Aluminum welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)/ TIG welding, is a fabrication process and also the most common method of welding aluminum. Aluminum and aluminum-based alloys are joined by applying pressure and heat to the components.
TIG welding is a challenging task that requires the right equipment in order to be successful.
Aluminum Welding Equipment
Below is a list of equipment that will help when welding aluminum or aluminum-based alloy components.
Welders working on aluminum require the right welder to succeed — it’s essential. The best welder for the job is a TIG – tungsten inert gas-welding machine. These machines are pricier, but they are worth the investment if you are welding for a profit. Aluminum components require a lot of heat to get to the right temperature, and a TIG welder can deliver on those requirements. TIG welders produce the right amount of heat but also prevent overheating which causes burn-through of the aluminum components. MIG machines may also be used, but the professionals in the industry prefer to use TIG welding machines.
The second most important piece of equipment is a welding bench. It’s where most of your work will be done and forms part of the tools of the trade.
Clamps / Vice Grip
Clamps and/or a vice grip are excellent for keeping your welding job in place while you work and creating stability.
Aluminum Welding Rod
It’s important to use the right welding rod for the right job. There are several welding rods; each rod is suited to a specific aluminum welding job.
When welding with aluminum, you need to use only argon gas, as mixed gas won’t work on aluminum.
While the welder is the most essential piece of equipment, the following pieces are required for safety when welding aluminum.
All too often, welders don’t wear gloves when welding. There are simply too many health-related risks associated with not wearing gloves, and the medical costs alone should make welders want to wear them. When looking for welding gloves, consider gloves that are heat-resistant and insulated. The gloves should cover your entire hand and wrist and fit under the cuff of your jacket. Most importantly, the gloves should be comfortable and allow for easy movement.
Welding helmets protect your eyes and face from sparks, hot slag, radiation, debris, and bright light from the weld. Some helmets have an automatic dimming feature. These helmets are much more expensive but worth the investment.
Put safety first — especially considering that the sparks from the weld may easily cause objects around you to catch fire as you are working with either a live current or an open flame.
Welding Work Shoes
The right shoes will ground you and protect you from electric shock or burn. Look for shoes with a rubber sole, flame retardant, non-slip, sturdy shoes that cover your feet above the ankles.
Welding Pants and Jacket
Wearing the right clothes can protect your body from flying sparks that may burn or harm you.