welding brass?

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I am working on a large scale public sculpture. I had intended to use bronze, but find that brass is much cheaper. Does anyone know about welding brass? MIG? TIG? torch? If not, can I braze it and how strong is a braze compared to a weld?

thanks for any information that might help me in this project.

ats


warren's picture

I braze brass all of the

I braze brass all of the time. For a good weld it depends on the thickness of the sheet. If using 1/16 thickness works pretty good. You can also braze up to 1/8 but sucks up a lot of heat. Your welds may have a little porosity but if looks are not a problem just go with the brazing. But others may suggest migging or tigging because you can tig if you know how to work the puddle and bring the tin up.
When brazing brass it is more like welding because the base metal is also melting and can get a little touchy with blowing through.
warren


visitor's picture

Brass gong repair

I have antic culturally significant brass gongs that needs to be repaired. They got holes in it that need to be filled. Any good suggestions from anyone?


warren's picture

Holes from what

Post a picture and how did the holes get in them?

warren
http://www.flickr.com/photos/metal_recipes/


Rich Waugh's picture

If the gongs are truly

If the gongs are truly antique and culturally significant, then repairing them by any means other than those perfectly consistent with the period of actual manufacture would virtually destroy the value of the pieces. True conservatorship would indicate doing nothing more than the minimum necessary to prevent further deterioration, but no "repair" at all, unless absolutely necessary to preserve the pieces. Then those repairs must done in the aforementioned historically consistent manner, usually plugging and peening followed by surface dressing with scrapers and gravers.


kasey's picture

brazing/soldering brass

Hi there -

I'm making a birdcage dress out of brass and am having some trouble getting the 1/16" round rod to attach to the 1/2" x 1/8" strap. It seemed to be working fine when I was doing it on a flat, horizontal surface, but now that I'm attempting to do it at some weird angles I'm just making a mess.

I'm currently using Radnor Stay-Silv 5 and white brazing flux.

Photos here of the strap I'm trying to attach the round rod to (I'm trying to create the actual 'cage' with round rod going horizontally):
Birdcage Dress 1
Birdcage Dress 2

Thanks so much in advance for any advice. Brass is a worthy opponent! I'm imagining it will take some wrangling, but I'm hoping that there's some sort of solution.

Cheers,
Kasey


visitor's picture

Brass and true welding

one article i read is that only brazing is possible because zinc and copper melt at such different temps. (zinc boils well below copper's melting point). another article i read gave the melting point of common brass alloys around 900F. i would like to find out once and for all if a true fusion weld is possible because i have a project that i'd like to use a nice, pretty TIG weld on, and i'd sure like to use brass. (it's a musical instrament)


Ries's picture

"Brass" can mean any of

"Brass" can mean any of several different alloys.
Some can be quite easily tig welded, others are a big pain.
It depends on the lead and zinc content- both are very tough to tig weld.

I would be hesitant to rush into this without doing more research on the alloys you are considering, and WHY they are cheaper.

Brass will, of couse, patina differently than bronze- it usually just turns green. If this is acceptable, it may work. It is also softer than bronze, usually, although this too depends on the alloy. So its more susceptible to damage, and vandalism.
Some Bronze alloys, like Silicon Bronze, are very tough.

Brass will also be available only in certain sizes and shapes- again, depends on the alloy.

In some cases, soldering or tig brazing using a silicon bronze filler rod will work well on brass.


paul b hill's picture

Welding Brass

I have a suggestion for welding brass. I was asked to make a brass musical instrument for a movie that Screen gems is filming here in Wilmington. I was trying to figure out the same answer to your question...what I ended up using, and it works absolutely wonderfully, is 50/50 wire solder(victory metal white brand) and "stay-clean" liquid soldering flux. I would heat up the brass with a small mapp gas, the yellow bottle and a small torch tip. It worked great and is also easy to control. I lightly polished the excess solder away that I did not need and the piece looked wonderful.

Hope this might work for you...oh yes, the bond is extremely strong, as the instrument that I made was a precursor to the trombone... but in the late 20's and early 30's, it was called a bazooka.


