Welding, soldering, and brazing are all different methods used by metalworkers in the repair and production of various metallic products. While they serve similar purposes, they all do work very differently and are required in multiple, differing industries.
As a metalworker, you may be confused about which technique to opt to get your work done. While it is a possibility, trying out every method to see what suits your needs best is not very practical.
After all, these methods have further branches of processes, and only a good knowledge of them can help you make the right choice.
At the end of the day, the technique you choose depends on the type of work you want to do. Each method is best for a few specific jobs and so, are limited to those particular industries.
3 Different Metal Joining Techniques and what’s the Difference between them
So, which one should you go for?
Certain factors come into play when differentiating between the three methods of metalwork. Let’s dive in and see which could work best for you! There is also a way of joining metals without welding. We’ve also discussed this.
This technique creates the strongest bond of the three and is normally used in industries for heavy metalwork, like crafting planes, cars, etc. A very basic definition of welding would be, a process that uses heat to melt down and fuse, two metallic objects.
Welding, as a technique for metalwork, is quite popular, especially due to the strength is ensures for its products. There are certain unique traits of welding that makes it stand out among the other methods.
Using Similar Metals
To weld two metals together, one must make sure they are from the same element. For example, a nonferrous metal cannot be welded with a ferrous one.
The metals being worked with can be the same or at least, similar. You can work with metal and alloys, but a completely different element will not cut. This will be impossible because each metal requires a different electrode or a completely different type of welding.
Welding always requires a very high temperature, since it involves melting down of metals. It is a well-known fact that metals have very high melting points.
There are certain types of welding that require an extra bit of metal, which acts as the “filler”. This material is added in during the welding process, to fill any gaps or craters. These fillers are used in welding processes like TIG welding and more, which produce very refined products.
As mentioned above, welding results in very strong products, if the process is carried out perfectly. Welding can be a little tricky to muster since the quality of the weld depends greatly on the current user and heat produced.
If a welder is careful and thorough, he will be able to pull off a welding job perfectly, with the right finish and no flaws. A flawless weld is solid, which is why this technique is used a lot for heavy-duty objects.
Welding is a type of work that branches out to a lot of different methods. There are a large number of different types of welding techniques, which have different traits.
Some of these methods are specific to certain types of metal. Some vary according to their power supply or ease of use. Each technique is a little different, and the variation helps achieve more specific precise results.
Similar to welding, soldering too, join some metal pieces together. While welding creates firm, hard bonds, soldering tends to produce slightly weaker bonds. That is why soldering is not used for the manufacture or repair of heavy objects.
This process is mainly famous for making jewelry, musical instruments, electronic devices, plumbing, etc. As you can see, these are all industries that do not necessarily deal with large, heavy objects, like cars or planes.
Unlike welding, soldering does not require a massive amount of heat energy to join two objects together. Since this method does not involve the melting of any of the base materials, a high temperature is not needed.
Soldering does need a filler metal, which is the only object that is melted during this technique. But the metals used as filler have very low melting points, below 450 C, so soldering remains a low-heat method.
Soldering allows the joining together of all types of metals. A soldering work does not necessarily have to be limited to just one metal or its alloys. With this process, you can work with steel, copper, gold, silver, iron, and more.
Since this technique does not involve the direct melting of the metals that are being joined together, a worker can use any element. The joint is made when the filler metal eventually solidifies. This is why this method is so great for jewelry-making.
Since soldering is used for many electrical devices, it calls for the capacity to conduct energy. Brazing or welding tend to create very strong bonds, but soldering cannot allow that.
Those two processes create mechanical connections between the pieces of metal. Soldering does not do so to serve the purpose of creating objects which are good conductors of electricity.
Again, brazing has very similar functions to the first two methods mentioned in this article. It is used by manufacturers and metalworkers to join pieces of metal together.
This process does have some variations, according to the different purposes it serves. Brazing has many diverse applications, in the manufacture of jewelry, making ceramic objects, or different sorts of engines. Here are some characteristics that make brazing unique in the world of manufacturing.
Like soldering and certain types of welding, brazing requires the use of filler metals. Instead of melting the base materials being joined together, a filler is dissolved, and that metal solidifies to merge the two separate pieces.
In brazing, this filler metal usually has a far higher melting point than that used during soldering. Thus, brazing happens to be a process that uses far higher temperatures than soldering. However, it is maintained that the filler metal must always have a lower temperature than the base materials.
Brazing proves to be quite a versatile method of joining objects, since, unlike welding, this too allows different elements to be joined together.
Since the base metals are never melted in this process, workers can easily join different types of metals, like gold, silver, iron, nickel, etc.
Strength is an essential trait that is expected from any process that joins two objects together. Brazing guarantees a reliable joint between two materials since the filler metal has a very high melting point. The strength, however, will still not be as great as welded objects.
While these three processes have very similar functions, even the smallest changes here can make all the difference. The changes, in this case, lie in melting points, joint strengths, and versatility.
As a metalworker, you should be aware of which traits you would prefer for your work. Judging by the slight differences, you can choose the method that works best for you.
Depending on how much strength a technique guarantees, or if it allows the joining of two different materials, you can decide what purposes each would serve best.