Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Welding copper with oxy-propane torch

This is view of my pattern cut out with a jeweler's saw. I used 18 gauge copper for this piece...20 gauge would also be a good thickness, especially if your pattern is a bit larger. Thinner than 22 gauge and the metal becomes a bit more difficult to fuse the seams.

Note the notches filed away in the corners to allow a better fit when folding the sides.

This is a simple and unique method to create specific bending without using traditional scoring-n-bending techniques.
I used my ring clamp as my 'bending brake.' The dimesions of your pattern will determine whether you can use a traditional bending brake, a bench-top vise, etc.

After the sides were bent down, I used my nylon mallet to tap the edges of my sides together tightly...although this technique of joining is a little more loose than soldering, the process is much easier if you take the time to get get all the edges to be welded to touch.

Ah!...all edges touching one-another. At this point, I could also bend my tab/hanging mechanism into place. It can also be pushed down after welding the sides together.

All the sides welded together. I used 18 gauge so that there is plenty of material for the welding process. My goal is to merely fuse the two edges of the sides with one-another, but in some cases, the copper will melt away from the seam and copper wire is used to fill the gap. I find that using wire a little thicker than the material I'm welding works great (i.e. if my form is of 18 gauge, I used 16 gauge copper wire as a welding rod). Also, I find that it's helpful to tack the corners together first and work towards the front of the piece (in the image, that would be working from the bottom up).

Of course it hasn't been finished yet but what a wonderful little object for the wall! Just imagine 50 of them in a row with different surface finishes and coloration.....mmmmmm!


nichole said...

Looks great! I know that little things will make your wall beautiful. I can now imagine what it will look like. Cool! Nice idea...Keep it up makes an art because of welding, it's great...God bless

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