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I get calls every now and then from people who want this or that of aluminum welded in the field. No one ever knows the alloy or any info at all so what exactly do you do? Is there a general alloy you use as an all around filler? How do you tell if the object's been heat treated? One guy wanted a cracked rim welded, liability issues?
when I was in school learning to weld we would get all the time about these guys wanting there aluminum rims welded but I think the way it worked with a vo-tech school is the owner would have to sign a paper saying the school wasn't liable for anything that may happen when they drive down the road. I think if i had a buisness I don't think I'd want to do rims or if i had no choice maybe go talk to lawyer about it and see what he says if you can make up some kinda paper for the owner to sign before you weld on it saying you aren't responsible but I don't know how well that would fly in court.
By 65 Pipeliner
I have used Alloy 26 rods for stick welding in the field. The projects included 2 xylene tanks that had cracked and a pesticide tank that I reworked for a local pest control business. In the shop I used to work in, we used the same rod for aluminum drainage structures that had torn or cracked during the manufacturing process. I have had excellent results and luck with this rod so far.
My experience with welded/repaired and heated/restraightened rims is none of the tire shops will touch them because of liability. I bent a skid steer rim and knocked the tire off the bead once. After heating and restraightening the rim, I took it to the tire shop I have used for almost 20 years to have the tire remounted. They refused because the rim had been heated excessively (by the torch) and no matter how good you are, you will never get it perfectly round again leading to balance and leakage problems (their words). This was a steel, low speed rim. I wound up putting a tube in it anyway. I would not have any problem welding or restraightening another low speed steel rim again. However, I would not touch a high speed steel rim even on my own vehicle. The same goes for an aluminum rim. The cost of a replacement rim is no where near the liability costs if something goes wrong. Just my thoughts and experience for what it is worth.
What process are You using?
The aluminum stick rods I have seen/used are 4043. I don't care for stick welding aluminum, but it can be done.
Most but not all extruded aluminum is 6xxx alloy, the diamond plate I have been able to identify is 3xxx and 4043 filler is an acceptable filler for both of these stick, TIG or MIG, if it will not be heat treated after welding.
For 5xxx alloys 5356 is a common filler metal, I don't like the way it MIG welds, so I only use it on 5xxx altho it is fine for 6xxx alloys too.
I don't think I would weld an aluminum wheel.
I think I'm with the others here ... stay away from the wheels . The unknowns really outweigh the known issues on this subject . I do alot of aluminum , I use alot of 4043 and 5356 cut filler wire as well as some of the 26 welding rods . I sometimes use 1100 in projects that aren't heat treated or anodized .
I do mobile aluminum all the time it accounts for at least 30% of my business. I personally do not like stick welding aluminum and for the most part consider it a waste of time. I use Tig and mig and stock on the truck 5356 wire and rods and find it to be a good all round filler. I also carry for extrusions 6063 and 6061 for marine work. Don't weld rims. I also am not sure how to tell if the object has been heat treated maybe Dave boyer or Allan might have some thoughts on that.
I did note they had actual patents on their process for repairing wheels..
They aren't like some backyard joe..
Too many balance and heat input issues for both steel and aluminum rims for anybody to take a repair like that lightly.
Unless there is alot of training, tooling and research behind it.. No way is it a good idea to attempt to repair wheels.
...Not with a 10 foot pole :)
Use an AC/DC inverter like the Miller Dynasty 200 plugged into the engine drive's 240 vac outlet. Use gtaw if it is small or "needs pretty" welds. Use a spool (4"/1pound spools) gun if the need is larger/longer welds and the suitcase (12" spools)with push pull gun for lots of aluminum welding. Most wire feed systems can be used as a voltage sensing wire feeder if there is not control cable to the engine drive. Take a week course from esab on aluminum welding - what alloys and recommended filler wires.
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