Can you weld aluminum to steel?
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  1. #1

    Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    I am taking welding at my high school and would like to know if there was a way to weld aluminum and steel together (i need to for a project i'm doing). I've herd of ways using sliver solder or with aluminized steel, which has a layer of aluminum over the sheet of steel.

    BTW: i need real answers, not just "no there's no way".


    i need to know cause i'm building a table an want to give it a aluminum top with steel legs.



    my welding class has mig, tig, stick, and oxy-fuel if that helps (i know how to weld with all of them)

    * 2 years ago

    Additional Details
    i DID ask my instructor, but he said the only way he knows of it threw explosion welding, an i doubt any high school is going to have that. it's just that i have heard of other methods.


    an my teacher is a very talented welder, he can weld almost anything with any method.

    he got his welding certification when my parents were only 8 years old.

    2 years ago

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mig Welding

  2. #2
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    If "No" isnt a real answer, it sounds like your mind is made up already.

    No, there is no way to weld aluminum to steel using any of the common methods. Friction or ultrasonic welding is possible as well as a few other specialized process, but you are not going to be using any of them to make a coffee table.

    No, its not possible.
    Have we all gone mad?

  3. #3
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    This may be an answer.
    http://www.muggyweld.com./index2.html

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    nope
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  5. #5
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Cant weld them, but you can braze them. Brazing aluminum to steel was very common in the 1930's and 1940's. Basicly you "tin" the steel with silver brazing material ( I use 55% ) and then use aluminum brazing material ( 4047 ) and its flux to braze the "tinned" steel to the aluminum. The "one stage" materials are actually more like a soft solder, and my experience with them has been less than stellar. Now I made it look simple, and in theory it is, but its a bit technical and takes a bit of experience. If you are familiar with OA welding aluminum, braing aluminum and the same on steel, then you should be able to learn this process.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    You can JB "weld" it.

    On a serious note, I have actually done it (made a prop set of Freddy Kruger knives when I was a kid) & it worked out quite well for the application. I attached the stainless steel knife blades to some aluminum pieces bent around the fingers of a glove with JB Weld & let it harden for a good 12 hours.

    Too bad Mom took 'em away before I got a chance to really mess around with them.

    Might not work out too well for your application tho.

    Just a thought, maybe bolting or brazing them on would be a more suitable solution. There's some very talented, knowledgeable fellas on this board & a few have already given you the answer. No, it cannot be done with any real practicality.

    Good luck with whatever method you choose to pursue it with.
    Last edited by 7A749; 03-13-2010 at 11:06 AM.
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    As already pointed out the two can be brazed.

    If this is for a decorative project rather than a structural one there are probably better ways to attach the top. First thought would be mechanical fasteners, ie bolts or screws. I'll assume the alum top is too thin to just tap threads into. You could weld or braze a bolt or nut to the top and use corresponding threaded connectors thru tabs or holes in the steel frame. Second you might just consider adhesive. The various construction adhesives will bond steel and alum together very well, probably almost as strong as most welds. They more surface area, the stronger the bond. The key will be having a clean oil free surface to glue to. Also if you are worried about someone possibly seeing the adhesive, there's always silicone or some of the clear urethane sealants. I frequently use them to bond down stone tops to frames.
    .



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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    We once welded a Aluminum piston to a Steel cylinder wall..
    Took some serious R.P.M. but..

    Does that count?

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Hello zebediah, the answer to whether you can "weld" aluminum to steel is a resounding "NO". The answer to whether you can join aluminum to steel is a definite "yes". Fronius has a transfer process called "CMT" (cold metal transfer), it is a GMAW process and it does join aluminum to steel, at least galvanized steel. If you go to their website you can navigate through it a bit to find the information that describes this. Another manner in which aluminum can be joined to steel is by explosion welding, there are a number of different manufacturers that join aluminum parts to steel parts by using this material as an intermediary. A local manufacturer in my area attaches aluminum parts to steel boat hulls by using a piece of alum/steel in between the aluminum part and the steel part. They will weld the steel side of this material to the steel deck and then weld the aluminum part to the aluminum side of the material. Hope this has been of some assistance for you. Best regards, Allan
    aevald

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    The material aevald mentioned used on boat hulls is called "data bar" in some ship yards it is used extensively in military ship building.
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Hello MrLeadMan, thank you for the name, I have a piece of it in my office, but the name escaped me. One of my students brought it over from Foss Marine in Rainier, Ore. they use it extensively for attaching aluminum to steel and visa-versa when they build their various tugs and barges. Best regards, Allan
    aevald

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    just once zap?, i must have done it 5 or 6 times
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by turk View Post
    just once zap?, i must have done it 5 or 6 times



    ...zap!


