Can You Weld Tungsten Carbide? A Guide for Beginners

Yes, it’s not easy, but it’s possible to weld Tungsten Carbide. However, keep in mind that not all metals are compatible. Additionally, its welding is fairly more difficult than most metals.

Carbide welding is common in many industrial applications. Its handiness in being resistant to abrasion and superior toughness has grown popular amongst other metals.

Construction professionals extensively use Tungsten Carbide in mining as drilling and cutting tools. You can trust Tungsten Carbide equipment for certain penetration against cement and asphalts.

But if you’re a starting or a novice welder, let me introduce you to the Tungsten Carbide.

tungsten carbide metal

Is There a Difference Between Tungsten Carbide and Tungsten?

Yes, there is. Simply put, pure Tungsten is an individual element commonly used for TIG welding. Tungsten Carbide is a composite material containing carbon and one other hard metal—you guessed it—Tungsten. 

What sets Tungsten Carbide apart is its strength, being much tougher than Tungsten metal. It’s why carbines are used to make cutting equipment for industrial machines. 

Its impressive durability makes it a great material for withstanding high temperatures like furnaces.

Science aside, welders refer to Tungsten Carbide directly as “Carbide.” In technical terms, this naming is incorrect and should be “Tungsten Carbide” or “Titanium Carbide.”

Can You Weld Tungsten Carbide?

As previously mentioned, you have the green light to do so. Welding Tungsten Carbide also means welding Carbide to steel without the element “braze alloy.”

Keep in mind the materials you’re using when welding Carbide. Not all metals are compatible with this compound, such as metals that contain highly in Nickel or Aluminum. Doing so will damage your joined workpiece, further degrading its quality.

But you can weld Carbide using the following:

  • Stainless steels
  • Tool steels
  • Cast iron

Watch out for conventional welding methods, as they may be difficult. 

Remember that Tungsten Carbide is extremely hard and has a higher melting point. As a result, it’s harder to melt and more difficult to weld. 

But hey, what’s worth the effort always involves a little challenge.

Another useful tip is to avoid welding over Carbide. We’d want to steer clear of causing weld cracks.

What Are Weld Cracks?

These are weld failures that can either be a defect or discontinuity. Depending on the size, weld cracks can be alarming. They could lead to potential accidents that demand the utmost repair.

Carbides can have weld cracks because of the following:

  • Excessive or high levels of stress in one area
  • Improper use of welding procedure
  • Lack of filler material at the end of the weld
  • Unstable weld design

If a situation demands where you need to weld over Carbide, I’ve learned that brazing using silver solder works better. It keeps the temperature low enough to avoid changing the Tungsten Carbide’s components and overheating the area.

You can consider the ways I’ve listed below to prevent weld cracks:

  • Use low hydrogen electrodes
  • Cool the base slowly after welding
  • Pre-heat base material
  • Decrease welding voltage
  • Follow the proper welding procedure

Why Weld Tungsten Carbide

The primary purpose of welding is to bind two pieces of an element using a durable filler material. But why do we weld Tungsten Carbide instead of any other metal? First, let’s examine its characteristics.

Being a product of two elements, it displayed unique traits:

Strength

Unlike other metals, Tungsten Carbide is helpful in any harsh environment with high vibration and pressure. This means you will have sturdy and reliable equipment.

Having a range between 8.5 to 9 on Moh’s scale of hardness, this metal is significantly stronger than steel and other equally hard materials.

Using Carbide to bind and fuse workpieces increases the strength of your weld.

Resistant to Wearing

Known as an effective hardening agent, Tungsten Carbides provide convenient traction and wear-resistant coating.

Corrosion is slower to spread, prolonging the lifespan of equipment or workpiece when welded.

Recyclable 

One of the most remarkable characteristics of a Tungsten Carbide is its recyclability. You can refine the used metal scrap into a better element through melting.

With this, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money by reusing Tungsten Carbide scrap!

How to Weld Tungsten Carbide

We weld Tungsten Carbide on the tips or points of tools and areas where corrosion occurs. Here are the two ways of welding Tungsten Carbide:

Fusion Welding

You can achieve this method by melting two metals of a similar composition together. The goal is to melt both metals while they are still solid. 

You may or may not need a filler material for this to attach a smaller piece to a larger one.

Resistance Welding

Also known as Electric Resistance Welding (ERW), it’s a method that relies on pressure and electricity to create a magnetic force.

A current of electricity shall pass through, heating the welding joints and melting metals that will eventually forge together.

Equipment Required

You’ll need four pieces of equipment:

  • Tungsten Carbide material (like groover or saw tips)
  • Steel workpiece (can be your circular saw)
  • TIG and MIG welders
  • Filler metals

Safety Precautions

Be aware of the hazards Tungsten Carbide poses to avoid accidents. Here are quick tips on how you can prevent it.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully
  • Create a stable weld design
  • Avoid weld cracks by not welding Tungsten Carbide with nickel and aluminum 
  • Ensure proper welder installation and plugging
  • Wear protective gear such as a face shield to not breathe in the dust that can lead to serious health conditions.
  • Weld in fire-safe areas

Conclusion

Welding Tungsten Carbide has come a long way in the industrial business. It’s a hard, strong, and reliable material that gets the job done.

For the first while, welding this type of metal may be difficult. This might be especially annoying when you constantly get those weld cracks.

But once you get acquainted with Carbide welding and its equipment, you’ll understand its stark superiority over other metals. You might even find yourself constantly stacking up your tools with Carbide materials.