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View Full Version : Newbie First tig beads with syncrowave 200 on aluminum



diyengineer
09-19-2010, 06:20 AM
Specs:
Syncrowave 200 TIG, aircooled torch, AC, 75% balance, no pulse, orange band 2% ceriated 3/32" tungston sharpened to point, tungston 1/4" extension from cup, .150" 6061-T6 aluminum, 150amps, 25CFH pure argon, 4043 filler rod, cleaned with brass brush, 91% iso-alcohol.

Picture 1: First tig bead ever. (after i fixed the gas issue).

Picture 2: Torch would NOT keep a arc, it danced around. Come to find out the collet was installed upside down, blocking all the gas ports. Opps.

Picture 3: A result from no gas on the tungston, it tore up my tip in seconds. (what not to do haha).

I feel like i used to much power (150amps) The "dimes were stacked, but could have stacked with more definition if i maybe of let it cool a hair longer till i stacked the next. Started on the right hand side, finished on the left side.

I only had a quarter of formal welding training in high school but only involved stick and mig, and was 5 years ago. Never touched a tig till today, but i have been watching some really good professionals on youtube so i think that really helps to see how the process goes down. Tomorrow i plan on throwing down a hundred or so beads that are about 6" long. I need to get the feel for the puddle and how much heat to use.

Anyways, please comment, or throw me any tig/aluminum tips! Anything will help since this is day 1. lol.

Thanks!

pinjas
10-24-2010, 02:54 AM
Right on, I am hoping you've done a few 100 of these by now. Maybe you've laid out a few joints at this point?

Dzogchen
10-24-2010, 10:10 AM
Hi! Good job! I'm an Indycar fabricator and do tons of aluminum welding on thin stuff, pretty much self-taught. But I read alot and have worked with some really great craftsmen out of aerospace and F1, so here's what I've got for you:
Aircooled torches will not stand up to long duty cycles on aluminum unless they are REALLY heavy duty. So you'll probably need to let it cool down every few minutes if you're on a big project using lots of amperage. Just take plenty of breaks, maybe talk to the torch manufacturer for guidelines. If this is a machine for production, consider getting a water-cooler and torch.
Always use a stainless steel brush. Have a brush that is only used on aluminum. Brush in only one direction, not back and forth, lengthwise with the weld joint. Do not use abrasives for prep.
Less is more when it comes to amperage setting. Start at about 1 amp/.001" material thickness (1/16th" = 62A) and increase as neccesary. This will give you more control over your heat. So when you start your job, the mat'l is cold. Full power will take a coupla' seconds to melt it. This is fine as long as it isn't too long. As the work heats up, you will need less power. This is when you will see the benefit of better resolution by having a lower setting initially. But at the same time, not too cool on the amps. Don't be afraid to turn it up...
Practice!
Use the right size tungsten and filler rod. I prefer mat'l thickness for tungsten and one size above mat'l thicknes for rod, especially at butt-joints.
I use acetone for cleaning, but alky seems like it is probably fine. Never used it, but I'm gonna give it a try!
Keep your foot active. Finesse is the name of the game...

Good luck!

Dzogchen
10-24-2010, 10:13 AM
And also, clean BEFORE brushing!

pinjas
10-24-2010, 02:48 PM
I think he means, hit the area with a bit of acetone or rubbing alcohol before you begin brushing and wipe it off with clean paper towel. The purpose of these fluids is to remove any kind of oils or other contaminants that could interfere with the welding process and weaken the joint in general. The great thing about rubbing alcohol and acetone is they both dry extremely quickly. I feel that in most situations, acetone is major over kill, not to mention it's toxic and bad for you to breath and touch. Most of the time I use 99% rubbing alcohol, I can put it into a plastic spray bottle and not destroy it like acetone does.