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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLeadMan View Post
    The material aevald mentioned used on boat hulls is called "data bar" in some ship yards it is used extensively in military ship building.
    Came in here to say that...stuff is 3/4" thick or so and maybe 1 1/4" wide....the superstructures of Ticonderoga cruisers and Spruance destroyers are aluminum while the
    hulls are steel...the "Data Bar" is how they are joined..

    one of the dumbest ideas ever....can you say "bimetallic corrosion" whole ship is a battery...

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Doesn’t say much for armor.

  16. #16
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    i use to weld aluminum bronze to steel and stainless steel
    but no to alum. to steel

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by transit View Post
    Doesn’t say much for armor.
    They haven't used real "armor" since WWII on ships. The closest thing is the flight decks on the carriers. In Nam the Navy learned just how poor an idea alum superstructures were since small arms fire will penetrate them. Many now use Kevlar mats to cut down the posibitity of small arms fire penetrations.

    They wanted more speed and longer range, so alum was the "perfect" answer. The whole idea is that the enemy shouldn't get close enought to hit you to need armor. Stupid idea myself. The Britts in the Falklands learned how well that works. Same reason we don't really put guns on ships any more. They don't figure any one would ever be able to get in range of the guns.
    .



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  18. #18
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Yeah, like the USS Cole. May as well use Rabbits feet for armor. Hey, wait, a rabbit has four feet, didn’t do him much good.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cole_bombing

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Big guns and big armor or small guns and light armor same equation when you factor in electronics and missiles. The survival rate of battle ships vs. battle ships wasn't to good take the Bismark for example. Navies have just traded one way of killing for another.
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Worked on the USS Cole several times as well as countless DDG's. They are all steel construction. Computers and advanced missiles have changed the way navies conduct warfare. Ships don't sit within eyeshot of each other and lob 2000lb projectiles at each other anymore. Lighter weight makes them faster and more manuverable, not to mention more fuel efficient. We usually use Bi-metal pads when welding steel to aluminum or vice versa.
    Last edited by Oxide; 03-13-2010 at 09:17 PM.

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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    I know your a weldor and want to weld everything, but have you considered just bolting the top on? If it's a decorative table I'm sure you could find ways to hide the bolts. If it's a work table, it'll give you the ability to change the aluminum top if it gets worn out. Just a thought.

  22. #22
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide View Post
    Worked on the USS Cole several times as well as countless DDG's. They are all steel construction. Computers and advanced missiles have changed the way navies conduct warfare. Ships don't sit within eyeshot of each other and lob 2000lb projectiles at each other anymore. Lighter weight makes them faster and more manuverable, not to mention more fuel efficient. We usually use Bi-metal pads when welding steel to aluminum or vice versa.
    What yard do you work in?

  23. #23

    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    I saw a TV show about explosion welding a while back they covered a piece of plate steel with a piece of copper. They then covered that with a powder explosive and started the explosion in one corner and as it spread across the copper it fused it to the steel. The slow mode was pretty cool

  24. #24
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Most of the boats in my tug fleet have aluminum pilot houses welded to steel hulls. I don't know exatly how they did it but there appears to be a transition piece. I'm sure that piece consists of a steel flat bar explosion welded to an aluminum flat bar. The steel side is welded to the steel hull and the aluminum side is welded to the aluminum pilot house.

  25. #25
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    Re: Can you weld aluminum to steel?

    Other than the aforementioned methods. NO. Don't feel bad, I had an Engineer with a Master's degree ask me the same thing a few years back. When I told him no, he had a fit and got a bit irate. He came back the next day with plan for using all steel instead. Not even a "sorry".
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