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Modifying a MIG welder

Night Train

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I have a Cebora Boxer 155 mig welder and I want to add a spool gun for welding aluminium.

I have found this one on Ebay at 24v http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200580067069&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT and also this one at 12v http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160552031179&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT.

I know both are cheap but any advice on them would be helpful.

What I had in mind was to wire in the spool gun and a second small gas bottle via an electric valve so that at the flick of a switch (with contactors and so on) and the right gas bottle turned on I can switch from the mild steel set up on the welder to aluminium on the spool gun.

Would you think this would a) work, and b) be ok to do as a modification?

I will need to check the voltage of the existing set up for the motor and valve switching.

Thank you

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I wish you luck with this, but please do not be too disappointed when you find that simply swapping to a different wire feeder will not make your MIG machine weld aluminium just as easily as it welds steel with a standard feeder. There is a more to welding aluminium than this - a lot more!

I played with aluminium wire in my MIG for a short while, but rapidly decided that it wasn't going to be much more than a frustrating waste of time so I went out and spent two grand on an all-singing-and-dancing AC/DC TIG welder instead. I did not use a spool gun with the MIG, but instead tried to use the standard torch (but with a 'U' wheel instead of a 'V' wheel for the feeder motor). Needless to say it tangled with monotonous regularity.

All the reliable literature I have seen seems to indicate that aluminium MIG is fine for production purposes where it's worth spending the time and money to get the set up and the weld parameters right, but for jobbing welding with variable materials, the speed gain in the rate you can lay down weld weld (which is MIG's real advantage over TIG) is completely lost by the time required to get the set up right.

One thing I can tell you, from experience with TIG, is that you need a LOT more heat for welding aluminium. You may find that 155A simply isn't enough to do anything worthwhile.

But, don't take my word for it - there are plenty of people in the world who know more about ali welding than I do!

Please let us know how you get on, and good luck!


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Cheers, thanks for that. I just don't have enough need to justify getting a TIG set and all the associated kit.

I was figuring on cheap just to put the occasional bit of weld on to some sheet rather then the occasional pop rivet on folded corners, that sort of thing. Not looking for structural quality or strength.

The other option might be, if the aluminium welding turns out to be a non starter and a complete waste of time, is to have mild steel in the spool to reach the parts the normal torch can't reach across the workshop just to tack parts before taken them to the welding bench. That way I might not feel that I have wasted the money! :D

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Just to add to the above ^^ :( - Yup

I have tried more than a few times in the past the use a MIG to Ali Weld, inc spool guns.

One way of making things better is to use a thicker wire a la 1.0 or even 1.2 as this does help to stop

the wire getting into a right old mess in rollers etc, spool gund are tricky at best to use, and the mess generated on

the welding / finished weld is a snotty weld - nothing like a tig weld.

Also as mentioned 155 amps is not enough, my 210 really didn't cut the mustard on much over 3mm,

which when joined to say another bit of 3mm just was not pretty. It wasn't klack of skill, its the process

also you find it sounds like WW3 is breaking out and the debris in the air in amazing :lol:

Lastly Ali is not Ali as I am sure you well know, so "MIG Ali Wire" does not equal the right wire for the ali you

want to weld, vs TIG you buy rods best suited to the weld.

Personally I would say don't waste your money, save it towards a TIG AC DC welder, they do pop up second hand now and again :)


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All true above,ally has such heat sinking properties that mig requires a very powerful welder to get a instant weld pool as is needed in the mig mag process.

That said I do use it successfully but I have more money tied up in that machine than a tig set!

Have a look on the evil bay for a s/h tig, this week I bought a 500amp miller for £150 off the bay.Inverter welders are good for the ego as you can have a chat while welding alloy and not have to concentrate but prone to sudden death so I would avoid one of them s/h with no warranty.

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I have a ready welder and they are brilliant, bought on ebay for 150 quid, I use two car batteries and have two on charge and can weld all day, I haven't welded aluminium yet but according Ready Welder the welds are good, and there selling point, due to the dc and the amps available. Go to Ready Welder website and download their manual, it tells you how to connect your cables to arc, mig, and to batteries , interesting reading. But to be honest I'm sure you make one, once opened up there are quite simple machines.


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I made 4 of the silver things that can be seen here to stop the dog eating my veg and the cat doing worse. :blink: They are 20mm x 3.2mm ali tube, no idea what grade i got about 30 x 5m lengts FOC :blink:

I used a migmate 170P with 1.2mm ali wire & argon universal. The welds look awful, the ali was almost melting away whilst i was welding and its just kind of a big blob where one piece joins another. The roller kept clogging and stopped pushing, the steel wire feed liner became blocked with bits of ali that stopped the wire feeding and my clothes looked like a colander by the time i'd finished. To go back to steel I had to buy a new roller, feed liner and tip.

That said a die grinder can clean up the welds pretty easily and it is strong so if pushed i would do it again.


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