I’ve been getting a lot of questions about welding with brass so I put this together to answer some questions and show you what it’s all about. Having brass in your shop is something really beneficial to have. If you have a torch and some brass you can almost fix and repair just about anything with it. This is an old way of welding and was around way before the MIG and stick welder. This was the way everybody welded things together was with oxygen acetylene or oxygen and propane, but the most common we know today is oxygen acetylene. This was really how welding took off was a torch with heat and a flame that you can get really hot and use brazing or steel rod.
Brass is so cool because it flows, it’s low heat and once you really learn how to weld it it’s not always the prettiest weld but it usually always works. I’ve got some steel, brass and copper here to show you how they all weld together differently braze welding. There’s some things that I go straight to this to weld with and I won’t even mess with a TIG or MIG machine. When you know how to weld with a torch it can make things so much easier and faster. It might not always come out really pretty but it always works.
This Victor is a common cutting torch to have in your shop for cutting plate. They’ll come apart and you can put your rosebud in for heating up a big sheet of material or if you want to heat up a piece of real thick flat bar and bend it.
The rest are just tips that go from zero ought to four. Ought being the smallest tip and four being the biggest depending on how thick and heavy a metal you’re trying to braze weld back together. I’m going to be using a one today which will work fine for what I’m doing and this is usually what I use with most of the stuff in my shop. Let’s start repairing some pieces together so I can show you guys how this goes down.
Welding With Stainless Steel
When you first get it up you’ll have your settling right there. You want to get it where your smoke is about ready to take off. You want to get rid of the smoke and turn your oxygen on. If you start to hear a buzzing sound make your adjustments to settle it down because you don’t need all that.
We’re going to start with stainless steel and remember this is 2700 degrees so you can really put some heat in this thing. What I like to do is get around the piece and get it all warm in here so it’ll flow in when you get ready to get going. You’ll start to see it turn pretty red and it takes a minute to get some heat in it. When it’s ready we’re going to go ahead and start dabbing this in there. Now what I like to do is pull away from it because you don’t want too much heat in there. Heat up the end and just kind of walk it in there. The thing with brass is it flows into whatever you’re welding pretty well.
Welding brass is actually really fun to weld with so if you have a torch at home go and get you some brass at a welding supply store.
Welding With Brass
You can see here these fittings don’t fit.
Let’s say we have the top thread and we need to plug a hose into the other end. This is best thing to do when you’re welding brass like this. Most of the time you’re not going to be able to just go out there and practice welding it. So if you have a chance to practice welding brass and copper to brass and you can interact these metals too. For example, next I’ll weld some copper onto the brass.
Welding With Copper
I’ve got two little pieces of copper here that we’re going to stick together. Copper’s melting point is around 1900 degrees fahrenheit. Stainless ended up flowing better than brass. With copper its going to be tricky to weld too because a lot of these metals that aren’t a run-of-the-mill everyday a36 or stainless steel they get a little complicated. Most guys that mess with this copper will solder it together with solder and flux but let’s say you don’t have any and are in the middle of nowhere. You look in your tool box and see you have a torch and some brass and you make something happen.
Copper flows pretty well but you need to be careful because you don’t want to come out the other side. Sometimes it gets so hot that it falls out the other side. Let it cool down and we’ll see what we got. Copper is a really cool material to weld with and you can see how easily it flows in there. This is a repair right here. You can see this is a real quick and easy way to fix something if you’re out in the field and need something done fast.
We’re going to say you’re working on a cat dozer and somewhere along the line there’s a stretch of pipe that has a hole in it. Instead of pulling the whole radiator and houses out of it you can make a direct weld saving you so much time. A lot of the times it can be dirty and I’ve even welded some rusty stuff together but you need to be really careful and make sure you don’t burn through your material. You have to heat up your rod really well and just dip it in and dip it in. It’s all about learning how to manipulate the metals with your heat and this comes down to experience. A lot of times with a hole like this it’ll blob through and fall through so you need to know how to get it started and repair this hole. Get your heat down in the hole and you get it hot then you pull it away and put some heat in your tip and then you go in together. Play with it to see how it’s filling up. You don’t want to put too much or let it get too hot because then your material is going to fall through and blob through. Now you got a piece of brass stuck inside your water line and it’s going in through your water pump and it’s going to mess up your impeller so you need to be careful about that.
Get the piece hot first and get some temperature in it. Once it starts to turn red its ready to go and as I’ve mentioned before I like to heat the tip up first before going in. Now we’re ready to go in and you’ll want to go in together and then out together. Remember you want to do it slow because you don’t want it to blob in there. You can see I’m slowly working it around and this is exactly what you want to do. When you start to see it get really red and hot you’ll want to start to let it cool down a bit so keep that in mind to do this throughout the process. Once you go a couple of rounds around the hole you start to see it close up.
Remember you’re taking this thing right to it’s melting point every time and then you got to back off a little bit. Now we’re getting real close and there’s just a little pinhole left. Now we have our repair right there. If you can do this correctly you just saved yourself a ton of time to tear that machine apart. You can see there’s a little bit of solder in there but it didn’t fall in and that’s going to be fine because it’s hard and the water will flow by it. But if you drop a piece in there that’s when you’re going to have a problem.
Welding a 3/16″ Plate
Now were going to weld together a 3/16″ plate and before we get into it we’re going to of course, put some heat it in because this plate is pretty thick. I just want to show you that you can actually weld this together. The tip I have on right now might be a little bit small for this thicker material. The bigger the tip the more heat you can put in it and you can see it’s struggling to get heat in this plate.
Once it got good heat in the material I heated it all around and it wanted to pull into it. This is what creates the weld and I could add a lot more filler to it but this is a pretty decent weld we have here for brass on a thick piece of material like this.
Welding Corner Piece Together
We’ll weld this corner piece real quick that I just had laying around in the shop. If you order my welding kit that we use in Welder 101 you can always brass weld with them too. Just set yourself up a little area in your shop and learn how to brass weld. Tac weld some stuff together with your MIG welder and then just learn how to brass weld with it.
If you’ve been watching my YouTube series “Make It Run Again” with Merlin and I, I can guarantee you that in Merlin’s little bag he’s carrying around there’s a couple of brass pieces inside just in case. In the episode where we picked up a ’68 Chevy c20 motorhome we drove back from Reno. One morning we got up to fire the thing up and the gas was so bad that it basically glued the motor shut and when the push rod went to come up everything was seized up so it bent the push rod. Nothing was open and there was nowhere to get a push rod. We just took it back, we pounded it out straight and ended up finding a guy up the street with some brass and a torch. We were able to repair it, strengthened it back up, put it in the truck and it’s still in there today. This is a clear example of how brass welding is a great way to repair things and beneficial to learn how to do.
It’ll take some practice just like anything else. You’ll need to learn your heats and how to control your heat on different material. Just like you were able to see today that every piece of material was a different heat. As you go you’ll see it’s not very complicated once you start seeing how it flows and when to add the material. The most complicated material to weld today was probably the brass. You just need to keep going and accept that its not going to look very pretty.
There’s a lot of cars in our past that we’ve done for Vegas Rat Rods and just cars the I’ve built that I love to brass weld because I love that vein of brass through the vehicle. It’s decorative, gives it an old school look and it’s really what our forefathers were using before the MIG and stick welder. The stick welder didn’t come in until the early 1900’s when they could actually generate power to a welder. Prior to all that was oxygen-acetylene. This is an old technique that’s been around for a long time and I think everyone needs to learn how to weld with a torch. To be honest I feel like this is where everyone should start.