Using a Spool Gun to Weld Aluminum

Artist and welder, Kevin Caron, demonstrates how to employ a spool gun when welding a substantial aluminum stand that will be used for a sculpture. His setup consists of an Everlast Spool Gun hooked up to Everlast PowerMTS 251si machine which is a multipurpose welder.

Kevin is working on a large aluminum stand for a sound sculpture. Instead of TIG welding the aluminum structure, Kevin Caron decides to use a spool gun. Kevin contacted Everlast and was able to get a spool gun to fit the Everlast PowerMTS 251si, which is a multiprocess machine.

The spool gun has:
*A spool of 1 pound aluminum welding wire, which is light enough to handle easily
*A drive roller assembly
* A tension adjustment with a spring on it.

Next he shows how to adjust the settings. On the control panel he selects “Spool gun” without pulse. He then checks the synergic setup, in which you tell the welder what size and type of welding wire you are you using. The machine sets the rest up by itself.

Next step for setting up the spool gun is to add some argon gas. Kevin Caron is using straight argon since he uses it when he TIG welds, but he has heard if you use 90% argon and 10% CO2 your weld won’t have a smoky look.

It’s important to make sure you have a welding gun that is the right make and model for your welder – you can’t just use this spool gun, for instance, with your Miller or Lincoln welder. If you’re handy, you can adapt a spool gun by changing the wiring, but you’d need schematics for both the spool gun and your welder to even start.

The voltage settings and the wire-feed settings for a spool gun are not necessarily the same as you would use for steel, so it took Kevin Caron a while to adjust the settings to get it to work the way he wanted.

He sets up some aluminum and runs a bead. The spool gun does pretty well. There is a smoky film on the weld, although it wipes right off.

Kevin Caron likes using the spool gun for this sculpture because of the amount of welding he has to do – if he were to TIG weld it, the job would have taken another 2-3 weeks to complete.

Don’t miss the end, though, in which, with his looming deadline, Kevin Caron shows that he is consumed by welding with a spool gun ….

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