Settings & Supplies – Welding and Forming Aluminum


sculpture sculptor art artist welding supplies tungsten
Test and experiment.

Material – Aluminum Sheet, 1/16’’

sculpture sculptor art artist metal work
Wire makes a great guide over uneven surfaces.

AC Setting – 40-165 @ 50%
Shielding Gas – 100% Argon @ ~18 psi
Note: With thicker metals, a mixture of helium and argon is recommended.  Helium makes the arc hotter and gives more penetration.   Since I primarily use thin metals, I use 100% argon.

sculpture sculptor art artist metal work welding aluminum
Final cutting...
sculpture sculptor art artist metal works metal sculpture
Ratchet straps make great alternative clamps.

Filler Material – Aluminum 4043 (1/16 & 3/32)
Note:  I keep both handy based on gaps.
Torch – #6 cup with Tungsten Electrode, 2% Thoriated Ground Tungsten (rep tip), 3/32
Note:  Cup size is measured in 16ths.  A #6 is 6/16ths or 3/8’’ o.d. With this metal thickness, I find the 2% more user-friendly than Puretung…personal preference.
Cleaning Materials – Stainless steel wire brush and Gold Matrix industrial cleaner by Walter. IMPORTANT NOTE:  Aluminum needs to be very clean to weld.

Tack welding these pieces together helps get the general structure established before making final cuts/modifications.  After final cuts are made, I extend tack welds 6+ inches to help maintain the structure’s integrity when forming/bending.    Ratchet straps are great alternative to traditional clamping.  A rubber mallet is ideal to form these ends closer together for welding prep.

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