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Don't Buy a New Welder for Aluminum - Convert Your MIG Welder Instead

Don't Buy a New Welder for Aluminum - Convert Your MIG Welder Instead

Don't Buy a New Welder for Aluminum - Convert Your MIG Welder Instead

Are you looking to expand your welding skills and start working with aluminum? You may think you need a TIG welder or a specialized MIG welder designed for aluminum, but with some modifications, you can weld aluminum using your existing MIG welder.

In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of converting your MIG welder for aluminum welding, detailing the equipment you need, the steps to take, and the settings to adjust.

  1. Gather the Necessary Equipment

To start welding aluminum with a MIG welder, you'll need the following equipment:

  • Pure argon gas: Aluminum welding requires argon gas to prevent oxidation and ensure a cleaner weld.
  • Spool gun: This handheld gun holds a small spool of aluminum wire and feeds it to the welder. It's designed specifically for aluminum welding.
  • Teflon or nylon liner: This liner is made of a softer material than the steel liner typically used in MIG welders, ensuring smooth feeding of the aluminum wire without tangling.
  1. Install the Spool Gun

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the spool gun on your MIG welder. This will allow you to feed the aluminum wire smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Replace the Liner

Next, replace the steel liner in your welder with a Teflon or nylon liner designed for aluminum wire. This will prevent wire feed issues and ensure a higher quality weld.

  1. Adjust the Settings

Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for aluminum welding and adjust the voltage, amperage, and wire feed speed on your welder accordingly. You may need to perform test welds on scrap material to fine-tune the settings for your specific application and equipment.

  1. Practice on Scrap Material

Welding aluminum takes practice, so work on scrap pieces of aluminum until you're comfortable with the process. This will also allow you to verify that your settings are correct before starting your actual project.

  1. Maintain Proper Technique and Cleanliness

When welding aluminum, maintain a good contact tip-to-work distance (around 5/8 inch or more), use a push angle, and ensure a travel speed of around 30 cubic feet per hour (cfh) of gas. Preheat your material with MAPP gas for a more consistent weld and use a stainless steel brush to clean your aluminum, brushing in one direction to avoid contamination.

Starting Settings

Here are some general starting settings for MIG welding aluminum with 5356 wire and a .030 wire diameter:

  • Argon gas flow rate: 20-25 cfh
  • Amperage: 100-150 amps (depending on the thickness of the aluminum)
  • Wire feed speed: 150-300 inches per minute (ipm, depending on the aluminum thickness)
  • Voltage: 18-22 volts (depending on the aluminum thickness)

Remember, these settings are just starting points and may need adjustments based on your specific welding application and equipment.


With some modifications and practice, you can successfully weld aluminum using your existing MIG welder. By following this guide and adjusting your welder settings, you'll be on your way to creating strong, reliable welds on aluminum projects. Good luck, and happy welding!

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Don't Buy a New Welder for Aluminum - Convert Your MIG Welder Instead
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