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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Norwood-ish, Adelaide
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    54
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    Default Welding Al castings for non-welders

    Every so often someone asks if an aluminium cast part can be welded up (I think we have had at least 2, perhaps 3 in the last 6 months). I found this video today that shows the difficulties and quality of result that can occur while welding a casting.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p62Cyqe714Q
    This guy is one of the better welding sources on Youtube and his skill level and knowledge is pretty good, so if he is having trouble...
    Anyway, thought I'd post it just to show members who don't weld why there is not a queue of people waiting to repair their castings.

    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Murray Bridge S Aust.
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    67
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    Thanks for this Michael. He's certainly doing a dam fine job with what he has to work with. Little wonder they charge what they do trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
    I've had it where the porosity of the parent metal actually comes up through the weld metal. It's repaired but looks like CRAP.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Norwood-ish, Adelaide
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    54
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    Default

    I've had castings that weld reasonably well, but some have been terrible. In a way, it is nice to see that my experience is shared.
    A lot of the time I think the better (stronger, more reliable) way to repair a broken casting like that is to machine up a new one from solid.

    Anyway, I think it a great example of the problems that can arise in a 'simple repair'. Before starting to weld Al, I would have wondered what the issue was and why it was so difficult too...

    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    4,019

    Default

    Thanks Michael,

    I have only ever needed one aluminium casting repaired (a splash guard for my surface grinder) and I out-sourced that job to the local steel supply/fabrication place. I had a good report with the owner and he looked after me with odd jobs like that. He has since sold the business to one of the workers (who I also have a good relationship with) but given he probably had to heavily invest in the business, I think that level of good will has evaporated!

    Bottom line is, it may be time I re-visited the idea of trying my own aluminium welding. It's timely because I am in the process of restoring a Gilbro combination table saw/planar that has a cast aluminium guard that needs repair!

    Simon
    Girl, I don't wanna know about your mild-mannered alter ego or anything like that." I mean, you tell me you're, uh, super-mega-ultra-lightning babe? That's all right with me. I'm good. I'm good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Australia east coast
    Age
    66
    Posts
    2,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by simonl View Post
    Thanks Michael,

    I have only ever needed one aluminium casting repaired (a splash guard for my surface grinder) and I out-sourced that job to the local steel supply/fabrication place. I had a good report with the owner and he looked after me with odd jobs like that. He has since sold the business to one of the workers (who I also have a good relationship with) but given he probably had to heavily invest in the business, I think that level of good will has evaporated!

    Bottom line is, it may be time I re-visited the idea of trying my own aluminium welding. It's timely because I am in the process of restoring a Gilbro combination table saw/planar that has a cast aluminium guard that needs repair!

    Simon
    Not sure this is a sensible thing to do -unless you really want an excuse to buy more tools.

    Aluminium welding is a bit fussy, moreso than steel by far. I can do it, I've got my old welding ticket saying I can do it, but mostly I don't. I pay the local welding place their standard commercial rate to do the odd jobs for me. It's less stressful all round.

    Now all the steel welding on the boat is finished, I may re-tool my MIG with a spool gun (which I have in the cupboard already) and practise to where I'm competent again with aluminium, but that'll be fabrication using bar, tube and the like. For really fussy stuff I'd need to spend at least $2K to buy a decent (by my standards) AC-HF TIG welder with 300A output at 60% duty cycle. Nothing smaller would be of any use to me.

    PDW

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Pirie SA
    Age
    47
    Posts
    844

    Default

    I've managed a few motor bike casing repairs so far and a 20" HSV senator wheel that'd been holed by a center punch left conveniently on the road.

    With bike casings you can definitely tell the brand name matters for ease of repair... Honda XR casting was an easy fix compared to a the chineesium casting from a $500 ebay quad bike, and the HSV wheel welded up with barely any fuss at all.
    Following repairs vids by Abom n Fenner and a few others clean it good and go over the repair area with the AC balance cranked up first then remove the "Mal Gabbet" with a die grinder then chemically(degrease/acetone) and weld away... bump welding seems the easiest way especially with thin casings.
    ....................................................................

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    South of Adelaide
    Posts
    593

    Default

    We have resorted to devcon to repair castings that were too hard to weld at work. works good for non structul stuff like gearbox covers.

    Jodi Collier is pretty knowledgeable with tig welding. His background is weld repair and inspection at delta airlines. lots of funky alloys and high standards. He is one of the guys on the 'welding tips and tricks' postcast, a real good listen if you are interested in welding.

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