Welding vs. Riveting for Fusing Custom Sheet Metal Parts

Last updated on December 11th, 2023 at 02:42 pm

Not all metal fabrication shops have extensive expertise in welding and riveting. But at Approved Sheet Metal, we know both techniques like the backs of our hands and have plenty of experience helping customers choose between these two excellent methods for joining custom sheet metal parts.

Let’s explore welding and riveting in detail so you know which one to pick when planning your next sheet metal fabrication project.

What Is Welding in Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication? 

Welding is a joining method that uses heat to fuse two or more pieces of sheet metal, sometimes using a filler rod. The process requires a high level of skill.

We offer many different types of welding at ASM, including:

  • Spot welding: which creates a permanent weld using pressure and heat from copper electrodes.
  • Tack welding: a low-heat, temporary welding method that fuses pieces together with small amounts of weld.
  • Fuse welding: a permanent method in which sheet metal pieces are heated until they fuse together, with or without a filler rod.
  • Stitch welding: in which weld is applied along short, spaced sections between two parts, usually with a filler rod.
  • Seam/fillet welding: This creates a continuous seam using a filler rod.
  • Metal inert gas (MIG) welding: an arc welding method that uses a solid wire electrode to join two pieces together.
  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding: an arc welding method that uses non-consumable tungsten to weld precision parts.

What Is Riveting in Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Riveting is a fusing method that uses mechanical fasteners, or rivets, to join two pieces together. Typically, a rivet consists of a round head connected to a tail; the tail is deformed after insertion to hold the rivet in place.

The most commonly used rivets are pop rivets or blind rivets, which can be inserted even when only one side of the desired seam is visible.

When to Choose Welding over RivetingWelding Versus Riveting Sheet Metal Parts

If consistency and aesthetic appearance are important for your part, welding is likely the preferable option. Welding methods such as seam, MIG, and TIG welding, in particular, create continuous seams that are aesthetically appealing. In comparison, seams created with rivets are more visible.

If your custom sheet metal parts need to be strong and/or waterproof, welding is also the way to go. Parts requiring a high degree of structural integrity, such as frames, should be welded rather than riveted since welding creates a more durable seam.

When to Choose Riveting over Welding

When you have a tight budget or a short timeline, you might want to choose riveting over welding. While the final result won’t be as aesthetically appealing, riveting is much faster and more cost-effective. For simple structures such as boxes, riveting is often a perfectly good solution at a lower price point.

Riveting is also an excellent choice for sheet metal prototyping when you need to test a part’s performance quickly and inexpensively. There is always the option of transitioning to welding for the final product to obtain stronger and more aesthetically pleasing seams.

Another benefit of riveting is that it is less risky than welding. When you opt for riveting, you never have to worry about heat distortion, a problem that can arise when welding particular materials (e.g., aluminum).

ASM Is Your Go-To Partner for Welding and Riveting

At ASM, our team has over 20 years of experience welding and riveting custom sheet metal parts. We have the skills to exceed your expectations, no matter which method you choose, and our exceptional customer service ensures you’ll be fully informed about your options and confident in your decision.

Looking for a metal fabrication shop you can count on? Request a quote to give us a shot on your next project!

Welding vs. Riveting Sheet Metal Parts FAQ

Welding involves using heat to fuse metal pieces together permanently, while riveting utilizes mechanical fasteners (rivets) to join pieces. Welding creates seamless joins, whereas riveting leaves visible seams due to the nature of the fasteners.

If aesthetics and consistency are critical, welding, especially methods like seam, MIG, or TIG welding, is preferable due to its ability to create visually appealing continuous seams. Additionally, welding is better for parts requiring high structural integrity or waterproofing.

Riveting might be a better option when working within tight budgets or timelines. While not as aesthetically pleasing as welding, riveting is quicker and more cost-effective. It's suitable for simple structures and can be an ideal solution for quick prototyping.

Yes, absolutely. Riveting offers a quick and inexpensive way to test a part's performance. If necessary, you can transition to welding for the final product to achieve stronger and more visually appealing seams.

With over 20 years of experience in both welding and riveting, ASM's expertise ensures exceptional results regardless of the chosen method. Our team provides comprehensive guidance, ensuring you're fully informed about each option, enabling you to make a confident decision for your project.

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