Preparing and Cleaning Aluminum Before Welding: What You Need to Know
Aluminum welding can be a difficult process if you don't have the proper knowledge and equipment.
If you're not cleaning aluminum before welding, the weld may not be as strong as it could be. Additionally, there could be a risk of contamination if the aluminum is not cleaned properly.
We want you to be successful when welding aluminum, so we’ve put together this guide on how to prepare and clean the metal before starting. With these tips, you’ll be able to create beautiful welds that will last for years.
Continue reading to learn more about how to prepare and clean aluminum before welding!
Cleaning Aluminum Before Welding
Always clean aluminum before welding to ensure that the weld is high quality. You need to have a clean surface to get a good weld when welding.
Welders need to see the weld pool, and if there is grease or oxide on the surface, it can interfere with that. Grease and oxide can also cause pores in the weld, weakening it.
First, you need to clean the aluminum surface of any dirt, grime, or other debris. Use an organic solvent like acetone or a mild alkaline solution. Either choice can dissolve the oil, grease, and water vapor.
Clean the surface with a stainless steel wire brush or an alkaline or acidic cleanser. Use extreme caution when using these chemicals. Wash and dry the afflicted area before welding. Make sure that it is completely dry before you weld.
Apply a Coating
Welding primer helps protect the aluminum from corrosion and makes the weld stronger. It's good to use welding primer any time you weld aluminum, even if the surface appears to be clean.
You can buy welding primer at most welding supply stores. Apply the coating with a brush or cloth. Let the sealant dry completely before using or handling the welded aluminum.
Make sure the sealant is compatible with the type of aluminum you are using. Avoid getting any adhesive on the weld itself, which can affect its strength.
Use a wire brush to remove any residue from the surface before welding. Be sure to brush in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the metal.
Cleaning Aluminum After Welding
For small areas, a wire brush or grinding wheel can remove the spatter. For larger sizes, a grinder may be necessary.
Be sure to use a grinding wheel that is designed for aluminum.
Get Professional Aluminum Welding
Cleaning aluminum is an easy habit to establish as a standard of your work. And we do it every day!
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you work with aluminum for your next project, get in touch with us at Advantage Manufacturing. We offer aluminum welding and fabrication at our Drayton Valley shop serving the Edmonton area and all of Alberta.