There are two main methods of learning how to weld aluminum, first you have aluminum mig welding and second is aluminum tig welding.
Tig welding aluminum is regarded more as a finishing weld where minimum clean up is desired and a showroom finish is the result.
Basically tig welding aluminum requires more skill than mig welding as it’s a two handed operation. Errors in how to weld aluminum can be reduced by proper tuition in the way of setting up equipment for specific joints to be welded. Recent Commentsjoel on How To Tig Welddennis_phillips7 on Help – how to weld metal bars into shelves?Anonymous on how to start a weld with a arc welder or a wire feed welder.?
See that your machine OCV (open curcuit voltage) is on par or higher than the requirement of the CO2 welding wire manufacture spec. Another trick welding aluminium is to remove all oxidation on the alu where you want to weld with sandpaper or file before welding it. From experience I have found that it is easier to push the weld rather than pulling it as an arc weld.
Originally Posted by Wynand N Another trick welding aluminium is to remove all oxidation on the alu where you want to weld with sandpaper or file before welding it.
Location: Wasilla Alaska One of my Sign guy customers just bought the Lincoln your talking about getting. Location: Western Australia For what it is worth, I will throw in my opinion here as well. The 260 amp machine was big enough, but on a couple of the heavier welds I had it on maximum settings. It sounds as though some of the people writing in this thread are learning alloy welding as they go. If you are making MIG welds without this sort of testing you are risking wasting a large quantity of expensive alloy. Location: Western Australia Yes, I designed it specifically to give good performance between 5 and 15 knots, as I have a place on a river area where there is a lot of concern about wake damage.
I have just towed the boat 500 miles north to a place called Shark Bay and it towed very well at 50 to 60 mph. It is not perfect, as the broad quarters are inclined to lift in a following sea and some active steering input is required in long seas.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. I don't know that power supply well, but MIG for any part of the hull is fine IF the welder can weld. MIG below the waterline is fine in aluminum boats, TIG is OK for corners and tie-ins and for locations that might have multiple thicknesses coming together in the weld zone, but overall its not very efficient because its generally slow.
The high heat results from the speed of travel of the welding process, inches per minute compared to feet per minute with a MIG torch.
TIG's heat control is at the puddle level, right there at the tip of the tungsten you can add more or less heat not true with MIG where you have to move much more rapidly and control is harder adjust in any single puddle.
You might say that MIG is like driving a car using only the steering wheel -no gas pedal or gear shift. Spool guns are fine but there are some very tight corners they simply won't fit into and still allow you to see the arc and weld. If a man has an experience that seems to run counter to anothers' experiences, that first guy most often won't be able to rely too heavily on the second's experience. You may have had some leaks and that leads you to believe all welded aluminum boats are leakers, but having built a few myself, welding every inch, I don't have the same experience.
I agree that some places NDE is useful but all the welded aluminum hulls I've built were MIG inside and MIG outside and didn't have any testing besides launching.
There were also many boats that were open bottom and no way, except die, to test the welds and they didn't leak- so I can't see spending time with dye.
I may not be smart for doing it this way- but since I haven't had any leaks in the few hundred welded boats I've built, from 10' to 42' I don't see the need to spend time die testing. I may be a fool by your experience, but it seems more foolish to me spending time tie testing when I know the quality of the welds; they are tight. Now as to grinding off MIG weld- that is not accepted practice in welded aluminum single pass welds, and it can expose a root porosity that is native to Aluminum MIG making the weld subject to crater cracking or flexure failure by notches. If the bead will be sanded off, then a butt seam backer should be used and the weld put down in lifts or passes. I like TIG and use it often, wouldn't be without it, in fact; I prefer to TIG weld over all other welding processes. Here is the TIG gun I use on the Miller Dynasty 300DX, rigged for steel, and the welds I do in aluminum with this torch.
MIG for long hull seems is fine, and widely used by all the major builders without any NDE testing without any problems or leaks. TIG is great and I pressure test all tanks and air voids in all boats and use TIG to float closed the pressure leaks, but 99% of all [my] leaks are in the keyhole welds of the decks or tank tops. Location: Holbrook NY Thank you for setting the record on welded aluminum boats. Location: Holbrook NY They boat looks like the boat that Kevin built for his wife. The TIG gun is easy to use once you have converted, mainly because its two handed welding compared to both hands separated -torch and dip rod.
I find it much easier to use than hand torch and dip rod because I'm more steady and don't weld regularly -unfortunately. In structural pipe welding - like towers and railings it will have many more times an interference issue than open hull and tank work, so it may not be as helpful for everyone's work as it is for mine. As to controlling the torch, I get into the weld zone with the tungsten close enough to light and pull the trigger, holding it on. After I have a little wet spot I add some wire by rolling the other wheel a bit and the wire feeds to the puddle and I'll generally add some heat and wire once or twice more in small taps of the two controls to get to the puddle size and shape I want. This takes 5 to 10 seconds then I weld with both hands stabilizing the torch steadying the entire cup and electrode with the back of my left hand as I would with a MIG torch. Just like hand torch work with a pedal but I can walk and bend and reach overhead without moving the pedal or bothering with a slider on my torch hand. I don't know any right handed welder who ever went back to a hand torch from this gun once they'd spent a few hours getting the feel.

