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Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Old 04-09-2012, 08:27 PM
  #1  
kljenkin
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Default Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)


ORIGINAL: abufletcher

ORIGINAL: kljenkin
So, knowing how bad I will suck at silver soldering, is the JB Weld in place of silver solder an option on this 1/5 scale SE5a or my 1/10 scale Phonix D.III?
No. You absolutely NEED to learn how to do silver soldering if you want to do WWI modeling. Really, you can do it. JB Weld will NOT replace silver soldering. But it can be highly useful for certain task and I always have some on hand. For example, some designers use it as a way of fixing a music wire into the end of an aluminum tube. You couldn't do that with solder. It can also be great in place of regular epoxy when you need to shape the part after it's cured. Now I suppose, in principle you could slip two ends of a music wire into a tight-fixing metal tube and secure it all with JB Weld.

But really you HAVE TO learn to do silver soldering. Much better to just bite the bullet now.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:29 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)


ORIGINAL: kljenkin

1) Is JB Weld a viable option (pros / cons)?

2) Tell me the tools I will need for the silver solder and a link to a YouTube or forum with some good pics. (My search has shown me silver soldering for jewelry.)

3) Tell how much character I will build, IF I can not screw it up like I do electric soldering. (As opposed to how much confidence I might loose.)
Okay, thanks for answering 1) and 3) but what about question number 2) and some video's, pictures or a walk through? Is there another thread or can we start one on silver soldering?
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:10 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Long story short: Buy the StayBrite kit and a 100w soldering iron. That's all you need.

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXFS75&P=ML

Slightly longer story: It gets confusing when you discover that there are actually two different kinds of solder that different people called "silver soldering." The StayBrite is technically "silver-bearing" solder...usually containing about 3% silver. It comes in coils. This type of solder "flows" (i.e. "melts") at about 450˚C. Then there is another type of silver solder that comes in rods and is very expensive because it contains much more silver. This type of solder flows at 650-700˚C. Some people call this "brazing" instead of soldering.

There are other brands of 3% silver solder that can be cheaper than the StayBrite kits. For example, I frequently order this from Tower:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXVHC4&P=ML

Also Home Depot sells 3% solder in larger coils.

The advantage of the StayBrite kit is that it comes with the bottle of flux, which is very convenient when you're just learning how to silver solder.


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Old 04-09-2012, 09:14 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

By the way, I've asked ALL these same questions...and more! I think I have more posts that anyone else on RCU...and most of them have been questions!
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:26 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

I recommend staying with Staybright it is a good reliable product and you get what you pay for. I have never had a bad solder with it except when I try to get too big of a hurry and don't get the heat right and then it is pretty easy ffrom the look what happened.


abufletcher, do you wrap your joints with copper wire and if so what gauge do you perfer?


mike
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:15 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

I just use any old cheap (copper) wire from the dollar store. The thing to remember is that the wire isn't for strength, but just to bind the parts together while you're applying the solder (and maybe to give the silver solder something to flow around for a thicker joint). I've also had luck joining thick music wires with a section of brass tubing. For heat, I just used a 100w iron (about $15) but I make sure to give it at least 15 minutes to warm up. Then I add a couple drops of the liquid flux, heat it until it starts to "boil away" and then touch on the silver solder, which should flow right away into the joint.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:44 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)


ORIGINAL: abufletcher
. Then I add a couple drops of the liquid flux, heat it until it starts to "boil away" and then touch on the silver solder, which should flow right away into the joint.
See that flux and flowing into the join is what I am not getting. Not to mention the too hot or too cold.

I have heard to heat the thing touch the solder to it, but that never works and I end up touching the tip of the soldering iron to the solder, resulting in a glob of solder droping of or staying on the iron regardless of what I try.

I am ordering the recommended silver solder with the flux from Tower Hobbies.
My soldering iron is a $5 Walmart (KN 30 30W), which I guess means it is a 30 watt iron? So that sounds like inferior equipment to start with.
Below is a picture of a Soldering Gun 100 watt, so that will be a step in the right direction.

Now what I need is step by step instructions that a 10 year old could follow.

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Old 04-10-2012, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

The soldering iron you have is designed for low-temp "electrical" solder, which flows at about 230˚C. It's also handy to have one of these around, but it won't work for silver-soldering. You need the 100w (or more) iron from the 3% silver solders and you'd need a flame torch for the "brazing" type silver solders.

