The process of joining two pieces of aluminum together using electrical current is called aluminum arc welding. A lot of heat is involved in this process – temperatures up to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit are regularly reached. The heat melts the filler rod that is being used to weld, as well as the metal that is being welded, causing them to fuse. Here are 6 pros and the 3 cons of using aluminum arc welding
NOTE: For arc welding aluminum you will need a DC welder because AC welders won’t work.
Pros of Aluminum Arc Welding
Portability - There are other welding processes available, but their equipment is not as portable as aluminum arc welding equipment. This means that you do not need to have a special workshop just so you can weld two pieces of metal together. You can just as well use it in your private workshop or garage, as long as you do it safely. Safety first when it comes to welding.
No inert gas needed - Unlike in MIG welding, there is no need for a shield gas in arc welding. It is troublesome to find inert gas in some places.
Can weld many other metals - Arc welding is very versatile in the number of metals and alloys it can weld – the list is extensive. You can weld most metals and alloys using it. Learn arc welding not just for aluminum, but for other metals too.
Don’t need much training - Aluminum arc welding is quite an easy skill to learn and master – non-professionals use it regularly without any major problems. The training you need to do aluminum arc welding can be learned as an amateur and you do not need to get a diploma to be able to do arc welding. Also, you can rent the arc welding equipment so you can practice at home and on your own time.
Speedier - The nature of aluminum arc welding requires you to work with speed otherwise you are likely to burn a hole through the metal itself, which happens a lot with aluminum because it has a low melting temperature. This means that you get to finish your jobs even quicker than with other weld processes.
Cons of Aluminum Arc Welding
Electrode requires replacement - The electrode at the tip of the welding gun needs replacing frequently while you do aluminum arc welding. The problem cannot be avoided; it is part of the process of arc welding. The replacing of the tip can be tricky and the electrode must be cool in order to replace the tip. This means that will have to wait a bit until you can replace the tip.
Removing the slag - After having completed a welding job using aluminum arc welding, you will often need to clean slag off the work piece. This can slow your job, by adding an extra step in the welding process.
High Current Needed - You need a lot of current to weld aluminum and the thicker the pieces you’re welding together the higher current needed. The higher the current needed the bigger a machine you have to buy. The cost of ramping up to bigger machine can be serious.
Risk with heat and light - Arc welding, by its very nature, is a process that generates and operates under a lot of heat and light. The welder needs to wear protective glasses and a good welding helmet whenever he or she is on the job. This keeps the welder protected from sparks as well as the light generated. With good safety habits the welder can avoid injury to self. Learn how to weld aluminum and read through some aluminum welding tips.