Canaday Designs's picture

Mig?

Just a thought since you say this is a large scale sculpture. You can use a wire feed welder with tri-mix gas (helium, argon, CO2), and of course the right wire alloy for the brass, or bronze that you want to weld and save a lot of time. I've used this before on brass hand rails, IF... you have the correct alloy match the joint disapears and it is very strong. If you have a welding supplier thats worth his beans he can find you the alloy to match your material.
matt


visitor's picture

brass and steel

can brass and steel be welded together?


Gene Olson's picture

That is pretty much the

That is pretty much the definition of brazing.

It is NOT welding
but it is effective bonding.

The steel melts at almost twice the temp of the brass. Indeed some of the brass will boil off or burn before the steel melts.
What happens is that you clean and chemically activate the surface of the iron and then con the brass into sucking on it. The brass gets all tangled up in those little active chemical hooks on the surface and stays stuck. VERY stuck.

Gene Olson
Sculptor
Elk River, MN


Rick Crawford's picture

Hey Gene - You have a way

Hey Gene -
You have a way of putting thigs that gets through to me.

Thanks,
Rick Crawford at Smoky Forge


Gene Olson's picture

It must have been the green

It must have been the green fairy

Gene Olson
Sculptor
Elk River, MN


visitor's picture

Brass and iron casting

Hi
i am trying to cast brass around an iron core.. this is to save brass and get some strength in a 20mm diameter rod that is suposed to look like a twig. the twig looks i get by wax casting brass around this iron rod.
i am having a problem in assuring adhesion between those 2 metals, does any of you have any experience in this process?
i do a lot of lost wax casting and sandcasting already.
Jakob


Rich Waugh's picture

Jakob, I'd suggest that you

Jakob,

I'd suggest that you use stainless steel rod, rathe rthan mild steel. The heat of the burnout and casting is going to scale the steel and possibly result in later problems. Stainless will have a tighter, thinner scale and the shrinkage of the brass upon cooling should make it pretty darn secure.

I seriously doubt that there is any way at al lto get a chemical bond between the two by casting the brass around the steel. That saidm brass and bronze have been cast around steel armatures for centuries with good success, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

In practice, what I would do is forge the brass to have a twig-like look and at the same time work harden it. Some brasses have tensile strengths approaching that of steel and should be pretty strong in a hardened 20 mm (.80") diameter section. I use silicon bronze for similar purposes and it is plenty strong enough for everything I need it to do. It forges beautifully and can be TIG welded with no visible joint.


bigfootnampa's picture

I like Rich's reply and can

I like Rich's reply and can see that he has had more experience than I in this sort of project. Nonetheless, I would be tempted to at least test doing your project by casting around ordinary (and CHEAP) rebar... relying on the MECHANICAL bond created by casting into the heavy texture on the rebar.

If you only need the coloring of brass though... you could simply forge the whole twig in steel and then limn it with a brass brush at black heat. I do that often and the look is quite excellent and pretty durable too. I also sometimes use bronze brushes for limning but find that is more work as the bronze has a lower range of useful transfer temps.

One more idea that I'll toss out in case you are interested... I find a fair amount of copper clad steel ground rod material at scrap dealers around here. I have NOT tried forging this type material but I think one day I will. If you need more gold colors than the reds of copper it is easy to heat patina for gold on copper surfaces.


Rich Waugh's picture

BIgfootnampa, That's an

BIgfootnampa,

That's an excellent suggestion to use the textured rebar. The heat of casting brass around it will change its tensile strength due to partial annealing, but that shouldn't be a concern unless you're building bridges. :-) The texture will guarantee a strong mechanical connection with the casting.

Since I'm a primarily blacksmith I usually try to find a forging solution to problems rather than casting, fabricating or whatever. I like hammering on metal!

