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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried the search function, and some things came up, but nothing helped. Here's where I'm at:

I've been using my new AHP AlphaTig to weld steel and I love it so far. Once I knew what I was doing, it started running beads like a champ. I started in on aluminum a couple days ago, and damn it's like the machine is broken...

Settings I've been using:

110v AC
Foot Pedal Control
Cleaning (balance) set through all the combinations (more to equal to less)
75/25 Welding Gas
12-20 CFH
No Pulse
#6 stubby cup
50XX Aluminum
Dedicated stainless steel brush
Acetone wipe
2% Lanthanated Tungsten (Brand new, never welded before)

Just to make sure I wasn't crazy, I ran a bead with the machine on DC. Similar problems, but a different look underneath the slag.



This is what it looks like right after the weld. The arc wanders, won't hook up, and just pops, sizzles and flares like it's contaminated. Which would make sense except I wire brushed it and wiped it, then welded.



Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Is my bike ok?
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15,025 Posts
Maybe I read your post wrong, but you can only TIG aluminum on AC.

Also, are you using straight argon? If you were using mix to weld steel that's cool, but not for AL. Edit: saw you were using mix. 75/25. Try some straight argon.

My buddy's machine went crazy one time. Couldn't weld with it to save your ass. Turns out the supply house have is a bottle of straight argon, except someone had filled it with helium. Scary. Just putting that out there if all else fails.
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any excuse to buy more tools is a good excuse! Looks like I get to buy a new welding cylinder.
 

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sickboy
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3,544 Posts
except someone had filled it with helium. Scary. Just putting that out there if all else fails.
Why scary? Helium is a very good shielding gas, works best 50/50 with argon for standard AC welding, but for super thick aluminum 100% helium is what most use. Makes the arc slightly harder to start but it burns bloody hot which is great for thick aluminum.

To the OP, try and keep your cfm right about 20 at a min. Max your amps and move much faster. Fast and Hot is how aluminum likes it. See how your weld looks sandy, that is usually caused by 2 things. Either too slow of travel meaning too much heat in an affected area which also causes that cloudy look you see on a lot of welds. Also, im guessing your using a 4043 filler rod? That rod has lots of silica in it and also gives the sandy look to your weld. The faster you move with that rod the less sandy it will look. or you can switch to a 5356 rod and that will clear it up too.
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
Nothing at all wrong with Helium. Why do you think old timers call it HELIARC? ;)

Also, you can weld aluminum on DC. You won't get a cleaning cycle, so prep needs to be 110% but you can run in DC.

How are you preparing your tungsten....and why is there slag?
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nothing at all wrong with Helium. Why do you think old timers call it HELIARC? ;)

How are you preparing your tungsten....and why is there slag?
Dedicated grinding wheel with a rounded point, running the tungsten vertically.

As for the slag, you're guess is as good as mine.
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
Just noticed you were running a mix gas. The soot is likely from the CO2 in the shield.

Do post up results with proper gas and see if it's looking any better.
 

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Registered
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83 Posts
I use the green pure tungsten with 100% argon. Don't bother sharpening it, you want a nice ball on the end of the tungsten. If your tungsten gets contaminated just break it off and let it ball up again
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
I use the green pure tungsten with 100% argon. Don't bother sharpening it, you want a nice ball on the end of the tungsten. If your tungsten gets contaminated just break it off and let it ball up again
He's running an inverter. The tungsten he is using is perfect for that machine, as is his prep.
 
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