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Can You Weld Pot Metal?

welding pot metal using tig welder is possible

Welding pot metal is a topic that only a few individuals believe. Yes, the other percentage can achieve, but the quality of what they can do is a big question.

Let’s look carefully at this subject so you can genuinely tell if it is hard work, or it is just the mentality of some welders.

Yes, you can weld pot metal by using the TIG welding process. However, this technique requires some prior practice & knowledge. Pot metal mainly consists of Zn, which has a relatively low melting point of 787°F (419.5 °C). This property makes the whole material to melt faster than you can predict. Therefore, if you do not pay attention, it can turn into a pool of metal fluid. To weld correctly, you need to allow the workpiece to cool down often without letting it overheat.

Pot metal is widely used in applications that do not require high tensile strength. Especially for some automotive parts, types of jewelry, figurines, and furniture fittings. However, it is a notorious metal because it’s challenging to weld.

The main reason for this argument is that it features special properties, and it is an alloy of several other metals. Since it also comprises zinc, which gives off toxic fumes, it means you should expect to face a hard time when welding it. 

Essential things to know before starting

Pot metal welding is an art that takes both time and talent to get real, satisfactory results. It is a beast that most individuals won’t even bother to try. Therefore, it means that you need to try it differently to complete the project successfully. 

Some people identify pot metal as die-cast zinc or monkey metal. It is a metal that will not work the same way other solid materials that you always work with from one day to another. Welding die-cast metal demands the correct treatment, or else it will spell disaster for any of your projects.

Pot metal is an inexpensive metal that comprises a mixture of several other minerals, all of which have low melting points. It works best for projects that require cheap and fast castings. However, it is a well-known metal because of its unique behavior. This feature means that this stuff cannot age well. There are high chances for it to shatter, pit, crack, and become unstable over time. 

Oxidation and corrosion are other problems associated with monkey metal. Mostly, it gets filled with bubbles, hence increasing the chances of it becoming weak. Also, this metal oxidizes about ten times faster compared to aluminum and thus, adding to its volatility.

Here is the good news!

It is not a challenge to weld die-cast metal like a surgeon if you possess the most appropriate equipment and a good understanding of this metal.  

How to weld pot metal perfectly

Tig welding is the first thing to do. But you should note that knowing basics is not an option when it comes to tig welding. Therefore, you must possess the right equipment and knowledge to weld the monkey metal properly.  

This becomes much easy if you possess some experience related to aluminum welding. The reason is you can use the same tricks used in Al welding in here also.

During pot metal repairing, it is vital to start by using low-temperature settings and weld slowly. The primary types of filler rods needed for this task include HTS-2000, Alladin, and Durafix. 

Also while you’re at it, keep the heat at a lower level to avoid complete melting of the item, you’re fixing. Here, consider welding in short intervals that range between five to ten seconds. By doing this, you will allow the piece to cool in between, hence ensuring a professional finish. Stop welding after it starts to flow, or else you will mess up with everything. 

TIG welding pot metal is a lifetime solution

Choosing the right TIG welding equipment is essential to weld the pot metal effectively. A/C TIG welder is the most preferred option for this case, and it must feature a high-frequency start.  

For amps setting, it needs to be at about 80 max so that the die-cast zinc can restore its attractive appearance and full strength.

Yes, pot metal casting has a reputation for being a no joke project but it is an easy task that’s far more cost-effective. All this is because of today’s modern technology. It only a little practice and you should be able to weld the monkey metal. It is a lifetime solution that does not feature the drawbacks associated with other repairs.

Can you weld pot metal to steel?

Yes, you can weld pot metal to steel, and TIG welding is amongst the options that work best. TIG welding is the right choice for this case since it is the most preferred for tricky welds.  This technique generates heat through an electric arc, which then jumps from the electrode side of the pot metal onto the steel surface, which you need to weld.  

Procedure to follow when welding pot metal to steel

  • Prepare the steel metal and welding table
  • Put on the right clothing such as a specialist welding coat
  • Choose the right tungsten alloy rods for this particular pot metal mix
  • Grind the tungsten rod into a pointed tip so you can give a directed, small arc
  • Insert the electrode into the collect by unscrewing the electrode holder’s rear. 
  • Choose the right electricity and penetrating options. Also, set the air setting to about 5 seconds so you can prevent oxidation or rusting of the weld
  • Turn on the gas
  • Ensure that the electrode moves freely tangling or hampering of the cord
  • Begin welding and ensure that the electrode is around  an inch from the surface of the metal

How to properly identify pot metal

It’s challenging to identify pot metal because of its mixed nature or complex composition. There are high chances for it to look like another metal for the cases where it features a high percentage of a specific metal. Therefore, it can resemble that metal, but it will possess unique properties. It is essential to identify the metal so it can become easy to tig weld it. 

To know if the pot metal is zinc-based, you need to heat it up and then observe the smoke’s color.  If it has a white color, then there are high chances that it’s a Zinc based pot metal.

Also, weighing the metal is another way through which you can determine if it’s die-cast metal or not. Pot metal features a heavier weight compared to aluminum. Therefore, you can easily differentiate the two if you know aluminum. 

Pot metal does not feature a metallurgical standard. The primary components of this metal include zinc, aluminum, cadmium, magnesium, lead, iron, copper, and tin while Zn being the main component 90% of the time. 

Is there a way to bend pot metal?

I had this exact question when I wanted to bend a pendant made out of this alloy. And the answer is Yes, but there are limitations. What I tried to do was carve into a woodblock until I have the required curvy shape and then apply pressure from the top.

This worked but I knew it’s going to break at some point. So I tried gradually heating and applying pressure which worked out great.

If you are trying this for a bigger piece of metal, try annealing first before bending because it can remove brittle properties from the metal.

Pot metal restoration

Restoring pot metal is essential, especially when deterioration has gone beyond removal by the standard process. To restore the surface of monkey metal requires the application of an acid copper layer together with a re-sanding process.

For the low areas, you need to silver solder them and then ‘cut down’ to fit the metal surface. After this, you need to re-plate the metal again in the acid copper bath. You can repeat this process several times to get the required finish. 

How to clean pot metal

When cleaning pot metal, avoid using a towel or abrasive cleaner since this will dull and scratch its finish. You need to use steel wool to remove the hard stuff off or you can also do some light grinding. Next is the mothers’ polish to get a shine and clean surface.

Repairing monkey metal with epoxy

Epoxy is the simplest method of fixing die-cast metal that creates a strong bond once it cures. However, it is the most preferred means for the ornamental pot metal parts. Therefore, it is not the best option for any piece that’s subject to pressure like a grille. 

In conclusion,

welding monkey metal is a no joke task. It is a field that gives a significant challenge even to the experienced and accomplished welders. Some can do it correctly, but others will find it hard to do this. However, with the information in this article, you can feel more confident to at least give it a try.

Related Questions

Can you solder pot metal?

Yes, it is possible to solder pot metal. To start, you need to have a small oxygen and acetylene torch set. Also, you require a ‘mini torch’ for soldering a small area.

For the best results, you need silver solder and stay-clean liquid flux. After cleaning all the parts that you need to solder, join them with clamps. Now apply heat on the seam of the pieces that you need to solder. 

Apply the liquid flux and an acid brush immediately you see a little discoloration. Direct the solder on the joint you want to solder before the flux dries. After this, the two parts will get fused.

Can you glue pot metal? 

Yes, you can glue pot metal by utilizing acid bath copper and then conventional solder. Here, the pot metal parts get stripped and then plated by using acid bath copper. The method requires grinding and cleaning of the cracks, pits, and scratches.

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