Like any specialized tool it takes time to make the tool 'yours' but it does bring very high levels of productivity to TIG by comparison to a hand torch. Aluminium Boat Building is becoming more popular and for many is the ideal substance to design your dream boat.
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Please enter at least one email addressYou are trying to send out more invites than you have remaining. The maker's recommendation is to move the footing (four metal studs) for the existing straight engine mount, 17cm to the side. Where I live there are far more light metal fabricators than FRP shops, and I'm not strongly tempted by the thought of cutting into the plastic monocoque just to end up with an assymetric motor position.
The existing aluminum motor mount is a straight shot in 5cm x 3cm rectangular-section aluminium.
My measurements today suggest I've got a gap at full helm that a 40mm or 45mm section will comfortably get through without having to take too long a path sideways. The system is still twin-rudder - the previous pintles being replaced by gudgeons that use those same mountings. The four screws are for mounting a rowlock for a sculling oar - removed by the previous owner, I guess. Location: Hampshire UK I've checked out the two designs of rudder attachment on that boat so I now understand the change. Yes, I'd forgotten about that option - easier to draw and easier to build: and I realise now I haven't taken the measurements for it. Overall, I'm planning to keep the mounting point in the same position relative to the hull.
Equally a little light heat (local annealing) on the 'hinge' area won't hurt when persuading it. Location: Pacific Yes, another aspect is sail balance - we're fine in 15 knots, but at 25 it'd take a well-oiled crew and a braver man than me to get out the gennaker.
In the Mark 1, the owner set up the toe-in post-delivery (two-part control arm with one pole inside another; electrical tape) and it's the same with the new setup, this time by rotating the control arm on each side on the threaded attachment to the tiller. Looking at the second sketch again, I see I do have the measurements for the overhang of the tiller arm at dead-ahead: it's 28mm out to the pivot plus 214mm to the outboard end = 242mm. If the motor bracket is an L shape rather than flat plate + ply block, you can come up much more vertically with the rectangular tube and it will still give enough support. Another solution is a topside brace that drops in like a rudder on pins but may need wing nuts to tighten.
It may also be possible to fold the rear mount plate if it is thin enough but be aware of the resulting radius. Location: Pacific Some more focussed CAD drawing and I now have this (attached). Bringing the tube up inboard of the control arms doesn't give a better angle out to the engine mounting plate. Location: Hampshire UK Personally, looking at the side elevation on the right hand side, I would have put the L bracket the other way up.
I do want to adapt to what stock extrusions the fabricators have, though, so I'm not thinking anything's final yet. The drawings are actually 3D models with rough rendering only, modelled in Rhino with render using Flamingo plug in. The horizontal strut is a 3mm, 70 x 30 extrusion; the standing strut is cut from 3mm sheet and bent into a U, with a rear side cut, bent and welded in. Tig welding should not be considered a weaker weld than with a mig as the fusion obtained is in effect superior to mig welding aluminum. Tig welds are suited to lighter gauge metal and is used in the manufacture of items such as bicycle frames and food preparation equipment. Factors such as a lower melting point than normal metals, an oxide coating present on milled aluminum and its high thermal conductivity all lead to welding problems unless you have the knowledge to set up equipment and prepare for welding aluminum. This includes choice of aluminum shielding gas, selecting the correct current options for the welder and the right wire feeds for mig.  Also preparation of the work to be welded and using the correct technique for the job. Lucie, FL New to welding Aluminum I was on earlier about MIG machines and you all warned me against buying a cheap machine.
Because of the torch nozzle size, it is easier to see where you are welding and it produce a better looking weld. You can remove the closed-pore oxidation (old and foggy), and it would be replaced by an open-pore oxide layer (new and shiny). I have built several steel and wooden vessels over the last 20 years but designed and built my first alloy (28 feet) boat two years ago.
This was when welding 5mm plate to 10mm flat bar for the chine weld and 28mm round bar to 5mm plate on the stem.
Helium mixtures are better for high penetration in thicker material and being lighter are also better for overhead welding.
It should be degreased and sanded clean of all old mill scale before assembly and it should also be wire brushed with a clean stainless steel wire brush immediately before welding. The spool gun might be OK, but if I had used one, I would have to build the boat differently, beacuse I don't think I could have got the bulkier unit into all the places I did. Lucie, FL Thanks for that; I am going to take a MIG course in the next semester. It is not very efficient above 20 knots, as it causes a lot of turbulence as the water tries to follow the twist or warp in the hull. The mark 2 version that I am just finishing the desig for, will hopefully fix this problem. On this page you can view photos of the quality welding that goes into every aluminum boat we make.
