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Shawn Everette 03-12-2020 11:21 AM

aluminum angle for kiln
So has anyone one here ever used aluminum angle to frame out a kiln?

I'm amassing supplies for a >1cuf bench top flameworking annealer and I plan on moving it around the shop regularly, so the lightweight aspect has me intrigued. I know that it has about twice the rate of expansion as steel, but not expecting a terribly warm cold face with a 1050* service temp.

John Riepma 03-12-2020 11:43 AM

The toolroom that I managed used to make aluminum molds for molding urethane edge worksurfaces that were heated during the process to 140F to cure the urethane. The molds would grow approximately .095" per 12" when raised from 70F to 140F.

Pete VanderLaan 03-12-2020 11:55 AM

I did it once and it worked well. I really only did because the angle iron was free.

Shawn Everette 03-12-2020 12:13 PM

Good to know, going to cut and weight everything else first to see where I'm starting from. I'm aware I'd end up paying more for it, but I may be tempted with the weight difference vs steel. I know with my fabrication skills I'm going to allow for tolerances greater than 1/10".

Pete VanderLaan 03-12-2020 12:33 PM

I recall the stock being 5/16th inch. It drilled well and at that time I was using allthread to bind it. I recall the lengths being about 40 inches, perhaps more. .

It wasn't really free but at that time Los Alamos surplus was .10 lb. You could get machine lathes for that. The world was .10 lb. I got a lot of old West Controllers up there. They looked like they came out of Frankenstein's lab. A big old arrow that pointed at the temperature and they had this really loud "Clunk" when the solenoids kicked off.

It was only open Thursdays for one hour. They put us all on a chalk line and actually fired a little starting gun pistol and off we ran. The labs are still a very strange place.

Shawn Everette 03-12-2020 02:35 PM

There is some newer aluminum "braising" rod out that seems to work pretty well if you prep and heat it right.

When I was learning anodizing at penland I took a trip to the biltmore scrapyard, that place was a goldmine. Not quite .10lb, but certainly certainly cheaper than I was sourcing 6061. Just found a local place that has a separate "drop" warehouse, .60lb for steel and 3.00 for aluminium, this could get to be a problem.

Eben Horton 03-15-2020 09:47 PM

That braising rod is called alumalite I believe

Sky Campbell 03-15-2020 10:30 PM

That miracle brazing rod is crap if you ask me. By the time you figure it out you could have enough experience with a tig to get it done. If you have access to a spool gun mig welding aluminum isnít really that hard. People who never welded steel have a easier time starting with aluminum then the other way around in my experience. If you do weld steel forget what you learned and start over. Pull instead of push. Weave instead of building up with a mig. Pulse instead of keeping a fixed amperage with the tig. As the metal gets hotter go faster and back off the heat. As far as the brazing rod make sure your super clean and stainless wire brush one way to remove oxidation. Preheat as evenly as possible. Even then expect more of a welded look then anything mechanically sound.

Shawn Everette 03-16-2020 09:21 AM

I do have access to a tig and mig, but no one around that knows how to do aluminum. I've considered buying a spool gun for some time since I'm usually fine with the quick and dirty of a mig. It seems real hit or miss with the braising rod, I'm considering this or something similar. I'm suspect of the stuff that doesn't need a flux.

Greg Vriethoff 03-16-2020 09:30 AM

For those of us on a shoestring budget alternative methods like this may be our only option. When I first saw those brazing rods (about a year ago maybe) I poked-around welders' forums to see what pros think. Apparently, it's something that's not new (as advertised), and most of the old-timers dismissed it out of hand. Some of the ones that got some of the "new" ones being pitched said they were pleasantly surprised by the results, and that they are better than older variants. But hey, it's the internet, so how do know what's true and what's not? Regardless, I have no need to weld aluminum at the moment, so I'm not going to spend any money just to tinker with something (I do enough of that already).

The last metal fab/machine shop I worked in the foreman was training me on cnc and set me loose to try my hand at welding aluminum. What a mess. You do have to start over at square one.

Eric Trulson 03-16-2020 09:34 AM

Is your TIG DC only, or can it do AC? If it can, I'd say just go for it, no need to buy a spool gun.

