How to TIG Weld Copper – Kevin Caron

How to TIG Weld Copper – Kevin Caron


(Text on screen): Welding With Copper, Kevin Caron, www.kevincaron.com The Voice: Hey, Kev. What are you lookin’ at? Kevin Caron: Ain’t that purty? I got a request the other day for a copper video. Wow! The Voice: Copper welding? Kevin Caron: Copper welding. Yeah, I kind of knew I could do this with a TIG. I just never had the call for it. And I just tried it one day and, I’ll be darned, it works pretty good. Here. Let me show you. So, this is just a little piece of quarter-inch thick copper plate that I had left over from a different project that I worked on. I cut off a couple of little pieces, chamfered the edges so we get a nice weld in there, and I thought I’d just put them together; run a little bead. Now, most of the time, you run down to the welding store and you get the proper rod. But because this is just for fun; this is just a piece of scrap that’s going right back in the scrap bucket when I get done, what I’ve found works well with copper: This is actually a piece of Romex electrical wire. I had some left over from the remodeling on the studio. I thought, well, what the heck. I can just strip it out. It works just fine . . . for what I’m doing here. Don’t go using it on your important projects. So, put your helmet on. We’ll make a spark here. (welding) Go ahead. Take your helmet up. See how red it got? That’s how much heat, because the copper conducts heat so well. So, that was 200 amps, to get started. And then I could back off on the pedal to about 150 amps to keep the weld going, because of that quarter-inch copper. Because it was just conducting so much heat. You’re just sinking it right into the table. I needed that much to get it hot and keep it going. Now, you can do copper. Copper’s pretty easy, actually. As long as you’ve got a TIG. As long as you’ve got some decent rod, or whatever you can find. Clean it up. Make sure it’s nice and clean, just like aluminum. Make sure you’ve got a good joint. Go for it! See you next time. (Text on screen): Subscribe to See More Videos! See and hear more at KevinCaron.com.

84 Comments

  1. Cool! I didn't know you can weld copper. I thought you were limited to brazing or soldering. Or bolting, I guess… Thanks Voice! Do your arms get tired holding the lens in front of the camera? Very nice closeup!

  2. @strube1369 . She says "Strong like bull!!"

    I have to make a filter attachment for that thing.
    It's on the "list".

  3. I bought a TIG last week and one big reason was to work with copper so the timing on this video is p e r f e c t ! After I finish welding my new workbench I'll fire the TIG up and melt some copper. Thanks for the video Kevin. You are my favorite Youtube'er

  4. @jorgencream Now that is a damn good question.

    Sadly I do not have an answer for it. I would guess because the battery was dieing on the camera and we were hurrying to get the video shot.

    Ok, redo time!!!

  5. Haha I had a project at work about a year ago welding copper and used the same wire!! Thought I was the first to figure that out. I also was surprised that it took almost 100 amps to weld copper that was thinner than 1/16!!

  6. @secondclasscitezen I will try. You just have to remember that I am in front of the camera not behind it.

    Thanks for posting…

  7. I have a small project for my brewery I'm looking to have TIG welded like that since I'm trying to avoid brass in the system if I can. It's 3" copper tubing with 1/8" wall. What kind of amperage do you think I might need for this job? My buddy has a TIG, but wasn't sure it had enough current to do the job, and we haven't dine any tests with scrap yet. The longest weld will be 18" long, so I figure that will soak up a substantial a mount of heat.

  8. @Bonaireboy85 If his machine can run about 100 amps you should have no problem at all. Defenatly do a few test runs on some scrap first but you should be fine at about 75 to 85 amps to start. When you are welding it should be in the 55 to 65 range i think.

    Hope that helps….

    Thanks for posting……

  9. Hi Kevin ,thanks for taking the effort to upload your vids . i always find them very helpfull .
    i restore classic cars and am quiet capable with a mig and arch welding ….but i have a model locomotive copper boiler with a few small leaks around some rivits . i have tried silver soldering but the heat just dissipated before i can melt the solder .so i tried tigging it with a 150 amp tig and still the heat just goes away .it is a heavy item at 3 feet long and 6 inch diameter ,any suggestions

  10. Sorry , forgot to mention boiler is copper throughout and was originally silver soldered with a few rivits left unsoldered .

  11. @donkey2lathe Well, my first thought was, "is all the water drained out?"

    At 150 amps you should be blowing holes all over that thing. Has to be something inside sinking the heat away. Either that thing is way thicker than you think or it's still full of water.

    Let me know what you find please. I would really like to know what you find…

  12. Hi Kevin , thanks for your quick response , boiler has been dry for some years now . i believe the copper is very thick . initially i tried to silver solder it but even using 2 large blowlamps and an oxy aceteline torch wasnt enough to overcome the dissipation of heat ..one thing is for sure .if i ever get it fixed it will be a very efficient boiler !!!
    i will message you with my email add . then i can send you some pics ,thanks again .

  13. @donkey2lathe Can you get to the inside of the boiler? How about preheating it from the inside with the O/A?

