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Smaller than 1/16 Aluminum TIG filler rod?

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Do they make any aluminum Tig filler rod that is smaller than 1/16? I'm hoping there is 3/64 (.0468) or 1/32  (.0312) but I can't find it anywhere. I'm trying to weld 6061 Aluminum.

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Also what is the best Tungsten Electrode for welding thin aluminum? I'm using a Miller Dynasty 200DX

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Yes I saw mig wire on another site somewhere but I wondered if the properties would be similar to TIG rod?

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Have you called a welding supply? This isn't the kind of thing searching the internet is good for you just open yourself up to adds and nobody's going to get back to such beginner questions. Talking to people on the phone or better still in person will get you farther faster. If one supplier doesn't have what you're looking for they can order it or refer you to someone who does. 

I don't have a tig welder but I often browse the bare welding tig rod at the welding supply. Various rods are grouped by alloy in general categories: a couple three steel alloys. 3-4 SS alloys, a bunch of brass and bronze alloys, a couple copper and several aluminum alloys. If you want something specific they may have it behind the counter but not individual rods, you have to buy a pound or so.

Why do I a guy who doesn't gas or tig weld much of anything browse the tig wire racks? Brass and bronze make attractive rivets, SS is good if you don't want to take a chance on corrosion.

WOW, that was a close one, I reread your post before hitting submit and realized I got to rambling and didn't answer your question. Welding wire comes in different sizes by type. Ask the guy at the counter about tungstens, as I recall how you grind them makes a big difference for what you're welding.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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yes they make an .045 Al Tig rod they mite make a .035 But Thats is small & hard to see !!!

if your welding 6061 Al  you need 5056 Rod 4043 Rod will try & crack in the center of weld to soft a rod for 6061

ck welding supply in your area may not have it on shelf but they should be able to order it

& yes all mig wire is the same thing in tig rod just in rolls & tig rods are straight 3' long

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With any modern inverter unit, I find 2% Thoriated, Ceriated, or TriMix tungstens to be preferable for AC welding. Set the EP to no higher than 50% of your EN amperage, and set your balance at 75% EN. One second preflow, postflow on auto.

As stated, MIG wire is the same specs as TIG rod, and .035" is readily available in one or two pound spools to fit spool guns.

Just how thin of a metal, and in what configuration are you trying to weld? With any TIG welding, cleanliness is extremely important. Use new, degreased files and stainless steel wire brushes, virgin abrasive disks and polishing wheels made just for aluminum, and stored in ziplock bags. DO NOT use aluminum oxide sandpaper, ever! Same goes for sandblasting, virgin media that does not contain aluminum oxide.

Reagent grade acetone does a better job than big box paint shop solvent, or drug store nail polish remover. Sheared edges need to be filed or sandpapered smooth and free of burrs. After degreasing, aluminum surfaces need to be chemically or mechanically cleaned within 20 minutes of welding, or an oxide coating reforms. Welding suppliers will sell pint or quart bottles of aluminum cleaning solutions.

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11 hours ago, IronWolf said:

yes they make an .045 Al Tig rod they mite make a .035 But Thats is small & hard to see !!!

if your welding 6061 Al  you need 5056 Rod 4043 Rod will try & crack in the center of weld to soft a rod for 6061

ck welding supply in your area may not have it on shelf but they should be able to order it

& yes all mig wire is the same thing in tig rod just in rolls & tig rods are straight 3' long

THANK YOU!! Iron Wolf.. that was exactly the information I needed. Once I had the exact decimal I could look them up properly and find them through Arc-Zone and Aircraft Spruce. Yes they do make .035 and .045 now I just have to find them in 5056. ;) 

 

I was trying to avoid mig wire just because it's rather annoying to have to straighten it out and when it's curved like that it can hinder the uniformity of your weld. I'm doing very micro welds on a robots guts. :)

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12 hours ago, John McPherson said:

With any modern inverter unit, I find 2% Thoriated, Ceriated, or TriMix tungstens to be preferable for AC welding. Set the EP to no higher than 50% of your EN amperage, and set your balance at 75% EN. One second preflow, postflow on auto.

Hi John, I read two long articles on which tungsten to use for Aluminum welding. Apparently it's a far more complicated issue then I ever thought possible. Many rods will weld AC Alum but some are better in certain applications and certain thicknesses of metal. Well after my head was swimming with all the information, my main take-away was that 2% thoriated is still the most practical for welding aluminum, especially thin sheet. Though there may be times where the GREEN pure tungsten and the RED 2% Thoriated should be compared for highly specific applications. I was also reading good things about Ceriated tungsten. 

I'm going to try out those specific settings on my Dynasty and see how this works. I've been Tig welding Mild for half a lifetime but I'm slowly treading into the territory of aluminum with so far fairly good results. Of course I'm testing all these procedures before I weld on final parts (robotic structure).

What I'm welding is .065 Alum to .120 Alum thick material. It's 5/16 by 1-5/8 (custom size) Aluminum angle .065 thick to .120 plate. I haven't noticed any cracking using 4043 but I don't think that is the best rod for 6061T6.

My Electrode is 2% Thoriated .065.  I am going to get .040 and .020 electrodes to play with them but I think .065 is good for this procedure I just think my filler rod is too big. From what I've heard you generally want an oversize electrode/tungsten when welding aluminum then you would with mild steel.

Thank you for all this information on surface preparation, I'm going to print that out. That is going to be super helpful.

