We all know that welding is a fantastic way to fuse to pieces of metal together. There are various types of welding techniques – each with their own benefits, pros and cons. But what about alternatives to welding? Sometimes welding can be expensive or perhaps you don’t have the necessary skill to perform a weld. When this happens, you’ll need some alternatives to welding. In today’s blog, our sheet metal machinery experts will take you through different substitutes for welding and what separates them from this age-old art.
Brazing is similar to welding but instead of melting two pieces of metal to join them together, you melt a filler metal that you place between the two metals that you want to join together. A silver alloy is used as the filler metal and brazing uses a high-intensity flame torch to melt the metal. The filler metal is melted and spreads across the two adjoining pieces where it cools and sticks the two together. For this process to work the filler metal’s melting point must be lower than the metals being joined to ensure they’re not accidentally melted.
Brazing can take place in the following atmosphere’s:
- Combusted fuel gas
- Noble gases
- Inorganic vapours
Soldering is pretty much the same thing as brazing but on a smaller level. So, a filler metal is melted to join two other pieces of metal. Soldering is a popular technique when it comes to crafting computer boards. The key difference is the smaller scale projects that you’d use soldering for in comparison to brazing.
This is an old and reliable technique of binding two pieces of sheet metal together. This works by inserting a rivet with a head on one end through the holes on both the pieces of metal. Once through, the other end is bent or manipulated so that it cannot fall through, stapling the two pieces together. This is a solid technique and there are a couple of different types of rivets that are used:
- Blind rivets – These are the easiest to use rivets and only require application from one side. If they’re set correctly then you won’t need to hammer them in as you do with solid rivets. Two pieces make-up a blind rivet: the tubular body and the setting mandrel. The rivet is placed into the hole and using a tool named the Riveter, the mandrel is squeezed until it expands on the other end of the material. When the mandrel breaks off, the rivet has been installed correctly.
- Tinner’s rivets – These rivets are used predominantly for thinner pieces of sheet metal. They have a flat head and are typically made of soft iron or steel. The tinner’s rivet is inserted from the underside through the two metals’ holes and then set against solid bench or anvil. A Rivet Set is then put against the shaft of the rivet and it is then hammered until it is flat, securing it in place.
Metal stitching is a cold technique alternative to welding that concentrates purely on the repair side of sheet metal machinery like joining cracks. This process was created in the late 1930s as a way to repair cast iron. It is used nowadays for steel, bronze and aluminium structures, but since cast iron is considered quite difficult to weld on, metal stitching is predominantly used on cast iron. Here are the steps involved in the metal stitching process:
- Using specially designed clamps and fixtures, the fracture is realigned and held in position.
- Holes are drilled in groups across the line of the fracture. The depth varies depending on the depth of the casting.
- The holes are joined to form the shape of a Metalock Key.
- Layers of Keys are individually inserted into the shaped holes and are happened into the metal.
- More holes are drilled along the line of the fracture. These holes are tapped and filled with studs. To ensure a pressure tight join, the studs are fitted so they bite into their predecessor.
- The last step is to hammer everything in – ensuring a flush surface – and to scrape away any excess material.
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