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Author Topic: Anyone experienced with aluminum welding?  (Read 3534 times)
luvrbus
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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2012, 11:50:34 AM »

I don't think Dallas was saying it was better or stronger than a wire weld or tig weld just easier for Scott
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2012, 04:18:23 PM »

Same as stated above,

Aluminum will grow and shring with the changing weather.

All my panels were secured with sikaflex. Good thing I didn't paint my coach

till a year later... Some of the sika seams tore apart in the hot sun.

I ended up riveting all the seams and covering the rivets with umbrella caps

just before the paint job went on.

They are still holding well after 6 years now.

Nick-
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2012, 05:34:27 PM »

... 3M's VHB tape which is how lots of vehicle bodies are made these days:  

A friend of mine up here in MN built a Kinglsey clone. He  used VHB tape to mount his aluminum panels to his steel frame. I've never seen anything attach so well!

His coach is incredible!! Really puts my bus to shame. Stretched Volvo chassis. 48 feet long. I think he put 3 slideouts in it. It's something else.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have used VHB on my bus with my Alucobond panels. I think that combination might be the definitive siding material
on a conversion.

« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 05:38:47 PM by gumpy » Logged

Craig Shepard
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dukegrad98
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2012, 07:00:51 PM »

I have never welded aluminum with another other than a good TIG. 

Cheers, John
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luvrbus
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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2012, 07:26:28 PM »

These new Mig machines and gas do a good job and so much faster plus cheaper
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2012, 07:19:27 AM »

I had no idea there were 3M or Sikaflex tapes that could be counted on to hold sheets of metal to metal ribbing. Some of you swear by this stuff...17 years and still holding? Wow. I don't think that I could restrain myself from popping in a rivet at least here and there just for security...
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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
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« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 09:52:27 AM »

Any enclosed trailer that is screwless uses tape to hold the sides on.  Any problems are usually due to poor prep by the trailer manufacturer.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Just Dallas
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« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2012, 07:12:12 PM »

that's also not really true.
Many of the older Trailmobile trailers used aircraft grade aluminum and fasteners. Take a look at a DC3 or an F85... no rivets to be seen anywhere.

It's intersting that so many took umbrage to my post, although if you look at the MSDS and structural sheets for Alumiweld and 6061 Aluminum, the Alumiweld is much stronger and is more malleable.

Now I don't care one way or the other, I just report the facts as I find them. If the OP wants to use tape or glue or staples, it's his/her choice.

I like the Alumiweld and haven't had a failure from it.

Yes, I don't use it for structural stuff, but then I wouldn't use glue or tape for anything structural either.

Whatever the OP chooses to do is his choice, not ours.

Good Luck to him no matter what he decides.

Any enclosed trailer that is screwless uses tape to hold the sides on.  Any problems are usually due to poor prep by the trailer manufacturer.
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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2012, 05:47:30 AM »

that's also not really true.
Many of the older Trailmobile trailers used aircraft grade aluminum and fasteners. Take a look at a DC3 or an F85... no rivets to be seen anywhere.

The enclosed trailers I am talking about are the ones that you pull behind a pickup, SUV, or similar.  Not semi trailers.

Screwless enclosed trailers are maybe a decade old.  You'll find that 99% of them use tape to hold the sides on.  You can get more information at any trailer dealer.
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2012, 07:29:01 PM »

This is wonderful info. Opening my eyes to some new realities in bonding tech. Justdallas, I have to say that I'm very intrigued by alumiweld and I plan on trying it out. I want to attempt a virtual hermetic seal on those seams and I think it's the right stuff for me. It does sound to good to be true, but that doesn't mean it isn't. Your experience with it tells a promising story. I'm looking forward to playing with it a little. I wonder if there are certain alum alloys it won't bond to.


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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2012, 08:39:38 AM »

I haven't found any aluminum alloy it won't adhere to. I do have to add that I've only used 3 or 4 different types of alloy with it.

As others have said I would be worried about expansion and contraction of a single sheet as large as the side of a bus. If it were me, I would make the roof in 3 pieces with expansion joints and the sides in 3 or 4 pieces with expansion joints. (Basically a lap joint with polyurethane adhesive/sealant inside).

The idea of using the tape to attach with will also help you in many ways. It will provide a thermal break, lessening sweating, stop interaction between dissimilar metals, be a lot easier to attach, and provide an expansion joint between the dissimilar metals.

Think about it this way: In 1943 The USS Pittsburgh was launched. Design spec was 704'. That was at the Brooklyn Navy yard.

When it was in dry dock in Hawaii it measured 706'.

It gained a full 2 feet from thermal expansion. 40 in Brooklyn, 80 in Honolulu. That was steel and it doesn't expand and contract as much as aluminum.

Good luck!

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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2012, 10:11:06 AM »

There are some pretty tough adheasives out there. The gruman aircraft company built at least three different aircraft with fue rivets and glue.

Brice

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« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 12:28:14 PM »

Forget welding. You want smooth. Think sikaflex. See any rivets on newer busses lately?
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« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2012, 01:21:27 PM »

My trailer uses the 3M tape to fasten on all the sides - close fit is critical, no gaps.  It's as close to hermetically sealed as I have ever seen, for a trailer.  Two years, 20K miles and still perfect, FWIW.  I used the alumiweld on a few projects, the end result of which was a Lincoln 175 Tig machine which does a wonderful job of welding aluminium.  I make a lot of water/oil/coolant tanks for race cars and never have any leaks, but there is a long learning curve before you lay down those perfect "stack 0'dimes" beads.  I wouldn't do a bus for love nor money.  Between the alumiweld and the Tig, I did a bunch of oxy/acetylene welding of aluminium using flux-cored rod.  I could do 1/8th inch, but 1/16" sheet mostly ended up on the floor - one very memorable moment saw a large drip of aluminium fall inside my deck shoe...  Still have the scar to remind me to wear heavy leather boots when welding...  Mig welding aluminium is absolutely possible, for best results you need a hot shielding gas and a spool gun, and a lot of amps so this is more trending towards an industrial process than a home process.  Widely used in industry, all those aluminium framed bicycles up to the aluminium dump truck bodies and tractor trailer flat beds are Mig welded.

I heard once that the aluminium superstructure on some warships is explosively welded to the steel hull structure.  Not sure explosive welding on a bus is a good idea...   Grin

Brian
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