Aluminum Welding the absolute best practice you can get for Tig welding...period. Stacking Aluminum beads purposefully on a piece of 11 ga aluminum will teach you things that will make you a better TIG welder. Not just a better Aluminum welder, but a better all around Tig welder of all metals.
Does that sound like a line a BS to you? I know its a bold statement, but here is why its true:
- GTAW Aluminum Welding forces you to learn to feed the rod faster. The filler rod feeds like butter and your feed hand will be forced to wake up out of its slumber and get with the program.
- The conductivity of aluminum forces you to constantly make adjustments with the amperage control that you wouldn't have to make with carbon steel or stainless. You cant get lazy with aluminum welding. Watching the puddle becomes even more important and welding aluminum forces you to watch and read the puddle.
- You can get much more seat time with aluminum welding because it allows you to weld over top of previous welds without stopping to brush or grind. Arc time...time under the helmet, is where its at when it comes to getting better and becoming a better tig welder. Brushing and grinding do nothing to sharpen your welding skills.
- Aluminum exaggerates just about anything that can go wrong. Things that dont matter much on steels make a difference when welding aluminum...small things like the rate of flow of shielding gas coming from the torch dont make that much difference on steels but make a big difference on aluminum.
So here is the practice drill:
- get a piece of 11 ga aluminum and using a 3/32 electrode and 3/32 filler wire, start by welding a small bead all around the edges.
- then start stacking beads letting the piece cool for about 30 seconds every couple of beads.