Here are the "tricks" (as I've discovered them through trial and error):

1. Make sure both parts are clear and free of ANY corrosion. A light sanding seems to do the job.

2. Add the drops of flux.

3. When it has just about boiled away (but not completely) touch the tip of the iron and the end of the solder to the same spot.

The idea of heating the piece and then touching the solder has never worked for me either. I think that's more of a "brazing" technique.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:54 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Thanks, that makes sense but I still need to get the right soldering iron. Tower Hobbies has a Hobbico 60 watt iron but that is the highest watts that I have seen, but the $8 price is better than the $32 100W soldering gun.

1) Will the 60 watt do the job or should I keep looking? http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXPR36&P=ML

2) You mentioned the torch but I do not believe I need that since brazzing is not part of this process, right?

See, I really did name this thread correctly "For Dummies".
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:05 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Somewhere there is a "soldering for dummies" thread here on RCU that I started a couple of years ago. But I can't find it now! And, no, I don't think the 60w iron would be enough. In fact, I'd say forget the "gun" type irons and just get a straight soldering iron (with a big fat 1/4" fit). Any hardware store should have one for less than $20 bucks. The sort of "torch" you would need for 3% silver soldering are any of cheap ones with the small flame. I have one that runs off a kind of BIC-lighter insert. Personally, I like the iron, because I feel it gives me more control on where the heat goes, but lots of guys prefer the small burners.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Thanks for the help, I do not mean to be so slow on this. Thanks for the start and I will look at the hardware store.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:23 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Once you learn to solder, you'll be the one explaining it to others as the expert!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:15 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

I've had good luck using a butane fired pencil torch for silver soldering. The catch in this case is the torch has a variety of tips, including a soldering tip. I'm thinking it gets hotter than an electric iron and does so much faster. I found mine at Grainger but, unfortunately, their website is presently down.

The reason for putting a drop of solder on the iron tip is to improve the heat transfer from tip to project. This applies to electrical or silver soldering and it does work, I've been doing this for decades as I was tought to do in a Navy soldering class I took back in the early 1980s
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:09 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)


ORIGINAL: abufletcher

I just use any old cheap (copper) wire from the dollar store. The thing to remember is that the wire isn't for strength, but just to bind the parts together while you're applying the solder (and maybe to give the silver solder something to flow around for a thicker joint). I've also had luck joining thick music wires with a section of brass tubing. For heat, I just used a 100w iron (about $15) but I make sure to give it at least 15 minutes to warm up. Then I add a couple drops of the liquid flux, heat it until it starts to ''boil away'' and then touch on the silver solder, which should flow right away into the joint.
I agree the trick is to let the soldering iron come up to full tempature before proceding, something I think a lot of newbies fail to do. I also like to heat the parts a bit before adding the flux and then apply the solder when the flux starts to boil.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:00 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

I found a Weller version of what I referred to in my previous post http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/WEL...AC3?Pid=search
Here's one from Master Appliance http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/MAS...YT2?Pid=search
And one from Westward http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/WES...ZZ8?Pid=search
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:42 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Forget the soldering guns and the micro torches you need a soldering iron with a large heat sink so that your work does not suck all the heat out of the iron when you use it. This is probably the best one out there of all of them. http://www.packetradio.com/catalog/i...oducts_id=2192

Also forget the copper wire instead pick up some mechanics wire (soft iron) and sand the mechanics wire bright and the piano wires bright then wrap the whole joint with tight coils. You will find everything is held in place with just the wire so you can install and position everything correctly. Now a few drops of the flux and apply the iron to the joint and wait a bit until the flux boils off. Keep the iron in contact and apply the solder until the joint is fully soldered. There is enough heat in this iron the solder will flow through the whole joint leaving it nice and shiny. After all soldering is done you should scrub the acid flux off the joints and surrounding areas.

