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Help with copper welding

06-07-2010, 08:57 AM
I notice you have an OA torch. You might consider brazing. Lotta info here: George Goehl's Metal Sculpture step by step instructional video series (http://www.gsegmedia.com). Just an idea...

My daughter is wanting to make some yard art out of copper. I have never welded coper with any sucess. Any help or pointers is appreciated.

06-07-2010, 10:11 AM
My daughter is wanting to make some yard art out of copper. I have never welded coper with any sucess. Any help or pointers is appreciated.

06-07-2010, 02:17 PM
I used TIG to weld some brass fittings and had some success. I used stripped 14 gauge copper solid wire as a filler and it seemed to work pretty well. Copper melts fast so I suggest using pulse to keep things under control.

06-08-2010, 07:10 AM
I have worked with copper a bit and never have been happy with what is a traditional copper weld, copper seems to have such a narrow range of tolerance on temp and melts out of shape at the weld point, but as stated in other notes maybe pulsing would help control that issue. I have found both regular and silver solder to be just great methods for joining copper, silver being the best and strongest.

If it's absolutely necessary to have "copper" color and not use solder; next good option is brazing with brazing rod which gives you a little more room to work than you would have if you used copper to join copper.

Good luck and give us all some pointers if you find a good process....

06-10-2010, 02:32 AM
Hello all, it's been a while since I've been on the forum, the new forum looks great. Any wayís, I started messing with welding copper last year and I've tried just about every combination I can think of. I have been determined to find the best ways to weld copper because in my opinion it is the coolest looking metal when making decorative pieces for the yard and such. Here's a run down of my experience with it.

To start off I'm just going to say if you want to keep your sanity just solder it. I know it's not welding and I always hated this option because I wanted the pieces to be solid copper and I didn't want the look of the solder to disrupt the piece. Some benefits of soldering over welding are cleaning the heat tint from the copper after soldering is fairly easy and way easier than what's needed to clean copper after it's been welded or brazed. Copper keeps its strength when soldered. Soldering is generally faster.

So in my opinion if you can make soldering work use it, you can make the soldered joints add to the look of the piece if you polish them and if you put the joints at strategic connection points you can often make them add to the look of the piece.

Now on to welding and brazing.

Things to consider when welding or brazing copper. The copper will need a lot of cleaning to get it back to a copper color. You need to read up on using acid to clean copper (this is a whole process in and of its self). The copper will lose its strength and will be very weak once youíre done. When welding copper you need to move fast, once a puddle forms you have to haul otherwise you will burn a hole through.

TIG: This is probably the best method for welding copper, I have a Longevity 520D and Iíve been able to do some good looking welds on copper with it. When I first read online about welding copper the suggestion of using high amps was thrown out several times, however I found the opposite to be the best. Set your amps low, you will need to preheat the piece or wait while the arc heats it up enough to form a puddle which can be awhile depending on the pieces size. However once the piece is up to temp you have more time to work with it before it burns a hole through. If your amps are set high youíll get a puddle right away but I couldnít even move fast enough to stay ahead of it and it would burn a hole.

MIG: This works ok but doesnít look very good. It would probably look better if I had a better machine but with my crappy Harbor Freight welder I couldnít get very good results.

O/A: Similar to TIG welding but I prefer the look of the TIG weld better, produces good results though. Works best if you have a Smith style micro torch.

Brazing: Unless you want the look of the braze just weld it because you will have the same amount of clean up and the copper will become annealed and weakened just like welding it. Easier to manage than welding though, but if your going to have a filler metal just solder it. There are reasons for brazing copper Iím only talking about for decorative pieces here, unless you specifically want the look of the brazing I would either go all the way and weld it or just solder if for the ease.

If youíre going to work with copper cleaning the stuff is more of a problem than anything else. If soldering you can just use over the counter cleaners like Brasso and such. If welding or brazing over the counter cleaners arenít going to cut it. Pickling with acid is the way to go, this is a whole topic in and of its self, Google it, there is a lot of info on this out there.

Other cleaning methods are blasting but you will get a rough texture which sometimes can be cool. Or buffing which is very time consuming but looks awesome.

Just A heads up. If youíre someone who finds the journey to be just as much fun as doing the thing itself, welding copper can be fun but otherwise itís just a frustrating waste of time. Iím sure I missed plenty in this write up, itís 1 in the morning and I happened to see your question about something that Iíve been working on for the better part of a year now. Have fun.

