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The Simple Welding Rods are a high-quality welding rods sintered from a special mix of different metal powders, and are used to weld/braze primarily Aluminum and Aluminum alloys, but can be used to braze any other non-magnetic metals except for stainless steel.

The procedure of usage consists of a few simple steps that have to be done properly in order to get a good weld.

The surface to be welded should be metallurgically clean, meaning it should be free of oxidation layer, and any free electrons and ions. Don’t panic, it’s easy to achieve, we’re getting close to it. Also, the aluminum forms an oxidation layer on it’s surface, thus protecting the lower layers of oxidation, and we don’t want this layer on the welded surface in order to get a good weld.

Step 1: Brush the part you’re about to weld/braze with stainless steel brush or sandpaper to remove the oxidation layer

This is easily achievable by brushing with a stainless steel brush or sand it with sand paper, just before heating. Brush it vigorously, and start heating. It’s a good idea to also do a quick brush while heating and before applying the rod, as this will remove any newly formed oxidation layer and easily create a more rough surface, so the rod material can stick better to the surface of the welded part. The more you brush it when the required temperature is achieved, the better the connection (penetration in) to the base metal will be. However, several strokes are usually enough to do the job.

Step 2: Use a heat source, to heat the base metal to at least 728°F (387°C)

Use a heat source to heat the base metal (we don’t apply the rod yet). You can use a LP gas torch, but MAPP Gas is a perfect choice. The more heat the torch can develop, the better and quicker the base metal can be heated.

Be advised that MAPP Gas is about 3 times more powerful than a regular LP gas (Propane or Butane). You may use LP gas for most jobs where the parts you work on are thin and/or small. For thick and/or more massive parts, make sure to use MAPP Gas.

If you’re welding two pieces with different thickness, try to heat them equally by applying more flame to the thicker piece.

Step 3: When hot enough, move the flame aside (but keep it on the part to maintain temperature), and apply the rod – the rod should melt on contact with the hot metal part

When you feel the required temperature (728°F / 387°C) is developed on the base material, do a few strokes with the brush, keep the flame on the base metal, and test if the rod melts (if welding different thickness pieces, test with the thicker piece as it builds heat harder). When the rod starts melting from the base metal, do a few more strokes with the stainless steel brush, keep the flame close to the spot where you’re about to apply the rod to maintain the temperature and apply the rod. Do not put the rod directly under the flame.

If the part is loosing temperature due to it being too small and thin so you can’t maintain temperature by keeping the flame on it away from the spot where you apply the rod, or it’s too massive and thick so it dissipates the heat easily, you may want to heat it a bit longer after the rod starts melting, so it won’t cool down too much – too fast, thus keeping enough heat while applying the rod.

When finished, remove the flame and let it cool down naturally. It will harden in a matter of seconds, but let it cool down naturally (i.e. don’t immerse in water etc.) so the joint will stick well to the base metal.

That’s about it. If done properly, you’ll have a sound joint, stronger than aluminum.

Here is a video that you may use as a guide:

Notes:
1. When welding/brazing thicker (or larger) parts together, it’s a good idea to use another heat source to preheat the welding area. You can use a kitchen stove or another (standalone) torch that will constantly help keeping the heat to the area of interest.
2. Before brazing/welding for the first time, it’s a good idea to practice on a can or other scrap piece of aluminum, so you get the feeling of this brazing/welding method.
3. Always remember – metallurgically clean surface, free of oxidation layer is a key to a good weld.
4. Being in control of the heat is important, but also can be tricky.
5. Letting the weld cool down naturally enables a strong and good quality joint.