  14. if you can't get it hot enough to silver solder with oxy acetylen assuming you are using big nozzles you probably won't be tig welding it 😉 depending on what kind of boiler it is, i'd just solder it with normal leadfree solder bars, i'm no boiler expert, but i don't see a problem with normal solder, most copper plumbing is lead/leadfree soldered after all 😉

  15. interesting, are you running ac? sounds and looks like it, if so why are you running ac? i've always heard it can be done ac or dc, you should get the heat in faster and with less amps on dc, theoretically, but i'm guessing you'd be running about 90-95% en anyway so probably not a huge difference!

  16. Nope, running dc on this one. Haven't tried to do it with ac but I will give it a try. It was turned up pretty high on the amps. About 150 if I remember right. Hit it hard and then back off once the puddle gets going. Just like aluminum….

  17. ahh interesting, i'd like to give it a go too, if i come across some scrap copper i will, i guess the buzz is just a bit of interference then!

  18. That was a 2 percent Ceriated tungsten and I was running straight argon gas. Don't remember the size but it was less than 1/8 inch.

  19. Thanks for posting this video. I have some copper fixtures that I use for CD stud welding and normally I just make more fixtures, NOW i will TIG them up and save some time and money. Thanks again!!

  20. Hello there! I stumbled upon this video and I had a couple questions:
    1. How strong was the weld after it cooled?
    2. I need an opinion on welding equipment. I am saving up for a plasma cutter and I am looking for something to put the metal back together. I plan on working with steels, copper, iron, etc. at a thickness of no more than 1/4th" but mostly 1/8th. What would you recommend that the insurance wont have a fit over?

  21. Keep in mind that I am self- taught and not certified in any form of welding. I find the copper welding to be just as strong as a regular piece of copper. No difference that I can find. But I am just doing art with this work. Nothing that is going to cost a life if it fails…

    If you are going to be working with lots of different types of metal than you are going to need a TIG welder. The easiest and quickest way to work with all types of metal. Which one is up to you and your budget.

  22. Oh ok, I actually just thought it was a very simple, yet ingenious idea to use copper wire as a filler, I've always had an infatuation with the element copper and to see any metal work done with the pure element is pretty cool to me…perhaps a bit dorky, but I am a dork when it comes to metalworking, I do it for work to a point and I always like to get pointers and tips from those more experienced than me. Well, keep up the good work, and I will watch, because I love to learn!

  23. If you are looking for copper pennies you need to get pennies from pre 1980's they were made from solid copper , if you try to use post 1980's pennies they only have a copper skin like kevin caron said

  24. Should have mentioned that in the video!!

    Straight dc, just turn up the amps and get after it!

  25. I would really like to see someone TIG thinner copper sheet.
    I dont know if that would be easier or more difficult.

    I have a project that requires welding of 16 gauge copper sheet.

  26. Welding dissimilar metals is not a good long term solution.

    I brazed copper to stainless once… It was very very difficult due to the thermal properties being at odds. In the end I got the joint but they corroded badly at the joint.

  27. The old pennies are brass. 95% copper, 5% zinc. In 1982 they switched to the copper plated zinc crap. 1981 and older are all brass, and 1983 and newer are plated. 1982 is a mixed year and they must be weighed to determine which they are.

  28. I am welding a 4" x 4" x 1" thick block of copper to eight 1/2" copper tubing with an 1/8" wall , got the machine maxed out Miller 250 Bobcat , Tig will not penetrate the block and romex seems to run away or fall apart. I guess I need to preheat the plate electromagnetically LOL. What size romex wire did you use?

  29. It was a number 12 or 10. About 1/8 inch in diameter.

    You might try a propane torch on a low setting to preheat the copper…

  30. Copper electrical wire is one of the highest grades (purest) forms of copper you can get. Higher then copper tube or sheet.
    So you can just go to Lowes or Home Depot and purchase unshielded ground wire by the foot in whatever gage you think you need.

  31. Ahh electrical wire… I never thought of that, I've Been using slithers of copper…. no needed for flux then? I'm struggling with a job at work, my weld is not strong enough.

  32. Hi Kevin. As always, thanks for the videos…I'm always learning! As a direct metal sculptor I'm interested in copper sheet, say 20 to 24 gauge. I noted all that heat on the pieces you used here in the video. Is it likely to be routinely burning through thinner sheets of copper?

  33. actually copper conductor wire is pure copper so it may be best on some applications just to use spare wire. my opinion of course by no means have i done a metallurgical evaluation on this process

  34. 200 Amps to get started and it took it's time, wow. It does look like a good beginners metal, some time to work with. I might have to give that a go one day. Can you DC Tig on it? or is it like Aluminium and best to AC?

  35. when we copper cladded a vessel a long time ago with mig it gave of ozone which is highly poisious gas so we had to put carbon filters in the extraction to make it safe ,just a thought to all who are trying to weld it without .

  36. god i hate tig… it seems like theres really no community around it… and most of the tig people weld steel 90% of the time… if i had to make a decision whether to scale up and buy a really powerful mig… or a really powerful tig… id rather just go with mig and get stuff plated… also serious question… when are you ever going to have to weld copper where soldering wouldnt be enough? when would you ever have to weld chromoly and not just make due stainless steel or something… titanium.. vs mig welding aluminum.. ultimately im not even hating on tig i have no problem switching from mig to tig… ITS THE PRICE THAT SUCKS

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