Pot Metal Welding: Getting to Know the Methods and Its Uses

Discover the wonders of Pot Metal Welding now! Learn about its frustrating properties, and find out if you could tackle a pot metal welding project. Find out how it originated, along with its properties and what projects commonly use this type of metal.


The Usability of Pot Metal Welding

Kettle for Tea Boiling previously subjected to heat for Pot Metal Welding on a Workshop
Image: CC 0 by Public Domain, Pexels, via Pixabay

Many different types of metal surely work great with any welder. Whether you learn weld professionally or it is just a hobby, you meet people working with pot metal. This type of metal appears much different than other metals that you got used to working with. Misunderstanding the properties makes it difficult to use.

There appears a lot to learn about this type of metal if you want to use it. This includes exactly the characteristics which makes it unique and what is good about it. One benefits from learning on its common uses and an overview of how pot metal clear things if you work with it.

So why not consider enrolling yourself in a welding school to learn more. In return, you have the opportunity to practice welding as a profession with higher pay among others.

What Is a Pot Metal?

Pot metal remains as a cheap metal which typically consists of a mixture of metals with low-melting-point each. Known for its inferior quality, craftsmen reserves these projects since it requires the use of inexpensive metals.

The name comes from its origins so you need to check a beginner’s guide for welding. In automotive repair shops, scrap metal used to be gathered and put into a pot. Afterward, the process of melting metals comes next for use on patch jobs or other small jobs as needed.

Type of Metals for Pot Metal Welding

Display case at the British Museum containg types of metals that can be subjected to heat for Pot Metal Welding
Image: CC by A-SA 4.0, Mike Peel, via Wikipedia Commons

Some people call pot metal monkey metal, die-cast zinc or white metal. Typically, this type of metal includes:

  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Tin
  • Zinc
  • Cadmium
  • Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Magnesium

Most notably, it includes scraps of pretty much anything, but typically those with large zinc. All the metals for great welding projects when melted together alter the properties of each individual metal included in the pot. 

So, it has a low melting point and rather weak. Also, including too much of a metal such as iron which raises the melting point of the mixture. It makes something other than a true pot metal.

The Sources

Purchasing a pot metal appears available anywhere yet one has the capability to do your own. Foundries exist as a good source for buying a scrap metal. The issue with pot metal made from scrap metal comes often with impurities.

Eventually, this leads to problems as you try to work with it. Making your own allows you to control the blend and reduce impurities. Check out some details about welding symbols and what each means.

Because pot metal arrives with low quality, it does not age well. Probably, your future projects crack, bend, shatter, pit or distort over time. Filled with bubbles, this makes it weak.

Also, susceptible to corrosion which makes it not ideal for items or surfaces. Those needs repainting because the paint peels off over time.

How To Identify Pot Metal

Machine for Metal Identification on a Workshop with aluminum foil covers necessary for Pot Metal Welding
Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Muriel, via Wikipedia Commons

Perhaps, the unidentifiable metal arrives on any project. Surprisingly, you don’t identify the metal used for it. Due to its mixed nature, pot metal arrives hard to identify.

Sometimes it looks like another metal if it contains a higher level of a certain metal. So, it may look like that metal, but does not possess the metal’s properties. This poses a problem. Then, identify the metal in order to be able to work with it.

Identifying pot metal seems tricky. If you have a true pot metal that is largely zinc, then you can heat it up and watch the color of the smoke. If it is white, then it is likely pot metal. You may also be able to tell because pot metal melting temperatures are pretty low in comparison to those of other metals.

You may also weigh the metal. Pot metal appears very heavy compared to aluminum, for example. Once familiar with aluminum, judge it easily now.

Pot metal often does look like aluminum, but there exist clear signs that it seems not. Look for a pattern in the finish not present in aluminum. Also, if you see darker areas, this arrives as a good indicator.

The Problem With Pot Metal Welding

Pot metal actually has a few problems, most of which stem from its mixed-metal nature. Firstly, the first problem appears when you notice as not easy to weld it. To begin with, you really need to know the type of metal you work with. Thus, you use a mixed metal to makes things difficult.

If the pot metal contains a high level of zinc, then you really need not teld it. Zinc, when welded, releases toxic fumes and make you sick. If your pot metal contains a lot of aluminum, welding appears very tough.

In addition, pot metal has a low melting point. Thus, it has an easy capacity to raise the temperature too high and end up with a lump of metal. Then, use an alternate process to fuse pot metal parts together.

Once, you weld the pot metal, carefully working with it appears very crucial. The soft nature appears as one of the biggest issues you face.

The Pot Metal Welding Advantages

Rack with Stainless Pots on a Kitchen Showing The Use of Pot Metal Welding
Image: CC by 2.0, Dr._Colleen_Morgan, via Flickr

However, not every aspect of pot metal appears negative. It does cast well. The process appears fast and easy to make items finish easily in a mold. Furthermore, it doesn’t require complex tools to work with, and easy to cast without special molds.

Pot metal appears also very inexpensive, especially when compared to other metals. If it works for your project, it really helps you to keep the overall costs down. Plus, once readily available to avoid troubles getting the amount you need for a project.

