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jamcdonel

Can I bake it? instead of soldering. Oven soldering?? (edited by admin)

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A theoretical question. I have a bunch of rings and eyebolts that need soldered, and I have never done silver solder before. Electronics and plumbing I can do, but this seems very small and fiddly. Kind of intimidating, to be honest.

 

What would happen, do you think, if I prepped my rings with flux and solder, put them on a cookie sheet, for example, and popped them into the oven at 450 degrees....the listed “melting point” of my solder... left them for a few minutes, and then pulled them back out to cool? Has anyone ever tried it?

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7 hours ago, jamcdonel said:

What would happen, do you think, if I prepped my rings with flux and solder, put them on a cookie sheet, for example, and popped them into the oven at 450 degrees....the listed “melting point” of my solder... left them for a few minutes, and then pulled them back out to cool? Has anyone ever tried it?

Probably nothing good, no doubt. But it shows you're thinking. :D 

 

In theory, yes, if the oven is hot enough, the solder ought to melt. The question is whether it would flow into the joint.  I'm not entirely sure whether the flux you would use would do its job, though, depending upon the type you were using. The biggest problem you'd have would be getting the solder to flow into the joint because, in an oven, everything would heat up at the same temperature at the same time, and probably relatively slowly, causing your flux to burn off and the metal to oxidize before your solder melts and flows. And, if it does work, you may find all your rings soldered to your wife's cookie sheet at the end of the exercise! 

 

The way soldering is supposed to work, solder is drawn towards the heat. You put a chip of silver solder on top of the fluxed joint and apply heat beneath it and, if all goes well and the moon is in the correct phase, the little chip melts and is magically sucked down into the microscopically tight space between the two surfaces and they are invisibly brazed together. If everything heats up at the same rate, there's no "hotter area" for the solder to be drawn to and your molten solder probably just spreads out all over the top of the piece and not into the seam as you want. And, as mentioned, using an oven, you're using a whole lot of energy to solder a tiny little jump ring.

 

You want to focus on silver soldering, which is more useful in modeling than "tin/lead" soldering (non-lead "lead" solder is now common.) A soldering gun or iron can be used for tin/lead soldering, but, while I solder electronic connections with a soldering gun, I use silver solder when I'm not concerned about electrical connectivity, but rather with the strength of the joint, as in modeling.  For silver soldering, you'll need a jeweler's torch to obtain sufficient heat. (A "resistance" soldering rig can also be used, but that's quite an expensive proposition for a beginner.) Smith's Little Torch is one "industry standard" model, although one can make-do with a small butane torch, as well. (Silvers soldering requires way more than 450 degree heat.) 

 

Silver soldering requires a learning curve. It's not hard to do well enough, but it takes practice and experience to do it really well. YouTube is full of jewelry-making instructional videos about silver soldering, which is what you want to watch. In the jewelry trade, the small rings and eyebolts you want to make are called "jump rings," so you might want to search for "making jump rings." Many community colleges have adult education programs in jewelry making and enrolling in one of these is a good way to get training in proper soldering techniques. (The same goes for picking up techniques for working with wire, shaping small metal parts, and sawing shapes with a jeweler's bench saw, all pretty much essential skills for advanced kit building or scratch building.)

 

 

Here's one very general modeling video which might be helpful in getting started.  

 

 

 

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Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

 

Ah, so “shock” heat is the thing. I guess what concerns me is the scale. These things are TINY, 24 gauge wire and about 1/32”  inside diameter. I guess I just need to jump in and get some practice.

 

How does one go about getting these “tiny flakes” of solder?

 

No concerns about my cookie sheets. I am the Ship’s Cook and Bottle Washer around here. Plus, there is Teflon coated aluminum foil and silicone baking mats.

 

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Do a search for previous discussions on soldering.  Lots of great tips to be found.

I have found that actual silver soldering is not really needed in our hobby for any issue of strength.  I have used stay-brite a high silver content solder that melts at lower temps than silver solder and it can be blackened unlike regular soft solders.

To get small flakes one can hammer solder flat and snip it off in small flakes.  Much easier to do this with stay-brite than silver solders but that's the way to do it for them too.

I have demonstrated and talked on silver soldering at several NRG Conferences or seminars and used to do it all the time but I have since switched to using stay-brite except when doing joints in close proximity to each other.

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I meant to say that the idea of baking to solder isn't so far off base.  Airbrushes are assembled using an industrial process of baking the parts withe the solder and flux in place - but it's not something you can do at home.

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You actually could. A lot of people who build electronics do. Most surface mount devices are now soldered using a paste that contains both solder and flux. This is applies to each pad on the printed wire board and the component set onto it. Then it goes in the reflow oven and it is preheated and then the solder is melted. Since there is only a small amount it stays where it is put down. You can use a toaster over for the preheat and then a hot air rework gun to reflow the solder. It takes a little fiddling to sort out the parameters, but it should work for any small metal bits as well. This would be using SAC solder which is lead free. The reflow guns can be had fairly cheaply on the web.

