Attaching pieces of metal without welding can be tricky. It requires expertise and experience to get a good result. You also need excellent supplies besides skills. If you do not have these resources, it can become very complicated and ruin your entire project.
So, how to join two pieces of metal without welding? If you know the trick, there are far easier alternatives that are less time-consuming and expensive and will give you near-perfect results. Gluing, soldering, brazing, riveting, and nanomaterials are the 5 most popular techniques you can use.
Here, we have listed a step-by-step guide on each method to clear up any confusions you might have.
How to Glue Metal
Using glue to attach your metal pieces is a quick and easy hack. But you need to be careful and prepare well beforehand because it can be very messy.
Step 1: Prepare Your Workstation
Choose a well-ventilated room or an outdoor workspace, as glues can be quite toxic and create breathing difficulties. Lay down old newspapers or clothes on the bench.
Protect your hands from abrasiveness by wearing latex or nitrile gloves.
Step 2: Clean Your Metal Pieces
Wipe away all kinds of oils, greases, dirt, and dust. This is because any kind of greasy residue will weaken the glue bond and not allow the adhesive to work properly. Even older glue pigments should be cleaned away as well. You might also have to grind or sandblast your metals to scrape off the rust.
Before you proceed on to the next step, rubbing the metals with fine-grit sandpaper will also allow the glue to sit better.
Step 3: Apply the Glue
Different glues are applied differently. Reading the instructions on the back will reduce the chances of any mistake.
The process is quite straightforward. You can mix the recommended hardeners with epoxy glue and apply them to your metals using special equipment. But other types of adhesives mostly come in squeeze-tubes, which you can just add after twisting off the cap. One drop per inch would be more than enough.
Step 5: Join the Pieces
Clamp the pieces together and let them rest depending on the curing time of the glue used. Any unnecessary disturbance would weaken the bonds, so avoid poking or probing them.
Step 6: Clean Away Excess Glue
No matter how cautious you were, spills and mistakes are bound to happen. Inspect the fused metals to see if they need any touch-up. Clean up any excess using acetone or a solution of soap and water.
How to Solder Metal
Soldering is a similar process to welding, but it is done chiefly for electronics and circuit boards. This is because soldering forms an electrical connection between metal, whereas the other creates a mechanical junction. It is a simple process, almost as easy as using a curling iron!
Step 1: Prepare Your Work Surface
While you let your soldering iron heat up, start sanding the edges of your metals where they will be attached. This will allow them to connect smoothly without any voids or gaps. Clean off any dust with a rag.
If you do not want the soldering iron to meet any areas, just seal them off with painter’s tape. Also, always wear the necessary protective gear.
Step 2: Apply Flux and Start Soldering
You should only add flux to the zones you will be working on. Then, pick up your hot iron and start soldering. Make sure to keep your distance, as the iron can get extremely hot.
Keep a damp sponge on hand to clean up any extra solder from the iron’s tip so that they do not fall onto your surface.
Step 3: Rest and Clean
Let the metal cool for a while and check to see if you need to fix anything. You also need to scrape and wipe off any excess residues.
And you are done!
How to Braze Metals
Brazing also requires melting the metal substrates before fusing them. While brazing, the temperature goes through the roof, and the filler metals become adhesive as a result.
Step 1: Check for the Fit
You need to check for the clearance between the metal substrates being brazed for the best capillary action. The best clearance is around .001 inches to .0003 inches, with the highest being 0.005 inches. Any value smaller or larger than that will result in an ineffective joint.
Step 2: Clean the Metals
Dirty and contaminated surfaces will cause all your efforts to fail as the brazing filler metals cannot succeed in adhering. Wipe off any oil and grease residues using solvents and oxides with abrasives. As soon as they are clean, you should proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Flux and Assemble
Apply the flux to the joint before brazing to protect the surface. Then, align and assemble the parts to ensure everything is in the right place. Ensure that each tube fits into the other before you start.
Step 4: Start Brazing
First, heat the base metals and raise their temperature evenly and fast. Use a gas-air torch or anything with a soft flame and start heating the tube only a couple of inches away from the fitting. Sweep the flame back and forth from the tube to fitting as this will ensure that the filler metal will wet properly and fill the joint.
Just as the metals reach a dull red color, pull back the flame and add in the filler metal. You will notice the filler metal melting, penetrating, and spreading across the joint right away.
Step 5: Clean off the Excess
If you require some post-brazing cleaning, just wash it under hot water and scrub the areas with a soft brush.
How to Rivet Metals
Riveting is a process used to join metal sheets with mechanical fasteners. The bonds formed in this technique are usually firm, solid, and permanent.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
To begin riveting, you will need an anvil, a metal punch, some side cutters, a small ball peen hammer, a roofing nail, and of course, your pieces of metals. You can also use other tools that would produce the same results.
Step 2: Prepare Your Materials
Grab your metal pieces and punch/drill one hole in each piece, large enough to fit your roofing nail. Cut off any extra length from your nail.
Step 3: Mash and Peen
Look for the small peak in your rivet and mash its sides to sharpen it up. Next, hit it from the top to flatten it out and then from an angle to make it mushroom out.
Step 4: Finish
Using the ball end of a hammer, repeat step 3 and finish off.
How to Join Metals with Nuts and Bolts
This process is the simplest of them all. It is the most common and popular alternative to welding.
Step 1: Drill Holes
Gather your pieces of metals and drill proper-sized holes in them. It should be large enough for your bolt to fit snugly through.
Step 2: Screw the Nut
Align your pieces for the holes to match on both of your metal pieces. Stick your bolt through. Screw the nut on the other side.
And that is it. Now that you know how to join two pieces of metal without welding, you will never go back. They are super easy, cheap, and cause almost zero mess.
Also, newer technology is entering the industry that uses nonmaterial, but it is still under development. So until that arrives, you can try these 5 amazing alternatives!