Many people once they become interested in welding learn of another technique to join metals called brazing. Brazing is like the young brother of welding.
Technically one could call it “metal gluing” as you are melting material of lower melting point, then the materials needed to be joined. Brazing with welding equipment can be done but usually requires special brazing rods that act as the “glue.” But the question on Everyone’s mind with already present equipment is…
Can welding rods be used for brazing?
Since brazing is a technique of attaching metals together, very similar to welding, welding rods can be used for this purpose. There are a variety of welding rods to choose from when you are intending to braze them together, with some being more ideal than others.
When it comes to using the brazing technique to join two pieces of metal together, there are a multitude of material options that you can use to complete the process.
While brazing rods are most traditionally used for this purpose, welding rods can fill in as well.
Today, we will be going over whether or not welding rods can be used for brazing, as well as all of the different types of welding rods that you might be able to use for this purpose.
Keep reading to get all of the details on brazing, welding, and welding rods 101.
How Brazing Rods Work?
When most people think of welding, they consider someone melting two metals together.
With that being said, the similar metal working techniques including soldering and brazing can often get lost under this category.
Those who are inexperienced in the welding craft or know little to nothing about the subject at all can be easily confused when these alternate techniques are brought up.
The difference between welding and brazing techniques is something that we will be diving into later, but for now, we will be going over whether or not welding rods can be used for brazing.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at how brazing rods work.
Brazing rods are the basic materials that are used for the brazing technique, in particular, just like welding rods are used for welding.
Refer to the list down below for a brief explanation on how brazing rods work, and continue on for an explanation of how welding rods can be used for brazing instead.
- Used to join two pieces of metal together
- Melted by the heat of metal pieces
- Never comes in direct contact with heat source
A brazing rod is a tool that is used to join two pieces of metal together during the brazing process. This is basically the same thing as the traditional welding rod, but it is made specifically for brazing as opposed to the alternative.
The brazing rod will always be melted by the heat of the metal pieces, instead of coming in direct contact with the actual heat source.
So, with that being said, is it possible for welding rods to be used for brazing instead? You will find the answer to this question to follow.
- Welding rods can be used for brazing
- Will follow the brazing technique as opposed to welding
The most direct answer to this question is that welding rods can be used for brazing, with the only difference being the technique that is used.
In other words, the welding rods will be used throughout the specific brazing technique, as opposed to being welded as intended.
What Is Brazing?
Although brazing and welding are very similar fundamentally, they are completely separate processes with their own individual techniques.
In this section, we will be going over exactly what brazing is and how it can be used, as well as how it compares to traditional welding.
- Metal-joining process
- Uses melted filler metal to attach two objects
- Most similar to the process of soldering (uses higher temperatures)
- Brazing consists of melting metal with the heat of the rods (never a direct flame)
- Special, heavy duty torches with intense flames are used for brazing
- Usually includes something called a brazing rod, but a welding rod can be substituted
Brazing is a metal-joining process in general, just like welding. The specific process includes using melted filler metal to attach two objects together.
This is most similar to the soldering technique, but it uses much higher temperatures to get the job done.
Brazing consists of melting metal with the heat of the rods, but never a direct flame. Special, heavy duty torches with intense flames are used for brazing, in particular.
This usually includes a brazing rod, as previously discussed, but a welding rod can act as a substitute if needed.
How brazing is done (step by step):
- The surface of the metal is scratched (using wire or emery cloth) and then cleaned with soap and water before starting the process
- The metal is placed into the desired position and secured with clamps for safety
- The joint (the area where the two pieces of metal will be connected) is heated with the torch until glowing
- The brazing rod is applied to the same area while the metal surfaces continue to experience direct heat
- The newly brazed surface is cleaned off to get rid of any dust or debris
As you can see, there is a very specific process associated with brazing.
All in all, brazing consists of heating the joint, or the area where the two pieces will connect, and applying the brazing (or welding) rod to the same spot in order to attach them permanently.
How brazing compares to traditional welding techniques:
- Brazing: capillary action, Welding: fusion
- Brazing uses filler metals with a lower melting point
- Welding requires filler metals with a high melting point
- Welding includes melting each piece
- Brazing doesn’t melt the base metal at all (only heats it)
The main difference between brazing and welding lies in the fundamentals. Brazing is a capillary action, while welding consists of complete fusion.
These two techniques also use different melting points as well as the technique of attachment overall. Welding will melt each individual piece, while brazing doesn’t melt the base metal at all.
Although both processes achieve the same goal in the end, they have a very different method of getting there.
Types Of Welding Rods
When it comes to brazing with welding rods, there are a variety of specific options to choose from.
As a welder, you should always be aware of the different choices that you have and how they compare, in order to get the best possible results.
In this section, we will be covering the topics of all of the different types of welding rods, as well as which ones are the best to use for brazing, in particular.
To begin, we will touch on the main types of welding rods, of which there are 2 classifications.
Take a look at the list down below to get an idea of where most welding rods will fall under as far as categories go, and keep reading on for more details about each one.
- Consumable electrodes
- Non-consumable electrodes
The two most general categories of welding rods are known as consumable electrodes and non-consumable electrodes.
As you can probably tell by the names, these two classifications are almost the exact opposites to each other.
To help you get a better understanding, let’s look into the specific characteristics of each one. You will find in the lists down below a detailed breakdown of what each type of welding rod consists of.
Consumable Electrode Welding Rods
- Include shielded arc/heavy coated electrodes and light coated electrodes
- A thin metal coating is applied strategically to the rods
- Provides more stability and ease of use to the welder
- Shielded arc rods include 3 coating types: cellulose, minerals, and a combination of both
- Get rid of many impurities of metal in practice
Non-Consumable Electrode Welding Rods
- 2 main types of non-consumable electrodes: carbon and tungsten
- Used for lighter welding applications
- More difficult to use and control than consumable electrode welding rods
As you can see from the information in these lists, consumable electrode welding rods are a little bit easier to control and use, as opposed to the non-consumable option.
There are multiple subcategories under both of these types of welding rods, but there are some that will be most ideal for certain circumstances, including brazing.
These are the most highly recommended welding rods to use for brazing in particular:
- Copper, brass, and bronze
- Steel and other alloys (copper, nickel, etc.)
- Cast iron, galvanized, nickel, steel, and malleable iron
Some of the most highly recommended welding rods to use for brazing include copper, steel, metal alloys, iron, and aluminum, in no particular order.
To conclude, even though welding and brazing are completely separate techniques, you can use a welding rod as a substitute during the brazing process, while still being able to produce the same results.