Can You Weld Aluminum with A MIG Welder? How to Successfully

Welding is a craft that requires special ability. There are several types of welding such as stick, TIG, plasma arc, etc., and among them, MIG welding is one of the most popular and versatile welding techniques welders are fans of.

Can you weld aluminum with a MIG welder? Yes! You can, because it’s an easy type to learn than other types. Especially for beginners who want to start with something simpler before moving onto advanced complicated processes like Stick welding or TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas).

If you are not assured of your welding abilities on mild steel, we’d suggest starting there before moving onto aluminum. If you want to MIG weld the aluminum by MIG welder, this step-by-step tutorial will demonstrate how.

How to Weld Aluminum?

Aluminum welding seems much harder than it is. Different metals have different melting points, so aluminum needs to be heated up slowly rather than quickly since this material burns through more easily. If you’re interested in doing some aluminum welding yourself, just watch your step and take things slow!

We know welding aluminum can be a bit annoying. This is because it often burns through the metal and leaves holes or weak points in your workpiece. Just accept that this will happen when you first start, don’t get frustrated – just practice with some filler pieces to avoid wasting more expensive materials!

We recommend starting by trying 18-gauge for its thickness. But otherwise, do what works best for you depending on how much free time or money you have available.

“Travel speed” is a term that welders use often. The travel speed refers to the rate at which you move your welding rod across metal while an electric arc is melting it. This matters!

When creating steel projects, slow speeds are preferable because thicker materials can withstand slower rates of heating without burning through entirely. But aluminum burns more easily, so faster movements should be used instead for this material type when melting together two pieces into one piece.

The “weld puddle” is the small area of metal that melts into a liquid as an electric current flows through it. It takes more concentration to focus on your weld puddle when working with aluminum because, unlike steel, its molten state resembles wet foil rather than red-hot melted metal.

To prevent the wire from getting ratted up, use a spool gun for aluminum MIG welding. Due to the softness of aluminum and possible issues when trying to feed it through typical equipment like in steel MIG welding, we recommend using special machinery such as a Spool Gun.

What Is A MIG Welder?

To join two metals, MIG is a type of arc welding that heats the metal with electricity. The heat from the electrical current melts both pieces and fuses them while an inert shield protects them from contaminants in the air.

To comprehend how Gas Metal Arc welding or MIG works, one must first know about the parts of a typical MIG welder. A gun contains all sorts of components, including an on/off switch, power cord, contact tip, and gas nozzle, which make up the metal electrode conduit that is connected with a shielding gas flow.

Can you weld aluminum with a MIG welder?

Metal inert gas (MIG) welder is an exclusive welder. Though it is not the first choice for welding aluminum, you have the option to weld aluminum with a MIG welder. All it requires is adding some extra equipment.

Steel and aluminum are different in terms of strengths. Pure aluminum is generally welded with a TIG welder. However, with simple steps, you can use the MIG welder for welding aluminum too.

At first, confirm the thickness of aluminum. 14-gauge heavy aluminum is the standard for welding with a Metal Inert Gas welder. If you are going to weld a thinner one, it’ll need pulsed MIG equipment.

Before you start welding aluminum with a MIG welder, ensure the highest cleanliness. In many cases, proper welding fails due to the use of lubricants and metal debris. Oxide removal happens to be the most useful process to get rid of debris.

Now, you need to select the appropriate gas for the MIG welder. When aluminum is at its pure form, consider argon as shielding gas. 100% argon will provide the most efficient aluminum welding with a MIG welder.

It is mandatory to apply spray transfer mode for aluminum higher than 14 gauge. You should consider the push-pull system for welding aluminum smoothly. ER5356 and ER4043 are the two most available filler metals for use on the aluminum base.

And that’s how you can weld aluminum with a MIG Welder.

 Tips for MIG welding aluminum

Welding aluminum with a MIG welder is possible. And, some tips can help to get an even better outcome.

  • Preheating is a blessing if you are welding aluminum for the first time with a MIG welder. Aluminum has the feature of thermal conductivity. Therefore, if you slightly preheat it, welding will be more efficient.
  • Use ER 4043 for the best result. ER5356 is also a good one. But the first one gives better flow.
  • For avoiding any issue during welding, a push angle is always the best choice. Push angle is easily available, and it is the best way to weld with the MIG welder.

Frequently Asked Questions

What gas do you use to MIG weld aluminum?

Argon, this is the most efficient gas for welding aluminum with the MIG welder. Helium is not efficient because of its different chemical properties that do not match with aluminum during welding. Argon is highly recommended for matching with required properties.

Is MIG or TIG better for welding aluminum?

There are two sides to welding aluminum using MIG or TIG. Our opinion is to consider MIG for aluminum which is heavier than 14 gauge. Thinner ones require TIG. MIG is the best pick as the wire feed is the electrode as well as filler.

What are the costs I need to bear for welding aluminum with a MIG welder?

Remember that the equipment cost is high. Aluminum welding through MIG requires additional equipment and more cleaning features. These are the extra costs for welding aluminum with MIG.

Final verdict

MIG welding is cost-efficient and an easy process. The outcome is enormously efficient than TIG welders. Moreover, all equipment setup will remain for a long time.

The perfect aluminum welding is possible if the oxidization process and tools are prepared in an exact way. Can you weld aluminum with a MIG welder now? Give it a try and create a full setup at your workshop. Once you do it, you’ll fall in love with its result!

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