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Solder help

Old 04-07-2006, 09:22 PM
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RVM
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Default Solder help

I need to join a torque rod for a set of flaps on my BTE FK kit. Great. I hate soldering. I always have. I got back into this hobby hoping something had come out so I wouldn't have to solder anymore. Nope. Still have to use the stuff.

I did a search and found hundreds of posts about soldering. I read the RC Universe How-To Guide to Soldering and did exactly as it said and still I can't get it to work. At all.

I have a Weller 80w soldering gun and some Bernzomatic silver solder and some flux that came with it. Since I haven't done this in over a decade, I decided to practice before I tried on the actual parts. I grabbed a coat hanger, cut it into pieces and got to work. First, I sanded the ends I wanted to solder. Nice and shiny bare metal. Then I dipped it in acetone to remove any grease or whatever. Once the acetone dried, I coated it with a liberal amount of flux. I then applied the gun to the metal and waited. The flux melted. I stuck the solder to the metal. Nothing happened. I waited. Nothing. So I moved the tip of the gun closer to where I wanted to melt the solder. Still nothing. I touched the tip of the gun directly to the solder. It melts just fine. Hmmm. I figure maybe it's the metal of the coat hanger dissipating heat super fast or something (yeah right) so I grabbed some pins (the kind that come stuck into dress shirts to keep it together while folded) to see if those would work. Same process, exact same result, which is, nada. So I tried some 10d nails. Same process, and again, same result. I couldn't even get a 130w Weller iron to work with less than 1mm separating the solder from the tip of the iron.

I'm tempted to just get a small torch and try that.

Any suggestions or advice?

Did I mention I really hate soldering?

Oh guess what, I have welded body panels on cars before and I did better my first time ever trying that than I have ever done with hours of practice soldering. Tonight is supremely frustrating because I can't even get the silver solder to melt, much less make any kind of a reliable joint.

Thanks again for any help!
Old 04-07-2006, 10:02 PM
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WacoNut
 
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Default RE: Solder help

I use silver solder and a propane torch, keep the flame at one end of the joint you want to solder and as the parts reach temp it will draw the solder right into the joint. I use this method for attaching solder on quick links and it works great.
I hope this helps!!!
Anthony
Old 04-07-2006, 11:34 PM
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tuwood
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Default RE: Solder help

I used to do a lot of soldering in the Navy & the secret is to get it clean, use flux, isolate the heat, & heat both pieces equally. Then the solder just flows right in.

I take the two parts & clean & flux them, just as you did. Then I use a cinder block as a work surface (because it doesn't absorb the heat) & place the iron on top of the larger piece. I pretty much wait a minute or so for it to completely heat it up. I then slide the iron down to whre it's touching both the surfaces to be joined & hold it there for a minute or so. Then I take my solder & touch it between the iron & the metal piece. If it's at the right temperature the solder should start melting onto the metal & not beading up. If it cools & doesn't stay melted on your metal then it's not hot enough yet.
Once the solder starts to flow all around your material your soldering then you can twist it around or use your soldering iron to shape the joint. You should have a nice smooth joint that almost seamlessly connects the two points. The thing your trying to avoid is a cold solder joint which isn't really bonded to one side or the other.

Hope this helps.
Old 04-08-2006, 12:07 AM
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mcarleno
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Default RE: Solder help

tuwood is right on. I solder for a few years building fuses and target detectors for Motorola. Soldered just about everything. The trick with soldering is just what tuwood indicated. The solder must flow from the section farthest from the heat to the iron. But, a iron touching two rods has very little surface contact. So you take the irons and start heating and as soon as the tip will maintain enough heat to melt solder then the lift the iron and place the solder under the iron. This will melt the solder as a ball on the tip. The solder will now trasfer the heat much better as there is more surface contact. You want just a little ball under the tip between the rods.

Then from the far end of the solder joint, lightly touch the solder if it flows then feed the solder. If it doesn't, then try again in a few seconds. The key to a good joint is that you want to apply just enough heat to flow the solder on to the rods and no more (solder joints can easily become over heated and the metal used in silver solder will actually start to crystalized -- called a grainy joint). Never-Never cool a solder joint by quenching or blowing. The other thing to remember is that not all metal will solder. High carbon steal such as piano wire will actually not form a good intermetal bond. However, Nickel will, so nickel plated high carbon steel can easily be soldered. Another thing, if the connection is hidden, then alway wrap the joint with a metal that takes solder well such as copper strands. But regardless of you method, the worst joint is a "Cold" one you'd be better off with JB Weld.
Old 04-08-2006, 01:42 AM
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Default RE: Solder help

I have a Weller 80w soldering gun
That's your problem right there, bud. Soldering [/b]guns[/b] are not worth the paper they came wrapped in. Throw it in the trash, and get a soldering iron. A Weller 40W soldering iron will be okay. But, if you really want to see what easy soldering is all about, get yourself a soldering station. A soldering station has a huge transformer that makes the soldering iron tip heat up almost instantly. And it maintains the heat even when you apply the tip to your work. They are worth every penny.

