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  #1  
Old 05-23-2017, 10:27 PM
Mucci's Avatar
Mucci Mucci is offline
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Need tips on welding aluminum luggage rack

I'm trying my hand at aluminum TIG welding by making a luggage rack out of bent rod for my dirt bike. So far the welds on both my first and 2nd attempt rattled to pieces within a few minutes.

The 2nd time I made sure I had full penetration... to the point where the union basically turned into a big unsightly blob but a few of the welds still cracked.

Here's my setup:

1/2" 6160 rod
E5356 1/8" filler
100% Argon at 15psi
About 180 amps
3/32" tungsten

Any guidance would be a big help. I know I could easily make this out of steel but I'd like to use aluminum to keep the weight down.
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2017, 12:39 PM
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Joe Llamahead Joe Llamahead is offline
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1/2" solid bar should be beveled for a solid root . Grind a 45 on each price down to about a 5/16 round .
Your tungston should be at least 1/8" and not be ground to a point. A ball is better make a ball by switching to DC positive ground (reverse ground) and arc onto a scrap steel (stainless preferred) untill you see the electrode begin to melt and almost drip once cooled you have a nice ball tip tungston. This will make a larger heated area .
Use AC arc and pure Argon (heilium is optional but $$$) set your flow to about 1/3 of the gauge scale. Assuming you have a thumb or foot controller, Set your amperage to a Max of 250 .
1/8" filler rod should work but you may find enclosed/32 easier to deal with .
Keep in mind a solid weld with no air pockets is better than a pretty weld .
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:31 PM
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Thanks for the tips Joe. I'll adjust my setup accordingly. I did ball the tip and bevel the rod ends but looks like I have a few things that need adjustment.

What's enclosed/32?

Should I be annealing the rod beforehand? It seems as though it was pretty brittle after welding and being this is a dirt bike it will need to be able to handle some serious vibrations.
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:47 PM
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Asm109 Asm109 is offline
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You might want to sent the finished rack out to a heat treater to have them solution heat treated and then aged. That will bring the welds back to as close to the original materials strength and ductility.
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  #5  
Old 05-24-2017, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asm109 View Post
You might want to sent the finished rack out to a heat treater to have them solution heat treated and then aged. That will bring the welds back to as close to the original materials strength and ductility.
Ahh didn't know that existed. What kind of companies do that? Plating shops?
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:54 PM
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Joe Llamahead Joe Llamahead is offline
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Enclosed /32 was a typo :) shoulda read 3/32 how autocorrect came up with that and snuck it past me IDK !
6060 is fairly hard aluminum​. But it should ok for your application. Anealing shouldn't be necessary . Unless your riding a 2 stroke in need of crank berrings :) anealng the whole thing after welding could make it change shape .
Most of the time it is done to normalize the metal . I'll explain (hopefully it makes sense ) when the weld cools it will shrink once then when it shrinks the weld is in tension normalizing will relieve the tension .
You can do a hillbilly method I use to relieve the tension. Imedeatly following the weld process take a hammer And anvil and forge the weld joint into an nice even shape . That will disturb the shrinking and even out the tension for the most part.
If you are still concerned about vibrations you could mount your rack in rubber shoulders gromets
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  #7  
Old 05-26-2017, 06:23 PM
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wyoming9 wyoming9 is offline
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Red face

It might be your joint design causing you problems

Pictures are a great Help
__________________
Some days it takes longer to pick which welder

then to do the welding
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2017, 06:10 PM
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I'm going to give an aluminum rack another shot. What grade of aluminum rod would be best considering the intense vibration it will be under?

I'm thinking 3/8" solid for this one.
Here's the design:

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