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Thread: Aluminum skiff welding/repairing

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum skiff welding/repairing

    What brand/model of aluminum welder would you folks recommend for welding/repairing aluminum skiffs ? I live out in the bush, would probably set it up in a connex. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    What brand/model of aluminum welder would you folks recommend for welding/repairing aluminum skiffs ? I live out in the bush, would probably set it up in a connex. Thanks
    Check this link out. There is a whole discussion on this topic.

    http://www.aluminumalloyboats.com/viewtopic.php?t=76

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Even skiffs use fairly thick metal in areas. Aluminium really soaks up the heat, so welding even 1/8" requires lots of amps (or voltage)
    I'd really look at something like a Millermatic 252 with a spoolgun. Don't waste your money (and temper) trying to make do with a 110 volt machine trying to push the wire. Whatever brand MIG you get, get at least a machine that will run @ 250 amps or more for a reasonable duty cycle.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recommendations. Another question; Does anyone know of any place in Alaska which offers aluminum welding courses, besides AVTEC. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations. Another question; Does anyone know of any place in Alaska which offers aluminum welding courses, besides AVTEC. Thanks
    I'm taking a welding course at UAS in the fall, but I don't think they will be focusing on aluminum. I'm taking it for the basics, and will just practice on aluminum scraps, to learn the trial and error way.

    Home Depot has a nice Lincoln welder that will do aluminum. I believe it is around $550.

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Home Depot has a nice Lincoln welder that will do aluminum. I believe it is around $550.
    Not meaning to be a jerk, but honestly, nothing in that price range is going to work for Aluminium. It MIGHT lay down a bead on say 20 Gauge, but you aren't going to get any penetration on the thickness of Al. thats practical for boats/structural use. Never mind the duty cycle. And the misery of trying to push Al. mig wire insetad of a spool gun or push/pull is beyond description
    230V. is the only way to go for an Al capable welding machine, and then min. 200 Amps. My Miller Dynasty 200DX TIG machine is 200 Amps at 20% duty cycle. Thats 2 minutes of welding out of 10. It can weld 3/16 Al, but only for a short time. It will weld 1/8", but again, the duty cycle limits you. Even trying to repair thin hull material will eat up the power. The Miller 251 in my shop with a spoolgun is a great Al. machine. 250 Amps at 40% duty cycle means you can rip through 3/16" all day long, and it just laughs at 1/8".
    Nothing worse than regretting your purchase. I have been down this road, and if you really want to work on Al, get a machine like the Miller 252 or Lincoln machines. You can get them pretty reasonably priced, like $2200 Can. for the 252.
    Cheers

  7. #7

    Default yukoner

    Well I thought I'd chine in. I just finished welding a new 17 foot jet sled and did so with a 110 welder. It is a snap-on 140 amp 100% duty cycle. I actually blew through on the bottom which is 3/16. The side are 1/8" It has 12 power settings and I never went above 10. I used 5356 wire with a spool gun. It is awesome to see the weld lines on the outside of the boat noting the incredible pentetration. I borrowed the welder from my buddy. I think he paid 1,400 about 12 years ago. Good luck.
    Wherever you go ....there you are.

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    Default couple of questions...

    I have a millermatic 250 and have been wanting a spoolgun or pushpull. Probably will get the spoolgun because it is about 1100 bucks less. When welding up a boat lets say, how easily will aluminum warp? Do you have to tackweld the whole thing together with a spot every five or six inches? I've done plenty of sheet metal work on steel doing car restorations.

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Well I thought I'd chine in
    .
    I get it
    Ok, i stand corrected. 100% @ 140 Amp.s is pretty darn good for a 110V machine. That would give you, what, 200 Amp max output at 20%DC?
    What Amp breaker did that require?
    Cheers

  10. #10

    Default breaker

    I used a 20 amp breaker. It is an increbile machine. Have a nice Memorial Day.
    Wherever you go ....there you are.

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    Call Air Liquide in Anchorage, they will set you up. Also, look at the Lincoln and Miller websites. What Yukoner said, you'll get what you pay for.

    When you purchase a professional machine, it is like opening a door into a world of possibilities; these machines are engineered to be back-compatible with previous additions and machinery, plus what they are currently making. If you spent $1750.00 for a good Lincoln machine, you will get a package that will be able to weld literally anything on this earth, whether you choose stick, TIG or MIG, and there are other things you can do with the machine, just talk to the salesman.
    If you buy a machine that will just get the job done, you will learn of all the things you could be doing, and be disappointed.

    There are a couple of welding schools in Anchorage, look around. Go to www.abe.com and look for used welding books, but you will get a suite of books when you buy your machine (professional), and may be able to swing some training sessions.

    Beware! Once you get going and are able to start welding, people will be coming to you for repairs, so prepare yourself to start making money.

    I was certified plate & pipe, all position, to 3/4". Experience with MIG, TIG (stainless and aluminum), and stick. Gas cutting freehand and machine.
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  12. #12

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    Tack welding is what I did. The outside of the boat is where I tacked on a fillet weld. I later did the inside of the boat alternating sides after about 3 10 inch welds. This allowed for things to cool a little. I had two 10 pound lead weights near my wleds to have the heat be soaked up in it versus the aluminum. I had a 3/16" bottom and 1/8" sides. I ground the outside taks off once the boat was welded throughout. I put a angled chine the length on both sides. Good luck.
    Wherever you go ....there you are.

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJW View Post
    I have a millermatic 250 and have been wanting a spoolgun or pushpull. Probably will get the spoolgun because it is about 1100 bucks less. When welding up a boat lets say, how easily will aluminum warp? Do you have to tackweld the whole thing together with a spot every five or six inches? I've done plenty of sheet metal work on steel doing car restorations.
    It will warp like crazy. Weld it in short sections, like 4-6". Start at one end, then go to the other, and work back and forth. If you can tack your work piece to some sort of jig or anchor, that will help keep things lined up.
    You will love that spoolgun. Push pulls are nicer in that they don't have the small spool so are more compact, and you can run the big rolls, but other than that, performance wise, the spoolguns rock.

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