How to join metals without welding?

Categories : Glues

How to join metals without welding? That is, how to weld iron, steel, and other metals together without using any welding? There are many situations during which it is absolutely natural and, indeed, convenient to look for alternatives to welding. For instance, in DIY, when no welder is available. Or, situations in which the user’s skills aren’t high enough to perform welding effectively, satisfactorily, or safely. But that’s not all, even at an industrial level it is often very convenient to replace welding and finding an effective method to join metals without it. In fact, welding is not always the most effective and best value-for-money method, not to mention the fact that welding can lead to not particularly satisfactory aesthetic results; moreover, it must be kept in mind that welders often experience health risks, from exposure to infrared radiation to respiratory damage due to carbon monoxide, phosgene, and ammonia emissions. In short, there are many good reasons to find the most effective method to join metals without welding: let’s have a look at them!

An alternative to welding: soldering

One method of joining metals without welding is soldering. This is a very common industrial alternative to welding, but it has some similar characteristics. In fact, it is fastening of two metal surfaces by heating a support metal, or better, a filler metal, which melts and joins the two adjacent metals, in order to connect them firmly at the time of cooling. There are several soldering methods: via oven, torch, vacuum, and so on. However, soldering costs can be the same or even higher than welding’s, and mechanical strength tends to be lower. Moreover, it is certainly not a suitable technique for those who must only occasionally join pieces of metal.

Joining metals without welding: riveting

Another very common alternative to welding, used a lot when it comes to joining sheets or metals with low thickness. Riveting can also be employed in the world of DIY, or more generally non-industrial one, as the fastening device – the riveting machine – is a simple and relatively economical tool. The concept is simple: the metals to be joined are first drilled through and then joined with rivets, i.e., cylindrical pins bent to “weld” together the two pieces. The issue with riveting relates to the reduced resistance to overlapping shear, as it “glues” only very limited areas of the sheets; not to mention the aesthetic disadvantages, which should not be overlooked, as well as the need to drill into the metals in the first place. 

Fastening metals without welding: bushings

What was said about riveting also applies to bushings. In fact, you don’t even need a riveting tool: you just need a drill to make the necessary holes, as well as a wrench to fasten the bushing itself. Here, the only difficulty lies in drilling the hole in the exact position; the disadvantages are similar to those of riveting, with reduced resistance (because of the small area involved), and the need to drill as well as aesthetic issues.

Joining metals without welding: double-sided adhesives and structural adhesives

Finally, the “newcomers”, structural adhesives and high-performance double-sided adhesive tapes. Though, it must be noted, that adhesives meant for the fastening of metals have been employed for decades, especially at the industrial level. Metal adhesives are excellent alternatives to welding because they provide greater freedom in the design, with a cleaner result. It should also be noted that when using structural adhesives and double-sided adhesives no drilling is necessary, that no weight is added to the metals used, that the operation does not cause either vibration, noise, or visual disturbance. All this with a very high mechanical resistance, thanks to the fact that structural adhesives and other high-performance double-sided adhesives “involve” a very large area, unlike what rivets, spot welds, and bolts can achieve. It should also be kept in mind that no additional machinery is needed to use double-sided adhesive tapes and structural glues, and that in our online shop it is possible to find perfect solutions for every situation: small or large sizes, in tape or liquid for, or especially designed for different metals and different applications.

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