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Thread: hull repair?

  1. #1

    Default hull repair?

    I found a crack on the keel of my boat, I'm no welding expert but someone experienced with repair told me his recommendation would be to cut the section out and weld a patch. Nobody in my area is proficient at welding and he is a retiring teacher and heading home on Monday.

    I want to order the supplies I need to fix it so that the next time someone is up here who can do this, it can get taken care of. What specs for a MIG welder should I look at for 3/16" aluminum and where can I get the argon at preferably in Anchorage?
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  2. #2
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I have no idea bout what size welder you would need, but I think AIH has the gas. That or Air Liquide on Arctic Blvd should be able to take care of you. Seems for the cost of a welder/gas and metal that you could take it to one of the boat shops in Anchorage or the valley and get it fixed, unless this is an excuse to buy a welder...
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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    If it were me i'd get it welded up and call it good. Maybe if possible put a patch on the inside. Give this guy a call he has a mobile welding/repair service in anchorage Robert Geller 350-5506.

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    Do not attempt to MIG 3/16 Alum, unless you REALLY know what you're doing... Mig process will put to much heat into it and it'll blow a big hole thru. Find somebody to TIG it for you, looks like an easy fix

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    alaskan9974 you said "Nobody in my area is proficient at welding and he is a retiring teacher and heading home on Monday." Where are you at? Lots of guys in the Anchorage and valley area can weld 3/16" with a mig. Tig will work but more expensive and slower in process. PM me and I will send you a couple names of guys in the valley area. Duckdon

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ref+10 View Post
    Do not attempt to MIG 3/16 Alum, unless you REALLY know what you're doing... Mig process will put to much heat into it and it'll blow a big hole thru. Find somebody to TIG it for you, looks like an easy fix
    I always felt mig was easier on steel vs tig, it was the easiest for me to learn at least. I'm not good enough at aluminum to try it especially on the bottom. I am out in the bush sorry if my post above misled anyone, I prefer to order my supplies from the anchorage area since its a little cheaper on shipping.

  7. #7

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    Here's my two cents. I welded for a couple years and my father got a small TIG welder setup with gas for around $600. That was Outside (don't know prices for welders up here, but they have come down drastically in the last few years) but I would buy the welder, get a lot of scrap 3/16 aluminum and practice, practice, practice! If you feel comfortable enough after that, just weld the crack and keep a real close eye on it. If it continues to crack or if you screw up the weld, then I would go with the patch. My point being there is no harm in trying to weld the crack. Just go a couple inches past the visible crack on each end. Good luck.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Default 3/16" no problem

    When Mig welding just make sure you are moving fast when you start the arch. If you slow down, then you will get a big hole. As said before practice for a while. You will be moving about 3 times faster than steel welding, I would weld the crack, then a patch over the area, if you can get inside, it will be easier welding. Clean it, Clean it, Clean it, Use a new stainless steel brush to clean the aluminum before even trying to weld it. It must be clean to work. Sand the area clean of any oxidation about 1-1/2 inch from the crack, inside and out. If any oil is on it clean it with solvent. You can pulse weld upside down if you practice. Have fun.

  9. #9

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    Way cheaper to have it done at a shop. I just bought a welder to learn welding aluminum. $1600.00 for welder, $300.00 for Argon, another couple hundred for other stuff, etc.

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    Default tips / advice

    Gary at Greatland Welding and Machine have extensive aluminum boat experience. They have Lenghtened, repair, fab'd just about everything Commericial and recreation. Weldingweb is a good site / forum for learning and research.
    I mig and tig steel and aluminum and my advice is do a lot of welding, and watch and talk to good welders. Do not get hung up on beauty welds that the pro's do. Pro's use the latest setup runing 8K +. I bought a used XMT300 with a 25' WR push pull and pulser and that helped a lot. If your welds have a cold start, you need to preheat, especially on aluminum. It's only after years of welding that I like my Aluminum Mig welding. I do 3/16 frequently now. Tig is easier for aluminum, but it puts a lot of heat into the area as it is slow. Steel is much easier. I only use ALCOR welding wire, they manufacture from scratch and it's top quality. I had lots of problems using poor grade wire when I added my top. Preheat after cleaning. I use Acetone and a stainless brush, and then preheat. The problem with used hulls is contamination. Sometimes you can tig without filler to heat clean the area, You can see the impuraties come out in the puddle, and then grind/clean off. but with 3/16 I would just preheat with a map bottle or heat gun. Many folks have ruined their projects by putting in too much heat and causing warpage. Gary at Greatland had a hull with major damage after another shop added a top improperly. So..you can do it, but it's an art and you need lot's of practice. For the short run hire a good welder for a quick fix and then practice. Gary often has scap aluminum for the boy scouts. Stop by and ask and use it for practice and then return. Good Luck. BTW I'm in IT, computers and do fabs, welding, etc as a hobby. I'm no expert. Take this as free advice, which may be just worth nothing :-)

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    Alaskan 9974, were in Alaska are you located?

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    Member pacific23's Avatar
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    Take it to a shop. There may be more than just that crack needing to be repaired.
    T.I.G. is the process to use to do the repair , it is cleaner on the start and it will bring the trash to the top.

  13. #13
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    There is a lot of conflicting advice here-petty normal. What is critical is why did it crack? How are you (or whoever) going to fix it so it doesn't crack again/more? IMO/Experience TIG is a waste of time for this stuff, 3/16 isn't too thin for MIG at all. One thing you have to be absolutely sure you do is drill holes in the ends of the crack or they will simply keep going regardless of process used. Also weld one side and back gouge the other side with a skil saw before welding - the advice on acetone was right on you cannot get it clean enough! And if the hull cracked due to inadequate or broken internal framing that this gets addressed as well. Whether you pay to get the stuff, and learn to do it yourself or pay someone else is totally up to you, just make sure you do your research on recommended framing/welding schedules for aluminum boats. I have fixed a lot of cracks in very high dollar brand name seine skiffs because they saved a few hundred bucks on framing in the beginning. Good luck, and don't listen to people who tell you to cut aluminum with a backwards skil saw blade unless you like hot carbide teeth in the face...

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