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3 hours ago, jamcdonel said:

I have watched bunches of videos, acquired all of the stuff, torch, flux, Stay Brite solder, but I just am reluctant to start. I get very anxious when learning new skills....

Okay. If you can't kill the anxiety with your intellect, down some "liquid courage" and just go for it! 

 

(Just kidding about the "liquid courage" part.)

 

"Experience begins when you start.," as the saying goes. Just start and things will fall in place. Nobody will see you if you do a messy job at first. It's not an inherently hazardous task, so it's not likely you'll be courting some disaster. Just start fiddling with it and, soon enough, you'll be doing fine. The first ring you make probably isn't going to satisfy you. Neither will the second. Along around the third or fifth, depending on how quick you pick it up, you should be doing fine. If you run into a problem you can't figure out, you know where to come to ask Kurt. His posts on soldering are gems.

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6 hours ago, jamcdonel said:

I have watched bunches of videos, acquired all of the stuff, torch, flux, Stay Brite solder, but I just am reluctant to start. I get very anxious when learning new skills....

I agree with Bob... get some bits of brass or even copper wire and practice. There is a learning curve but it's not a steep one.

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I agree, just try the Stay Brite on some scrap, it is not much harder than regular soldering. I used it all the time on my RC Combat Warships.

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Regarding Stay Brite

1. Does it have gap filling properties or pieces need to touch as in silver soldering?

2. Do you use a torch or a soldering gun in high setting?

 

 

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Stay Brite is 94% tin 6% silver, electronic SAC solder is 96.5% tin, 3% silver, and 0.5% copper. Stay Brite flows at about 280C, SAC at 240C, and lead/tin at about 210C depending on the alloy. I think the higher the flow temperature the worse the bridging characteristics. SAC also is considered to her more brittle than PbSn in most, but not all applications. 

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Stay-brite requires close fits - a bit looser than silver solder but not much.

I have used it with a small torch - the Smith Little torch as well as a butane torch.  I have also used it with resistance soldering - which I am coming to love. 

I haven't used it with a soldering iron but for smaller stuff it would probably work OK.

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I am resuming work on a project that requires a lot of soldering of brass.  I will post a build log soon.  Before suspending work several years ago I had a small Bernz-o-magic Propane hose torch that had a shut-off valve at the bottle and an adjustment valve at the torch head.  Unfortunately I no longer have it and it would seem to be no longer made.

 

I am willing to spend the money to buy a quality replacement and have been looking at the Smith Little Torch.  My concern is that they all seem to be combination Propane and Oxygen and I don’t want to deal with Oxygen and don’t need the extra heat. 

 

Does Smith make a Propane only model?

 

Can the Propane Oxygen Model be used on straight Propane by shutting off the Oxygen valve?

 

Can anyone suggest a quality Propane only mini hose torch with flame adjustment at the torch head?

 

Roger

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2 hours ago, Roger Pellett said:

I am resuming work on a project that requires a lot of soldering of brass.  I will post a build log soon.  Before suspending work several years ago I had a small Bernz-o-magic Propane hose torch that had a shut-off valve at the bottle and an adjustment valve at the torch head.  Unfortunately I no longer have it and it would seem to be no longer made.

 

I am willing to spend the money to buy a quality replacement and have been looking at the Smith Little Torch.  My concern is that they all seem to be combination Propane and Oxygen and I don’t want to deal with Oxygen and don’t need the extra heat. 

 

Does Smith make a Propane only model?

 

Can the Propane Oxygen Model be used on straight Propane by shutting off the Oxygen valve?

 

Can anyone suggest a quality Propane only mini hose torch with flame adjustment at the torch head?

 

Roger

The Smith Little Torch runs on oxygen and propane, acetylene, or MAPP gas. (I believe they also run on natural gas, which is about the same as propane.) I don't know of any small propane-only torches. Propane-only torches seem to start with the regular "plumber's torch" sizes which are too large for small modeling work. (These aspirate air into an integral combustion chamber.) Small non-oxygen torches seem to be limited to the small butane torches. 

 

Running straight propane through the Little Torch will get you a flame, but it won't be hot enough to be of any use. Think "butane cigarette lighter." It's the oxygen that causes the intense heat.

 

I don't think you can go too far wrong with the Smith Little torch with oxygen and propane for modeling work. The disposable Bernzomatic oxygen bottles are priced comparably to the Bernzomatic disposable propane, acetylene, and MAPP gas bottles. These sizes last for a long time doing small work and are compact and easy to store. If you are a gas cutter and welder, you can use large oxygen tanks, of course, but the Bernzomatic disposable bottles are the least expensive way to go if you aren't already "cookin' with gas."

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