How To Gas Weld Aluminum

Welding has many types.  Most of those types rely on some kind of gas.  However, the expression “gas welding” is quite specific.  It pertains to a type of welding that uses oxy-fuel.  Oxygen and acetylene are carefully controlled and mixed in order to create a heat that can melt a metal.

“Gas welding” is popularly used in aluminum works, particularly in repairing pipes.  Here are some guidelines on how you can properly “gas weld” aluminum:

  • Be aware of the inherent challenges in handling aluminum.  “Gas welding” an aluminum isn’t that simple.  You have to bear in mind that aluminum is a metal.  Hence, you have to take into account that it can conduct heat efficiently.  In order words, aluminum can readily overheat.  That can affect your entire work process.  Also, it may take time for aluminum to change its color when you are heating it.  You have to be very watchful.  You have to know if the aluminum is already melting.
  • Thoroughly clean your aluminum.  Your work piece should be free from oil and dirt.  If it is oily, you need to have a solvent.  You can use a lacquer thinner or an alcohol to take away the greasiness.  If it has some dirt, you can get a stainless brush.  You should be able to evenly scrub each side of the aluminum before you start your gas welding stint.   
  • Let your work piece pass through a carburizing flame.  This is a critical part of the process.  Subjecting the aluminum to carburizing flame is mandatory.  This procedure allows the carbon deposits to stay in your work piece.  The carbon deposits aid in reaching the melting point.  They burn off as your work piece gets closer to its melting temperature.
  • Select a bigger torch tip.  When you need to gas weld aluminum, using the right torch tip becomes critical.  You need to go for the size a notch larger than the one that is used for steel of similar thickness. For instance, a particular sheet of steel has a thickness of 400th of an inch.  It needs a torch tip size of 00.  So, if your task is to gas weld a particular sheet of aluminum that has a thickness of 400th of an inch, then, the torch tip size that you need is 0.
  • Do the welding job hastily.  You need to work quickly in order to avoid overheating your aluminum sheet.  Note, however, that despite the speed, you are also expected to achieve enough flux deposit.  You should also account for proper weld penetration.

If it is your first time to gas weld aluminum, you may need to work with a partner.  You can also practice so you can feel how aluminum actually reacts to welding flame.  You can get a small piece of aluminum.  Put it on your welding table.  Then, aim to heat it using a neutral flame.  Without notice, the metal melts and a hole is left in the sheet.  You need to practice how to avoid having that hole.  All you need to understand is proper timing.


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