A viewer from Connecticut has asked for help welding aluminum with AHP’s Alpha TIG 200X. So Kevin grabs two pieces of scrap aluminum box tubing. He recommends buzzing them off with a wire wheel, then taking a dedicated stainless steel brush to remove any contamination from the area you’ll be welding. You will get some cleaning action by the AC balance on the TIG welder that also breaks through any oxidation on the metal, but why not clean it the best you can.
Next Kevin talks about setting up the machine for TIG aluminum welding. The first switch is set to TIG [CORRECTION: NOT “TUNGSTEN” AS IN VIDEO] as opposed to stick. You set the next switch to AC, as opposed to DC. Because he likes to use the trigger, he has the next switch set to 4T, rather than 2T, which you select to use the foot pedal. The next switch is set to straight welding, as opposed to pulse, and the last switch is set to trigger control instead of foot pedal. As for amperage, he has the starting amperage set to 27, but on this model, you currently have to have the 4T/2T switch set to 2T to have the starting amperage setting show properly on the display. So Kevin temporarily switches to 2T to check the setting, then switches back to 4T so he can use the trigger. He has the main amps set to 60, and ignores pulse control, because it is turned off. The ending amps are set at approximately the same as the starting amps. Again, though, on this version of this model, the ending amps don’t display – this problem will be fixed on the machine that will come out in 2014.
Next, Kevin shows the welding torch. He is using a #7 cup, has about a 1/4″ stick out, and is using an E3, 3/32″ tungsten sharpened almost to a point – he likes his tungsten a little blunt on the end. Now he’s ready to grab his welding helmet and make some sparks! He gets the puddle started and warms up the metal a little, dabbing the filler rod into the puddle as he goes. As the metal warms up, he can finally start running the bead.
After he runs the bead, he explains that, once you see the metal turn liquid, you need to start moving your tungsten because you don’t want the metal to melt through. He advises watching for the aluminum to go from the cold aluminum color to a little molten and shiny, then you start adding your filler, moving your tungsten slowly until the metal warms. Then you can start feeding your filler and getting your bead going. The heat starts building up as you progress. Kevin says that, if he was using the foot pedal, he’d start backing off the amperage a little as the metal heats up. When using the trigger, he simply speeds up his forward movement and his feed to compensate for the extra build up of heat.