In manufacturing, there are several ways to achieve a desired outcome of fabricating a part depending on the resources and material available. For today’s post, we will discuss how to join metal without welding. Welding alone is an art, especially if quality welding is needed. It takes experience and expertise to achieve a good quality weld. Not only is a skilled welder needed, but also the welding supplies. Not everyone has all these resources, so knowing how to join metal without welding can come in handy. It’s valuable to know other ways of achieving the same outcome since other ways may be less time consuming and also cost less.
Here is a list of different ways to join metal without welding:
There are benefits to all these different methods. Here is a description and photo of each metal joining method:
Hardware Assembly: When joining metal with hardware, normally there are two pieces of sheet metal overlapped that have a hole drilled or punched through, which allows hardware to pass through to connect the two pieces. These types of hardware would include nuts, bolts, and screws just to name a few. The benefit of using hardware is that it’s not permanent like welding, it’s an easy fix, and it’s affordable! The only downside to hardware assembly is that it is not as durable as welding.
Riveting: Joining two metal pieces together by riveting involves a rivet, which is a metal fastener that has a cylindrical post with a head, that is placed in a drilled or punched hole. The end of the cylindrical post is then upset by forming / expanding which holds the two pieces of metal in place by the rivet. The benefit to riveting is that it’s more permanent than regular hardware assembly, it allows flexibility in the metal for changes in temperature (used in aircraft and ships).
Brazing: Brazing involves heating up a filler metal above 800 degrees Fahrenheit which connects the two metals together. The technique of brazing is similar to welding, but is less expensive. Also, brazing acts more like an adhesive as it bonds the two metals together with the filler metal.
Soldering: Soldering involves heating up a filler metal, similar to brazing, but the temperature is below 800 degrees Fahrenheit. It is mostly used in electronics and circuit boards.
Adhesive: Adhesive is another method to connect metal together. The strength isn’t as good as many of the other methods mentioned above, but can still be effective and less expensive. Some common adhesives used on metals include epoxy (e.g. JD weld), silicone (e.g. Loctite), polyurethane (e.g. Gorilla Glue), and tapes (3M Double Sided Tape). The only downside to using adhesives to join metal is that it’s not as strong and durable as welding.
Spot Welding: Spot Welding works by holding sheet metal together with two copper alloy electrodes. The sheet metal used is generally about .020 to .12 in thickness. Thicker stock is more difficult to spot weld since the current has more surrounding metal to flow to. While the two copper electrodes hold the sheets together, a large electric current flows through the electrodes and melts the metal into a “spot”, and welds the two pieces together.
Here at VIP, we have the capabilities to do all of these, as well as welding fabrication, in order to join metal together. In addition, we are a turnkey metal fabricator with several in-house capabilities including sheet metal fabrication, CNC machining, mechanical assembly, metal finishing, and more! If you aren’t sure which would be the most cost effective based on your part’s fit, form, and function, do contact us today and we help set you in the right direction. Thank you for reading!