Hobbyists who enjoy building and creating new things in their home may run into a project from time to time and may wonder if they could join or weld without a welder. Welding can take some practice not to mention the equipment and supplies needed for welding one job can be expensive. Maybe you know someone that could weld a job for you that you are working on but you just want to get the job finished. You are in luck because we have been there before asking ourselves the same question.
So, can you weld without a welder? No, not if you are looking to melt and join two pieces of metal together that must have a strong bond. But there are some good alternatives to joining metal depending on the project you are working on and in many cases, they work just fine!
Alternatives to joining metal without welding?
In this article, I will go over several different ways to join metal (many we have done) without learning and investing in the relatively complicated and expensive process of welding. Near the end of this article, I will also explain how you can actually build your own welder out of some inexpensive and often free materials!
Why Braze instead of weld?
Brazing is similar to welding because it involves the use of heat to connect two pieces of metal together. The process is pretty simple and it is less expensive than welding. There are many different types of Brazing techniques using a blowtorch with filler rod and flux. We have used brazing on all sorts of projects, and for most jobs, all you need is a general purpose flux with Silver based filler rod. You can purchase filler rod with or without flux and to get started brazing it is relatively inexpensive compared to welding. Brazing is the process of heating filler metal to over 840 degrees Fahrenheit to connect two pieces of metal together. It is almost like a metal adhesive. Once completed with your project be sure to let it cool slowly and completely before using or it can crack easily.
What types of metals can be soldered?
Soldering is similar to brazing, but it is mostly used for electronics and circuit boards. Like Brazing a flux is also needed to get a good bond, the flux reduces oxides that are formed when metal is heated up. Copper, Tin & Brass will bond real easy when soldering. So if you have a project that you are working on with one of these metals, soldering may be a good option for you.
But here’s the problem
If your project involves Iron, Stainless Steel, Steel or Aluminum you will want to look at one of the other alternatives listed in this article as soldering wouldn’t be a good option.
Riveting metal another option
A rivet is a metal fastener. Riveting is another way of connecting two metal pieces or other material together with a rivet. It has a cylindrical post with a head that is inserted into the punched or drilled hole.
The rivet joins two adjacent surfaces together by joining parts together. A straight, metal piece is connected through the parts, which secures the parts together. If you decide to use riveting on one of your projects make and you want it to be permanent you will need to use a solid rivet. Pop rivets are only good for a temporary solution.
Riveting allows flexibility in metal for changes in temperature, which is beneficial for ships and aircraft. It is more permanent than hardware assembly but not as permanent as welding. Depending on what you are working on riveting may be a viable option. If you like to tinker around in your workshop, creating new things riveting can be a good alternative especially if you are working on prototypes of a new idea.
Fast & Effective For Joining 2 Metals?
Does JB Weld Work?
JB Weld is a great option when joining metal to metal, it is a two-part epoxy cold weld system. Epoxy cures once the surrounding temperature is high enough. It cannot be uncured after it is cured, so it is considered a very strong adhesive. JB Weld has a tensile strength of 3960 PSI.
JB Weld can be used to join broken parts, dissimilar parts, long thin parts, and it can be used to fill holes too. Some people have mentioned on forums that it is possible to fix leaky pipes with JB Weld.
To use JB Weld, you must make sure that the surface that you are applying to is clean and rough. Acetone is a great option for cleaning a surface. Remember to make sure that the surface is not oily in any way. When mixing, use a paper plate and some popsicle sticks to mix the solutions together. Mix an equal amount of hardener and resin thoroughly or else you may end up with poor results.
In the picture above we used 2 different methods discussed in this article for joining two different metals without welding. We JB Welded the center post and used nuts, bolts, and threaded pipe for the rest. It is our stand we made for holding and burning our Swedish Fire Log, and has been in use now for over a decade and still holding strong!
Of course, glue and other adhesives will not create a bond that is as strong as the ones created by welding, but they can still be a great quick fix option for certain projects.
When To Spot Weld
The process of spot welding involves two copper electrodes that hold sheet metal together.
Sheet metal that is not very thick is a lot easier to spot weld on. Thicker sheet metal is more difficult to spot weld because the electric current emitted by the two copper electrodes has more space to flow to.
As long as the electric current emitted by the two copper electrodes is strong enough, the metal will melt. After that, there should be a spot where the two metal pieces or sheets are connected.
The bond that is created is quite strong. It is about as strong as the bond created by normal welding.
Hardware such as nuts, screws, and bolts can be used to connect sheets of metal. Holes will need to be drilled or punched through a couple sheets of metal.
The main benefit of hardware assembly is that it is a quick fix. It is also affordable and is not permanent like welding is.
The bad part of the hardware assembly is that it is not as durable as other processes like welding or spot welding.
How To Weld Metal at Home
So if all of the alternative ideas listed in this article for joining two metals without a welder you can always pick up an inexpensive stick welder to get the job done.
If you decide after reading our article that you want to start welding projects on your own but have a limited budget here is our recommendation to start welding on the cheap.
Inexpensive Welder Option #1
Basic Stick Welder & Tool List for home welding projects:
· Basic Arc Welder – Stick Welder or what some call it a Buzz Box (least expensive to buy)
· Eye Protection & Clear Visor
· Angle grinder
· Work clamps
· Auto-darkening welding helmet
· Chipping Hammer
· Soapstone & Measuring Tape
· Respirator & Ear Plugs
· Soapstone & Measuring Tape
· Wire Brush & Pliers
· Magnetic Welding Square
Make Your Own Welder Option #2
Make your own belt driven stick welder out of some scrap auto parts (alternator and other scrounged materials). You would be amazed at what you can weld with this homemade welder. Check out our DIY Welder Plans Here.
It may seem like a lot at first but you could round up some used tools and get yourself a new inexpensive stick they are versatile and can weld most things except thin sheet metal like auto body work. Check out our other blog article – Welding in your Garage for a more in-depth look at the different types of welders and other tips
Hobbyists who enjoy creating and working on projects at home may want to try out some of the welding alternatives that we have listed and used ourselves. Many of them work out just fine depending on your project.
Remember to stay safe when trying something new. Also, if you have any comments, tips, or suggestions on alternatives you have used, then please share them in the comment section below.