Cheers,

Av

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This is kind of interesting...

Q: Which filler wire is best for welding 6061-T6 aluminum, 5356 or 4043?

A: Both are acceptable for welding 6061-T6, but each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application.

 

An aluminum alloy containing 5 percent magnesium, 5356 generally is stronger and more ductile than 4043. But 4043, which contains 5 percent silicon, typically flows better, is more crack-resistant, easier to weld with, less prone to weld smut, and yields a more aesthetic weld.

You're probably wondering this: If 5356 is stronger, shouldn't I always use it? The answer is no. While 5356 is stronger than 4043, they're both stronger than the weakest area of the heat-affected zone (HAZ) in 6061-T6 butt welds. These butt welds fail in the HAZ—not in the weld metal—and the strength doesn't change, regardless of the filler metal.

This isn't the same with lap or fillet welds. These welds almost always are stressed in shear loading in real-world designs, not in tensile loading like butt welds. Lap and fillet welds usually fail in the weld metal, and 5356 has a shear strength almost 50 percent higher than 4043.

Again, 4043 is less crack-sensitive than 5356 and shows less tendency for crater cracking. If your component will be heat-treated after welding, use 4043; 5356 can be made susceptible to stress corrosion cracking after heat treatment. Similarly, if the component will operate at temperatures above 150 degrees F, use 4043 to avoid stress corrosion cracking.

But if the component will be anodized after welding, use 5356. The high silicon content of 4043 will cause the weld to turn black during anodizing, making the location of each weld obvious and unattractive; 5356 will anodize to a silver color.

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Just FYI if anyone is welding thin Aluminum I got the following from Arc-Zone. From what I could tell perhaps one of the only people online that carry all this in one place. But it helps to know the decimal of what you're looking for otherwise it becomes impossible to find. 

 

Amplify™ 2* Thoriated - Red Tip™ [8662] Tungsten Size: .040 (1.0mm) x 7 (177mm)
Item# A-EWTh-2-

$8.85 USD

1

$8.85 USD

Amplify™ 2* Thoriated - Red Tip™ [8662] Tungsten Size: .020 (0.5mm) x 7 (177mm)
Item# A-EWTh-2-

$8.25 USD

1

$8.25 USD

Amplify™ 2* Thoriated - Red Tip™ [8662] Tungsten Size: 1/16 (1.6mm) x 7 (177mm)
Item# A-EWTh-2-

$14.25 USD

1

$14.25 USD

ER4043 - Aluminum / Silicon TIG Welding Rod - 1lb. Pack [8715] TIG Rod Diameter: a: .035 (0.89mm)
Item# ER4043

$45.00 USD

1

$45.00 USD

ER4043 - Aluminum / Silicon TIG Welding Rod - 1lb. Pack [8715] TIG Rod Diameter: a: .045 (1.14mm)
Item# ER4043

$18.00 USD

1

$18.00 USD

 

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I always use pure tungsten for aluminum and magnesium. The 2% was for stainless and carbon steels. That is what I was taught back in the late eighties at the community college. It has worked well so far. I have a Linde UCC305, and a Miller something or other -it's at a friends house right now.

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1 hour ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

I always use pure tungsten for aluminum and magnesium

dont you mean Argon?

the tungstens have something else in all of them as far as I can see and the red tip ones are thorium ( look that up, it is never good to grind thoriated tungstens ) yes thorium is radioactive, most here use ceriated (SP) instead

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2 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

I always use pure tungsten for aluminum and magnesium. The 2% was for stainless and carbon steels. That is what I was taught back in the late eighties at the community college. It has worked well so far. I have a Linde UCC305, and a Miller something or other -it's at a friends house right now.

The adage of using green only for Aluminum (as I understand it) used to be true because people were welding with transformer machines several decades ago. However welder technology has changed and the inverter machines prefer Grey tungsten/2%Cerium  (formerly orange) for Aluminum. Blue/Lanathanum also really works as does Red 2% thoriated.  The reason it's hard to completely answer the question is most of these rods weld DC/AC well and some work better for different metals and at different thicknesses so it's a bit complex. Specifically for thin aluminum everything I've read points to Blue, Grey and Red Tungsten being the best/useful. 

I have read that the radioactive material in thoriated tungsten is bad but I've not grown any third arms (yet). I doubt anyone wears a respirator when just grinding a small point on the tungsten but I suppose if I was really grinding into those reds for some reason then some caution could be a good thing. Radioactive dust in your lungs or sinuses sounds bad. :wacko:

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Experts Weigh In

In selecting rare earth tungsten, industry experts recommend 2 percent ceriated, 1.5 percent lanthanated or 1 percent lanthanated. That's because ceriated and lanthanated hold up better for AC applications than 2 percent thoriated, and are radiation free, unlike thoriated. The most common electrode used in DC applications remains thoriated. However, because of concerns about radiation, most experts strongly recommend ceriated and lanthanated electrodes for both AC and DC welding because of their superior performance and the fact that they are radiation free. Tests have demonstrated that the ceriated and lanthanated electrodes are equal to thoriated electrodes in terms of their welding properties and even surpass them in some respects. Both the ceriated and lanthanated electrodes are DC- and AC-weldable and can be used universally for almost every welding task.

 

 

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Yes we used to' use pure (green) tungsten, but we also used to put leaded gas in cars with carburetors that rode on bias ply tires. Time and technology change the answers.

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