Gain Expertise in Welding Copper: Learn the Process Step-by-Step
Welding copper is a unique process that requires careful attention and use of the right tools, materials, and techniques. The fact that copper conducts heat and electricity so well means it is more challenging to work with than steel, but there are still some tips that can help make the job easier. Copper-based alloys, such as brass and bronze, also need to be welded differently than pure copper.
Safety is of the utmost importance when welding any metal, and copper is no exception. Always wear protective clothing and equipment, such as insulated gloves, a welding mask, long pants, and long sleeves. Make sure you’re working in a clean, well-ventilated space. And avoid touching the metal with bare skin when using an electric arc.
When welding copper and its alloys, choose a process based on the thickness of the material and the type of material being welded. For example, the most common type of welding for copper is the manual metal arc process, but gas metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding can also be used. It’s also important to know when NOT to weld copper. Soldering or brazing may be better methods of assembling parts in some scenarios.
When choosing a filler metal, make sure it is stronger than the base metal. When the copper alloy contains at least 70 percent copper, use 70-30 copper-nickel filler. This has more nickel than the base metal and will create a stronger bond.
Don’t use any metals that may contain lead, phosphorus, or sulfur. Grease, oil, and paint can all cause the weld to crack and should be removed from the copper before starting.
Getting the preparation right is essential for successful copper welding. For metal three mm or less in thickness, a square-butt preparation is best, and for thicker metal, use a beveled preparation.
Down-hand welding is generally preferred for working with copper. This process allows for easier work and is less skill-intensive. If welding must be done in other positions, it’s best to create smaller sections that can be welded down-hand.
Welding copper correctly is not the same as welding steel. There are different procedures, techniques, and skills, so be sure to do your research and learn everything you can before starting a project. Prepare the metal properly, use the right tools and materials, and practice on smaller pieces before attempting the job. By taking these steps and following the right processes, you’ll be ready to create great copper projects with perfect welds.