Welding is the process of fusing two metals together with the process of heating them so as to form a secure bond this heating process can come from different sources like an electron beam, electrodes, ultrasonics, lasers, and oxyacetylene gas and sometimes a flux or a filler is often added during the process of applying heat.
Flux helps to prevent molten metals from bringing out with gas in the air which can weaken the bond since it is a non-metal chemical while a filler is just another piece of metal and like the name implies it is used to fill and seal up any space and gap between two metal surfaces.
Welding is a very popular way of attaching pieces of metals together, but most people are not aware that there are other ways of attaching metals together asides welding, ways alike soldering, brazing, use of adhesives, riveting, tapes and even the use of nanomaterials.
Asides these methods from time to time you may urgently need to bond metals together at home and might not have the resources of soldering, brazing or welding them, in situations like this you can easily make use of metal adhesives, there are lots of adhesive products in the market specially made and suitable for metals, it requires no equipment or special skills.
There are numerous methods on how to bond metal to metal without welding
There are times you might need to bond metals together urgently, or you don’t have access to any welder around you, or you have to consider the cost of a welder.
This is why there are other methods to bond metal to metal without welding which comes at an advantage, some of these methods require heat while some don’t. These methods include
This is one of the easiest methods of joining pieces of metals together, it was very suitable for Nigerians and it is quite easy and cheap. There are different types of metal bonding adhesives in the market right now including silicone-based adhesives, but there is however a popular one named Epoxy it has been tested by many and guaranteed to be one of the best metal adhesives when it comes to bonding any type of metal together. Adhesives contain microscopic nanorods with metallic cores of different types
This is a very good option for non-structural elements and metals that don’t have much weight and when it comes to using adhesives there are fewer risks involved.
Steps on how to bond metals together using adhesives
Things you need
- Sandpaper or emery paper
- Protective gloves
- Any industrial-strength cleaner
- Dry and lint-free cloth
- Adhesive (Epoxy glue) preferably 2 – 3
- Disposable bowl
Use a sandpaper or emery paper to remove any surface dirt or oxidation, then you wipe the dirt and dust with a dry cloth.
Put on your protective gloves, it is very important because they are powerful corrosives, then get your industrial-strength cleaner, then wash the metals pieces with it, in order to remove any oil and dirt on its surface, then rinse them with clean water when you are done
Dry the area with a clean dry cloth
Squeeze your adhesive glue into a disposable bowl and stir thoroughly with a stick to form the adhesive
Apply the adhesive to the areas you want to bond, waiting too long will ruin the bond, so you have to stick them together within a minute or two after applying the adhesive. Press the metal pieces together you can also use adjustable clamps to hold them in place.
Remove the clamps before use
Metal to metal epoxy glue manufacturer instructs the users to wait until 24hours after application before making use of the bonded metals, this being that adhesive requires a chemical curing process and time before they are strong enough to start working back perfectly.
The only disadvantage of using adhesives to join metals together is that it is not always as strong and durable as welding.
Riveting makes use of mechanical fasteners to join metal pieces together in order to form a permanent bond between them, they are known to be one of the very useful sheets metal joining, but also one of the most difficult to carry out.
Rivets are usually shaped like a screw or a nail and they can be used in heavy sections like tankers, bridges, etc because they can be placed through a pre-drilled hole and pounded till it flattens and expands till it’s wider than the shaft.
For riveting heavy metal pieces, because it is a very good method for supporting heavy and tension loads, they need to be held together firmly before drilling a hole through the structure and inserting the rivet in the hole, holding it against the structure strongly on one side before pounding it hard to straighten the head, however for huge rivets, a number of people are required to carry out this process.
But when it comes to sheet metals you can easily get small rivets and pliers to join the sheets together. It is quite easy to do and its tools are cheap, you can also decide to make it a permanent fix or remove it later as you like.
The benefit of riveting is that it allows flexibility to the metal for changes in temperature and it doesn’t require any heat, it also joins both lightweight and heavyweight material easily. The only disadvantage of riveting is that the joints might leave gaps and they are not leakproof.
While soldering can be used for many purposes, it has limitations. It is very similar to welding. It is used to form an electrical connection between metals as opposed to mechanical connection in welding and it is used in electronic and circuit boards.
Soldering makes use of a material known as solder, solder is a soft metal alloy that looks like coiled wire and is a mixture of metals, it tends to melt when it comes in contact with a hot surface. A solder is composed of about 99 % of tin, it can also contain other metals like silver, copper, and zinc.
Solder as an alloy has the ability to melt metal at a low temperature which is why unlike welding, soldering requires less heat and makes it safer than welding. Due to its electrical connection, it is, however, weaker than welding that uses the mechanical connection.
Soldering is actually best to be used on an electrical circuit, it gives the electrical circuit a more reliable and effective connection.
Another method used to join metals together that is similar to welding is brazing but it is less expensive. because it also requires the metal to be melted before they can be joined. When it comes to brazing filler metal is melted and used as an adhesive, it is allowed to flow into the point when the joining needs to take place.
There are many materials and metals that can be used to function as a filler it all depends on the method of application, these materials include silver, cobalt, nickel, copper-phosphorus, precious metals. Magnesium, aluminum-silicon.
These metals have a higher melting point compared to tin in solder and it is performed at a high temperature, unlike soldering. In brazing, the joining is affected by heat and the filler joins them together securely after flowing into the gap between the metals.
You might be wondering what the difference between brazing and welding is since it seems they have the same techniques, however, the main difference between brazing and welding is that for brazing we won’t have the need to melt the surface of the metals we need to join, instead of a melted filler seat between the metal pieces and unlike welding but however the bond formed with the filler won’t be as strong as welding, it is used at a lower temperature.
Brazing can be said to be a mixture of soldering and welding, but it is an effective way of welding and it forms a strong mechanical bond between the metals to hold them together for a very long time. It is also very strong and works extremely well for joining pipes and it can be used for several applications. some disadvantage of brazing is that it doesn’t work on all metal types, and it requires a bit of knowledge and practice before being used.
This is a new method used in joining metals but it is not yet fully developed. The process involves roughening the surface with a precise electro-chemical and 3d printing procedure.so as to provide a fine hook structure on a small scale in the micrometer level when two of these surfaces are joined together using an adhesive which helps to create a very strong bond that would be difficult to break.
It doesn’t require the need for high temperature which prevents it from damaging surfaces and it can also be used to join large and heavy components together.
This method, however, is still in development.
Welding is the common technique used for bonding metals together but we now know there are other easy, stress-free techniques to use. Welding on its own however has some disadvantages like burns from high temperature, risk of electric shocks, high labor cost, issues from toxic gases, warping, and discoloration of parts and assemblies due to the rapid heating and cooling method used on it.
So we now know asides welding all of the above-listed methods are also great ways to bond metal to metal together easily and perfectly without the use of welding.