Do Aluminum Brazing Rods like - Durafix - HTS 2000 - Aladdin 3 in 1 work?
What do HTS 2000, Durafix, and Aladdin 3 in 1 have in common?
All of these rods are aluminum brazing rods and they are made basically from aluminum and zinc.
(HTS 2000 advertises more alloys than just zinc)
More zinc is added than with any conventional aluminum alloy to lower the melting point to less than that of aluminum so that the brazing rod will flow long before the aluminum gets hot enough to melt.
JC Whitney offers a really inexpensive version of this rod that is pretty much the same thing you are getting when you buy any of them.
It is a good choice especially while you are learning to use it.
Who wants to burn up 65 dollar a pound rod when you can do the same practice and experimenting with rods that cost less than half that much?
you can see what I mean by doing a little price checking between, HTS2000, Durafix, and Aladdin 3 in 1...
On the surface, it seems like these rods are kind of a scam and that tig welding is much better...and I believe that most of the time tig welding is better.
But not all the time. Nope not all the time.
For example aluminum transmission cases have ears on them with bolt holes and attach points. They are not highly stressed areas but when a transmission housing is sitting on a pallet around the shop, sometimes the forklift operator accidentally bumps the housing and snaps one of these ears off.
Now a good tig welder can build the area back up pretty quickly and then blend and contour and re drill and or tap and the housing is ok again.
But what if you dont have a tig welding machine?
What if all you have is a mapp gas torch?
Besides a lot of tig welders cant weld aluminum or are not that good at welding aluminum castings and do not know what to do when oil starts leaching out in their weld.
This happens all the time with tig welding aluminum oil soaked castings and believe me... its a problem.
But when you use aluminum brazing rods like aladdin 3 in 1, durafix, or hts2000, you only have to heat the metal to around 730f.
I remember once I had to repair an aluminum mold that was used to cast plastic light covers and it had a waffle pattern in it like the fluorescent light covers you see everywhere.
The tig torch using AC current just pitted all the surrounding dimples and that could not be tolerated.
I finally wound up welding the thing on DC with straight helium.
It worked but the weld repair wound up being bigger than it should have been to cover up the pits I made by trying AC current and it just took longer than it should have.
The next time I had a similar repair I used Aladdin 3 in 1 aluminum brazing rods and a oxyfuel torch.(you can use a small mapp torch also) You have to practice and get the hand of when the aluminum is hot enough because aluminum does not change color when its heated like steel does. (BTW a trick to know when its almost hot enough is to soot it up with a straight acetylene flame and when you add oxygen to the flame, the soot will disappear shortly before its hot enough...off course this is only if you are using an oxyacetylene torch). Once the aluminum is hot enough you have to scratch the tip of the aluminum brazing rod on the surface to break thru oxides..this is a key step. It wont flow just by sticking the rod on the metal and you never want to heat the rod...just the metal.
Another benefit is that you can actually cast the shape of the braze with some steel sheet metal laying around the shop. These aluminum zinc rods wont stick to steel. There is usually some scrap pieces of steel sheet metal laying around. Dont use galvanized though, it will stick to galvanized steel and you will have a mess.
HTS2000, Aladdin 3 in 1, Durafix and other aluminum brazing rod makers all advertise that they are useful for all kinds of jobs like:: repair Kirksite dies, power tools, aluminum radiators, propellers, castings, lower units, hardware accessories, boat hulls. Aluminum Heads, A/C LinesTiming Covers,Manifolds,
awnings,Industrial Parts,Aluminum Molds, Pot Metal Parts,
Engine Blocks,Turbochargers,Generators,Alternators,Radiators,Irrigation Pipes,Aviation Float,Seams,boat props and Skegs,Furniture,Pumps,Towers,
If you have ever been to a boat show or a hunting fishing type convention, it seems like there is always someone there demonstrating these aluminum zinc brazing rods and it really looks like they work. and they do...but dont be fooled. That salesman demonstrating the rods has practiced and practiced to the point where he makes it look easy.
And it is pretty easy once you learn how to do it.
Just like welding. It seems hard at first and you wonder how the instructor makes it look so easy. Then after you learn how, you wonder what the big deal was.