Best Welder for Aluminum (MIG/TIG)
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Best Welder For Aluminum
In its pure form, aluminum is a relatively soft metal with good ductility and high resistance to corrosion. Alloys are typically added to give it more structural rigidity, so most aluminum welding is done on aluminum alloys. Even with the added strength alloys give aluminum, the high thermal conductivity and a low melting point of aluminum alloys make it prone to distortion and burn-through during welding. Although aluminum can be joined by brazing and soldering, these have very limited applications. For welding aluminum, the most commonly used machines are MIG and TIG welders.
What type of welding machine do you need to weld aluminum?
Your best options boil down to MIG or TIG welders. Here’s a quick look at each:
TIG Welders for Aluminum
TIG welding is the preferred process for working with aluminum—especially thin aluminum. The high thermal conductivity and a low melting point of aluminum can lead to warping and burn-through if heat input isn’t carefully controlled. TIG welding aluminum is ideally suited for this. The welds they produce are not only strong, they also look great. It takes practice to get the consistent “stacked dimes” look on your welds, but with the right waveform setting, the right consumables, and good control of heat input it can be done. Having the right equipment is the first step, and Welders Supply can help with that.
Check out our welders, including:
- Miller Multimatic 220 AC/DC Multiprocess welder
- Millermatic 211 Autoset Mig Welder #907614 +FREE gloves +FREE helmet
Benefits of TIG welders for aluminum
- Strong, durable welds
- Provide optimal control of heat input
- Best looking weld beads of any welding process
Shop all TIG welders at Welders Supply
MIG welders for aluminum
There are many machines capable of MIG welding aluminum, and most also weld mild and stainless steel. However, welding aluminum with a MIG welder is trickier than welding steel because it requires more heat, and aluminum (especially thin gauge aluminum) is particularly susceptible to warpage and burn-through. For anything thinner than 14 gauge aluminum, you need a TIG welder. Even with thicker gauge aluminum, you need to move the gun quickly and develop a feel for when the weld puddle is getting too hot. MIG welders will work fine on heavy gauge aluminum, but for precision work on thinner aluminum, a TIG welder is recommended.
Benefits of MIG welders for aluminum
- MIG welding is about the easiest welding process to learn
- Works well for thicker gauge aluminum (16 gauge and up)
- Can weld faster with MIG process than with TIG
- Generally less expensive than TIG machines
Shop all MIG welders at Welders Supply
What About Stick Welders for Aluminum?
Yes, a stick welder can be used to weld aluminum, but even when used for welding thicker gauge aluminum it is a poor substitute for MIG or TIG welding. Not only is it difficult to control the heat input, but any welding process that uses a flux is prone to problems. Besides the difficulty of keeping the flux rods and wires free of atmospheric contamination, the welds often have such high porosity that they fail. Verdict: not recommended!
Not Sure Which Type of Welding Machine to Buy?
If you’re on the fence about which type of welder will work best for you, or have questions about a specific machine, free to email or call us. We can help you choose a welding machine that meets your needs and your budget.