Welding aluminum boats is not that easy as it sounds. Rather the task is a bit tricky and more technical than stick welding. As aluminum has an oxide layer, it becomes sensitive while welding.
Among the professionals, aluminum boats are on the top for being durable. Also, it has properties that can resist unwanted rust casued by water. According to CNBC, aluminum crafted or coated products have been dominating the US market for a long time . And surely, Boat makers always remain vigilant when choosing the best metal.
The boat makers mostly use the 5000 aluminum to make boats that prefer Gas Tungsten Arc Welding(GTAW), also known as the TIG welding method, to give the best finish. However, the TIG welding method is the most advanced and needs proper instruction to perform it.
The steps about how to weld aluminum boats in the further discussion will give you an organized guideline to approach your goal.
Can An Aluminum Boat be Welded?
Yes, the aluminum boats can be welded but not in the traditional way. The advanced welding processes like TIG(Tungsten Insert Gas) and MIG(Metal Insert Gas ) one needs to use when welding boats. Also, the proper welder for aluminum boats is a must for welding boats. The 5000 aluminum is used mainly in boats, a strong kind of aluminum that is also heavily coated. So, a high amount of heat will be needed to weld an aluminum boat.
What Kind Of Welding Do I Need To Weld Aluminum?
The two kinds of welding that are preferable to weld aluminum are the TIG(Tungsten Insert Gas) and MIG(Metal Insert Gas ) welding. The TIG process, not wire or metal, is used, but there is a tungsten like in the light bulbs that can endure high heat and doesn’t melt. TIG welding process needs Alternating Current(AC) for better output. This process of welding is most ideal and precise for boat welding.
Another efficient process of welding aluminum is MIG which is quite like the tig but uses metal wire in the place of the tungsten. The MIG welding machine feeds with the will, which is recoiled earlier and forwards the welding process. This welding can be done with Direct Current(DC). However, carbon dioxide used in this process needs to be ignored when working with aluminum because aluminum can’t handle the reaction of the gasses.
How to Weld Aluminium Boat
Here are the desired steps to how to weld an aluminum boat. All the steps we have organized here are focused on TIG Welding. Let’s proceed:
Step 1: Prepare Your Tools and Safety Gears
Before you start your work on the aluminum boat, you will need some tools handy. The tools you need are safety glasses, brass brush, face shield, leather gloves, and filler rods. Those tools and safety gears are the must ones to proceed on your action.
Step 2: Set Up The Machine
Once you are ready with the tools and safety gear, it is time to set up the machine. Get your welding machine in AC mode as it is required for TIG welding. AC mode is used for high-frequency power delivery as more heat is needed for aluminum welding.
Step 3: Prepare the Tungsten
It is an essential part. However, do not get confused with thorinated or lacinated tungsten. Both will work okay! If you are working on a congested area like the T-joints, use the thorinated tungsten. And, if working on repairing holes, you can use lacinated tungsten. Also, it will be okay if you turn on the machine for two seconds in DC mode. A ball will form in the tungsten’s head, which will give you a smooth working experience.
Step 4: Brush The Surface
Now it is time to use the brass brush. Take the meeting and clean the oxidization of the welding area; otherwise, the result will be devastating. Remember, aluminum oxidizes faster than other metals. So, brush the area precisely before you start the welding. If you brush earlier, it will be of no use, and you have to repeat it.
Step 5: Start Welding
Since everything is in its place, put on the safety glasses and face shielding and start welding. Keep in mind; aluminum absorbs heat faster, so slow operation can melt the surface except for joining it. In this case, use the filler rod in the welding point to keep the welding surface on support.
Step 6: Finish and polish
Welding is done! Now it time to finish and polish the area. Also, keep an eye on if any leak has to remain unwelded as it is a boat. Any leak can be disastrous. Finally, polish the welded area to make it smooth, and you are all good to go.
The Do’s and Don’t of Aluminum Boat Welding
Although you have gone through all the steps of how to weld an aluminum boat. Still, there are some you need to keep in mind when doing the task. Some of the do’s and don’t during the welding process are:
- Always keep the surface clean no matter how much time it takes. Otherwise, you will be left with some strained black welding in the place of shining joints.
- If you need to cut any part of the welding surface, cut it precisely before you start the welding; otherwise, the surface will oxidize.
- Use solvent to clean the oils and grease in case of repairing.
- Do not cut the aluminum with grinder machines as they damage the edges and leave them with imperfections.
- Prevent using CO2 gasses as the aluminum is not strong enough to endure the reactivity.
- Never use greasy clothes to clean the surface.
- Keep off using compressed air for cleaning as they leave the surface moisture, which can be dangerous when connected with electricity.
Is Welding Aluminum Possible Without Gas?
It’s a no! The TIG and MIG welding processes use gas to keep the welding area oxygen-free during welding. As short circuits happen in there, the non-reactive type of gasses is used like co2 and argon. To prevent unwanted events, the gasses are used as protective layers.
Since it’s not possible to weld aluminum with traditional stick welding or flux core and the other two processes need gas, so it is not possible to weld aluminum without gas.
Can You Weld Aluminum with MIG?
Absolutely, MIG welding is the second efficient way to weld aluminum after TIG welding. But you need to confirm the supply of electricity and the speed of the filler string is in the same ratio, and the gas used in the process must have to be 100% Argon.