Can you Solder for Welding?

One of the terms that you have probably encountered while learning about welding is soldering. So, can you solder for welding?

They are often compared and talked about together. Although both of them are processes to join metals, they have noticeable differences. 

Talking about the possible interchangeability, a question might arise by now as to whether you can use solder, which is the primary material of soldering, for welding.

A brief answer says yes, however with several limitations and considerations. One way to find out if solder is suitable for your next welding project is to read the short article we’ve prepared for you.

We have covered everything that you need to know about solder within the scope of the welding process.

Overview: Everything You Need to Know

Solder is typically found in the electronic industry, but it also serves some of its purpose for holding pieces together. Originally, it was made of 60% tin and 40% lead, creating a eutectic mixture. Later on, a variety of blends has been made thus creating different types of solder that can be utilized in several ways.

The main purpose of solder is to be a filler in the process of joining two metals together or widely known as soldering. But, solder can also be of good help for welding with a few limitations to consider.

Can you Solder for Welding

Solder For Welding

Since soldering and welding are two almost similar processes with distinctive purposes, a solder will only be useful in welding tasks only if you have small-scale projects. Because of its nature, the solder has a very low melting temperature that does not guarantee strength. 

Remember that using a soldering iron to weld depends on the application. Tasks that require a high mechanical bond between the metals will not be resolved by a solder. With this, soldering iron cannot be dependable for big welding tasks.

Furthermore, an acidic mixture called flux is also associated with solder as a tool for welding. Flux has to be present as it allows a good bond between two solids. But, the flux released from heating solder causes pungent smoke that can be a huge disadvantage to the welder. 

Sizes of Solder in Welding

Since solder comes in different types and is used in a variety of ways, its size may be indicative of its purpose. Let me give you a little background about this topic.

In welding for electronics, you would need something easy to handle and melt into two areas that you want to join together. With this, resort to a solder made of thin wire. Electronic solder often requires smaller and thinner lines. On the other hand, for larger tasks, small solders may be challenging to handle. It is therefore recommended to choose wider ones for the normal-sized joints. 

Two types of solder wire for welding that are available in the market are Standard Wire Gauge also known as SWG and America Wire Gauge or typically called AWG. For regular welding projects, 20 to 22 SWG, which is 12 to 21 in AWG may be the most suitable. For thicker joints, 18 SWG, or 16 AWG is the best choice.

soldering in welding

Alternative Mixtures 

Currently, lead-free solders are being widely offered to the public. With this, you may avail of a solder with a mixture of 99.3% tin, with the rest being copper. Also, an alternative, but with an expensive rate comes in the blend of tin and silver.

Since these mixtures do not have a similar melting point to the typical solder comprised of tin and lead, take note of the following if you plan to resort to lead-free solder:

  • Differences might or might not be noticeable when welding with the soldering iron because lead-free solder has typically a lower melting point.
  • Lead-free solders are not suitable for strenuous work. They should only be used for small-scale tasks. 

Final Words

Welding is a serious task, therefore, before jumping into the procedure, make sure that you got everything you need and that you are equipped with the essential knowledge of the job.

Knowing that solder is a possible tool for welding is not enough. Firstly, know the scale of your welding project and read a decent amount of information about the solder’s mixture and size. As long as your project is small, you might give it a go as long as it matches all the requirements and you follow all the necessary steps. 

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