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Aluminum to steel

 
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castrovillecowboy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25 15 11:44 am    Post subject: Aluminum to steel Reply with quote

OK, I am not going to try but curious, can aluminum and steel be welded together with a stick welder (AC/DC)? I am going to bolt the two, but wanted to know if this is possible. I mounting my frankensmoker to an aluminum platform (part of an old boat trailer , using the back-half with tandem axles) to make it semi-mobile.

I checked throughout the forum and could not find a straightforward answer. Surely I am not the first amateur to wonder this.

I shouldn't wonder far, I may get lost
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mopar440_6
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25 15 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aluminum and steel cannot be welded without some extremely specialized techniques and equipment. Your best bet is to bolt the steel components to the aluminum.
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25 15 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to take a look at this article that addresses what happens when you join two dissimilar metals and what you can do about it.

http://trailer-bodybuilders.com/fabrication/how-deal-dissimilar-metals
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castrovillecowboy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25 15 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to both, I had planned on bolting and after reading the article I wouldnt weld it if I could. But glad to know it can be done.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25 15 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article Mike. Very Happy
I was gonna say bolt and insulate between them to protect the aluminum.
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castrovillecowboy
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26 15 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thnx KAM, would plastic/rubber washers work as an insulator?
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26 15 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it will. You should be able to get some nylon washers at your local hardware store.
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Bkndsdl
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29 15 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't weld them together, but you can explode them together. It's called bimetallic strip. One company in the US does it. They basically place a ton of explosives on top of a sheet of steel that sits on top of a sheet of aluminum, and then detonate the explosives, causing the steel and aluminum to bond together. Then they cut the material into strips. It is used in the shipbuilding world to marry steel hulls to aluminum superstructure; the superstructure is everything above the main deck. It's really cool to see it up close, looks like the two are glued together.
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TrailerBuilder
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30 15 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to build ambulances years ago. When mounting the aluminum body mounts to the steel mounts on the trucks, we would use a thin strip of plastic as a buffer between the two different materials. I would also suggest on the aluminum side to use a large washer or plate of some kind as a backer or reinforcement. I have seen applications where the weight of the steel component vibrating or movement has broke the aluminum at the bolt hole area, a backer of some kind helps with this issue.

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castrovillecowboy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30 15 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here is this homemade franken-smoker on the "trailer", just a part of a trailer that puts it on 4 wheels and makes it "semi" mobile.



This will not be going on the road, for anything other than around the yard, it will go on my utility trailer (New Years Eve)

Still has a long way to go to finish, but happy to have it on wheels. Bolted on now, I have to go back and the spacers, which are needed to level it up a bit anyway. Just glad to have it off blocks though.

Thanks again for the advice and info
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