Need some welding advice please

fishguy1123

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
310
Ok, so some jackwagon ran into the back of my pontoon on memorial day with his jetski... :hissyfit: Now I need to replace the end cap on the aluminum pontoon and want to make sure I get it done right. I can order the replacement part and have the old one cut off and then re-weld the new one in place. I just want to make sure it gets done right and have no clue what to look for in a welder to get a good result. Thanks!
 

Opeth

Member
Mar 25, 2012
177
Do you have prior welding skills or would this be a first attempt at welding?

If this would be your first adventure, I'd highly advise you let someone with aluminum welding experience do it. It's not an easy metal to weld, it's up there on a skill level of TIG welding stainless steel.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I think he wants to find someone to do the welding.

Ask around and go look at samples of their work.
 

leehype

Member
Mar 20, 2012
17
Alumi must be TIG welded. It CAN be done with a MIG, but the weld will of very poor quality. TIG welding is considered the most time consuming, and 90% of people who can do good weld jobs, don't or can't TIG weld.

I would recomend searching for higher end machine shops, likely they won't be able to help, but they should "know a guy."
 

03luvvoy

Member
Apr 26, 2012
51
Most shops don't have the right welding torch for aluminum MIG welding what I would say is see if there is a high performance shop around you that can or does make fuel tanks for racing or you might be able to ask a blacksmith they might be able to point you in the right direction to an experienced welder. Hope maybe that can help out a little for ya! I'm a welder myself and one thing if you find someone that's says they can do it and they say they can do it MIG like stated def ask to see their work! Aluminum is a very soft metal and hard to work with without experience! Don't fall for the "I'll see if I can" LOL
 

fishguy1123

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
310
Thanks for the input. I won't be doing it myself thas for sure.. Just wanted to know what "needed" to be done to have it be a good solid weld. It will help me when calling around to at least be able to ask the right questions.
 

Bartonmd

Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
FWIW, most any "welding" shop will have somebody that can TIG weld aluminum. Maybe not everybody there, but somebody there will be their "nice stuff" guy...

MIG welding with aluminum can be done very well, and very nicely. As a matter of fact, the pontoons were very likely pulsed-MIG welded with a push-pull gun (works just like a spool gun, but is smaller and easier to work with, and the larger spool is in the welder, so you don't have to change small spools all the time). Very few places run large scale production like that with TIG. It's about 1/3 as fast, and pulsed-MIG looks VERY similar to TIG.

As for a shop, try and find a local welding shop that makes aluminum truck bodies or something. They will be well set up for aluminum, and any of them will know that it has to be RIGHT when you tell them it's for a boat pontoon. I worked at a local welding/truck body (flatbed) shop in high school, and they had both a couple spoolguns, and a TIG welder, and guys who were very good at both.

Mike
 

fishguy1123

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
310
Sounds good, I'll be calling around today to get info and quotes. The guy that hit me claims "He'll take care of it". I just want it fixed properly either way.
 

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