The Art of Welding Aluminium

10 January 20

Welding aluminium is an art and more challenging than welding steel, requiring more consideration, care and specialised equipment. Different equipment and techniques are required for various types of welding, however an aluminium weld look neat and smooth and they’re very resilient.  Aluminium is a thin, lightweight metal, used commonly in welding workshops. When using aluminium, welding must be done at low temperatures as it has a lower melting point that could lead to burn-through unless welders follow proper procedures. It is also reactive, forming an oxide layer when exposed and resulting in porous welds, so the oxide layer must be scrubbed off prior to welding. This must be done quickly as it takes just moments to form again.

Aluminium can be alloyed with other metals, making it stronger and more durable.  It is a popular welding material because it is thin and lightweight, but still resilient and strong.  It can be MIG or TIG welded; and weld casted, even to steel.  There are different types of aluminium alloys and processes for each type of welding.

When MIG welding aluminium, equipment must be set up to direct current and polarity settings must be reversed.  The filler wire may jam the system, so a spool gun may be used to avoid issues.  TIG welding aluminium is usually preferred to MIG welding, producing neat, smooth results but not all TIG welders are set up for AC, so details of each machine must be read carefully before attempting to weld.  Heat control is important with aluminium welding, as the metal is thin. A welder with a pulse function is ideal and prevents overheating.  Distortion can be a common problem when welding aluminium, due to high temperatures, so tack welding should be considered before commencement. This saves time and hassle later on.  Cast aluminium is more difficult to weld than pure or alloyed aluminium, being impure and porous. When heated, impurities and air pockets bubble to the surface.  Welding aluminium to steel is also difficult, as steel is tougher, heavier and thicker than aluminium, so it requires more time and work than ordinary welding.

Aluminium welding is challenging and is an art-form that should be undertaken by professionals such as the team at Ironmonger Fabrications.  Our skill and dedication to customer satisfaction, means you can relax, knowing your project will be completed on time and within budget.  Call us for all your welding and fabrication needs.