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Old 08-02-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
bmwpower
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Question Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I have some diamond plate I need to weld. Not much, will just need some tacks here and there after I shape the pieces to fit.

So is it even possible to do this with the welder stated above? If so, what would I need.

See those notches on the side of each floorpan? I wanted to fill them in with a cut piece of diamond plate.

floorplate.jpg
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

You need to weld in AC for aluminum. I don't think the voltage is so much of an issue as is the polarity. What model hobart? MIG, TIG?

Last edited by Paumanok; 08-02-2009 at 11:18 PM. Reason: What model hobart? MIG, TIG?
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

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Originally Posted by Paumanok View Post
You need to weld in AC for aluminum. I don't think the voltage is so much of an issue as is the polarity.
No, you don't.

That being said, your welder isn't spoolgun capable. SOme people claim some success feeding aluminum and keeping the liner as straight as possible. Personally, I've never tried. It seems like a lot of restrictions to make it work, and money invested to do it.

Now, you could get a separate wire feeder, use yours for the power supply, etc., etc., but my conclusion was I might as well sell my welder and by one that can run a spoolgun at that point.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

Sorry, maybe I'm confused. Is it you need to TIG aluminum in AC?
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I assume you're talking about a 120v Mig? Here's what you'll need for sure: Argon gas and a spool of aluminum wire. Then there are kits for feeding aluminum wire, teflon liners and sometimes different feed rollers. Soft aluminum wire, especially in the smaller sizes like what you can run in a 120 machine, does not feed well. It wants to birdnest going into the gun if it has any resistance which is why most aluminum wire feed is done with a push-pull or spool gun. Depending on the thickness of your DP you might need to pre heat it a little too. If you have an oxy fuel torch you might be better off gas welding it since you would be looking at a considerable investment just for gas and wire for a one time job. Here's a good link on just what you are asking: http://www.lincolnelectric.com/knowl...compactmig.asp
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I have a 120v Hobart Handler 140, and its specifications say it can weld steel, stainless and aluminum. Hobart also sells a spool gun for it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

Argon, the proper aluminum wire, and a aluminum compatible sheath is all you SHOULD need.

My Lincoln 135+ is supposed to be able to weld aluminum. Ive never done it, been meaning to, but havnt yet.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

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I have a 120v Hobart Handler 140, and its specifications say it can weld steel, stainless and aluminum. Hobart also sells a spool gun for it.
Yes, I should have clarified better. You need a control unit to do it, you can't just plug the spool gun in like you can with some.

HH140 $550

spool gun control $239.99

$789.99

HH210 $889, spool gun ready.

$100 more gets you 70 more amps, that was my point. Unless you 100% have to run a 120v mig, it just does NOT pay to set it up for a spoolgun, especially when it's going to be a real dog on aluminum of much thickness.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

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Argon, the proper aluminum wire, and a aluminum compatible sheath is all you SHOULD need.

My Lincoln 135+ is supposed to be able to weld aluminum. Ive never done it, been meaning to, but havnt yet.
and new rollers, and you have to keep the liner quite straight, and can pretty much only run .035 wire. Again, too many limitations for me. That's a fair amount of money to spend on all those parts to hardly be able to use them. Also, you won't be able to weld much more than 1/8" with that.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

If there isn't a spool gun available for your welder you're out of luck. Feeding Al wire throught a regular mig gun is next to impossible. Even with a spool gun, tacking it up is about all that could be accomplished as Al takes a lot of heat to weld.

If you want to start fabricating things for your car, figure out what your needs and budget are and go from there. For me, I fab things for my truck and whatever comes up with friends, family, and work. I primarily work with steel, so I have a Lincoln Power Mig 180 (a light industrial mig welder) and a spool gun for occasional aluminum work. If I did a lot of Al or built cages or chassis to be used in competition, many sanctioning bodies require TIG. Welders are one of those things where you can't go too big, so get the biggest thing you can afford.

