Learning how to weld brass will come in handy for a wide range of applications that require low friction. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. A high brass can contain twenty to forty-five percent zinc. The metal’s ductility, hardness, and strength increase with a brass that contains a higher percentage of zinc. Using the metal arc process you can easily weld brass.
Key Takeaway: How to weld brass can be a complex process for welders of all skill levels due to the fact that copper and zinc have very different melting points. However, if you learn what percentage of zinc the brass contains prior to welding and you use the oxyacetylene welding process, you can easily learn how to weld brass to a base metal in just a few easy steps.
Welding brass doesn’t have to be complicated if you follow the right steps, use the best welding helmet, pace yourself, and practice. Continue reading to learn just how simple welding brass can be.
The Perfect Weld
You can successfully weld brass via the arc welding process. To weld brass, you’ll need to use a shielded arc type electrode, one with straight polarity. You can weld brass with aluminum bronze, silicon bronze, aluminum, or phosphor bronze electrodes. The type of electrode you’ll need to use will depend on the base service required and the base metal composition. When you’re working with copper zinc alloys you should avoid using a high welding current. This is because the zinc content can easily be volatilized. When welding brass you also must use a flat position, which means no overhead work. Ideally, the brass will be deposited with a weave that’s around three times the electrode’s width, for a higher quality weld.
Choosing the Right Welding Process for the Job
As you can see, in the beginning, welding brass can be somewhat complex, especially if you’re new to welding or you’re not sure what type of welding process to use based on your skill level, the base metal you’re working with, and the environment.
Below you’ll find a list of the different welding processes commonly used for welding brass. Each type of process has its own pros and cons in terms of results and required skill.
Is Carbon Arc Welding a Better Option than Arc Welding?
Using carbon arc welding can be done with filler rods that are the same composition as the base metal. When you use this type of welding process, the way the metal is welded is similar to the way steel is bonded to bronze.
This type of welding process is a great choice if you’re joining thick sections or even phosphor bronze fabrications. Argon shielding, electrode positive, and direct current are commonly used. The tricky part here is to keep the weld puddle small, with a high travel speed. Stringer beads must also be used for ideal results.
Low brass can easily be joined via oxyacetylene welding. This process is best suited for piping jobs because you can use any type of welding position, including overhead work. You can also use a brass or silicon copper welding rod for this job. With oxyacetylene, you always want to use low-fuming rods. These rods feature a composition that’s similar to high brass. Flux is another requirement. The flame should be precisely adjusted to a slight oxidizing flame in order to have more control over fuming. It may also be necessary to use an auxiliary heat source.
TIG welding brass usually involves repairs or joining. Just like with gas welding, the pros recommend hot peening each of the layers for a more solid weld. You can use direct current or a stabilized arc. Electrode negative can be used with argon or helium shielding. The brass will need to be preheated to around three hundred to three hundred and fifty degrees.
The Best Way to Weld Brass
In most cases, when you’re welding brass you’ll use oxyacetylene process. Acetylene and oxygen are stored separately and mixed for welding purposes. Before you attempt to weld brass make sure you know the precise zinc content since zinc is known to have a significantly lower melting point compared to copper.
During the process, you’ll begin by mixing a flux with water in order to make a paste, then you’ll paint the surfaces that are to be welded. You’ll need to reduce the flow of acetylene until there’s an oxidizing flame that’s strong enough to produce a nice coating on the base metal. The flame will need just enough oxygen to prevent the fumes of zinc from coming off the brass. Next, you’ll use a good welding filler.
You will also need to use a welding tip that’s about one size bigger than the tip you’d normally use for steel, however, thickness-wise it should be about the same.
What Type of Helmet Should I Use when Welding Brass?
We recommend the Optrel Panoramaxx auto darkening helmet or another type of top of the line ADF that comes complete with variable shade options. This helmet is specifically designed for the pro, which means it’s highly adjustable, lightweight, and comes loaded with some great features that can really save you some serious time on the job. To learn more about welding helmets, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
What is the Most Versatile Type of Welding Process?
Many pros feel that stick is the most versatile since you can do it indoors and out and it can be done in any position. It’s also one of the most commonly used styles of welding processes on the job since you don’t have to worry about using a shielding gas. To learn more, click here to read our article on stick welding tips and tricks.
How to weld brass can be a tricky process for beginners and even experienced welders since zinc and copper has significantly different melting points. But by following our simple instructions, you can expertly weld brass to a base metal in just a few easy steps. Just make sure you know the zinc content and pay close attention to detail throughout the process.