Welds Or Fasteners?
A confusing subject to say the least. Welding is a common practice that creates a physical and (what is considered to be) permanent connection. Fasteners (for our discussion bolts) create a joint which is considered to be a temporary connection.
But, which is better? Is there a definitive answer to this question? The answer is: It depends. There are always situations in which welds or fasteners will end up on top. The harder part is trying to determine when to use one or the other. Today we are going to look at why you might think twice before starting a weld.
Why Welds Are Great (And Why They Are Not)
Welding is an excellent way to make a permanent joint between two materials. It is one of those set it and forget it types of connections, but what happens over time as that weld is put under stress? How do you know if the joint is still as strong as on day one?
The answer is welds are often harder to check and maintain than fasteners. Some of the special equipment required for weld testing costs excessive amounts of money. Welds require some intensive tests such as x-rays to check integrity throughout the weld. Welds are also considerably harder to remove and replace than fasteners. They can also be inconsistent in strength along a joint.
What May Make Fasteners A Better Decision
Fasteners are used for creating temporary joints. Fasteners, installed at equal distances, will provide the same strength at each joint without significant change. This makes them a better choice for weight distribution. They are also simple to check for corrosion or other weakening factors.
By far the best part about using a fastener over a weld is that if a fastener is bad, it is simple to remove it and replace it with a new one. They can also be adjusted over time to compensate for changes in the materials such as swelling or shrinking with minimal effort.
Welds and Fasteners
It really comes down to the application to truly determine if a weld or fastener is right for you. Ultimately, we think the majority of situations that can use both should use fasteners because it just makes maintenance easier.