When Todd Rightmire, Career and Technical Education Director at Mt. Baker High School in Deming, WA, looked for a welding project for his students in an Advanced Metals welding class, he chose to build a 16’ by 6’ aluminum boat, the kind that’s designed for an outboard motor, with his students. The project used 5086 aluminum (1/8” and 3/8”) and was joined together using a Lincoln Power MIG 350MP welder as well as a Lincoln Precision TIG 225.
Image Source: Lincoln Electric
The most recent update on the Lincoln Electric projects page notes that the students have built 3 aluminum boats in their welding class. Boats can take up to six months as weekend projects, but his students completed this project during the semester as a team. This creative project is just one example of what you can do with aluminum for a welding project. Here are a few other ideas for projects that could complement a boat welding project or stand on their own in other applications:
Aluminum Boat Trailer
If you’re the kind of welder who would build your own boat, there’s a good chance you may want to follow that up with building your own boat trailer out of aluminum as well. The good news is that some welders are already doing just that. You can custom-design a trailer to fit your boat and create the welds yourself so that you know they’re high quality.
Using a series of I-beams and Millermatic 251, this welder built a custom trailer for an aluminum boat that he’d built four years prior. The material list included: “2- 6”x4” x 25' I-Beams, 1- 2”x3” X 20' Rectangular tube .250 wall. 4- 3”x 1.410 Channels, 2- 3500LBS torflex axels with EZ lube spindles, Stainless steel disc brakes and actuator. 2- Tandem alum. fenders, 6- S/S U bolts Square bend, 1- 3'x10'x 1/2” UHMW Plastic, 5- 15” Alum.”
He also notes that there are concerns about aluminum welds and salt water, but he has not seen any problems with how his welds are holding up.
A Toolbox with Aluminum Diamond Plate
Whether you’re TIG welding a toolbox for your truck, welding cart, or welding shop, you can create a sturdy, heavy-duty toolbox with aluminum diamond plate. This is a project where you need to get your heat input right and make your tacks count.
According to the maker of this toolbox, welding downhill will help, but when it comes to welding aluminum like this, the weld will be strong enough no matter which direction you weld.
Welding a Small Trailer
Whether you need a mobile cart for a welding business or a simple concession stand, you can weld your own cart out of aluminum. You can use .125 thick 5052 aluminum and 2” square tube for frame. You’ll need LED lights in the rear in order to make it legal for the street if you want to tow it behind your car or truck.
The welder who designed this cart suggested that it could also be pulled behind an ATV or four-wheeler.
Weld a Ladder Out of Aluminum
Many shops and homes could use a custom-designed ladder for particularly challenging locations and projects. You can use ladders for boats, reaching supplies in a warehouse, or reaching tools in a shop so that you can use all of your potential storage space.
Aluminum is a great material for a project like this. This welder created a ladder that is 36” x 36” x 36” and is made from 2"x2"aluminum angle, diamond plate, 1 1/4 aluminum pipe, and 2 1 1/4 elbows. This particular project used aluminum diamond plate, so the tips from the storage box above should also apply.
Get the Best TIG Welding Gear and Materials on Sale
You can find great discounts on TIG welders, TIG consumables, and TIG welding gloves at Baker’s Gas and Welding. If you spend over $50, you can get free UPS ground shipping on most orders as of this writing.