If you are using silver solder, use a liquid silver solder flux. Apply the liquid flux to the part. Apply silver solder to your clean and fluxed soldering iron tip. Now, apply the hot silver solder on the tip, to the flux on your part. Whoosh! Like magic, the silver solder flows into the flux and part and you have done the deed!

GARBAGE:


Minimum needed for good soldering:


BEST for soldering:
Old 04-08-2006, 07:37 AM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

That middle one is what I've got. Just it's a bit bigger. I guess I have an iron. :/

So an 80w iron isn't getting my parts hot enough to melt the solder? *sigh*

What do you guys think of using a torch?


ORIGINAL: Kmot

I have a Weller 80w soldering gun
That's your problem right there, bud. Soldering [/b]guns[/b] are not worth the paper they came wrapped in. Throw it in the trash, and get a soldering iron. A Weller 40W soldering iron will be okay. But, if you really want to see what easy soldering is all about, get yourself a soldering station. A soldering station has a huge transformer that makes the soldering iron tip heat up almost instantly. And it maintains the heat even when you apply the tip to your work. They are worth every penny.

If you are using silver solder, use a liquid silver solder flux. Apply the liquid flux to the part. Apply silver solder to your clean and fluxed soldering iron tip. Now, apply the hot silver solder on the tip, to the flux on your part. Whoosh! Like magic, the silver solder flows into the flux and part and you have done the deed!

GARBAGE:


Minimum needed for good soldering:


BEST for soldering:
Old 04-08-2006, 09:15 AM
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feep
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Default RE: Solder help

RVM, I can't help you a lot with soldering but I can suggest to you that generally if you find you HATE something it's because you don t know enough about it. You're either doing it wrong or you don't have the right tools. That is not to say that you can't hate something after you find out how to do it. I used to hate installing hinges until I got one of those hinge cutters.
Old 04-08-2006, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: Solder help

I don't want to start a war here, but the guns work fine IF USED PROPERLY. I have one of the 175/325 watt guns and have no problems.

1st of all I apply the tip of the gun to the joint to be soldered and on HIGH heat hold it there about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes BEFORE putting the solder on. This normally gets the material get up to temperature. If the solder does not melt when applied 1/2" away from the gun, the material is not up to temperature for soldering.

2nd, the best flux I have found is the liquid type flux such as found with the "StayBrite" solder.

Yes, I also use a propane torch, however, there are times when a torch is not really useable for what you are doing (too close to other areas ). For those times I use the solder gun.

The key to soldering is get the joint clean, a GOOD flux and getting the material up to the proper heat. If ANY of those 3 are lacking/missing the joint is not going to be a good solder joint.
Old 04-08-2006, 09:54 AM
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Default RE: Solder help

I agree with Campy. I have a dual rate 200/260 watt gun and it is plenty for soldering the size stuff we use in RC applications. The trick is getting the stock you're soldering hot enough to melt the solder. You shouldn't have to touch the tip of the gun to the solder to get it started. His 325 watt gun would even be easier to use than mine, but 260 seems to be sufficient to make bright, smooth joints.
Old 04-08-2006, 10:51 AM
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treedog
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Default RE: Solder help

jolly is right on. hi max i might add another trick to soldering is to tin both parts before u put them to gether it also gives u an idea as to whether u've got theright amount of heat for soldering. if u can't tin it nothing will stick to it and u'll just have to start over and clean and flux and wipe the excess gunk off the metal. try not to sand the brass/ tin/ copper/ nickle coating off. thats what the solder sticks to. cleaning the tip of the gun / iron before soldering helps. a wet sponge will do this fine just wipe the tip of the gun with the sponge the final tip is top secret so dont tell any 1. if ur soldering a long piece of wire to something use a vice grip as a heat sink about 2 inches away frome the solder joint. clamp it right on the wire, that way it doesn't soak up all the heat of the iron before u get the joint hot enough. without that clamp the entire length of wire wants to get hot simple physics.
Old 04-08-2006, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Solder help

1st of all I apply the tip of the gun to the joint to be soldered and on HIGH heat hold it there about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes BEFORE putting the solder on.
[X(]

Try a soldering station. It will heat that same joint in a few seconds.
Old 04-08-2006, 01:28 PM
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Rodney
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Default RE: Solder help

I agree with Campy and JollyPoper, I use a gun with silver solder with no problems. If you gun doesn't work, maybe it need a bit of maintenance like tightning the nuts that hold the copper tip onto the body. These can oxidize and keep the tip from getting hot, a very common problem with the uninitiated.
Old 04-08-2006, 04:21 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

I agree 100%. Once I'm good at it I'm sure I'll enjoy doing it.