06-15-2010, 11:37 PM
thanks for all the advise!!

06-16-2010, 03:59 AM
For copper artwork I would suggest brazing the copper with Phos-copper rod from "Harris".
With copper to copper joining, no flux is required.
The joint will be a darker bronze than the base copper,
but I think it would be fine as long as you were not going to polish it all shiny.
For art work get the least silver content phos-copper rods to save money.
Good Luck,

06-20-2010, 01:14 AM
I forgot to mention that when you have a close fit, fusion welding is quite easy to do but when using a filler use deoxidized copper rod. You should be able to get deoxidized copper rods at your local welding supply. I purchased mine online from weldingdepot.com.

06-20-2010, 11:53 AM
:smile:I have not tried to weld copper yet. All the help is appreciated!!! Thanks to ALL:smile:

07-16-2010, 01:19 AM
I got a new copper polish and it is by far the best. I was told about Wright's Copper Cream sometime last year but I couldn't find it locally. Many local stores had Wright's Silver Cream but I couldn't find their copper cream anywhere in a hundred mile radius and that's not a joke. Finally I said to heck with it and I ordered a tub of it online, and all I can say is I should have ordered this a long time ago. This cream completely changes the game for copper clean up. I previously wasn't able to get these results without using some nasty chemicals. I hate using dangerous acids, which is why I have been on this quest to find the best over the counter so to speak copper cleaner. Wrights still requires some scrubbing on the worst of oxidation or corrosion but it is knight and day to the other copper cleaners that you can find at the local hardware store.

07-16-2010, 12:52 PM
Thanks to all the above for the info on wewlding copper - especially Twopotatoes. For some reason I just hadn't thought it possible to use a TIG machine for copper - just me I guess.

Art R.

07-18-2010, 02:30 AM
No problem, TIG welding copper is great fun it’s just too bad it’s so difficult to clean afterwards.

08-12-2010, 03:02 PM
I have Tig welded copper twice now. The pieces were thick, and welded without too much difficulty. I was making heatsinks from silverplated grounding bars. I ground off the plating, but what was left burned up and gave a blue tint to the weld area.

08-25-2010, 09:38 AM
So does anyone have pics of the welds, would be very interested in this, especially for decorative roofs.

08-25-2010, 06:35 PM
So does anyone have pics of the welds, would be very interested in this, especially for decorative roofs.

I posted 1 or 2 photos a while back I think it was in October or November of last year but I don't know how to go back and find it in an old post. I'll take some more photos this weekend and post them.

08-25-2010, 09:23 PM
Thanks for the great info on welding copper. Its something to consider before jumping in.

08-29-2010, 08:53 PM
So here's a photo of a copper weld.


07-10-2014, 12:42 AM
Prepare your work area.
Allow adequate distance from wooden walls or set up shields.
Clean all foreign substances from copper pipe before starting by wiping the outside with an emery cloth and reaming out the inside with a wire brush.
Determine the alloy for all the pieces you will be welding.
Choose the correct welding rod filler.
Don all of the protective gear, making sure that there is no skin showing.
Use an included angle of over 70 degrees when welding copper.
Prepare the copper based on its thickness.
Weld copper in the down-hand position, a horizontal seam.

09-17-2014, 08:08 AM
Hello, I have been a fulltime metal Artist since 1998. I work with copper 80% of the time. I have been through every weld process for my art and have 30 years of welding/fab experience as well. For a the best and easiest results stick with the Oxy/ Acet Brazing process and use flux coated Bronze 1/8 " rod. Make sure you use a hammer and beat off 90% of flux before you attempt to use it. I have some uses for the flux free bronze but it is hard to work with and I do not recommend it. After all your brazing is done you will have some small amounts of flux left. It is VERY VERY hard to remove without a wire wheel on a grinder lol . BUT there is a very calm and cool way to remove it. Set your work out in the yard and hose it down with water 2-3 times a day for 3-4 days. All the flux will turn to powder and you can rub it right off. I have a ton of info I can pass on to you about working with copper for Art.....PM me I will give you links to my FB page and we can talk.:envy

09-17-2014, 04:20 PM
KHK Hasn't been on the forums for a very long time now so don't be surprised if you don't get a response from him.