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Old 12-17-2006
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newbie question about welding aluminum

I'm planing to make a new carpet kit using aluminum water heater stands. they happen to be the perfect size except i need to rig up some longer legs. I was thinking the ideal thing to do would be get an extra one for scrap and extend the legs. I don't know anything about welding except i solder alot of copper pipe cuz i'm a plumber . I have a map torch that can braise like 2 or 3 inch copper . Can i braise or weld 1.5 inch square aluminum tube with that ? my friend welds but it will cost me something and take a whole day.

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Here is the stand . It can support atleast a 500 pound water heater .


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One stand goes infront of and one behind the wheel well. For now the wheel well is the center support This is just some plywood i have in there temporarily. I want to raise it up so its flush with the bed rail and the bottom of the camper shell. Then tie both of the frames together with either welded alumnium, unistrut, or 2x4's and lags to create center support between the wheel wells .last i'll screw 1/2 plywood off to the top.

I was wondering if its a good idea to use L brackets and attach the aluminum frame to bed on all the legs?I was thinking that would help stiffen the bed but not sure if its a good idea . It will also help keep everything in place on the trail and be safer to have it bolted down in the event of roll over .

with a new carpet kit that is taller I will gain a little sleeping area on the sides but sacrafice head room. most important of all... A place for a 33 x 12.5 spare ! I finaly solved my small spare problem!

I want something like this carpet kit . http://www.bajataco.com/Camper1.html

I love the compartments. I will make one for the high lift jack , one for the spare tire , one for a slide out container with tools etc. maybe some flip up compatments on the side.

My old wood carpet kit was the same design with the two 48LXW20x9H inch boxes at front and back. the center support was just the wheel well on the old one. I figure this new design and materials is far stronger and very lightweight with new center support. I weighed the boxes made from wood and they are about 35 pounds each ! I'd say i save 60 pounds. I could see the back end came up a little.

I'll be doing this project within a month or two . I'll make sure to write it up with pics .

Last edited by stockranger; 12-18-2006 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 01-04-2007
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i have seen braising done with aluminum, but with the non desired effects. aluminum can be pretty touchy and generally needs the control/precision of a TIG. think of when you solder the copper pipes. you are heating the pipes to equal temps to accept and allow the solder to flow into any gap/fitting, etc. in welding the aluminum, u need to get it to flow/basically melt.
so to answer your question more directly..i would have it welded by someone with a TIG and the skill. braising is doable, but could turn up messy and not as structurally sound.
good luck and let us know what you decide!
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