Need Welding Advice - Concerned About Quality

john61ct

Adventurer
Even if one was willing to disregard rules of the crowdsourcing platform, i'd be careful working directly with a freelancer if they are not somewhat local. most crowdsourcing platforms enforce mechanisms to protect both the customer and service provider. it's typically not worth the risk for successful freelancers - they will be kicked out for skirting the rules.
Yes of course. I was not proposing breaking any rules, and assumed you meant you had ones to recommend that you know directly.

IOW nothing to do with anything crowdsourced.

Surely these platforms don't get exclusivity even including prospects contacting them IRL who've never used the platform?
 

bapple

New member
Yes of course. I was not proposing breaking any rules, and assumed you meant you had ones to recommend that you know directly.

IOW nothing to do with anything crowdsourced.

Surely these platforms don't get exclusivity even including prospects contacting them IRL who've never used the platform?
Yes, of course. The platforms don't have exclusivity over freelancers, but freelances are bound to work through the platform if they were found through the platform.

I went from zero knowledge/experience to engaging in a successful project in just a few hours on Upwork. Think I got lucky with my first attempt, but have also had success since. The freelancers I hired are no longer freelancing so I can't recommend them (they are fully employed now).
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
I'm sorry that happened to you. Welders like that give us all a bad name. I'm not certified nor am I the best but I have my standards and I stick to them. I built my camper in a similar fashion (various aluminum square tubes) and I TIG welded all of it. No jig, just tight joint fit up and knowing when to clamp down work will produce a product that doesn't warp much if at all.

Most likely that tubing he used is 6063 T52. He shouldn't be having issues making nice welds on that
 

Alloy

Active member
Most likely that tubing he used is 6063 T52. He shouldn't be having issues making nice welds on that
I think you're right but it wouldn't surprise me if the design called for 6061 T6 which should have stenciling along the length identifying as such.
 

bowhunter29

New member
I wouldn't continue any further with this fabricator. The fit-up alone is terrible and the welds are some of the worst I've seen. 3/8" gaps are unacceptable, 1/8" doesn't pass in our shop. The one tube looks like he chewed it off and it looks bent. Butt-joining parts that were cut too short is completely unacceptable. I would not trust the structural integrity of that frame.

As far as the price, I think $8k is right in the ballpark (that's a guess as I haven't seen the prints). As an estimator for the sales dept in our shop, that doesn't sound bad to me.

From an engineering standpoint, the tubing should be 6061, no need for anything more.

On a project as crucial as this, stop by the shop and talk with the owner. Check out some of the work coming out of the shop- work similar to what they'll be doing for you.
 

Rbertalotto

Explorer
This is so sad. Hopefully you owe him most of the $8000. Walk away. This will end up being a horror show down the road.
Thiscwelder need a clean stainless steel brush and a gallon of acetone to clean that aluminum before welding.
Those gaps are a huge liability to structural strength.
So sorry......
 

skiventure

New member
Butt welding tubes is a big no-no unless you sleeve them (internal or external) with a well fitted sleeve and plug weld the sleeve to the tube.

Beyond that, the fit-up looks like horseshit and so do the welds. A MIG welded aluminum tube should not have such an excessive amount of soot around the weld. With a proper cut list that actually came from CAD, he could just hand that to his supplier who will give him pieces cut ready to roll. Also doesn't look like he's on a flat surface.

It is crucial when welding aluminum to clean the aluminum. Your photos show little if any evidence of attempts to clean the material prior to welding it. Remove aluminum oxides using a wire brush or silicon carbide abrasive (NOT ALUMINUM OXIDE ABRASIVE), then degrease with acetone or similar highly volatile solvent. I like to clean my welding rod and tungsten with acetone too. Then I preheat. Then I weld. It is a process but the result is great looking welds that are strong!

Yea, everything about this is nooooooo good. I'd document everything thoroughly and take this guy to small claims court if he won't give you back every dime you've paid him. This is a great learning experience for both you and him.
 

Alloy

Active member
Butt welding tubes is a big no-no unless you sleeve them (internal or external) with a well fitted sleeve and plug weld the sleeve to the tube.

Beyond that, the fit-up looks like horseshit and so do the welds. A MIG welded aluminum tube should not have such an excessive amount of soot around the weld. With a proper cut list that actually came from CAD, he could just hand that to his supplier who will give him pieces cut ready to roll. Also doesn't look like he's on a flat surface.

It is crucial when welding aluminum to clean the aluminum. Your photos show little if any evidence of attempts to clean the material prior to welding it. Remove aluminum oxides using a wire brush or silicon carbide abrasive (NOT ALUMINUM OXIDE ABRASIVE), then degrease with acetone or similar highly volatile solvent. I like to clean my welding rod and tungsten with acetone too. Then I preheat. Then I weld. It is a process but the result is great looking welds that are strong!

Yea, everything about this is nooooooo good. I'd document everything thoroughly and take this guy to small claims court if he won't give you back every dime you've paid him. This is a great learning experience for both you and him.
We stay away from preheat as it is too hard to control the heat affected area and don't use abrasives for weld prep.

Generally the heat affected (40% less strength on 6061) is 1" on either side of a weld. This means the whole face of a 2" tube with welds on the corners that are adjacent (chain welds) from each other is affected. By staggering the welds only 50% of a face is heat affected.
 

skiventure

New member
We stay away from preheat as it is too hard to control the heat affected area and don't use abrasives for weld prep.

Generally the heat affected (40% less strength on 6061) is 1" on either side of a weld. This means the whole face of a 2" tube with welds on the corners that are adjacent (chain welds) from each other is affected. By staggering the welds only 50% of a face is heat affected.
I generally try not to use abrasives if possible, but sometimes they are necessary to clean up less than ideal fit up that often happens in the world that I work in (product development R&D/hacking). I do a lot of prototype design/hacking where bits are saw cut quite roughly to fit. I also use preheat on big chunky pieces. Tubes, not so much.

Anyhow, I am sure we can both agree these welds in the photos are absolute garbage :)
 

aaaslayer

Member
I've been welding only 2 years. Started on a flux core machine, then bought a decent MIG setup. I'm amateur, self taught, but damn my welds are much nicer than those. I understand you mentioned they're just tack welds for now, but some spots cannot be considered "tacks" at all, looks like he full on welded some pieces together already, not tacked them, but full on weld, and it looks really bad. Reminds me of when I first started welding, practicing on scrap pieces with my flux core welder.
 

bapple

New member
Dentedvw, I've not yet found someone new but haven't looked. I am modifying the frame design to reduce welding risk. I've been working with a welding consultant to improve, reduce cost, and simplify the structure. Hopefully I'll be able to take it to a welder soon. I'll post a pic of the new design when ready.
 
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