Silicon Bronze MIG Brazing Basics

Silicon Bronze MIG Brazing Basics

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Learn the basics of MIG brazing silicon bronze, including the advantages and disadvantages, where this process can be used, and how to properly set up your welder for the process.
Silicon bronze filler metal creates a gold finish weld on the frame for this rocking chair project.
Silicon bronze filler metal joined a cast iron finial to a steel tube, creating a curtain rod.
Silicon bronze filler metal welds thinner gauge metal in an auto body application.

MIG brazing benefits

MIG brazing may not be a familiar process to many, but it is no stranger in the welding world. MIG brazing is a welding process that has been around for years and is gaining popularity with professionals and hobbyists alike due to the benefits it can offer, especially with silicon bronze filler metal. 

Learn about MIG brazing, silicon bronze and how to properly set up your welding power source for MIG brazing silicon bronze.

What is MIG brazing?

Brazing processes have traditionally used an oxy-fuel acetylene torch to melt the filler metal, but in MIG brazing, a standard MIG gun is used to run brazing wire. Brazing filler metal melts at 840 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than the melting point of the base metals being joined. Due to the lower melting point, the filler metal provides capillary action — fluid being drawn into the weld joint — when brazed.

What is silicon bronze?

Silicon bronze filler metal is mostly comprised of copper, silicon, tin, iron and zinc. The composition of the wire provides some unique benefits such as the ability to weld dissimilar metals together, reduce distortion and provide a visually appealing finish.

Welding dissimilar metals

When braze welding with silicon bronze filler metal, the molten metal bonds the base materials together but does not provide fusion like mild steel filler metal. Because of this, silicon bronze can be used for welding together dissimilar materials such as cast iron to steel or stainless steel to steel.

Reducing distortion

The low melting point of silicon bronze also provides a cooler welding process, putting less heat into the material that is being welded. Reduction in heat input leads to less distortion and the ability to weld on heat-sensitive materials without compromising the physical properties. It is ideal for joining thinner metals together, filling gaps, and sheet metal work such as HVAC and auto body welding.

Gold finish

When done correctly, a silicon bronze weld will have a gold colored finish that provides contrast to the base metal. Gold colored welds are often used for aesthetic appeal in metal art applications.

There are a few disadvantages of the MIG brazing process to consider. Silicon bronze wire is generally more expensive than mild steel wire. Because of its composition, the wire is softer than a mild steel wire, meaning it can occasionally cause bird-nesting or other feeding issues. It also has a lower tensile strength than mild steel wire.

Machine setup

MIG brazing can be done with short-circuit transfer, and the arc characteristics are similar to a mild steel filler metal arc.

When setting up your machine for MIG brazing, there are several key components that must be correct to achieve the best results possible. 

  • Shielding gas: It is critical that 100% argon shielding gas is used with silicon bronze wire. 
  • Drive rolls: Because silicon bronze wire is softer than steel, U-groove drive rolls are recommended, but V-groove drive rolls will also work. 
  • Process selection: When setting up this process on your MIG welder or multiprocess welder, set the machine to the C25 setting for the best results.
  • Polarity: Polarity should be set to DCEP. 
  • Gun liner: A Teflon liner is recommended due to the softness of the silicon bronze wire, but a regular steel liner will also work. 
  • Technique: When MIG brazing, use the same welding technique used for short-circuit MIG.
Miller has developed parameters for MIG brazing silicon bronze for Millermatic® MIG welders and Multimatic® multiprocess welders. PDFs of the parameters are available for reference:
Published June 3, 2020
Updated: June 4, 2020