Dos and Don’ts of Aluminum Surface Preparation Prior to Welding

authorIcon By Normand Lemieux on July 17, 2017 topicIcon Laser Cleaning

Miller, the self-proclaimed largest manufacturer of arc welding products in the world, provides very useful clues as to what is required for creating high quality welds on aluminum.  They state that surface preparation of the base product and cleanliness of filler material are of the utmost importance.

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trying to weld with dirty base and filler metals adds unnecessary difficulty and can lead to poor weld quality. You also have to deal with the natural oxidation that takes place with aluminum. Suitable preparation prior to welding is important

Excerpt from What You Need to Know About Cleaning and Preparing Aluminum Filler and Base Metals Before Welding by Miller

When aluminum is exposed to oxygen over a long period of time a tough oxide layer is created. Trying to weld through that layer of oxide is very hard. Proper surface preparation improves the penetration and the quality of the weld. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of Miller’s tips to achieve a great weld on aluminum.


In order to make the best weld possible try to:

  • Use high speed circular saw to cut aluminum prior to welding.
  • Use plasma arc or laser to cut pieces before welding.
  • Remove 1/8 in of material with a mechanical process such as milling when welding series 2000, 6000 and 7000 series.
  • Use solvent to remove any grease or oil from the parts.
  • Use clean stainless steel brushes to remove the aluminum oxide from the surfaces to be welded.


Avoid the followings to make a great weld:

  • Use a grinder to cut the aluminum pieces to be welded.
  • Use oxy-fuel to cut or preheat the parts to be welded.
  • Use shop rags to clean the parts to be welded.
  • Use compressed air to prevent adding moisture to the weld.
  • Use lubricants when milling aluminum parts that will later need to be welded.

Another method for the preparation of metal surfaces for welding is through the use of lasers. Laserax provides a wide range of solutions for cleaning a variety of materials. These laser cleaning machines are particularly effective at removing contaminants such as rust dirt, grease or paint on metals. Thus making lasers especially effective in providing a base product that is in prime condition to accept your weld. For more information on laser cleaning welds as an alternative to the traditional surface preparation visit Laserax website.

Click here to watch video of Laserax's mobile laser cleaning system


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(n.a). What You Need to Know About Cleaning and Preparing Aluminum Filler and Base Metals Before Welding. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2017, from 
Creative Commons License The cover picture is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. By U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Viramontes.

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Normand Lemieux

Normand is a well-rounded and autonomous marketing professional with a recent specialization in web marketing. He thrives to share experiences, to apply knowledge, to learn new things and get stuff done.​