jcornell

Is it possible to fire-weld copper?

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I have some 6 gauge copper wire which is interesting, but I'd really like to have a rod somewhere between 1/4" and 3/8" in diameter. Is it possible to fire-weld copper wire? Or will it just melt and make pretty puddles at the bottom of my gas forge?

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Yes, certainly. You might find that it is easier to just buy stock of the size that you want though. Copper is not yet a precious metal and you might burn more in fuel than you could save. Oxidation is a serious problem working with copper at welding heats and it is also possible that you would just burn up the copper that you have. Just for the experience it may be worthwhile to do a bit of test welding though.

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If I get a chance I'll look up copper in my copy of "Solid Phase Welding Of Metals"; but tonight's Bad Movie Night so it probably not be tonight!

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I have fusion welded copper in small scale... it CAN be done. Frosty has a friend who claims that forge welding copper is "ridiculously easy". Copper will oxidize very quickly and deeply though at red heats. Even for casting the oxidation of copper can be troublesome.

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I was warned years ago not to melt copper in my forge- that metals would never again weld in the forge...

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Do some search and research on "coin mokume" or "mokume gane".

This might give you some insight on the process of fusing nonferrous metals without completely melting them.

I have "sweated" a stack of coins together in the forge, but it's more of a controlled preasure thing than hammering (like forge welding iron or steel).

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if you make a a mold out of angle iron with a cap at each end with steel that will keep it standing on edge like a v trough. Place your copper in the trough and heat it up until it is liquid cool and you have a triangle bar that you can forge to the size and shape you want. Be careful if you have a gas forge with a blower once its liquid the air will blow it out of the trough. Remember all metal work is dangerous safety first.

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My experience with welding copper, is limited to high frequency TIG welding, ... using an Argon shield, and no filler rod.

That process was simple, clean and effective.

I'd be afraid of oxidation issues, when trying to fuse it, without a gas shield.


.

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I have fusion welded copper in small scale... it CAN be done. Frosty has a friend who claims that forge welding copper is "ridiculously easy". Copper will oxidize very quickly and deeply though at red heats. Even for casting the oxidation of copper can be troublesome.


Yeah, that friend is Ron Reil and as with all forge welding you need to get the handle on it and then it's pretty straight forward. Copper welds really easily, sand it clean, borax for flux and lowish heat, bright red is often plenty, gentle hammer blows, then refine.

To turn wire into rod I'd probably weld and refine it in a swage or "V" lock.

Give it a lash, it isn't hard.

Frosty the Lucky.

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"I was warned years ago not to melt copper in my forge- that metals would never again weld in the forge... "

That's an old smiths tale. In classes I've had people put copper in the fire while I'm forge welding and it still welds. The copper will just burn up.

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I followed Frosty's directions and it worked for me.
2nd attempt at a faggot weld using 4AWG solid copper ground wire.

I have "Scotch" welded Silver before using oxy/acetylene hand torch, this honestly is easier as you don't have to hold your tounge in a funny way :lol:

post-4928-0-20477800-1319085565_thumb.jp

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I guess it isn't much different than what I do with making copper or brass bangles or for that matter fine silver one, get them hot to the point where you start to see the metal flash to molten and then remove the heat. If you go any longer than that the ends start to ball up and pull away from each other. The biggest I have fused together has been 4 gauge copper for some bangles which is only about 0.20" or so in diameter. If I was wanting longer pieces of larger diameter copper rod I don't think I would waste a lot of fuel on forge welding or even casting it but buy extruded stock of the length I needed for my project. Yes, it is fun to see if one can do it but if you have a paying project it will be more cost effective to buy the material and pass the cost on to the end user.

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I guess it isn't much different than what I do with making copper or brass bangles or for that matter fine silver one, get them hot to the point where you start to see the metal flash to molten and then remove the heat. If you go any longer than that the ends start to ball up and pull away from each other. The biggest I have fused together has been 4 gauge copper for some bangles which is only about 0.20" or so in diameter. If I was wanting longer pieces of larger diameter copper rod I don't think I would waste a lot of fuel on forge welding or even casting it but buy extruded stock of the length I needed for my project. Yes, it is fun to see if one can do it but if you have a paying project it will be more cost effective to buy the material and pass the cost on to the end user.
No, it's true solid-state welding (as they call it in the technical stuff) not fusion welding. Much like mokume.

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  I know this is an old post, but I happened to get my hands on about 8 inches of 00 multistranded copper wire and was wondering if it could be forge welded.  Since that question has been answered affirmatively by this post, I have another to throw in.

  Is there a way to etch it once done to reveal a pattern, much like a forge welded cable billet?  If not I guess I could figure out something to mix in with it before I start.  Maybe silicon bronze? I have access to some of that.

 No matter the outcome, even if it goes pear-shaped, this type of puttering sounds like my rather perverse breed of "fun".

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Oh yeah, copper forge welds easily. I don't know about a pattern though, I think it homogonizes too easily. However if a person were to slip a little brass out of say a brush or maybe filings into the cable. Hmmmm?

Frosty The Lucky.

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I might try to make it into a bar, and then layer it with some 1/8" bronze flatstock that I have access to, as long as the "welding" (liquidus?) temperature is close.  I have some research to do, but if I don't flub this, I'll have some cool looking stuff, and a cool story.

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QD: Check out the Mokume Gane threads, there's more than one way to diffusion weld you know.

Brisket mmmmmmmmm.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Perhaps I should have used the term "furnace brazing" as I'd hate to think of all y'all shorting out your keyboards with the drooling...We have a nice medieval recipe for venison and when we don't have that to hand we use mutton or lamb. (or elk or Bison, or...)  The more strongly flavoured meats do a better stand in for Venison than does pork or beef.

We've brought it to church potlucks before and usually take the polished dish home lamenting the lack of leftovers...

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  I know this is an old post, but I happened to get my hands on about 8 inches of 00 multistranded copper wire and was wondering if it could be forge welded.  Since that question has been answered affirmatively by this post, I have another to throw in.

  Is there a way to etch it once done to reveal a pattern, much like a forge welded cable billet?  If not I guess I could figure out something to mix in with it before I start.  Maybe silicon bronze? I have access to some of that.

 No matter the outcome, even if it goes pear-shaped, this type of puttering sounds like my rather perverse breed of "fun".

I think you will find welding cable will not work. This fine of cables will oxidize before you can weld them. If you want solid you better go buy some. The oxide layer that forms when you heat is quick to form and tenacious. Welding copper works if you can keep the air off of it. Flux will melt too late to be of any use here as the oxides form long before it can melt. The flux will also not dissolve the oxides and wash them away like can happen with steel. There are ways to work around this but you will spend more than just buying copper bar. 

Edited by teenylittlemetalguy

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