Dennis
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:21 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

I prefer using a propane torch. They're inexpensive and you can get the heat where you want it in very quick fashion. With practice you can do some amazing things with it and the Stay-Brite! I was able to solder the axle in the yoke of a sratchbuilt scale tailwheel assembly without melting the plastic hub of a DuBro foam wheel. It still amazes me.... LOL
Make sure the parts fit. Sand the metal and clean with acetone or lacquer thinner, get part a little hot, add flux, flow some solder to each separate part, add a little more flux and then join the parts, adding more solder if needed. Just takes practice. Don't get the parts red hot. If your flux burns then the part is too hot. You'll know. Practice, practice!
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:37 AM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

All good information here. Surfaces must be clean, wrap wires with small copper wire, use a solder gun or small torch that gives you the correct amount of heat, make sure all surfaces are at the correct temp before adding solder, add flux, add the correct amount of solder (not too much, not too little), clean the solder connection when finished, and practice before you attempt the real project. How hard can it be!
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:39 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

One vital tip where silver soldering is concerned. Do not sand the parts to be joined. FILE them clean with a metal file. This is the way the pros do it. I know because an old pro taught me. (Thanks Jem, r.i.p.). Paul.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:55 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)


ORIGINAL: Propworn

Forget the soldering guns and the micro torches you need a soldering iron with a large heat sink so that your work does not suck all the heat out of the iron when you use it. This is probably the best one out there of all of them. http://www.packetradio.com/catalog/i...oducts_id=2192
Okay, this was the best soldering iron I could find, 80watt Weller on eBay. It wasn't 100 watts but it seemed like the right size and temp range, so that gives me the iron route. (Sorry but $50 for the Weller is doable but the Granger uber tools are $150+, out of the range).

Key points noted so far: (Practice before the real deal)

  1. File or sand then clean with thinner.
  2. Wrap tight so that it holds in place on its own. (copper/steel debate)
  3. Let iron heat up. (Skip if torch)
  4. Put small amount ofsolder on the iron. (Skip if torch)
  5. Apply heat to joint
  6. Remove heat
  7. Add flux
  8. Apply heat until flux boils
  9. Apply solder to the boiling flux
  10. Remove solder and heat
  11. Allow to cool
  12. File or sand then Clean agian with thinner.
It seems there is a debate over the torch vs iron. (If you are torch fan please give a link to the appropriate one.)

Please correct any mistakes in my 12 step breakdown of the soldering process.

Thanks for the great instructions!

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Old 04-11-2012, 05:06 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

ORIGINAL: Propworn
Forget the soldering guns and the micro torches you need a soldering iron with a large heat sink so that your work does not suck all the heat out of the iron when you use it. This is probably the best one out there of all of them. http://www.packetradio.com/catalog/i...oducts_id=2192
That's similar to what I use. For cleaning up the joint after soldering, I find a small wire brush (or even a toothbrush) works well. This is also a nice test: If your joint falls apart during a good scrubbing, it's a bad joint!
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:12 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

For what it's worth, I've been using a Weller gun like the one shown in post #7, along with StayBrite.

Regarding the gun, I've had mine for literally 45 years and it's still running. The only issue that I have is that when it is slow to heat things up, I have to remove the soldering tip and wire-brush the two ends that stick into the gun, to get a good electrical contact again. Then it solders up like a raped ape. That gun usually only takes about 10-15 seconds to solder a clevis onto a piece of .072 wire. Longer for larger wire.

As for the StayBrite, I bought mine about 10 years ago and still have not run out. And the flux appears to still be 'working as advertised'.

Just my $.02

Bob
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

ORIGINAL: N1EDM
As for the StayBrite, I bought mine about 10 years ago and still have not run out.
[X(] You need to do more soldering! I go through several of these a year!
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:48 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

This gear is for the floats on my Piper Pawnee. Construction is main wire 3/16 and cross bracing is 1/8. It is wrapped with 19 gauge tie wire and silver soldered with Stay Bright. Where the lateral and longitudinal cross bracing meets there is two 1/8 wires wrapped and soldered to the 3/16 wire. There is no way a soldering gun is going to do this. The whole frame was bound together then everything was positioned then the joints were soldered with the whole thing attached to the plane and floats. Some of the nylon clips were damaged during the soldering due to heat transfer I just replaced them with new ones.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:12 PM
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Default RE: Silver Soldering for Dummies (HELP)

Thanks for the detail pics of the floats.

How did you bend the wire? Vice, vice grips, plyers?
Any heating of the metal to assistthe bending or not?
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