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Old 10-24-2017, 08:08 PM   #1
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Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


I understand some of the basics on welding and the difference between welding and brazing when it comes to aluminum. Welding, by the nature of how it works is clearly a lot stronger.
What I'd like to know is whether or not brazing (which happens to be a lot lower in cost) is strong enough for the application I am looking at.

I create art using 1/16" Aluminum sheet as the canvas. It's not multiple layers, and it's not bent, hammered, or otherwise made anything other than flat. A short internet search shows that 1/16" 6061 sheet is roughly 0.9lbs per square foot, so a 36" x 24" piece, for example, would weigh around 5lbs.

I'd like to attach small pieces to the back of the sheet to facilitate hanging the art on a wall. (see attachment for bracket example).

Is brazing the two pieces together going to be strong enough to support the weight of the art?
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Old 10-24-2017, 09:21 PM   #2
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


Either braze it or use a clear silicon construction adhesive. My local fab shops won't weld aluminum thinner than 1/8" for likelihood of burning through. It can be done, but takes a skilled welder and a good set-up.

Density of aluminum is ~.1 lb/in^3. If you are working with extrusions, take the cross sectional area in in^2 and multiply by 1.2. Answer will be pounds per linear foot.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:15 PM   #3
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


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Either braze it or use a clear silicon construction adhesive. My local fab shops won't weld aluminum thinner than 1/8" for likelihood of burning through. It can be done, but takes a skilled welder and a good set-up.

Density of aluminum is ~.1 lb/in^3. If you are working with extrusions, take the cross sectional area in in^2 and multiply by 1.2. Answer will be pounds per linear foot.
Ok, if brazing is going to be strong enough, is there any specific brazing rod I should go for (brand/size)? (this question comes from my jeweling experience where certain sizes of torch are needed for filigree work, otherwise you just obliterate the silver).
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


Alumiweld is fairly easy to use and should be stond enough.
https://www.amazon.com/Harbor-Freigh.../dp/B006ZBASPU
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


If determined to weld or braze I suggest you try this on a sheet before you spend time creating the art piece. You may not like the end result appearance.
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:51 AM   #6
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


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If determined to weld or braze I suggest you try this on a sheet before you spend time creating the art piece. You may not like the end result appearance.
Oh believe me, there will be much testing.

And this is to put wall mounting clips on the back of art pieces, so even if the brazing doesn't come out super pretty I can grind away some of it if needed. Doesn't have to look perfect, just needs to work and be safe to the touch (no sharp edges, etc.).

One of the reasons I chose aluminum as my medium for this is that steel is more prone to discoloration with heat. Doing some tests will determine if this is a problem with the aluminum, and I'll be able to go to extremes as well.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:41 PM   #7
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


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One of the reasons I chose aluminum as my medium for this is that steel is more prone to discoloration with heat.
Ayuh,.... Another good reason to use a high quality silicone,...
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:34 AM   #8
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


I'm curious about adhesives.

I understand the basics on using them, for example the need to really scuff up the two surfaces to be bonded, but are there sources for historical data on reliability?
It's not necessarily a safety/life/death issue, but I don't want a 10lb piece of art falling off a wall after 3 months either. I've seen plenty of advertisements on adhesives that have x-thousand lbs per square inch sheer strength etc. that sound really impressive, but are they really that good, or is it just marketing?
Coloration issues aside, this is why I started at looking towards welding and brazing. Higher potential for a solid bond.
Aluminum wall art is common (even more so now that photographers can print on aluminum), so there has to be something that people are relying on.
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:53 AM   #9
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


So, have you tested to determine what heat does to Aluminum being the expansion rate of Al is approximately twice the rate of iron? You will be heating in a small localized area causing expansion at that point but the remainder of the sheet will be cold. That's why I suggested you may not like the end result of a flat surface.


Have you experimented with epoxies with approximately 4 times the anticipated weight your project have?

Historical data is limited being Al as a sheet metal or wire has only been around since about mid 1800's and metal to metal epoxies a lot less time than that.

Another well known and respected epoxy brand, besides those listed by This To That is Devcon.
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:28 AM   #10
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Re: Aluminum: welding vs. brazing


Check out 3M; VHB tape.
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