How To MIG Weld Aluminum Without A Spool Gun? Possible or Not!

Mig welding aluminum is typically done with an aluminum spool gun. However, not everyone owns one of these. That doesn’t mean you can’t MIG weld aluminum. In fact, you can. And I will show you how!

I found a way for my welder to be able to use it for welding aluminum without the need for a spool gun. I have already tried this, and it seems to be valid for making bead welds.

Have you ever wondered how to MIG weld aluminum without a spool gun? In this article, I will show you the way to MIG weld aluminum without the help of a spool gun and possible settings for this type of welding project. 

How To MIG Weld Aluminum Without A Spool Gun?

If you’re looking to weld aluminum without a spool gun, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll need to make sure that your wire is the right size for the job. The best wire for this type of project is 1/16″ diameter solid wire. 

Next, make sure that your machine is set up properly for aluminum welding. There are many different types of machines available, but all will require some adjustments to the settings in order for them to function properly with this type of material.

Finally, if possible, try using an aluminum filler rod instead of a solid wire. It will work just as well and will save you money over time because aluminum filler rods last longer than wires do when used on an ongoing basis.

Is It Possible to Welding Aluminum Without Spool Gun?

Welding aluminum without a spool gun is possible, but you’ll definitely need to make some adjustments. First and foremost, use a different type of wire than what you’d normally use for steel MIG welding. 

Aluminum-specific wire has a higher melting point than steel wire, so it can withstand the heat generated by the arc better. It also has a lower porosity (which means it won’t corrode as quickly), and it’s harder than normal steel wire. 

This will help keep your welds from cracking while they cool down after they’re done heating up during welding.

To adjust your settings for this kind of aluminum work, set your machine’s voltage to 60 percent instead of 80 percent like you would for regular MIG welding projects with steel materials; this will ensure an appropriate level of penetration into the material without overheating or damaging its surface layer too much (which could cause warping). 

Steps to MIG Weld Aluminum without Spool Gun 

MIG welding aluminum can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Here are the steps to MIG welding aluminum without a spool gun:

  • Ensure that your welder is set up for aluminum. Check the machine’s instruction manual for instructions about how to set it up for aluminum welding. You’ll need some different settings than you might normally use if you’re welding steel.
  • I recommend setting your wire speed at around 8 or 9 amps and setting your voltage between 20% and 25% of its maximum setting (for example, if your welder’s maximum setting is 120 volts, set it between 24 and 30 volts).
  • Set your gas flow rate at around 60 liters per minute (LPM), which will give you a nice clean weld with minimal spatter.
  • Start by tacking down each piece of metal with 1/8″ wide weld beads until they’re securely fastened together; then continue welding around the edges of any gaps in between pieces of sheet metal in order to complete the welds throughout the entire project area.

3 Methods to MIG Welding an Aluminum 

You can weld aluminum with these easy methods:

1. Using The Spray Transfer Method:

Using the spray transfer method is by far the most common way to weld aluminum. It is used to weld aluminum to steel or steel to steel. You can use this method with or without a spool gun. 

To do it without a spool gun, you’ll need an extra piece of wire (called “weld wire”), which is supplied by your supplier in the same length as your main wire and attached at one end only. You’ll also need to purchase some flux (or brazing rod) and a brush for applying it.

You’ll start by taking your two pieces together using two-inch long beads on each side of your joint and then moving around the joint until you’ve covered all areas that will be welded together; these are called tack welds because they’re just meant to hold everything in place before moving on to fill them with heat. 

Once those tack welds are set, you can apply heat from both sides using either an arc torch or a MIG machine, but I recommend that would be for using a MIG machine because there’s less chance of contamination during this process due to its sealed environment.

2. Dealing With The Short Arc Method:

When you use the short arc method, your weld bead won’t be as wide or deep. The short arc length prevents this from happening.

If you use too short of an arc length, however (such as if you’re using a small diameter electrode), then it can become difficult to control your puddle and prevent it from blowing out. This is because aluminum will melt at such a low temperature that there isn’t enough heat being generated by the electrode alone in order to keep things stable without constantly moving around your workpiece.

If this happens, just go ahead and increase your current setting until everything stabilizes again!

3. Understanding The Pulse Spray Method:

If you’re looking for a clean, efficient way to weld aluminum and steel, the pulse spray method is the best option. In this method, high-frequency, low-amperage output pulses are used to transfer molten metal from the electrode tip to the joint area. 

These pulses allow you to control how much energy is transferred from one piece of metal onto another. This makes it possible for welders with little experience in aluminum welding to produce beautiful welds without having to worry about damaging their materials or overheating them with too much heat input.

The pulse spray method is usually used with an inert gas like argon gas because this makes it easier for a welder (especially an inexperienced one) to see what type of effect they’re having on their material before they move on from one spot on their project panel or table top until all aspects have been completed successfully.

Also See: Can You Weld Stainless Steel with Normal MIG Wire

Equipments Required for Aluminum MIG Welding 

In order to MIG weld aluminum, you will need the following equipment:

  • A MIG welder that can handle aluminum wire and has a spool gun or other type of feeder.
  • A TIG torch with an argon gas supply and a regulator.
  • A flux core wire spool is to be used in conjunction with your MIG welder and spool gun or another type of feeder.
  • A shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) electrode is for the use of welding aluminum sheet metal together in specific situations (such as when welding a lap joint). The diameter of this electrode needs to be 1/8 inch or larger so that it can be gripped by the electrode holder on your MIG welder safely without causing damage to either piece being welded together (although it should still be small enough for easy handling).

Tips to Make Aluminum MIG Welding Easier 

Aluminum MIG Welding is a great way to work with aluminum. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are 4 tips that will help you get started:

  1. Use the right type of wire for your application. You’ll need a different type of wire for welding thin aluminum sheets than you would for joining thick pieces together.
  2. Make sure your machine has enough voltage to get the job done. Don’t try to weld with too low of a voltage or too high of amperage, or the machine could overheat and blow up!
  3. Clean all parts before they go into the welder, so there’s no dirt or grease on them—and make sure that any oil has been removed from surfaces that need to be joined together (like nuts and bolts).
  4. Make sure that your material is clamped down securely, so it doesn’t move around while it’s being welded together!

Final Words!

Above all, when learning to MIG weld, practice and patience are key. MIG welding is not a difficult process, but it does take some time to master. 

So start off slow if you are just beginning. And with that said, the information shared in today’s blog post will put you on the right path in your pursuit of learning how to MIG weld aluminum without a spool gun.

However, if you want to get better results, then use the correct technique, and you will be able to get a great weld that you can be proud of.


Can you weld aluminum with a regular MIG welder?

Yes. You can use a regular MIG welder to weld aluminum, but it will take some experience and tweaking of your welding parameters to get the best results. This is because aluminum has different melting points than steel materials.

Why do you need a spool gun to MIG weld aluminum?

A spool gun is an important tool to use when welding aluminum. The arc stability of a spool gun is much better than that of a MIG without a spool gun, which means you’ll get better penetration, less spatter and slag, and less chance of burn through.

Can you weld aluminum with a MIG welder without gas?

In a vacuum chamber, you can weld aluminum without gas. It would probably look better if you used argon shielding gas, but that’s only because it’s harder to see your bead in a vacuum as opposed to with shielding gas.

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