The Key Differences Between Welding and Soldering

The Key Differences Between Welding and Soldering

Welding is known to the everyman as a process that melts and joins together two pieces of metal. While this is true, professionals know that not all metal crafting falls into the same category. Welding covers a lot of ground, and it’s utilized in over 50% of products manufactured in the U.S. There are some projects, however, that require a delicacy that is not achievable with welding. This is where soldering often comes into play.

Welding is predominantly used in mechanical projects. Heat is used to melt metal until it fuses together and creates a solid joint, which results in a sturdy piece that can withstand a substantial amount of abuse. There are a few different processes used in the craft that can either be tailored to the project or to the welder’s preference. One of these is Oxy-fuel welding, which sources its heat from oxyacetylene gas. A more common method, however, is arc welding, which creates sparks from heat created by an electric arc. These techniques are often used in conjunction with a filler—commonly known as a welding rod. This is a slim, third piece of metal used to bind the two others.

The type of rod used is dependent on the project. Tasks that require intensive welding, such as repairs on heavy machinery, are best served by cast iron welding rods, which work better than other options because they are less susceptible to wear and tear.

Metals used in welding include:

  • Carbon steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Cast Iron
  • Copper Nickel

Soldering, on the other hand, is a technique that works well for electrical equipment or even jewelry. They are metal fusions that require heat and labor that is far less intensive than welding. Fillers used for soldering melt at temperatures that do not exceed 840°F. The bonds created by soldering are not as strong as those made by welding, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Very small electrical components, such as the ones you see on circuit boards, frequently benefit from soldering. With welding projects, heat treatments are required post-weld. With soldering, they are not.

One of the biggest differences between the two processes is that soldering does not require the base metal to be melted to create a bond. In welding, the base metal must always be melted.

Metal used in soldering include:

  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Iron

Due to their respective processes, welding requires far more experience than soldering does. It’s a more intensive process and presents more potential dangers, hence why it requires far more training. Soldering is easier to learn and presents less risk to users.