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Old 04-27-2015, 09:14 AM   #1
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How to Aluminum Weld


I have welded steel and cast iron before but never tried to do any aluminum welding. A few years back I sold my tanks and torches and welding rig so I am needing something that I can aluminum weld with.

I won't be doing much at all so I need something small and cheap. Any suggestions?

I watched a guy on youtube aluminum weld some parts on his lawn mower but he heated the parts up on a gas grill, I thought that was pretty cool. I don't remember what he used for a torch though.

Also any tricks to aluminum welding would be nice also. Thanks.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
I have welded steel and cast iron before but never tried to do any aluminum welding. A few years back I sold my tanks and torches and welding rig so I am needing something that I can aluminum weld with.

I won't be doing much at all so I need something small and cheap. Any suggestions?

I watched a guy on youtube aluminum weld some parts on his lawn mower but he heated the parts up on a gas grill, I thought that was pretty cool. I don't remember what he used for a torch though.

Also any tricks to aluminum welding would be nice also. Thanks.
Ayuh,.... Howdy Jim,... Just how much, on what sorta aluminum ya got in mind,....

Patchin' up an ole barge,..??
Weldin' motor castin's,..??
Buildin' stair railin's,..??
Structual,..??
Sheet metal work,..??

As ya know, Welders, 'n Cheap rarely fit well in the same sentence,...

Basic choices for aluminum are the solders, torched down,....
Tig welders, 'n Mig welders,...

The solders I haven't used,...
Tig would be nice for really thin stuff,...
'n of course, I've got a Mig, 'n have posted some stuff I've done with it,...

As for Tips,... Ya can't get aluminum Clean enough,...
Ya want a couple SSteel brushes for yer grinder, that have never been used on any metal, but Aluminum,...
Use that SSteel wire brush to clean the aluminum Just before ya weld it,...
If ya wire brushed it Yesterday, do it again, before ya weld,...
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:34 PM   #3
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Small amount of welding that needs to be done then far cheaper to take it to a real welding shop and have them do it for you.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... Howdy Jim,... Just how much, on what sorta aluminum ya got in mind,....

Patchin' up an ole barge,..??
Weldin' motor castin's,..??
Buildin' stair railin's,..??
Structual,..??
Sheet metal work,..??

As ya know, Welders, 'n Cheap rarely fit well in the same sentence,...

Basic choices for aluminum are the solders, torched down,....
Tig welders, 'n Mig welders,...

The solders I haven't used,...
Tig would be nice for really thin stuff,...
'n of course, I've got a Mig, 'n have posted some stuff I've done with it,...

As for Tips,... Ya can't get aluminum Clean enough,...
Ya want a couple SSteel brushes for yer grinder, that have never been used on any metal, but Aluminum,...
Use that SSteel wire brush to clean the aluminum Just before ya weld it,...
If ya wire brushed it Yesterday, do it again, before ya weld,...
This should be right down your alley since you are a mod on the Iboats forum. I am going to swap my camper for a pontoon boat and I am paranoid of water in the toons. I want to install a tire like valve stem in each one with a drain plug, just in case I get water in one, that is why I need to know how to weld aluminum. Do you think that is a good idea?
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:18 PM   #5
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Small amount of welding that needs to be done then far cheaper to take it to a real welding shop and have them do it for you.
You are probably right Joe, I just like to learn and do things myself.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:01 PM   #6
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if i were buying now, i have heard good things about these.
http://www.eastwood.com/tig-welders-...dc-welder.html

i have a MILLER DYNASTY 200DX. i haven't used it in years
i didn't have the less expensive options when i was buying.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
This should be right down your alley since you are a mod on the Iboats forum. I am going to swap my camper for a pontoon boat and I am paranoid of water in the toons. I want to install a tire like valve stem in each one with a drain plug, just in case I get water in one, that is why I need to know how to weld aluminum. Do you think that is a good idea?
Ayuh,..... Yer overly paranoid,....

Of the millions of 'toons out there, it's rarely a problem,.....

If weldin' on a 'toon, I could do it with my mig, but a tig would be better suited,....

My Starcraft blew out a chine a few years ago, 'n We fixed it with a mig, but it's painfully slow, as ya gotta spot weld yer beads, bein' such a thin base metal,....

To do what yer thinkin',.....
An aluminum conduit coupler could be cut down, 'n welded in for a drain plug, 'n the other 1/2 used to screw in a schrader valve, though it'd need to be bushed down to fit,...

But again, I think it's unnecessary,....

If the 'toons were torn all to 'ell, 'n this was a major cut-apart, tear-down, rebuild,...
Maybe I'd go the extra mile, 'n add the drain, 'n schrader valve,....
But that would be because I didn't trust my own welds,....
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:43 AM   #8
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Ayuh,..... Yer overly paranoid,....

Of the millions of 'toons out there, it's rarely a problem,.....

If weldin' on a 'toon, I could do it with my mig, but a tig would be better suited,....

