View Full Version : Aluminium Welding - Difficult or Different?

5th Nov '09, 18:03
Hi all,

I'm designing a product which has a fair amount of welding in it, so my immediate instinct was to plump for steel. But Iím trying to reduce the weight, and so would like to consider aluminium.

I think I know the theory of aluminium welding (scrape the oxide layer off with a wire brush and weld it really quick using a heat sink), but would like to know if anyone has an experience of welding aluminium and if it really is harder, and or more expensive, and is there anything i need to be aware off when designing with it in mind?

5th Feb '10, 03:56
The biggest issue you need to be aware of with welding aluminum is its effect on the temper of the aluminum. With some aluminum alloys this is an issue (e.g. 6061 and 7075). These are considered to be age hardening alloys. Other alloys it is not an issue (e.g 1100 and 3004). They are work hardening alloys. Yes, there are aluminum alloys that should not be welded (e.g. 2024).

TIG and MIG welding is done all the time with aluminum. Any professional welder worth this welding equipment will be able weld aluminum with not problems.

Proper design of your weld joints and taking into consideration the material property change that can occur will allow you to create a structure using aluminum. If necessary the Age hardening alloys can be brought back up to full strength with proper heat treatment.

For more information look in your friendly "Machinery's Handbook. No Design Engineer should be without one.

Niel Leon
Unicorn Technical Services
Bringing your Vision to Reality

9th Feb '10, 22:12
Are you welding it yourself? Welding, no matter what material, can be extremely upsetting for you if you have never done it. If not, find a sheet metal shop that works with aluminum, it shouldnt be hard at all for them.

11th Feb '10, 16:07
Welding myself?! Don't be daft - had a go at brazing while at uni, and failed utterly to achieve anything other than two bits of hot metal and several burnt fingers!

No, in this case, I anticipate the client will want a prototype fabricated by proper paid technicians in the university workshop, with the full production item being trialled by UK manufacturers before being out sourced to our good friends in China.

Thanks for the info on the different alu' alloys! Very useful stuff and all noted!

11th Feb '10, 16:13
For more information look in your friendly "Machinery's Handbook. No Design Engineer should be without one.

I've had a look on Amazon at this book and it's pocket equivalent, and I noticed that it's published in New York. Would this mean that the measurements / clearances etc are in imperial rather than metric?

Looking through the index on-line, the book looks brilliant, so can anyone recommend a similar book in metric?

11th Feb '10, 17:16
get the machineries handbook, there is tons of metric info in there... also look at this "black book"
www.sowatool.com/catalogue/pdfs/Precisi ... 47-648.pdf (http://www.sowatool.com/catalogue/pdfs/PrecisionTools/p647-648.pdf) ∑

check amazon for both books used, might save a shilling or two...