Zinc is the new black

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One of the great things about online networking is that you have instant access all kinds of people.  Smart people.  So when my mySpace friend emailed and asked if I had any tips on welding zinc, I put the word out among my network:  mySpace and Facebook, and even emailed a few stellar welders I know.

And before the day’s end, I had an answer from my buddy over at Hell N Back Welding.  He writes:

Best link I’ve found for proper procedure on zinc is here:
http://www.allzinc.com/techdata/Tech_Brief_Joining_Zinc.pdf

Soldering iron is the best option. I found some technical manuals on welding with TIG that say it’s appropriate for everything BUT zinc and lead.

Also there’s a discussion of the same question ie countertops here:
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/showthread.php?p=951749

Apparently, ZINC is all the rage in countertops…  I know this from This Old House magazine, it’s very French Bistro.

So, check out those links for welding up your own zinc countertop, or commission one from Debra over at The Metal Shoppe.  Or the folks at Handcrafted Metal…

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3 comments on “Zinc is the new black”:

  1. Debra Montgomery

    Hey all –

    I know the manuals say you can’t TIG weld zinc (we are talking 99% pure zinc, folks, not galvanized steel…). However, seeing as other shops are indicating they are TIG welding these zinc counter tops, etc., we tried it with .062 thick zink sheet. We used strips of zinc cut out of the actual zinc sheet for filler rod. We set the machine at around 98-100 (AC) amps and it worked great. This material has such a low melting point, when you TIG weld it, it gets molten to a point where it is ready for the filler rod before it gets hot enough to create the white smoke, i.e. fumes. It behaves a bit like TIG welding aluminum. However, if you do let it get too hot, to a point where it turns a pinkish color, then it will create smoke/fumes, but at that point you have gotten it too hot to work with anyway. Any good TIG welder can control this with paying attention and by control with the foot pedal.

    We also tried soldering and it worked very well also. Both methods produced a satisfactory joint that finished out nicely, though the soldered joint was a slightly different color. Since we used zinc for the filler rod, the TIG welded joint was a perfect match! And again, neither method produced any bad fumes.

    Though there are some particulars to consider with installation of a zinc counter top, but as is so with copper or any other “exotic” metal. One thing about the zinc, as with copper, is that the surface is naturally anti-bacterial and is perfectly safe and code compliant with regards to coming in contact with the zinc surface.

    It also appears that you can gas weld zinc and that is the next thing on our list to try. We will post another reply here as soon as we try that procedure.

    I will be posting an information page on care, maintancen, etc., regarding zinc counter tops on our website today. Feel free to take a look.

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  3. Edward

    Hello Carmen, We miss your posting at the group. Have you ever thought of attending our local AWS Chapter meetings down here in San Diego? I can inform you about the next one if you like. V/R Ed. B.

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