As for forging those copper-clad ground rods, I think you'll find them very frustrating. I tried it once many many years ago and discovered that the copper cladding was so much more ductile and malleable than the steel core that it tended to pull away from the core during forging. Like I said, that was a couple of decades ago and I was not nearly as proficient at forging as I am now so I might have better results if I tried it tomorrow. So, you should give it a try and let me know how it goes. (grin)

One possible technique that we didn't mention was metal spray coating. If you have an acetylene torch and a compressor you can get a metal spray torch and some brass powder and try that. It's something I've been wanting to do someday but haven't - yet.

Rich


visitor's picture

Newbie

Newbie here............

Definition/demonstration of "limning" please?


visitor's picture

Making a 20 foot copper tree

I have been asked if i could build a 20 foot ash tree out of copper. I have tried fridge copper tubing which works well but too malible and not the look i think is wanted. Any suggestions Sé


warren's picture

Big TIG

Get a very big TIG welder and hope the client has a whole lot of money. Nothing to do with welding brass.

www Metalrecipes -- heat and beat to the desired shape, repeat as necessary.
warren


colin duncan's picture

big tree

what about roughing it out in steel and melt the copper on with an oxyacetylene torch as if you were brazing. Take care not to overheat the steel and work from shiny metal. Copper may look like it has fused to steel but if the steel is already oxidised the copper can just peel off.

As with steel, and bronze, you can directly sculpt the copper to create bark like textures and other details. it's about keeping the weld area at a very precice temperature. copper doesn't have much of a meting range, unlike its alloys, and is very heat conductive. ie you can melt a big hole in it!


visitor's picture

welding brass and steel

Yes, I use silicon bronze to weld mild steel to brass.
www.pattiebyron.com


Brazing1972's picture

Brass to steel

I will have to look up silicon bronze melting point. Most brass I mess with is 260 and I believe it melts real close to the temp of my bronze brazing rods. I am considering applying a glob of braze to the steel I am about to join then securing it to the brass and cautiously apply heat. I have burned holes in brass a couple times as I am a novice.

Also I notice common brass alloys don't "melt" so much as get covered in greenish yellow dross and collapse when overheated. Using alot of flux might help too.

I learn more about metal working when I mess something up.


warren's picture

Dross

Are you talking about the film over the puddle? Yes it will do that and flux helps, you just need to move the torch tip around to get it swirling, note if you have the proper size tip you should have a small puddle and not burn holes, but the brass will blow through if too hot, than stick in your rod pushing through the film the puddle should melt some rod and if the other side is hot too the puddle should just flow out to perform a joint.

www Metalrecipes -- heat and beat to the desired shape, repeat as necessary.
warren


visitor's picture

brass

? I need to build a part of an antique door latch can I build it up with brasing material mark


visitor's picture

welding brass

I also needed to weld brass for a brass balustrading project and succesfully did so using the tig process. The same settings as for welding aluminium (ac,neg-,hi-fr)were used with 99% argon. Fusion was quite easy but penetration needs more heat and therefor more shielding gas, as I think brass contains magnesium which react's with oxygen at higher temp's.


Rich Waugh's picture

Dunno about any brasses that

Dunno about any brasses that contain magnesium, but I TIG weld brass using DC, not AC. HIgh amps to start, then back off after you get liquidus at the puddle. Tough to get a color match due to the low melting metals gassing out, but that's the story with brass.

Rich


visitor's picture

Bonnding Weildnig- Brass, Copper, Silver Plated

I want to learn how to make jewelry with combine pre made components.
I really like the gothic and steam-punk genera with angel wings etc being joined with old clock parts.
Of course the sellers of these items guard their secrets (I understand they are earning a living) but I always buy what inspired me and then try for something different. Unfortunately epoxy suck.
Good someone point me in the right direction.
I will be working small scale. Thank You


canton311fan's picture

brass MIG

I MIG weld brass almost on a daily basis for work on explosion proof trucks. We used to TIG everything but started using MIG to save time. We use a Silicon bronze wire to weld brass to steel, and once welder is set right runs a pretty good weld. There is also a Alumibronze wire but causes more spatter and clean up time and we use straight argon on both wire.