Welding with high-quality features like AC squarewave doesn't have to be reserved only for people that can whip out a couple of thousands of dollars. We at YesWelder wish to make quality affordable and we hope that you are willing to give us chance to earn your trust.