I'd say if there were any metal boat that had weld leaks the person doing those welds wasn't qualified to do that work? So, net heat, all-up energy imparted to the metal is less with MIG because the weld deposition rate [travel speed] is higher when compared to most unmechanized TIG.

Some other physical arrangements make the pistol type [Spool] gun more useful than push pull- it depends; I prefer the slimmer push pull type for all welding. This means there would be root pass where the two butted [gapped] parent metal hull panels were fused to the fully consumed and permanent backer in one uphill 'hot pass'.
But it still takes a lot longer, and I'm using a cold wire feed gun that is much faster than anyone can hand feed dip rod when I say that, and have welded for more than 6k hours of aluminum. I do agree with you that nobody sands off the weld bead crown of single pass Aluminum welds unless they're inexperienced or uniformed. Boat Building Plywood Options There are many reliable resources that you can find online where you can buy plans for boat building plywood. Aluminum boat building plans are easily the plan of choice if you want to build a boat that's built to last.
Hard to make out the detail from available shots, but assume its hunky dory if they haven't exploded. If you have a good fabricator he may also have access to an anodising facility, 20-25 microns would be enough, though it is not strictly necessary to anodise. Very crude, lazy effort on my part but the 3D model is accurate and real world size to your application. Mig welding aluminum is more industrial than tig welding in a way that it is quick and easy for many structural applications such as aluminum boat building. Mig welding aluminum requires less finesse however and is more suited to large scale manufacturing and maintenance. I bought the heaviest single phase (240 volt) machine available, which was a 260 amp machine with push feed on a 10 foot stinger.
The oxide on alloy melts at a much higher termperature than the metal and if you do not get rid of it it will sit in the weld in flakes and weaken the weld. Although this style is not my forte, I know what it takes in the design, developing, and construction aspects, to get a finished aluminum boat to look this nice. Yes, you can curve this type of section with rollers and it is possible if the fabricator has a suitably large set.
That way the box section is sealed inside differently and acts as a gusset support vertically (transom side) for you.
I would solve the water trap problem with a couple of limber holes (as in plan view) and also ensure slight local raising of the ply so water does drain and not rot it.
The chop into the box for the plate keeps good integrity too, I can see why it has got there.
I have held off on this particular welder because I am still unsure of it's ability to handle the stock I generally use. I appreciate the offer of the spool guns but I had better hold off until I settle on something for a powerhead. The suppliers all looked very doubtfull that this was a big enough machine for what I wanted, but I did not want to go for a 440 volt three pahse machine, as this would limit its resale value. Because MIG is a semi-automatic process, machine settings and weld procedures are critical.
With new plate material you can get away with just the wire brush but with weathered plate and all extrusions you have to sand or grind the mill scale off. Top speed empty has been around 15 knots and she cruises very comfortably in any sea conditions at 13 to 14 knots at about 10 to 12 litres per hour consumption. Most boats in Western Australia are designed to go 40 miles offshore and come back the same day.
Well fabricated aluminum hulls are made to order then painted to your color selection as standard equipment. Too thin (too slim a section), too narrow front to back, not enough glass (my own gut feel) along with too light a foam or core material in the head area.
You don't want to see little stress fractures, if you do, then two pieces is a better solution. I suspect the V notch or butted 2 section solution will be easier and OK, even acceptable visually given the constraints of the new tiller arrangement.
It is a more awkward chop in the box section, but doable and the weld area is longer but working over a better area for you. Now, what will hurt your weld is oil, dirt, the white residue that is left during oxidation, etc. If you make a bad weld in alloy, you will not know until it fails, which could be catastrophic.
Though my goals are much more modest and my welding will be mainly in fabrication on trailers and other gear. We use 5 mm aluminum sheets for most of the sides and hull bottom heavy hitting areas if the hull we double up on the hull thickness as can be seen in hull photos of our aluminum boat models.
Use the same guage as you already have for the end plates especially for the keyholed part. If I were commercial I wound not hesitate but as a hobbyist I think my wife might think about murder.
In a MIG welding course, you are taught what causes a wedl to be rejected for visual faults and whwn you are making welds that pass visual inspection you are taught how to cut the weld test piece up and acid etch it to see just how good it is inside.
Just a note that the Lincoln 175 turns out to be a lower end model built for the mass market and the price jumped to $617 so I bought a new Hobart Handler 180 from Airgas. Allmand boats builds and sells aluminum boats at affordable prices and will match our quality to any name brand selling for higher prices. It is also possible the rudders slipped out of being parallel or out of any toe in as set up by the yard, resulting in extra stress.
If in doubt a small gusset could be welded inside the V but I doubt it will be necessary unless you up the motor weight. If this worlks, you note down all the machine settings in a procedure and use then settings next time you make this kind of weld. Material could be 6082 T4 (one of the stiffest alloys you can get off the shelf) preferably treated after welding to restore tensile strength.
This can be quite important as the treatment can double the tensile strength of the same alloy.

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