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Stupid Question

Ian Barkley

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*confused* Is it possible [practical] to solder aluminium?


I am doing some simple fabricating with aluminium sheet and intending to pop-rivet the components, but I wondered if there was another way. If it is an option what is the technique? Is it normal lead based solder and if so does it completely negate the advantage of light weight aluminum? [Am I completely stupid?]


I understand that welding is a possibility but is extremely skilled operation [is that right?]


Cheers Ian

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Welding alu is a pretty skilled operation, but not so elite that you won't find several fabricators able to perform it in your area. Welding thin sheet or fabrications with 90° joins will certainly sort the men from the boys, and may not even be possible. I've tried welding alu at night school and it is a right sod.


From a recent visit to Pace Products it seems you can also braze alu, though I gather that's really tricky and not something to be done by hand (Pace assemble their rads with the necessary flux and bake in a precisely temperature controlled oven).


Don't know anything at all about the possibility of soldering though, sorry.

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Quite impossible to solder I'm afraid although it shouldn't be too difficult to find a local company that can tig weld it for you. Where abouts are you?


Ah, just seen you are in Sheffield. Look in the Yellow Pages under metalworkers and fabricators. Hope that helps.





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Edited by - BRENT CHISWICK on 3 Jul 2004 11:11:37

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You can't solder ally with any of the regular solders, but I do remember there was product a while ago. It was heavily advertised in the 4 X 4 magazines for repairing the alloy bodies on landrovers. You could try a search.


SEP field working, not spotted in 101,600 miles. Some photos on webshots, updated 10 June

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TIG welding is undoubtedly the best way of joining aluminium alloy components IMHO.


However............it can also be successfully gas welded using fluxed rods which B&Q of all places have for sale. I've used this method to effect repairs on Landrover skin with good results after a bit of practice. If you do decide to give this a try there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Cleanliness of the parent metal is of utmost importance. I cleaned the surfaces using Scotchbrite pads then acetone. Secondly the melting point of the rods is'nt a lot higher than the metal you'll be joining. Aluminium goes from solid to molten with very little warning *thumbdown* so exercise caution when applying the heat or else you'l be looking through a molten gaping hole 🙆🏻.


As an aside, I'd be interested to know what process Arch use to make the join in the skin where the sides of the bodywork join the rear section 🤔

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Thanks for all the info... I am always impressed by the knowledge base of techtalk contributors, thanks...


This is a job I'd like to try to to do myself and as I don't think I have the time/inclination to learn major new skills in welding techniques [at this stage]. The solder route seems unsatisfactory, so the best bet seems to be pop-rivets or possibly glueing... are there any particular glues suitable for aluminium which you could recommend?



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