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How to Braze Aluminum

Braze welding is defined as a joining process that uses heat and pressure to create a strong joint between two pieces of metal. The process requires the use of a ‘flux’, which is used to remove impurities from the metal surface, which helps to prevent corrosion. It also requires the use of ‘brazing rods’ which are made up of copper with a small amount of zinc added in order to help keep the copper from oxidizing during brazing. Let’s talk about how to braze aluminum!

What is braze welding?

The process of braze welding is done by applying heat and pressure to a metal joint in order to create a strong bond.

This process requires the use of flux, which removes impurities from the metal surface, and Brazing rods which are made up of copper with a small amount of zinc added.

The flux helps to prevent oxidation and the zinc prevents the copper from oxidizing.

Braze welding is a good option when you are trying to join two pieces of metal that have different levels of hardness. It can also be used as an alternative or in addition to Fusion welds.

The types of joints that can be braze welded include but are not limited to lap joints, edge joint welds, butt joints, and corner joints.

What’s needed to braze aluminum?

There are a few different things that you will need in order to braze aluminum. These include:

  • A flux core wire brush/brush pliers.
  • A flux pen or liquid flux.
  • Brazing rods (4% tin).
  • An acetylene torch with an oxygen regulator and an assortment of tips such as a fan tip, a straight flame, a light gas tip for getting into tight spaces, etc. Some people also like to use a charcoal block torch due to its hot temperature and steady flame. The kind that they sell at Walmart is sufficient for most users. However, if you want something better then you should look into buying something from Tractor Supply Co.; they have many types of torches and fuels which would be useful for brazing aluminum.
  • A brush and steel wool or wire brush that has been soaked in copper solvent, this is to clean up the surface of the metal before welds are made.
  • Aluminum wire brushes (3/4″ wide) you will need 4 total for all four corners on both pieces.
  • Safety glasses with side shields and a full brimmed hat are important when braze welding; it’s also important to wear gloves that are resistant to heat and welding fumes and have additional protection like built-in knuckle guards to ensure your safety; never ever work without eye protection!  Wear clothing that protects against sparks as well as molten aluminum droplets; make sure that what you’re wearing is not flammable so that it will not catch on fire while you are welding.

How to braze aluminum

Here are the basic steps to brazing aluminum:

  1. First clean the surface of both pieces of metal with a wire brush and/or steel wool soaked in copper solvent. This gets rid of any oil, dirt, etc that may be present on the surface which is important because you want a good coating of flux to adhere to the entire joint area. 
  2. Make sure you have an ample amount of oxygen or acetylene gas available for your torch (it’s better to err on the side of caution and have too much than not enough). You’ll also need someone who knows how to properly light up your torch; use only in a well-ventilated area and keep a water hose nearby in case something catches on fire or melts.
  3. Once you have established that your torch is fully set up, go ahead and heat up the joint gradually. You want to do this so that the flux can form a coating over the entire surface area; when you see how it bubbles from the heating process then you know that enough flux has been deposited onto each piece of metal as well as between them (If not more than one layer should be applied). Begin to braze welding once both sides are thoroughly coated with flux and heated to an orange-red hue (you should be able to easily hold your hand near but never touching the joint while brazing takes place).  Make sure that all of the flux has been cleaned off of the metal, if not repeat step 2.

Once you have completed these steps you will be able to braze aluminum! The process takes practice but you’ll get better and better with each project that you do; make sure to constantly check while working how hot the metal is getting and be aware of how much oxygen or gas is left in your tank so that you don’t run out unexpectedly during a long brazing session.

Why choose brazing over other methods?

Braze welding is a fast and strong joining process that requires only heat and pressure to weld two pieces of metal together.

It is typically used for connecting pipes, tubes, castings, plates, or other heavy sheet metal where the joint must remain visible. The process can be applied to both ferrous and non-ferrous metals but is easier on non-ferrous metals (easy burning).

The process brings together the advantages of brazing/soldering with those of arc welding such as quickly completing most joints in one step without a need for preheating.

Brazing aluminum uses rods made up of copper with small amounts of zinc added; this helps prevent oxidation during the process.

Brazing aluminum is easy to learn how to do but you have to take safety precautions. If you go into this project with the right mindset and confidence then anyone can how to braze aluminum.

Common ways to used brazed aluminum joints in everyday life

Brazed aluminum joints are often used in larger projects where a high level of mechanical loading is expected. This includes projects like bridges, ships, railroad cars, and even some sporting equipment like tennis rackets and hockey sticks.

Brazed aluminum joints are also used in smaller projects such as the ones mentioned above; they can be seen how to braze aluminum in everyday life and when taken care of properly, how to join aluminum is long-lasting.

Risks to brazing aluminum

Using how to braze aluminum is a risky process in itself. Brazing aluminum can cause safety hazards for those that are not using it properly.

If you’re using how to braze aluminum and the metal becomes too hot, you could burn yourself. If the joint is not thoroughly coated with how to brazed aluminum and flux, then the brazed aluminum may not take hold and the brazed aluminum will be unsuccessful.

Since how to brazed aluminum can only be used on non-ferrous metals, it cannot be used on any ferrous metal or steel – this means that how to braze aluminum cannot be used on either type of material.

If aluminum brazing is not done correctly, the aluminum may become distorted or even severely damaged.

Brazing aluminum will remove material and make how to join aluminum weaker than how it was originally; this makes how to brazed aluminum a cosmetic solution only that can be used for aesthetic purposes. If you use how to join aluminum in an area where mechanical force must be applied, then how to brazed aluminum will likely fail when tested.

How do I prevent these risks?

The best way how to avoid risk while using how to brazed aluminum is with proper safety precautions. It’s important how to maintain a safe workspace, have the right tools, and know what you’re doing before starting any aluminum brazing project.

Conclusion

Brazing aluminum is an easy technique that anyone can learn how to do. As long as you take safety precautions, the process of how to join aluminum is a fast and strong joining process that requires only heat and pressure. These reasons make brazed joints ideal for large projects where high-level mechanical loading is expected such as bridges or ships but also small projects like tennis rackets or hockey sticks!


About Pierre Young

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Hey, I'm Pierre Young a qualified AWS Certified Welder. I got into welding in 2009 as a side hustle. Ever since then, I've been doing all kinds of welds - both for business and pleasure. While immersing myself in this wonderful hobby, I've learned from hands-on experience what welding gear works and what doesn't. Welding Headquarters is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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