Low Temp Aluminum Welding Rods

Welding rods are one of the most important parts of welding. Understanding the nuances of welding rods is paramount in being able to make high-quality welds as different welding jobs require different types of welding rods. 

However, welding rods can be complex and downright overwhelming for beginners. That said, by focusing on one type at a time, aspiring welders can learn everything there is to know about welding rods and it won’t take nearly as long as you might think.

But where to start? Well, aluminum welding rods are one of the most popular welding rod types. Low-temperature aluminum welding rods, in particular, are in high demand and chances are that you’ll likely use them sooner than later. 

So in this article, we’ll take a look at low temp aluminum welding rods (and aluminum welding rods, in general), the use cases of low temp aluminum welding rods, advantages, and disadvantages, as well as additional things to know .

What are Welding Rods?

In layman terms, welding rods are simply a type of component that allows two pieces of metal to stick together. For example, in the case of shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), one has to use a type of filler metal or electrode that once heated, melts and helps in joining the two base metals.

Usually, the filler metals used in SMAW are consumables implying that they become a part of the weld whereas, in TIG, filler metals are non-consumables meaning that they do not become a part of the weld. 

There are different types of welding rods available and out of the many options, it is important to choose the one that best fits your requirements. Beginners or enthusiasts are suggested to do thorough research before selecting an electrode as it helps in the cleanup and minimizing the spatter. Moreover, the weld strength is also dependent on the kind of welding rod.

What are Aluminum Welding Rods?

One of the most preferred welding rods in the industry is the aluminum welding rods. There is not much of a difference in how they work when compared to other welding rods. But there is a big difference in the welding experience and results of using aluminum welding rods.

Aluminum is considered to be the second most popular metal used in welding. The primary reason being its light weightedness and capability to retain amazing ductility even at subzero temperatures. In addition to this, the metal is highly resistant to corrosion (which is always a plus) and highly reflective to both heat and light.

How Do You Use Low Temp Aluminium Welding Rods?

For starters, compared to mild steel, aluminum has a much lower melting temperature. For those, who are unfamiliar, this is the reason why the aluminum welding rods are also known as the low temp aluminum welding rods.

It is important to keep in mind that each and every type of aluminum alloys vary in their strength, density, and melting temperature. Thus, the welder has to ensure that the aluminum alloy is compatible with the welding rod. After matching the aluminum alloy with the welding rod, it is also essential that the setting of both the welding equipment and welding rod is adjusted accordingly.

As mentioned earlier, aluminum welding rods are a type of filler metal that is used to join two base metals either by using a torch or an electric current. The process of using aluminum welding rods is nothing out of the ordinary and simply requires reasonable attention to details and settings and the welder can get surprisingly superior results.

What are the Four Must-Know Rules When Using Aluminum Welding Rods?

  • Use Matching Welding Rods – As you already know that each and every type of aluminum alloy has different characteristics and thus, it is important to ensure that the welding rod selected is compatible with the alloy in order to properly fuse together.
  • Use the Right Settings on Your Equipment – One wrong setting and it can drastically affect the end result and cause all your efforts to go down the drain. You have to remember that the melting temperature of each aluminum alloy is different and therefore, you have to ensure that you are using the right settings depending on the type of aluminum alloy, welding rod, and welding equipment being used.
  • Do Not Use Mismatched Materials – Lastly, it is important to use welding rods that are compatible with the aluminum alloy. Attempting to weld mismatched materials can result in a total and complete disaster.
  • Do not Weave – The weave method is quite common in steel weld and often beginners mistakenly use the same method when welding aluminum. However, it is highly suggested to not do so.

How is Aluminum Welding different from Steel Welding?

Unlike steel welding, aluminum welding poses a variety of challenges in front of welders especially beginners. This is primarily due to the unique characteristics and composition of aluminum alloys and aluminum welding rods. 

As a result of this, aluminum welding requires a number of additional “special” procedures including cleaning the base metals, choosing the right filler metal (or electrode), following the proper settings, and avoiding using dissimilar materials.

Another major difference between aluminum welding and steel welding is that in the former there is no change in color with the change in temperature until and unless the temperature is above the melting point after which it finally exhibits a dull red color. 

The change in temperature also impacts the strength and density of the metals. When the temperature decreases, aluminum tends to gain strength whereas steel becomes more brittle.

What are the Pros of Using Aluminium Welding Rods?

  • Corrosion-Resistant – Aluminum is known for its resistance against corrosion and that it naturally generates a protective coating, it is considered to be the most commonly used metal amongst welders.
  • Lightweight – Another major advantage of using aluminum is its weight. Welders often prefer aluminum over steel because of the weight difference (it is said to have about a third of the weight of steel).
  • Electrical and Thermal Conductivity – Aluminum also has a high electrical and thermal conductivity which is why many welders prefer to use it.
  • Reflectivity and Ductility – Another major pro of aluminum is its capability to reflect both heat and light and in addition to this, the metal is also not brittle as compared to steel.
  • Odorless – Lastly, there is no toxic or any sort of smell emitting from the metal.

What are the Cons of Using Aluminium Welding Rods?

  • Replacement of Filler Metals – For some welders, it is not really that big of a deal, however, some find replacing the filler metals constantly a big hassle.
  • Removing the Slag – Another major downfall is the constant need to remove the slag, it ultimately slows the process and increases inefficiency.
  • Difficulty in Joining Dissimilar Materials – It is highly suggested to avoid using mismatched materials as it can cause a variety of issues, to say the least.

Wrapping Up

And that’s it. In just a few minutes, you now have a better understanding of what aluminum welding rods are, when to use the low temp aluminum welding rods, the pros and cons of using them, as well as a bunch of handy tips to make life easier. Happy welding!