diyengineer
10-24-2010, 03:40 PM
Hi! Good job! I'm an Indycar fabricator and do tons of aluminum welding on thin stuff, pretty much self-taught. But I read alot and have worked with some really great craftsmen out of aerospace and F1, so here's what I've got for you:
Aircooled torches will not stand up to long duty cycles on aluminum unless they are REALLY heavy duty. So you'll probably need to let it cool down every few minutes if you're on a big project using lots of amperage. Just take plenty of breaks, maybe talk to the torch manufacturer for guidelines. If this is a machine for production, consider getting a water-cooler and torch.
Always use a stainless steel brush. Have a brush that is only used on aluminum. Brush in only one direction, not back and forth, lengthwise with the weld joint. Do not use abrasives for prep.
Less is more when it comes to amperage setting. Start at about 1 amp/.001" material thickness (1/16th" = 62A) and increase as neccesary. This will give you more control over your heat. So when you start your job, the mat'l is cold. Full power will take a coupla' seconds to melt it. This is fine as long as it isn't too long. As the work heats up, you will need less power. This is when you will see the benefit of better resolution by having a lower setting initially. But at the same time, not too cool on the amps. Don't be afraid to turn it up...
Practice!
Use the right size tungsten and filler rod. I prefer mat'l thickness for tungsten and one size above mat'l thicknes for rod, especially at butt-joints.
I use acetone for cleaning, but alky seems like it is probably fine. Never used it, but I'm gonna give it a try!
Keep your foot active. Finesse is the name of the game...

Good luck!

Thanks for the info!! :) I have some new pics i will have to load up of a aluminum frame i welded together.

Drassk
10-26-2010, 03:36 PM
The great thing about rubbing alcohol and acetone is they both dry extremely quickly. I feel that in most situations, acetone is major over kill, not to mention it's toxic and bad for you to breath and touch. Most of the time I use 99% rubbing alcohol, I can put it into a plastic spray bottle and not destroy it like acetone does.

The 'acetone is major poison' thing is a myth. In fact, your body makes a bunch of it and it's already in your blood and a lot of foods you eat. It smells, but it's the safest solvent in your shop. Straight ethanol has a lower lethal dosage if ingested...

Acetone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetone#Safety)

pinjas
10-26-2010, 05:22 PM
Well my face is red, that is extremely interesting. I've heard in a few videos that acetone is toxic and you don't want to breath it or get it on your skin, seeing as how it is strong acid I assumed that to be true, maybe it's time I find a way to spray acetone onto a surface. Thanks for sharing.

Drassk
10-26-2010, 05:27 PM
I was a little surprised, based on things I'd been told, the first time I looked it up. Acetone and cyanoacrylate (superglue) are the two things in the shop I'd been most warned about the massive dangers of...and they're probably the two safest compounds in there.

Acetone isn't acidic. If you poured acid on your hand it would burn quite a bit. Pour acetone on your hand and you'll have quite the opposite feeling: it has a really high vapour pressure so it makes your hand really cold when it evaporates.

pinjas
10-26-2010, 05:29 PM
Hah, I have gotten acetone on my skin, I guess I just assumed that the fluid itself was cold which is why my skin felt that way.

diyengineer
10-27-2010, 04:01 AM
http://mfc.engr.arizona.edu/safety/MSDS%20FOLDER/Acetone.pdf

acetone is dangerous. Dont be fooled.

Superglue fumes are just as dangerous. Try huffing it and see how that works out for you.

MSDS doesn't lie.

Drassk
10-27-2010, 11:06 AM
In the MSDS you posted, it's listed as a 1 out of 5 on health hazard. The MSDS lists the exact same effects and severity that are listed in the wikipedia article. You'll find it a good habit to actually read the documents you post to support your assertions, just to make sure that they actually do.

As for cyanoacrylate...read the MSDS. The irritation you experience when you're exposed to the vapours is the stuff curing on your mucous membranes or eyeballs, but it's not toxic. One of my favourite MSDS's for CA actually says under ingestion that it's a non-issue as it'll cure in the mouth before someone can swallow it...so the problem is oral burns from the exotherm.

