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Customs Welding "pot" metal

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lcfman, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. lcfman
    Joined: Sep 1, 2009
    Posts: 276

    lcfman
    Member
    from tn

    I want to take about a 2 inch section each side out of a 57 Chevrolet grill bar which is made from so called pot metal. What type of welding will work for this application?
     
  2. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019

    Rex_A_Lott
    Member

    They used to make some miracle rods they claimed would weld pot metal, you saw them at every swap meet you went to...they demonstrated on aluminum cans.
    I could never get them to work correctly on anything I tried, like carb parts and other assorted stuff. Maybe somebody will pipe up and tell me how stupid I was and what I did wrong, this place is usually good for that.
    I have never found what I consider a good way to weld pot metal.
    I hope you have better luck that I did.:)
     
  3. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,692

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    I don't think there's a "GOOD" way to weld pot metal, but TIG would be my first inclination.
     
  4. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 606

    junkman8888
    Member

    This issue comes up around once a month, there's a lot of information on the Hamb if you do a search. Best answer is to talk to Cecil Muggy, I called him, told him the problem and he sent me what I needed. You need to follow the instructions exactly, to include cleaning the parent metal with a stainless, not regular steel brush. You only have a few moments to weld before the part oxidizes and needs to be cleaned again, best of luck with your project.
     
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  5. lucas doolin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2013
    Posts: 433

    lucas doolin
    Member

    Had a 70 Corvette with a broken (pot metal) outside door handle. The small lever that accepts the operating rod broke at the end. Figured I had nothing to lose by attempting a repair. Got the flea market miracle rod kit and it worked very well using an oxy/acetylene touch with an aircraft mixer and small tip. As everyone has said, clean thoroughly with the stainless steel brush and be vigilant: the melting (blow away) temperature of pot metal is just a few degrees more than the fusion temp. When you see the pot metal begin to bubble, join the parts and move the torch away. Of course if you know someone with a TIG unit, that would likely be the cat's berries . In my case, I didn't know any better and so I got away with it. Good luck.
     
    lowcoe likes this.
  6. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,054

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    You can't Tig weld pot metal. No way No how.
    What you need is found here on the Muggy Weld website.
    http://muggyweld.com/pot-metal-repair
     
    55Caddy62 and afaulk like this.
  7. Yes. MuggyWeld rules. Many a off topic muscle car grille repaired through that site. Also, don't throw your sectioned pot metal pieces out. If the Muggy Weld site doesn't do ya' ... you will have to melt your pieces down to make your own pot metal welding sticks.
     
  8. 340HilbornDuster
    Joined: Nov 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,943

    340HilbornDuster
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for the link to MuggyWeld...very Cool!
     
  9. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,862

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    The problem is that there is no clear definition of the alloy. It is an undetermined combination of zinc, lead, copper, tin and other metals. I have been welding for over 45 years and have never been successful in any pot metal repairs and won't even attempt it. No you cannot TIG weld pot metal. I have seen the so called "miracle rods" at car shows but have never tried them. Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
     
  10. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,811

    redo32
    Member

    I've been welding pot metal for 40 years with a torch and it is a pain in the Ass. The old stuff from the '20's & 30's is junk, which is where we stared calling it pot metal, we figured they swept the floor & dumped it in the pot. The old stuff will pop & fizz like it has mag in it. Since the '50's it has been fairly consistent, called Zamac, about 98% zinc. Melts around 800 degrees. You can buy rod at the welding store, sorry I'm not at the shop to give you part number. Take the grille bar to the chrome shop & have it stripped to bare metal. If you weld it first the chrome shop will strip it & it might mess up the weld. the hard part is jigging up the pieces and holding them straight. It take a fair amount of heat to melt and it will try to puddle & fall on the floor. Some times I will make a backing plate out of copper or steel to support the parts while welding. It is like aluminum and doesn't change color, you just look for a slight liquid effect and add the filler, some times you just stir it around a bit. The bad part is when the parts are cast air bubbles get trapped and when you heat it up they float to the surface causing many pits that have to be filled. I have only done one part that didn't have the casting bubbles and that was a '57 hood bar. It flowed out nice and smooth. That's one part in 40 years. The joint also tends not to be as strong because where you weld it with the new material is good, but the transition to the original casting is still somewhat crystallized and weaker. You can weld with a tig, but for me the hood makes it hard to see.
     
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  11. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,054

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    There are many who will say that they have been working with pot metal for half a century or more :D.
    And they will tell you all sorts of things about how to do it.
    They talk about welding the pot metal and all sorts of things like melting it and the like.
    In reality repairing pot metal does not involve the melting of the original material, and is not really welding at all.
    What it is actually is a low temperature thing more closely related to soldering than welding.
    Take a look at the Muggy website for more on that.
    If you do try to weld it by melting it as has been mentioned, for most people that will spell disaster and a puddle of pot metal and a lost part that if properly done could have been repaired.
    And despite any BS you may read, I repeat that there is no way in hell that you can Tig weld zinc die cast.
     
