Author Options:

Joining aluminum Answered

Hey everybody, I was wondering how, if possible, you would go about joining sheets of aluminum recycled from empty soda/beer cans.


Heliarc. Arc welding with an inert sheilding gas and either an aluminum wire-feed, or TIG with aluminum filler. I don't work with aluminum much. Of course if you're going to be working with really thin aluminum, welding would be touchy, but not impossible, with adjustable current and a light hand. You could use oxyacetelne, too, set on a hot enough flame. It can be done, since you can torch-weld steel. That'd be much easier to do, I bet, if you're not TIG welder. Looking at what you plan on making, I'd like to know how well it works. That'd be cool! I'm working on a model lead sled made entirely from steel food cans, and what I've been doing is riveting, then using a light touch to arc the pieces together, although I'm getting some burn-through issues with my Genuine Cheap welder. But on those spots, I pull out the trusty torch and get it done without a hitch (just slower and more expensive: oxygen is like $8 a botte!). A jewler's toch looks like just what the doctor ordered for you.

with those cans the tabs that you open the can with have more aluminum than the rest of the can

Depends on what you want to do with them. There are special solders for aluminum (alumaloy? is one) and rivets or folding work for cold connections. Glue only works if the surface is preped properly, small holes punched in the aluminum could allow a 'glue rivet' to form.

Thanks for the input.
My idea was to take soda/beer cans, chop off the top and bottom and cut the cylinder to create a rectangular sheet. Then using plans for papercraft create models using the aluminum sheet.

I've seen (and thought about doing) the same thing. One thing to watch for, the pop cans have been work hardened-to soften them so they don't crack at the folds you can heat them up with a propane torch, just enough to see a faint color change over the inside. It's not enough to discolor the paint or melt the aluminum, but it does make the metal easier to work : )

I'll have some info for you in an up and coming 'ible, I'm still working out the finer points of joining them and have left it open for now, epoxy will hold ok if they're sanded but not very strong, enough for models though...