You were right, though...superglue fumes are just as dangerous. The danger is just not what you thought it was. They're both irritants, but not really toxic in the levels we're exposed to in using them.

Fireman11
10-27-2010, 12:47 PM
In fact come cyano glues are used as adhesives in surgery and to close cuts on humans.

FDA Approves New Surgical Adhesive: SurgiSeal (http://www.medgadget.com/archives/2009/01/fda_approves_new_surgical_adhesive_surgiseal.html)

Not to say that some fumes are not poisonous--check your MSDS:
In the case of acetone the TWA is 500PPM, and the odor threshold is 62 PPM.

The TWA for ethanol is 1000PPM.
TWA is time weighted average for an 8 hour shift.

So OSHA is saying that the permisable average for an 8 hour shift is 10 times the odor the level that you can smell it at, and half that of ethanol.

Interestingly the TWA for benzine is is 1 ppm, and the odor threshold is 10 PPM.

While I do go out of my way to expose myself to ethanol, if you aren't bathing in acetone or drinking it, I think you will be OK.

diyengineer
10-27-2010, 02:34 PM
High concentrations may lead to central nervous system effects and damage

That is what i saw on both. Basically spray paint can cause damage as well, light headedness etc. Sure it may not kill you etc, but central nervous damage is larger then a 1 in my book ;) it may take 1000's of small exposures or maybe one big ass one over a very long period of time but i love my nervous system how it currently is haha.

I've used normal superglue though to close cuts. It works like a charm! I'm just a health freak so i limit any kind of contact with any and all chemicals if i can.

I worked @ Boeing and worked with some really nasty stuff, thankfully they had the correct gear for it all. After that i have been weary about using anything after see almost all the old timers die of cancer and other horrible diseases because there too cool to wear gloves, respirators and other protective garments.






In fact come cyano glues are used as adhesives in surgery and to close cuts on humans.

FDA Approves New Surgical Adhesive: SurgiSeal (http://www.medgadget.com/archives/2009/01/fda_approves_new_surgical_adhesive_surgiseal.html)

Not to say that some fumes are not poisonous--check your MSDS:
In the case of acetone the TWA is 500PPM, and the odor threshold is 62 PPM.

The TWA for ethanol is 1000PPM.
TWA is time weighted average for an 8 hour shift.

So OSHA is saying that the permisable average for an 8 hour shift is 10 times the odor the level that you can smell it at, and half that of ethanol.

Interestingly the TWA for benzine is is 1 ppm, and the odor threshold is 10 PPM.

While I do go out of my way to expose myself to ethanol, if you aren't bathing in acetone or drinking it, I think you will be OK.

packrat
10-27-2010, 08:10 PM
I spent a week in hospital once after spaying a motorcycle using two part paint. The hardener for two part paint is cyanoacrylate. Used a mask made for enamel because thats what I had. Gave myself "chemical pneumonia", nothing but time cures it, basically super glued inside of lungs!

diyengineer
10-27-2010, 10:22 PM
I spent a week in hospital once after spaying a motorcycle using two part paint. The hardener for two part paint is cyanoacrylate. Used a mask made for enamel because thats what I had. Gave myself "chemical pneumonia", nothing but time cures it, basically super glued inside of lungs!

=(

That sucks!!

Back to the tig welding, i did some joints finally just 2 pieces of 1" tube butted up next to eachother. For the most part they turned out decent!

However, i noticed a trend. The faces that i could easily access the joint were perfect but the corners where i had to stretch to get the torch into dont seem to have penetrated very much and some are partially not connected to the tube. Pics to come.

Oddly... All the "cracks" are on the same side (the left). Maybe it was because i was trying left handed and switching.. Not very good torch control?

diyengineer
10-27-2010, 10:31 PM
Well the first 3 pictures show ugly beads but atleast i have some penetration.
The last 3 show the opposite side of the tube, see the lower crack/gap @ the bottom?

