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How do you join metal and metal (steel to aluminum)

  1. Aug 23, 2012 #1
    hi there, i want to connect two pieces of metal together one is i think a piece of steel capable of being attracted by a magnet and the other piece an aluminum piece, or maybe another metal, but not magnetic at all anyway they're both solid pieces and need to be joined. is brazing or using silver solder a good option here? what am i gonna need to buy?
    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2012 #2
    Re: How do you join metal and metal

    Epoxy resin
  4. Aug 23, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: How do you join metal and metal

    Can you say more about the application? Obviously you need to worry about corrosion with those two different metals. Looking around the web, it looks like an option is to use galvanized rivets or bolts and a spacer between the two pieces...
  5. Aug 23, 2012 #4
    no it has to be welded
    it's a piece that i am trying to attach to the bar clamp. let me see what i can do as far as pictures.
  6. Aug 23, 2012 #5
    do you see this?

  7. Aug 23, 2012 #6
    join metal and metal (steel to aluminum)

    now i want a different grip for it like this, or a different caul

  8. Aug 24, 2012 #7
    Make it out of aluminum (or steel, whichever the main clamp is made of) and TIG it
  9. Aug 24, 2012 #8
    well i don't have a welder, dude. i can buy a Brazing Kit. $30.
    i wanted to know if that could do.
  10. Aug 24, 2012 #9
    Brazing steel is pretty easy. Brazing aluminum is a mysterious art for someone who has never done it. But if you have a desire to learn, you can get good information from your welding supplier, or search the web. The trick is to match the right materials, rod material, and temperatures. You may also need to heat treat afterwards.

    But for something like this, it is hardly worth the effort unless you are looking for a learning exercise that is likely to include several iterations, especially since you don't know which alloy you are dealing with.

    I would use epoxy backed up with mechanical fasteners.

    Edit: you can weld aluminum to steel, but that is far beyond the scope of your project. I've seen it done on rare occasions via friction inertial welding.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  11. Aug 24, 2012 #10
    like i don't have a garage or space to start welding lol
    and again i am guessing it's aluminum. it might be a different metal.
  12. Aug 24, 2012 #11
    Re: How do you join metal and metal

    they're actually zinc. i was way off-base.
    so zinc to steel? weldable? can they be brazed possibly? what do you think?
  13. Aug 24, 2012 #12
    The boiling point of zinc is below steel's melting point. Are you sure they are fully zinc, or zinc-coated? Also Zinc contains volatiles that are released when burned and are pretty hazardous. You aren't going to get a good connection between these two materials.

    My suggestion (though I know you don't have access to a welder) would be to weld threaded rod onto locations on the clamp, drill holes in the zinc piece, and then bolt.

    As Pkruse suggested, epoxy might be your friend for this one. I'd drill some inserts to fit the threaded rod into, epoxy them into place and go from there.
  14. Aug 24, 2012 #13
    Re: How do you join metal and metal

    Are you certain? I would bet on them being cast-iron.

    I also recommend a bolt-on solution. Without the proper equipment and experience, attempting to weld or braze dissimilar metals is just going to give you headaches.
  15. Aug 27, 2012 #14
    Re: How do you join metal and metal


    I just wanted to re-stress the point that burning zinc releases toxic fumes.
  16. Aug 27, 2012 #15
    i am certain.

    they're cast and they have different finishes as in they're finished with either brass, pewter dark bronze or satin nickel.
  17. Aug 27, 2012 #16
    Re: How do you join metal and metal

    so would you still go with epoxy that is a LePage Epoxy Steel as your #1 method?
  18. Aug 28, 2012 #17
    The epoxy will be more effective if you heavily scuff up the surfaces you want to join. Epoxy also works best with a fairly thick glue line, so I would not clamp them together too tightly. Tape can usually provide enough clamping force.
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