  12. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,769

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    I've seen it done and did it many years ago at college when studying my apprenticeship. I was taught by a old school metal man who knew his stuff. Very difficult to master and not damage or entirely ruin the part being repaired. Every old car that was converted to RHD down here with a die cast (Pot metal) dash was done, you couldn't pick that it was originally LHD. A damn LOT of work, eg 64 Ford Thunderbirds etc were all redone, filed up and rechromed. I've seen some talented metal people down here weld pot metal, e.g. Bill PEACH and Peter TOMASINO.
     
  13. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,869

    Harms Way
    Member

    I'm a great believer in the Muggy products,... However I did see a guy use "Kirksite" rod with good results.
     
  14. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,811

    redo32
    Member

    Those of you that can't do it should not be telling the world it can't be done just because you have no talent.
    I use Harris Welco rod # 5260, it is zinc. It is the same stuff the carnival guys use to "weld" ( yes I know it is soldering) pop cans. I melt the base metal & add the filler rod. IT IS WELDING!!. A local craftsman at a sheetmetal shop( who incidentally hand built the body for a 1915 Argyle) told me he tig'd pot metal & I was skeptical, but he insisted and he is a much better welder than I. I have experimented with tig and didn't like the results, the intense heat tends to burn the zinc and it is harder to see with the hood. I have used Muggy weld and haven't had good results with it because I learned to weld first & I suspect I over heat the joint & burn the flux and the solder doesn't flow for crap for me. I have seen good results with other guys using it.
     
    Beau likes this.
  15. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,196

    19Fordy
    Member

    I had a broken horn ring made of pot metal. I took it to a plater and he copper plated both pieces. I was then able to solder it together using lead free solder made by Caswell. Took it back and had it "show chrome" chrome plated. Turned out fine and dandy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
    lowcoe, Road Runner and King ford like this.
  16. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,542

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    ^^ Good thinkin'!
     
  17. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,758

    williebill
    Member

    If I could travel back in time, I'd find the guy who first dreamed up the idea of casting that shit into car parts. I'd kill him before he had the chance to do it the first time, and make the world a better place...
     
  18. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,097

    bct
    Member

    Aladdin 3 in 1 works for me
     
  19. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,054

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    Believe me, I can do, that isn't a problem.
    Yes, Aladdin 3 in one also works, I have used it and it's another good low temperature choice.
     
  20. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I started repairing pot metal before I learned that it can't be repaired.
     
    King ford likes this.
  21. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 859

    chrisp
    Member

    I've had success with the TIG using 4043 rod, but it doesn't work with all pot metal parts.
     
  22. Pretty sure (not100%) they melt down potmetal and pour it into foot long groove moulds to make their own filler rods.
     
  23. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 950

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    Tig with Aladdin pot metal rod all the time. Didn't know you ya cant tig pot metal.
     
  24. desotot
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,835

    desotot
    Member

    I have a tig but never tried it on pot metal, I always use oxy acct.
     
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  25. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,862

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    As I originally stated, the problem with welding pot metal is that there is no metallurgical standard for the metal. Companies that do pot metal casting use different combinations of base metals. It is a combination of several metals including Zinc, with a melting point of 780 degrees, Lead, 625 degrees, Tin, 450 degrees, Aluminum, 1200 degrees and other metals. You can see how it is almost impossible to control the heat generated. People have said that they can weld it but I would love to see a picture of a structurally sound pot metal weld.
     
  26. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,153

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Something I found out is that like gas welding alu is that you have to use a fairly large tip.
    Reason being that if you are scared of that large tip on delicate material and go down to a much smaller one, in order to get enough heat you must increase the tip pressure and that pressure blows out the weld area. A larger tip because of volume you get the heat with a very soft flame (almost like a wisper) . Heat is heat. the problem is how fast it comes out the tip
     
  27. threewindaguy
    Joined: Jun 9, 2007
    Posts: 276

    threewindaguy
    Member

    I have been welding pot metal for 40 years with a T.I.G. It's been stated that it cannot be done with a T.I.G. but maybe THEY can't do it but a competent welder can. Pot metal is just what it claims to be, a mixture of white metals such as lead, tin, antimony, bismuth, magnesium, aluminum, zinc, etc. I keep several different rods around, and I strike an arc on the piece to be welded and note the color. Then I do the same for the various rods I have and while its crude, I feel that it is the best way to make a choice of filler rod. I have found that increasing the CFH (flow) from a normal of 15 to 30 helps to cool the puddle. Patience is key, when it gets too hot to keep going, pause and cool it off. Not all pot metal can be welded however as corrosion plays a huge part. It corrodes internally as well as externally, so some of it is just junk. Ask the people who know me and they will verify that is can be welded successfully with T.I.G.
     
    redo32 likes this.
  28. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,542

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    This is not me (no cussing), not anyone I know, just found it on youtube

     
  29. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,967

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I on occasion would weld some pot metal at work that people would bring in..I had no rhyme or reason but tried different rods until it worked or disseminated into a puddle..Hero or zero, some times in between..:D
     
  30. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,161

    indyjps
    Member

    Let's see some pics. I love learning new ways to weld, this is something I've never tried.
     

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