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Old 09-27-2017, 07:20 PM
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Default Alum spool gun

I setup the old spool gun today to do some aluminum post mounts. Boss did not specify what process to use, so I decided to use the spool gun. Deep down, I know he did not like it, but he only told me to tig an inch in the inside when done before painting them.

Overall, I am pretty happy how I was getting them to come out. I have only used the spool gun maybe a dozen times over 12 years, so it is usually a learning experience each time.

The base plates were 3/8" alum plate, and the side plate were 1/4". I cut them so they were all 90 degree corner welds, so no beveling needed. These are going to be mounted to concrete by three 1/2" powers concrete bolts, and then a treated 6x6 will be cut down and mounted in the box and screwed in with GRK structural screws. Some sort of porch posts I think. All I really know is it is a rush job.

1st pic has the spool gun in the background.
2nd pic shows a fixture I made to try help keep the argon gas on the corner joint. I still had more black smoke than I would have liked though.
3rd pic before welding.
4th pic after welding.
5th pic wire brushed.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-27-2017, 07:22 PM
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Last pic of inside. I started to figure out how not to get a lot of burn through finally.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-27-2017, 07:44 PM
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Looks pretty damned good to me.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:11 PM
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"...he only told me to tig an inch in the inside when done before painting them."


And, the reason for this demand was what?
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadgeteer View Post
"...he only told me to tig an inch in the inside when done before painting them."





And, the reason for this demand was what?


I don't really know. I know I was getting 100% penetration and am not worried one bit about the welds holding.

My boss has always been against alum wire welding. Just because most all alum weld repairs that one in to fix welds are mig welds, he is of the opinion that is a bad process. Personally then I think that we then only see maybe 1 out 1000 welds out there that fail. And yes, those that we do see look like Fid's butt.

Now, I should give my boss some kudos here. He never did come down the stairs and inspected my welds, and I did not take one up for his inspection either. He did not throw a temper tantrum when he learned I used the spool gun, which I kinda inspected would happen. He just asked to tig the inside corner. I think mostly to make sure the top corner had some weld in the inside, and to make sure it was a small weld. Do to my experience with the spool gun, I think it was easier with the tig to get a small weld anyways.

The boss did not specify that I needed to use the tig to weld these up, but I made that call myself for several reasons.
1. These were a rush job for a customer that we will drop everything else for in order to keep happy. When he says jump, my boss will say how high.
2. The spool gun was faster than the tig process.
3. Our Syncrowave 350 is starved for power. It needs a new power input. It fed only by a 100 amp breaker, and to max it out it should have 140 amps to it for full potential. I knew the this heavy alum would need that to make it quick, otherwise it was going to be a long process. I would have to preheat the parts, and I do need to work on my patience part. If we had some helium, that would have made a world of difference.
4 .I wanted the mig practice. I decided that this should be the most effective and efficient way to do the job. And I have caught a lot of flak in the past for not realizing the most efficient way. "Sometime you should stick weld Stainless instead of tig welding. Tig is the most expensive process." Says the boss. I say depends on the weld, where it's at, and is it going to be seen. Is cleanup an issue, or is it buried?

Anyways, I am happy the boss did not challenge me too much.


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Old 09-28-2017, 07:39 AM
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I mig weld most any aluminum over 1/8" in my shop unless a customer demands otherwise. I have the same input power issue plus I just can't justify it. In my mind wire feed is the perfect process for those.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:09 PM
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Some finish pictures. I had to put some paint on them for really no good reason. Boss said just use whatever color we had in the one flavor we are starting to use more. So puke green it was!
You should be able to see one of the first welds where I really melted through, and the later ones where I was a little better with little to no burn through. The carpenters can shave a little off the corners of their post to make them fit. Easier than me grinding it out with a die grinder.
I learned a lot. It might have been a break even job on time vs the tig, but next time I will be a lot faster with the mig, as long as I get to do it within the time limit of my mind remembering what to do. I say it was a win win.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:57 PM
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Looks good.. My question is what kind of sanity is there with alum against concrete? The alum will last about 3 years and it will be dissolved into nothing..

Or did I read it wrong..
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:39 PM
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Default Alum spoil gun

Quote:
Originally Posted by allessence View Post
Looks good.. My question is what kind of sanity is there with alum against concrete? The alum will last about 3 years and it will be dissolved into nothing..



Or did I read it wrong..


Job security to make them again? The powers that be probably wanted alum because it will not rust. Probably should have been stainless steel, but I am just the guy doing the work. Boss takes care of deciding the material with the customer. I get in trouble if I try to help too much.

Usually nothing that we make for this customer will show when he is done. Everything will be covered by wood. These will probably about 12" square posts when done.

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  #10  
Old 09-28-2017, 09:30 PM
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Okay, I don't know what an "alum spoil gun" is but I couldn't stand it any longer.
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