Aluminum is one of the most durable metals used for many products at home and in industries. And working with aluminum for beginners can be tricky and crucial. One of the hardest things for a welder is understanding which welding machine and technique are perfect for getting the best result possible.
One of the primary debates about the best welder for aluminum is either a Spool Gun or TIG welder or even both. Both are perfect for aluminum and can give you the desired durable result, but both have some crucial points and need some basic techniques that everyone needs to know before jumping into the welding process.
Aluminum TIG Welder
The Tig welder can work on Aluminum, but it is crucial to understand not every Tig welder is for aluminum. Thus, choosing a suitable machine to support your project is crucially important. The best Aluminum TIG welder has to be with an AC setting. It gives enough amperes that can provide you with a good-looking and durable result.
You can also use the DC setting, but you might have to look at your higher ampere and frequency setting for it. It is best to know the level of settings your machine can achieve to have the best result possible.
How to use TIG welder for Aluminum
The first thing is to know what the ideal values for TIG welders are to work with aluminum. TIG can be tricky, so it is important to know the value of the spool gun. Mainly the machine comes with a chart of frequency, ampere, and gas flow according to metal thickness. If you are missing out on the details, then here is what you need to know:
Set the frequency to 60 Hz and balance the electrode up to 30 percent for aluminum oxidation. The 200A is a good value for amperage for starting the welding process. Once the arc pin is heated, you can adjust the amperage according to the thickness of the aluminum you are working on. We are trying these values on the AC source in the TIG welder. So, if you have a TIG welding machine with a DC/AC switch, set it to AC.
Using the push technique, start sealing the edges with a dot to hold the joint in place and then start welding. Another important thing for us using an AC resource is that the oxidation Aluminum is different from other metals. As soon as the aluminum is exposed to the atmosphere, the upper layer oxidizes. To cut through the Aluminium oxide layer, we need a higher temperature since it is three times more than that layer underneath. AC power supply helps us achieve the temperature that is enough to melt and weld the joint together.
Advantages of using TIG welder for Aluminum
- Clean welding
- Better visibility and control while welding
- It does not need flux for welding Aluminum
Disadvantages of using TIG welder for Aluminum
- The process is a bit time consuming and needs patience
- The deposit rate is slower
Aluminum Spool Gun
Many have never heard of a spool gun if you are new to welding. It is more like an attachable gun that can only be used with MIG welding machines. The purpose of using the Spool gun is to have a mini spool inside of it that helps avoid messy welding since the gun feeds itself from the spool.
The idea of using a Spool gun is to avoid mess, but for aluminum, it can be a bit messier than the result we have from the TIG welding machine. But here is the fun part, using a Spool gun for aluminum is fast and steady because the deposit rate of the welded area is high, and within just one whoosh, your work is done.
How to use Spool Gun for Aluminum
Now the only question that stands is how to weld aluminum with a spool gun? It is not as complicated if you already have a spool gun attachment for your MIG welding machine.
Now that you have set up the gun, you must set the values for the aluminum. Like in the TIG welder, the values are given on the chart over the machine. MIG tends to get to the temperature quicker; therefore, it is the best choice for working with thicker materials. Thus, look for the setting for aluminum on the chart.
Similarly, the spool gun has no problem melting the oxidized aluminum layer because it is already working with very high temperatures.
Once you have set the values, start heating the gun while setting the aluminum plates. With the push technique, start sealing in the joints, and you will see for yourself how fast the metal will start to deposit. We do not recommend using the pull technique even though it gives the best result with the MIG welder because it will create soot.
Advantages of using Spool Gun for Aluminum
- Fast deposit rate
- Fast welding than TIG welder
- Good control and Stable arc
Disadvantages of using Spool Gun for Aluminum
- Tricky for welding the tight and narrow areas
- Limited spool can be used, and it is hard to control
The main question of Spool Gun or TIG welder for aluminum” is not very hard to answer now. We think both are just right and get your work done. But there is a verdict, if you are looking for fast welding for inner work or do not care about appearance after welding, use an aluminum spool gun. If you have time and need a clean result, go for an aluminum TIG welder. Either way, the result of using both will be top-notch and durable. Till then, have a good welding experience! Let us know what you think we would love to hear from you.