For me, I like to buy from Indiana Oxygen and Supply's Ebay store. I bought my Lincoln there, paid about 100 less than the lowest price I could find locally, no sales tax, free shipping, and it was here 3 days after purchase, sent truck freight from a Lincoln wherehouse in Los Angeles.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I used a Lincoln 175 with gas and the normal gun with .35 aluminum.
I seamed up three boxes that were 2' long by 14" tall and 14" wide. the aluminum was 14" marrine grade diamond plate.
All edges came out clean and water tight.
I know it is a 220v rather than the 110v but the material you have looks like 1/8" or 3/16".
I am not a welder by trade but the welds are very nice and strong.
I would suggest getting a sepperate gun and hose for different wire because the aluminum will leave small flakes of material in the liner and on the feeds so you will may need to clean it out frequently.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

if you have a basic AC arc welder, you can convert it to a scratch start TIG
all you nees to do is get a TIG gun and lead that has a seperate gas line connection and get the right gas and regulator.
when you scratch start you will want to lay a spare piece of tungston near the weld to start your arc on so you dont contaminate the tungston or the material you are welding

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Old 08-03-2009, 01:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

If you only have a small amount to do, either figure out a different way (rivet, etc) or take it to a shop and have them do it. I have both a Miller 250 Tig and a Miller 200 mig with the spool gun. The TIG is ok for smaller stuff, but the mig is better for doing heavier or structural work. Honestly, the time you spend fooling with it is probably isn't worth it.

Even with the spool gun, there is a fair amount of time in setting it up. Also, I think it is tougher to only tack with Aluminum. At least that has been my experience.

Also, if you have never welded aluminum before, DO NOT try it for the first time on the diamond plate. the first time you get it too hot and whole weld pool drops out, you will be pissed. And if you are not set up correctly, it will leave a large black mark or fouled aluminum that you will have to wire wheel out. trust me, been there, done that.

Keep in mind that you have to use a stainless steel brush to prep the joints, and it has to be perfectly clean!! if you use a regular wire wheel , you will get contaminates in the aluminum and then is will weld like crap. the joint has to be perfectly clean!!!!!!!!

another thought would be to take it to the local welding school (either high school vocational or the tech school) and see if the instructor will weld it for you. Sometimes they like neat little projects.

all else fails and you are dead set on doing it yourself, check out the Miller welders forum. They would have some good hints as well.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

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Originally Posted by nissan_crawler View Post
$100 more gets you 70 more amps, that was my point. Unless you 100% have to run a 120v mig, it just does NOT pay to set it up for a spoolgun, especially when it's going to be a real dog on aluminum of much thickness.
I've got no plans to weld aluminum with my 140, and I wouldn't recommend it. I was just pointing out that it can be done. The original poster said he only needed to do a few tack welds, which might or might not justify the cost of a $230 spool gun (and the Argon and wire).

I'm pretty sure he'd say that a few tack welds would not justify the cost of an additional Mig machine. He could just take it to someone and have it done.

Then again, the original poster still hasn't even made it clear that his Hobart is a Mig.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I wouldnt bother trying, you need a tank of argon which would cost more than having someone weld it up.

Northern has the 210 with spoolgun for $899, which is a hell of a deal since the subject came up.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

I also have a Lincoln 180c... It's easy for me to spend your money. But I would say get a bigger welder. If you can... DO NOT go to home depot and buy a Lincoln welder... They ARE NOT the same... In fact Lincoln will not service them. Home Depot does.Get one from a welding supply house. They even have demo's to buy... I think Airgas is having an internet only sale..
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

If you are going to be messing with aluminum. I would recommend a small tig.

I have this small Miller and I get by with it. These guys are right in your neck of the woods and I buy alot from them also. I traded a Box for mine.

They also come up on CL quite a bit in the 700.00-900.00 range that are still like new.

http://store.cyberweld.com/milec230vol.html
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

If you have an O/A setup try this product. www.durafix.com I've used it in the past and it works. Follow the directions to a tee. As someone mentioned earlier a stainless steel brush or wheel is necessary.

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

For a one off job it isnt worth the expense and hassle and a 120V MIG is a poor alum welder, find someone to weld it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Can I weld aluminum with a 120v Hobart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsanter View Post
if you have a basic AC arc welder, you can convert it to a scratch start TIG
all you nees to do is get a TIG gun and lead that has a seperate gas line connection and get the right gas and regulator.
when you scratch start you will want to lay a spare piece of tungston near the weld to start your arc on so you dont contaminate the tungston or the material you are welding

bob
I would be interested in how this works, please test.
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