TIG welding aluminum is a bit different compared to steel, but can still be picked up in an afternoon well enough to hold a frame together. Practice on some scrap first, the biggest things that are different from welding mild steel are that you need to dump a lot more heat into it, and the puddle will feel like it goes from solid to liquid much more quickly and with less warning (because you don't get a color gradation as it warms up the same way you do with steel). Feels similar to soldering/brazing in that respect, like how a eutectic alloy "lets go" all at once instead of melting more slowly. If the puddle feels like it's getting away from you, just move it faster to cool things down a bit.

Shawn Everette 03-16-2020 12:15 PM

We do have a DC TIG, just have never TIGed before. Comfortable with brazing and MIG in most applications.

Rick Kellner 03-16-2020 12:53 PM

TIG is a heck of a lot of fun, but you will definitely have to spend the time getting the two hand coordination established, and settle into a good rhythm.

If you have access to the equipment, why not play around with it on some scrap?

Shawn Everette 03-16-2020 01:09 PM

My main hesitation is that it's not my studio, but another departments. I've been trying to get an in with the main guy that does welding over there, but his popularity is making it difficult. Project is on hold now anyway for obvious reasons.

Sky Campbell 03-16-2020 07:41 PM

Iíve done more damage to my hearing tig welding aluminum with a high frequency welder then probably anything else. It took so much concentration for me it wasnít until years later I became proficient enough to notice. It really did damage my hearing. Same time I was also tig welding copper another noise that I left unchecked because of the concentration it required. Iíve always worn muffs as earplugs hurt my ears. You canít wear muffs with a standard welding hood but you need to find some ear protection. Even now with my expensive hood and ear protection the noise aggravated the damage Iíve already done. Protect your ears, eyes and lungs! A high freq welder turned up to 300amps is a very unpleasant noise once you really take note.

Pete VanderLaan 03-16-2020 08:39 PM


the great thing about being deaf is you get to control the noise you don't choose to hear.

You just miss out on the world going by.

Shawn Everette 03-17-2020 09:06 AM

Good to know, wasn't something that I had even considered. In my youth I wasn't always diligent about the hearing protection, trying to be more responsible now.

Pete VanderLaan 03-17-2020 10:26 AM

It's a sad loss for me. It has really accelerated in the last five years to a point where without the aides, I hear slurring. I can't really listen to music anymore since the base tones have been destroyed. The aides allowed me back into the conversation but crowds are still unworkable. It's part of why I no longer teach.

Getting your hearing checked is actually important. There are follicles on the eardrum that the brain checks in on in a rapid stacatto. As follicles die due to age, abuse, whatever the brain slows down the checking and actually stops. At that point hearing aides may assist with the ones that remain but unless the follicles are stimulated somehow, you just lose it all. So my audiologist told me if I had come in back some time, my hearing would actually be a lot better today. It's not. Without the hearing aides, I live in my head.

They're expensive. Mine ran $6K for the two. I got a middle range quality. I love them. I have a microphone that sits by the TV and I can broadcast it directly into my head. I can hang it around someone's neck in a car and we can talk. Yet another insult from aging. Wear hearing protection.

Shawn Everette 03-17-2020 10:53 AM

Knocking on wood, I'm blessed/cursed with very sensitive hearing. I notice many noises people don't unless I point it out. More recently specific loud noises have started hurting my ears, but it's only on specific registers.

Rich Samuel 03-17-2020 09:56 PM

I've noticed my hearing seems mushy when I watch movies on TV, but news and other shows sound OK. I think I'm also losing volume as a few people have mentioned that I listen to music and TV at a too high volume. A hearing test was going to be part of my physical today. So it goes.

Pete VanderLaan 03-18-2020 07:16 AM

A professional audiologist is what you need Rich. As a part of a physical, it is inadequate. Hearing aids are not convered by Medicare to the best of my knowledge.
I turn mine off in the studio at the audiologist's advice. I live in my own little world.

Rich Samuel 03-18-2020 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan (Post 147305)
A professional audiologist is what you need Rich. As a part of a physical, it is inadequate. Hearing aids are not convered by Medicare to the best of my knowledge.

The hearing test will be with an audiologist when it happens. My HMO doesn't leave specialist's stuff to one's primary care physician. There's some coverage for hearing aids provided through my Medicare Advantage plan but I haven't dug into the details yet.

Pete VanderLaan 03-18-2020 01:33 PM

the quality of the OTC counter stuff has really improved. You can thank Elizabeth Warren for pushing so hard on that.

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