How to Weld Aluminum With a Spool Gun

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Welding aluminum with a MIG welder is difficult. This is due to the soft nature of aluminum filler wire, which easily kinks and binds within the MIG gun lead. The bird nests that result are difficult to clear from the MIG welder and you will lose a lot of wire with each cleared bird nest. To MIG weld aluminum, you need to bypass the long MIG lead by installing a spool gun. A spool gun holds a one-pound spool of aluminum filler wire, which rests directly on the MIG gun and eliminates the bird nests prone to standard MIG welding.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Welding gloves
  • Bottle of argon shielding gas
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Welding machine
  • Spool gun
  • One-pound spool of aluminum filler wire
  • Two pieces of aluminum
  • Welding table
  • Put on your safety glasses and welding gloves.

  • Remove the safety cap from the bottle of argon gas and quickly open and close the valve of the bottle to clear the valve of the bottle of argon gas.

  • Attach the gas flow meter of the welding machine to the threaded valve of the bottle of argon gas.

  • Tighten the gas flow meter nut with the adjustable wrench to seal the connection between the gas flow meter and the bottle valve.

  • Attach the spool gun to the welding machine as specified by the spool gun's operating manual.

  • Install the one-pound spool of aluminum filler wire into the spool gun.

  • Lay the two pieces of aluminum flat on the welding table, leaving a slight gap between the two pieces to allow the metal to pull during the welding process.

  • Put on your welding hood, attach the ground clamp of the welding machine to the welding table and align the tip of the spool gun with the gap you left between the aluminum sheets.

  • Lower your welding hood and press and hold the trigger of the spool gun for two seconds to tack the pieces of aluminum together.

  • Raise your welding hood, move the tip of the spool gun to the other end of the weld seam and repeat the process to create another tack weld in the weld seam.

  • Place the tip of the spool gun at the end of the tacked welding seam closest to you.

  • Press the trigger of the spool gun with your welding hood lowered; push the weld puddle along the weld joint. Do not push the weld puddle with the aluminum filler wire, as this will cause soot to form on the weld bead and cause excessive heat to build in the aluminum.

  • Allow the spool gun welded aluminum to cool thoroughly before handling, as the hot aluminum will create severe burns.

References

  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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