Have you ever wanted to weld some aluminum, just to discover the cost of a new MIG/TIG welder is a little too expensive? Don’t forget about the tank of shielding gas you are going to have to buy. As you may remember, from those late night infomercials, Alumaloy could be the answer. It is an easy way to weld aluminum, with no flux or shielding gas, and only requires an inexpensive tank of propane or MAPP gas, easily purchased at your local hardware store. Then again, there is always JB Weld for those down and dirty connections.
Alumaloy is available from several online vendors, some seem a bit sketchy, so you might want to just pick some up from ebay express – Link.
17 thoughts on “Aluminum welding, on the cheap”
You can get the Bernzomatic version of this product at Home Depot in the welding/soldering section. It’s more expensive, but it comes in a two stick pack, great for small jobs, or just to try it out. See http://www.bernzomatic.com/bernzomatic/consumer/jhtml/detail.jhtml?prodId=BernzoProd100064
I’ve used both, I picked up the Alumaloy at a R/C show, and the Bernzomatic when I ran out, and needed just a bit more. I thought the Alumaloy was a little easier to work with, but they were both pretty good. Worked great for repairing aluminum R/C car and boat parts. Make sure to get a dedicated SS brush to clean parts.
I remember asking at HD for some, or something similar, and they had no idea what I was talking about and I never found any. I really was in a pinch and needed just a tiny bit for a quick repair. I had to wait a week to get some from the net.
I am going to go back and look for the Bernzomatic kind. Thanks!
They have very cheaply produced infomericals about this stuff on the UHF channels from time to time. It’s mostly an amateurish video of them fixing stuff, but it looks like it works really well. They fix an aluminum rowboat with a torn support, and a shorn aluminum motor mount. They even tap the motor mount after it’s cooled – looks like really cool stuff.
Alumalloy and similar products are actually a solder — you’re not melting the base material when you use it. Think of it as brazing rod for aluminum. That said, this is good stuff, and frequently used in repairing boat and sports equipment, but requires that the aluminum oxide layer and other contaminants be thoroughly cleaned from the surface to be soldered. Many of the kits include a stainless steel brush (to avoid brush-based contamination of the base material) for the purpose.
I agree with madscott… It’s not actually welding, it’s BRAZING. Now, brazing is fine for many applications, especially when you have two dissimilar metals. But yeah… These are brazing rods, and should be used with a brazing torch and flux!
I didn’t think you could MiG weld aluminum.
Sure you can. Just switch to aluminum wire and change to pure CO2 gas. Settings are in the chart printed on the welder (Hobart Handler 190 in my case). I’m not saying the results will match TIG, but you can do it.
Is this the same as “Silver Solder”? Or is a different product?
And I think this would be considered Aluminum Brazing, not Welding.
SuperJDynamite- You can MIG aluminum, I use 4043 aluminum filler metal. However, TIG seems to get cleaner welds, and is more fun!
You guys are correct, this is not welding. The joining process below 840’F is brazing (or soldering) and above is welding.
You CAN MIG weld aluminum. It’s actually pretty nice, and a whole lot easier than using a TIG torch. TIG is a whole lot cleaner and more precise though. It all depends on what you need to do.
This is not welding, and I don’t even consider it brazing. It is more of a solder. It has a place, but understand what it is and its limitations. You don’t need Tig or Mig to weld aluminum. Gas welding is easy and is just as effective. Check out http://www.tinmantech.com .Also make sure you know what alloy you are dealing with. Some are not weldable
For those people who prefer to buy from a well known supplier, you can find aluminum brazing rods here:
Here is a discussion of welding/soldering/brazing:
In a nutshell, temp > 850°F, it’s brazing, below that it’s soldering. I grew up in a family that did this stuff all the time (steamfitter who owned a hardware store). Aluminum solder was not well regarded.
i’ve used this stuff before to fix cracked water-pump housings on autos. I does what it’s intended to do, sticks stuff together. however, i’ve found the stuff to be kind of brittle. the part will break again if you try to bend it at the joint, right along the connection. it’s fine for parts that will not be under much stress or load, but take it to a welding shop if you need a solid connection!
Does anyone know what the metals are in these solder/brazing rods? I’m hoping to repair a broken aluminum boiler off of an old Gaggia espresso machine. Of course I’m concerned with the notion that I might be using something toxic to make the repair & then dissolve it in hot water and drink it with my morning brew…
OK- I got impatient and answered my own question. After a bit of googling, I found an MSDS at the alumite site. The proportions are a trade secret, but the ingredients are Magnesium, Tin, Aluminum and Copper. Sounds safe enough, so I’ll try it on my espresso boiler. BTW, their site has reasonable prices and a good explanation of why it works, so I ordered from them http://www.alumite.com/order.htm. It looks like alumite is a brand name for Kapp Alloy & Wire, which also has good information on their site (No “secret formula” answers.
will the product work on a cracked auto rim? I have a mig wire feed but realize it will just cook the aluminum.
I still know nothing because of the article’s slim information, but let me guess, it’s not welding.
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