If you’re a new welder, you may like to check out and try new things; you should also know that aluminum comes in the second position after steel welding. If you want to be the best MIG welder, know about MIG welding aluminum without spool gun.
For gathering knowledge about that, I will tell you some primary things about a spool gun, how to weld it with gas or without gas, some specific welders, etc.
Remember, MIG welding on aluminum is very challenging, especially without a spool gun. It will be better if you have some knowledge and tips about it; moreover, you can skip unexpected accidents.
Table of Contents
What Is a Spool Gun Used for?
Have you ever thought about why a spool gun is so essential? The primary or you may say, the spool gun’s only purpose is to weld softer aluminum wires with better feeding and birds nesting.
It acts as a thin pistol with a trigger; you may use it for either HIT 140 or MMIG 140 because you can’t weld them with a regular MIG torch. However, if you want the best outcome with your aluminum welding, you should rely upon a spool gun.
Hobart 140 spool gun is one of the most famous spool guns, the number 140 indicates the aluminum wire’s thickness.
Read More: Can I Weld Aluminum With A MIG Welder?
Can You Weld Aluminum with a MIG Welder or Not?
Well, the answer is yes, you can weld aluminum with a MIG welder, especially the MIG welders from the Hobart brand are the best for aluminum welding. Aluminum welding is quite critical due to its soft and easy-bend nature.
Moreover, it quickly oxidizes in the open air; therefore, you need a quick wire welder or MIG welder to finish the aluminum arc welding correctly. If you don’t own a spool gun, you may use a suitable MIG welder for aluminum.
How to Weld Aluminum with MIG Welder?
Now, you must see the aluminum welding procedure with a MIG welder; follow these tips.
- Choose a suitable MIG welder or wire welder; it should be steady with actual speed. The welder will be a perfect alternative to a spool gun if it functions like a gun. But this accessory is costly, about 250-500$.
- Choose the right shielding gas for aluminum welding with an MIG welder because gas selection is essential. Balance the wire’s speed, or reduce the friction for proper welding; aluminum is a soft metal and quickly bends if the velocity is low. It changes the wire’s alignment, so take care of it.
It feeds better and puddles better if you maintain the correct speed and correct temperature. For instance, ER5356 welds well at a temperature below 150 F.
- Inspect your wire drive if it’s compatible with your aluminum wire or not; your welding’s correctness will depend on the drive’s speed. Clean your welder, wire drive, and roller well so that any contaminant doesn’t interrupt your welding. The primary pollutant of aluminum welding is dust steel.
- Keep the wire tension okay; not too much, or not too little. Too much or too much light pressure will lead the wire towards improper feeding and birds’ nesting.
- Lastly, try to put a non-metal liner while welding; especially, nylon is suitable for it. Nylon also helps to reduce the resistance; it ensures any error is not occurring.
- If you want your wire to be straight, keep the primary cable short and straightforward. Keeping the cable length below 12 feet; keeping it 6 feet is even better.
The cable length varies due to the MIG welder’s variations; some welders allow you to keep the distance between 12-18 feet.
Keep all those steps and tips in your mind while welding aluminum with MIG welder.
Suitable Gas for MIG Welding Aluminum
You already have known that shielding gas is a compulsory item for MIG welding; it protects your weld area from air and dust. People prefer neutral or inactive gases as a shielding gas, but CO2 and N2 are also acceptable.
But if we talk about aluminum, welders will prefer the neutral gas Argon the most. Do you know why they use Argon while welding aluminum? They use it because it doesn’t react with the metal and protects it from getting oxidized.
Argon gas is easygoing with aluminum and cost-effective in welding, so you should use Argon for MIG welding aluminum without a spool gun.
In the second position, we have helium, a nonreactive gas; you can’t use helium alone as a shielding gas. You must mix Argon and helium in the correct proportion and use the mixture for MIG aluminum welding.
Now, the question comes, can you weld aluminum without gas? Yes, you can; let’s see the MIG welding aluminum without the gas process:
How to MIG Weld Aluminum Without Gas?
You can do MIG welding aluminum without gas, but it will make you work hard; it’s not an easy task. If you think that shielding gas is very costly and you don’t want to use it, you may buy a flux-core wire for welding.
Buying a flux core will not make your task easy; you have to be extra careful and soft with your metal. You can only solder your aluminum with a flux core without gas; if you try to do anything else, it will get ruined.
Never think of welding aluminum without gas, especially Argon. If you want to save money, you may buy a cheap bottle of gas.
Ask yourself if you’re ready to take the challenging task of MIG welding aluminum without a spool gun or not. Be prepared with all the necessary equipment and skills you have to achieve your goal.
If you’re a hobbyist or part-time welder, I would suggest not trying aluminum welding as a beginner. In case you want to weld aluminum, practice it with a spool gun first.
Many professionals face failure in aluminum welding without a spool gun, so they also discourage doing it.