My Starcraft blew out a chine a few years ago, 'n We fixed it with a mig, but it's painfully slow, as ya gotta spot weld yer beads, bein' such a thin base metal,....

To do what yer thinkin',.....
An aluminum conduit coupler could be cut down, 'n welded in for a drain plug, 'n the other 1/2 used to screw in a schrader valve, though it'd need to be bushed down to fit,...

But again, I think it's unnecessary,....

If the 'toons were torn all to 'ell, 'n this was a major cut-apart, tear-down, rebuild,...
Maybe I'd go the extra mile, 'n add the drain, 'n schrader valve,....
But that would be because I didn't trust my own welds,....
Thanks Bondo, that makes me feel better, well... kinda. At least I won't worry about sinking now, or worry about installing a drain and valve stem. What amazes me is how aluminum can hold up a 115 hp motor on a toon. Hopefully the pontoon won't be in too bad a shape when I get it.

I appreciate all the information fellows, I would still like to learn how to aluminum weld, just for the learning experience.
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:37 AM   #9
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Thanks Bondo, that makes me feel better, well... kinda. At least I won't worry about sinking now, or worry about installing a drain and valve stem. What amazes me is how aluminum can hold up a 115 hp motor on a toon. Hopefully the pontoon won't be in too bad a shape when I get it.

I appreciate all the information fellows, I would still like to learn how to aluminum weld, just for the learning experience.
Ayuh,... It's only a thousand miles or so,....

Stop on over, 'n I'll teach ya,.....
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:07 AM   #10
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Ayuh,... It's only a thousand miles or so,....

Stop on over, 'n I'll teach ya,.....
Thanks buddy, I appreciate the offer, don't think my ole truck would make it that far. LOL
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:45 PM   #11
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Ayuh,... Before I bought the Lincoln welder the size of a small car to weld aluminum,....

I was usin' one of These,.... had 2 of 'em, bought used on ebay,....

I built alota nice stuff outa aluminum with that rig, runnin' on ole dumptruck batteries,...
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:45 PM   #12
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Whether you need to worry about water in the pontoons will depend on the construction and condition of the pontoons. The welded construction pontoons are less susceptible to leaks then the riveted ones.

Some builders put threaded plugs on top of the pontoons. Water can be pumped out, siphoned out, etc.

I would be hesitant to put drain plugs into the pontoons bottoms. Any hole below the water line is a potential leak source.

Boats need drain plugs more for rain and spray than for leaks. Hopefully you don't have rain or spray entering your pontoons.

If your pontoons are the sealed type (no plugs) you still might think about holding off on adding plugs until you actually have a water leak. You can spot it by a change in trim, water dripping from the pontoons long after the boat and trailer have dried off, sounds of water sloshing, etc.

The two happiest days in your life are the day you buy a boat, and the day you sell it.
:-)
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:42 PM   #13
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The two happiest days in your life are the day you buy a boat, and the day you sell it.
:-)
lol

BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
Whether you need to worry about water in the pontoons will depend on the construction and condition of the pontoons. The welded construction pontoons are less susceptible to leaks then the riveted ones.

Some builders put threaded plugs on top of the pontoons. Water can be pumped out, siphoned out, etc.

I would be hesitant to put drain plugs into the pontoons bottoms. Any hole below the water line is a potential leak source.

Boats need drain plugs more for rain and spray than for leaks. Hopefully you don't have rain or spray entering your pontoons.

If your pontoons are the sealed type (no plugs) you still might think about holding off on adding plugs until you actually have a water leak. You can spot it by a change in trim, water dripping from the pontoons long after the boat and trailer have dried off, sounds of water sloshing, etc.

The two happiest days in your life are the day you buy a boat, and the day you sell it.
:-)
That is some good information, I hadn't thought about weld vs rivets, that is a real good point. I appreciate it.

Just a thought, could I use a propane torch to keep heating the aluminum while using another torch to do the actual welding? From what I am seeing, one problem is getting the aluminum up to heat and keeping it there with small torches, so if one torch is use to heat and one to actually weld, would that work?

A question, I have a 1985 88hp Johnson, runs great, the only problem I have is I can either get in in forward gear or reverse, not both. The fellow I got it from told me he didn't adjust the shift rod when he changed out the impeller, I tried to adjust the rod when I took the carbs off but it didn't work. Any suggestions?

One more, I have a problem with the electric choke, it seems to work, just not good enough to close all the way to choke it when cold. After it is warm I have no problems.

I know what you mean about buying and selling a boat, they are a very bad investment.
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Last edited by BigJim; 04-29-2015 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 04-30-2015, 01:31 PM   #15
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Jim, I don't think I can help on the shift rod adjustment. Last one I did on a similar sized engine was enough years ago, I can't even be positive of the make, much less the year of the motor. We had to use an adjustment length from the shop manual.

I would try an online forum similar to this.

http://www.marineengine.com/boat-for...Outboard-Forum
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