Any way to fix this? run another bead over it?

pinjas
10-27-2010, 10:53 PM
On some of these, it looks like the torch might be aimed too high, I don't usually turn a corner with the torch on. I doubt you want to run more filler into that bead, honestly the penetration is kinda botched at the point where you'd want it to be. Inside corner joints are pretty tricky. When I was using a transformer machine I wasn't able to get tremendously better results than what you see, the metal was welded but it didn't look amazing. I got a inverter based welder and used the machines settings to allow me to focus the arc tremendously. The best advice I suppose I could get is to make your tungsten stick out farther, it is likely that you are pretty far away from the metal as you attempt to weld which will give you horrible results such as these. Stick the tungsten out further and try to keep the arc as small and focused as possible.
If you aim to 'fix' some of those joints, you'd probably be better off trying to remove as much of the bead as possible before going into it again.

It definitely looks like you need a lot of practice using the pedal and modulating the amount of heat.
You say you finally did some joints, this is your first joint I guess, I -really- hope it isn't anything important, it kinda looks like it might be.
If I were you, I'd do many coupons, like 20-100 before I'd do anything important involving this particular type of joint.
It looks like you did a little brushing on a few of these joints, it is -very- important that you remove as much oxide as possible. Think of the outer layer on the aluminum as a shield, it melts at 3 times the temperature that aluminum does which can cause you to have all kinds of problems.

diyengineer
10-27-2010, 11:57 PM
Hey thank you VERY much. Yes i need to learn how to work the pedal better. It seems like its usually all, half, or none.

Very good information though thank you.

When you say coupons what do you mean? Just a bunch of little mini pieces i can practice on and throw away?...or save and i can melt them down ;)

It was a cage that held some of my cnc electronics. Nothing structural, and the skin is actually bolted to the tube just incase something happens.

Here is another question:

I tried to tack weld the skin .063" to the 1" tube. You can probably guess how that went. I didn't burn through the skin thank goodness but the results were pretty much a fail. I tried 4 tacks and said screw it and bolted it up.

Is it possible just very hard to do?

Like you suggested i need to keep welding a ton of aluminum coupons.

pinjas
10-28-2010, 12:15 AM
Coupons are exactly what you said, basically two pieces of metal used to emulate the joint without the joint being connected to much larger amounts of material.

I don't know what you mean by skin, do you mean the exterior of a box? Tack welding is a fundamental part of welding and shouldn't be too hard at all, in fact, it might be the easiest step in most welds. The important part is the metal you are joining is as flush as possible. If you have gaps, not only will the weld be extremely difficult, it will also be much weaker. As you said, these aren't structural at all so it probably isn't important.

I hope the purpose of a tack weld is known, but I'd prefer to go over it a bit. A tack weld is a tiny amount of welding done to hold a piece of place as you assemble the pieces together and get everything 'true'. Once you have a bead of an inch or so, it can be pretty hard to hammer things around to get them just how you want them. It is also very good to do tack welds as they help prevent warping as you weld the joint. As things heat up the move in odd directions at times, but if you place a tack every 3-6 inches or so, you shouldn't have much for warping.

binfordw
02-16-2011, 02:24 AM
I am no professional TIG welder, but I'll offer what advice I can think of-

From the looks of your first weld pics, 75% balance is probably too high? The black oxide(?) shouldnt be right next to the weld bead, turning the balance down to 50% or so should give better cleaning.

Also you dont need to grind tungsten to a point for alum, just break it off straight and burn it to form a nice round tip. If you have trouble getting a ball to form without using tons of amps, u can grind a partial point to help narrow the surface the ball forms on.

This may well be stuff you already know so forgive me if this is too basic.

freeflyer
02-22-2011, 10:49 AM
From looking at your pictures... the first page pics look like you have your gas cup to high, or to long of an arc length. Make sure you tungsten is maxium 1.5 times the diameter past the end of your cup. If you need more switch to a gas lens. The last pics look like your sometimes to much amps, sometimes to little amps. Try setting the max amps to 1/.001 on a practice piece and adjust from there.

Hope this helps a little.