Aluminum sheet metal is cheap compared to stainless steel and other metals.
It costs a bit more than carbon steel but if you use it wisely it is the best way to learn how to weld using the TIG process.
Here is why:
- Aluminum does not form a gray flaky oxide layer that makes welding difficult
- Tig Welding Aluminum forces you to use your filler wire feeding hand more than welding steel
- The thermal conductivity of aluminum forces you to be aware of changes in amperage requirements
- Tig welding aluminum forces you to learn about the tig welding machine control settings
If you want to get a lot of welding practice without having to stop and clean the metal, if you want to learn how to read a welding puddle and maintain consistency of weld size and penetration, if you want to learn how to hold the torch, use the right torch angle, and the correct arc length,
Then get yourself some aluminum that is about 1/8 ” or.125″ thick ( anything close to that thickness will do) and stack beads on it overlapping one bead with the next one. It does not matter what kind of aluminum you use…3003, 6061, 5052, its all good!
Practice different angles, practice using your left hand along with your right hand, practice using a small filler rod and practice a big one, practice making tightly spaced ripples and practice make a stack of dimes appearance with ripples 1/8″ apart…
This is your time to learn.
Its practice time, time to make mistakes, time to try different welding techniques, time to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work.
Go ahead and tell yourself you are going to throw the piece away when you are done and don’t let anyone see it… and give yourself permission to try some crazy stuff.
How else are you going to get better?