View Full Version : A little aluminum welding project

11-04-2013, 06:38 PM
A pair of trailer ramps.



I used TIG on the joints of the main frame members and to tack the rungs in place, then used the spool gun to weld the inside of the rungs. The spool gun rocks for the filet joints.

11-04-2013, 06:46 PM
Very nice! How much weight do you think it will hold?

11-04-2013, 11:54 PM
It's for loading a zero-turn mower on a low trailer, so I hope they'll hold around 1500 pounds (distributed). I built some longer similar ramps a while back, and they're doing OK.

11-05-2013, 01:28 AM
Nice job, look light, something you could do is give them an etch, pearl caustic soda dissolved in water, leaves a nice matt finish, not that theres anything wrong with mill finish extrusions, just an idea that popped into my head.
Great looking ramps

11-05-2013, 08:17 AM
Nice job! I wish I had aluminum ramps for my car trailer. I am tired of pulling out those heavy steel bastards. Soon I will be selling my trailer and getting a tilt bed.

11-05-2013, 10:19 AM
What alloy is that? Are you getting them heat treated? Some alloys (even WITH heat treating) won't fatigue well....

It would suck for an expensive ZTR to go for a wild ride.....

11-05-2013, 11:51 AM
Nice looking ramps.

11-05-2013, 04:02 PM
Not sure of the alloy, and it's not going to get any heat treatment. All the aluminum was donated after it was bent and/or water-stained in shipment. I cut around the bends and wire-brush the stains before welding.

Duct Taper
11-05-2013, 09:27 PM
What gas do you use?

11-06-2013, 01:13 AM
100% argon for both TIG and spool gun.

11-06-2013, 05:16 AM
Not sure of the alloy, and it's not going to get any heat treatment. All the aluminum was donated after it was bent and/or water-stained in shipment. I cut around the bends and wire-brush the stains before welding.

I would strongly suspect that the alloy is 6061-T(something) which is a very weldable aluminum and usually used in extrusions. I seriously doubt that this would require any heat treating; however, I might suggest adding a little more weld along the other side of the rungs, or maybe just another tac in the middle. If you're worried about looks a few strokes with a wire brush while the metal is still hot will clean that black oxidation up nicely. It's little more work once it cools off.

EDIT: When tig welding something you can do to avoid all that elbow grease BEFORE welding is to apply just a little less heat with your tig torch to the joint to preheat it and watch the metal turn to a white color where you are applying the heat. The white tells you that the oxidation and any other impurities on the aluminum have been burned off and you are now down to virgin, pure, aluminum and ready to weld. The preheating makes the rod flow much easier too. One technique I use is to move the torch about a quarter inch ahead of where I intend to drop the rod and then move back quickly and drop the filler. If you get a smooth rhythm going this will go really quickly and with less heat.

11-06-2013, 07:21 AM
All the aluminum was donated after it was bent ... in shipment.

If you have some aluminum left over and the facilities to do it, it can be fun to try to replicate the bending using a press. So if a truck on the interstate is limited to 40 tons how come it takes 100 tons to pretzel this thing the same way? (yeah yeah I know dynamic forces). Assuming you don't already know it was in a RR derailment or something and you've got some scrap laying around. Also assuming the failure mode isn't NASA aerospace grade has the tiniest burr on one corner so reject and more like some pretzels I've seen. Testing to destruction can be dangerous, mere safety goggles probably aren't enough.

Besides you wanted to know if it would hold 1500 pounds so run up a similar length to 4500 or so and see what happens.

11-06-2013, 10:16 AM
Let's see come close up pictures of those boombastic welds.


A.K. Boomer
11-06-2013, 10:41 AM
My experience is 6061 T6 turns to silly putty after it's been tigged, (if that's what it is) but if you got overkill built in it might be fine,,,

I guess the longer you let it sit after welding the better...

11-06-2013, 12:43 PM
I can't get any more pics because the guy already picked them up.