15 August 2011

never trust a captain...welding aluminum to stainless

Ok first off just take that title lightly!
Just when it comes to metalwork anyway.

So my brother went out of town.
Said there was a quickee aluminum welding job on a boat.

broken weld

I went down there to take a look.
Seemed easy enough.
Unfortunately the boat is at the end of the dock,
and aluminum welding is a huge pain in the ass with all the equipment.

So I waited til my trusty helper Luke "pigpen" Brown happened to be in town!


Probably not what he was expecting to do on arrival,
just like old times.

el rollo

I had thought alot about how to do this,
so was hoping this was going to work.
This cut-down shopping cart has proved its worth.

please work

It was alot easier getting the stuff down there!
I swear there was more time in the setup than in the work.
I thought.

set up

We started kinda early but the wind was starting to pick up.
The worst thing that can happen for the spool gun.
Fortunately I had been there days earlier and cleaned up,
as well as making some triangular gussets to reinforce the pipe.


After way too much time fighting the wind,
it was obvious something was wrong.


These two pipes were temporarily held together with some rope,
and when the rope was taken off, the weld wouldn't stick...
Ahh hell.

what the

Typically with dirty aluminum welding,
it is normal that the first pass burns the salts and contaminants out,
than that is grinded out and repeat passes til it looks clean.
Since the wind didn't help,
I was thinking the multiple weld/grind was normal,
other than the fact that it wouldn't stick!

We finally realized one side was aluminum and the other was stainless steel!

contrary evidence

The boat captain(s), my brother and previous workers had thought it was aluminum.
Besides the joints being previously welded together,
this part on top had been welded as well.
It was just the bolts behind it were actually holding it together,
and the paint was masking the crack gap.

we loaded everything up for another day...
It was way harder to get everything back to land.
That poor cart!


Later on that week I made some plates,
and went down with the little maxstar 150 and stick welded the stainless part on.
It worked!

half done

The aluminum welding was a 2 man job,
so I had to wait to coordinate that.

deja vu

The other worker, Pikachu, thought we were crazy to do this.
One thing that was different with Pigpen,
he never doubted the crazy, just went with it!


We finally got everything back down to the dock.
This is what it takes to weld 2 feet of aluminum!

set up

When working with Pikachu,
we reverse roles than with Pigpen.
He is the welder and I take pictures.

one more time

I had two choices for the plates,
vertical or horizontal.
When making them I didn't make the correct angle,
so I just went with the vertical.

one down

And the finished product.

light bar + loading ramp

Let's get out of here!
The load back up was just as fun as the last time,
but the generator only slid off the cart 2 times.
Fortunately not into the water.

the long haul

So what was supposed to be a half-day job!


Next time I'll know not to take anything for granted,
especially the type of metal!


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