Functions for Pot Metal Welding

Now that you know a little about pot metal and how it reacts to welding, you may wonder how you could possibly use it. It actually dedicates the use of many different goods. You might be surprised at how often it is found around the home.

Because pot metal does not age well, it appears generally used for items that are not going to be exposed to rough use or weather. This makes it ideal for use in home goods.

Household Uses

Cookie Cutters on a Wooden Table with flour Showing The Use of Pot Metal Welding
Image: CC 0 by Public Domain, Efraimstochter, via Pixabay

You might find pot metal being used in the kitchen. It is a popular choice for cookie cutters. You have probably seen old, metal cookie cutters. One of their attributes is that they bend pretty easily. You can thank the pot metal for that.

It may be found in the toy box, as toy cars are often made from pot metal. It may even be found in other toys that have metal elements. Using pot metal helps to keep down the cost of these cheap toys.

This metal is also found in fittings used in lower-cost furniture. It may be used in cheap tools and electronic items. Lower-end guitars and other musical instruments may also use it.

Electronics and Accessories

In the past, doing pot metal welding focuses on automotive parts, primarily window cranks. Electric windows got standardized since every car had window cranks to get those windows rolled down.

This cheap metal appears as a great way to add this important function without increasing manufacturing costs. Pot metal remains very popular in jewelry making.

Many artists use pot metal welding for jewelry since it does not require a strong metal. Also, generally treated gently. It also can be shaped easily, which makes the jewelry-making process faster and easier for the artist.

The Method of Pot Metal Welding

Stainless Steel on a Workshop Showing The Method of Pot Metal Welding
Image: CC 0 by Public Domain, kissu, via Pixabay

If you want to try your hand at pot metal welding or trying to use it in some other way, then you really need to make sure you understand how to work with it. It will not act like other metals you may be accustomed to working with.

A wrong move could spell disaster for your project if you don’t treat the pot metal properly. Pot metal remains notorious for being difficult to weld. Its low melting point, combined with the fact that there exist mixed metals in it.

And, zinc gives off toxic fumes, so it means expecting some trials when welding it. Yet, there occur some tricks to the process that helps you to weld it more easily.

The Process

First, you need to tig weld this type of metal for pot metal welding. As you know, tig welding requires some skill, so you should have the knowledge and equipment to properly weld the pot metal.

However, you will find it easiest if you have experience welding aluminum. Pot metal is similar in many ways, so if you can weld aluminum, then you can usually weld pot metal.

As you begin, use low-temperature settings and work slowly. Use the same method you would use for aluminum. Keep the heat low so you don’t end up completely melting the piece you are working on.

You want to weld in short bursts of about five to ten seconds. You want to let it cool in between. Once it starts to flow, you need to stop and let it cool or you will end up with a mess.

Work Out Your Pot Metal Welding Now!

As mentioned above, pot metal welding appears not as an easy task. Even more accomplished and experienced welders will shy away from it because of the difficulty. Prepare your best welding helmet and start now.

Fibre-Metal by Honeywell Pipeliner Fiberglass Welding Helmet with Ratchet Headgear (110WH), White

  • RATCHETING HEADGEAR: Easy-to-set, ratcheting headgear assures comfortable, secure fit; overhead band has multiple adjustments to set the welding mask for the best working position and optimal weld viewing
  • RUGGED SUPERGLAS PLUS: Tough but lightweight SuperGlas Plus material is impervious to moisture and impact-resistant to prevent cracks and chips; smooth surface is self-extinguishing to deflect sparks
  • COMPACT DESIGN: Specifically designed as a pipe welding helmet, the compact design allows access to small spaces and tight clearances where a standard welding helmet won't fit
  • SAFETY & CLEAR VISION: Pipeliner Welding Helmet features a 2" x 4" Shade 10 lens for clear viewing of weld puddle; filters out 100% of UV and IR wavelengths for maximum eye protection
  • BALANCE & COMFORT: Free-floating arms minimize pressure points for comfort and ensure the welding helmet delivers good balance and stability while welding

Neiko 53819A Safety Face Shield with Clear Polycarbonate Visor | Adjustable Head Straps | Full UV Protection for Outdoor Work

  • [COMFORT]: Soft padding on the head strap provides a comfortable fit and overall product is lightweight.
  • [UNIVERSAL]: Fully adjustable head strap with ratchet suspension that have front and back adjustments for a universal fit.
  • [ANSI APPROVED]: Perfect for full face protection and coverage that meets with ANSI Z87.1 standards to keep you out of harm's way.
  • [QUALITY]: Clear Polycarbonate Visor gives you a perfect field of vision for undisrupted work.
  • [VERSATILE]: Useful for a wide range of operations that require facial protection with visibility. Note: Please remove tint film on both sides of face shield before first use.

Not everyone will find it easy to do, and some welders may never master the task. However, taking this challenge makes you arm with what you need to know to at least give it a try.


Featured Image: CC 0 by Public Domain, Meditations, via Pixabay



Leave a Comment