ORIGINAL: feep

RVM, I can't help you a lot with soldering but I can suggest to you that generally if you find you HATE something it's because you don t know enough about it. You're either doing it wrong or you don't have the right tools. That is not to say that you can't hate something after you find out how to do it. I used to hate installing hinges until I got one of those hinge cutters.
Old 04-08-2006, 04:26 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

Thanks for all the great advice.

The tip is screwed on very tight. I've been holding it to the metal to be soldered for a good minute and it won't melt the solder, not even if it is about 1mm away from the tip.

I don't know what a good liquid flux would be. I just went to Lowe's and picked up the only silver solder they had, the Bernzomatic I mentioned earlier. It has a white paste-like flux with it that you put on with a little brush. Where would I get the flux and silver solder that I've seen mentioned here, preferably locally? Lowe's obviously doesn't have it, and I don't think Sears does either.

Since the torque rods are not being assembled near the model would I just be better off using a small torch? I haven't been able to find a soldering station anywhere locally.

This is irritating as I can't do too much else to the model until I get this part put together.
Old 04-08-2006, 04:28 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

I think I will just do this and make sure I don't overheat the torque rods. It sounds a lot easier.



ORIGINAL: CubNut

I use silver solder and a propane torch, keep the flame at one end of the joint you want to solder and as the parts reach temp it will draw the solder right into the joint. I use this method for attaching solder on quick links and it works great.
I hope this helps!!!
Anthony
Old 04-08-2006, 05:13 PM
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Kmot
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Default RE: Solder help

Where would I get the flux and silver solder that I've seen mentioned here,
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXFS75&P=ML

Old 04-08-2006, 06:11 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

Bleh I wanna work on my plane tonight and tomorrow while I've got some extra time!


ORIGINAL: Kmot

Where would I get the flux and silver solder that I've seen mentioned here,
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXFS75&P=ML

Old 04-08-2006, 06:21 PM
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Kmot
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Default RE: Solder help

If you have an LHS they will have it too!

Just for fun, I soldered this together using my Weller WESD51 soldering station. I got the materials and coat hanger together, cleaned the wire, wrapped it with copper wire, and placed it in the jaws of the stand. I then turned on my soldering station and it heated to 800*F in less than 10 seconds. I applied liquid flux to the copper wire, and then took my soldering iron and applied a touch of silver soilder from the roll onto the tip. I then touched that to the flux, and it instantly flowed and I also added more silver solder and it all flowed nicely. Total time of application of heat and solder was about 5 seconds. I kid you not. For real.

That is why I say a soldering station is worth every penny.
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:10 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

What would be a good soldering station to get that won't break my bank? I found this one at Horizon Hobby but it is only 40w. Should I just stick with the 80w Weller iron I have now?

BTW I tried again this evening and didn't accomplish a thing. Maybe the silver solder I got is not of good quality. I can't even get anything to melt except the paste flux, which I suspect has a very low melting temperature.

Not much has been said about the efficacy of a butane or propane torch. What about going this route like some others seem to have done? Pros and cons?
Old 04-08-2006, 07:25 PM
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Default RE: Solder help

If all else fails, use JB Weld. Seriously.
Old 04-08-2006, 08:37 PM
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RVM
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Default RE: Solder help

I've had bad luck with JB Weld on everything I've ever used it on. It doesn't stick well or long and vibration is a big enemy to it.

Might be worth a try though. :/



ORIGINAL: jettstarblue

If all else fails, use JB Weld. Seriously.
Old 04-08-2006, 09:08 PM
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Default RE: Solder help

Sounds like you have problems with a lot of stuff!
Old 04-08-2006, 09:40 PM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Solder help

What most of you guys are calling "silver" solder is probably just the run of the mill 60/40 stuff you can buy at radio shak. Real silver solder (such as the kind typically used in plumbing and so on) usually takes the heat of a torch to get good flow with. I've never had good luck with any kind of iron or gun with real silver solder. However, using Rosin core solder is plenty good enough for our models, and a gun or iron will work great with it. Sand, clean, flux, and heat--apply the solder and let it flow. The key is good heat, and apply the heat away from where the solder will be applied, and let the heat "draw" the solder into the joint--this assures a good strong joint.

All I use is a gun. I have a dual wattage "station" that I hate. Takes forever to heat up, and doesn't work worth a crap for soldering clevises--my 100 W gun works absolutely flawlessly.
Old 04-09-2006, 12:05 AM
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Default RE: Solder help

2slow2matter: No, we are not talking about lead alloy solder. We are discussing silver alloy solder.

RVM: I think you may have just mentioned something. Your solder. Is it thin, in a coil? Or is it a stiff, 12" long rod? If it is the rod, that is for "brazing', not soldering. You will get nowhere with any type of sodering gun/iron/station with silver brazing rod. I just did a search for "Bernzomatic silver solder" and I could only find info relating to silver brazing rod. http://www.bernzomatic.com/bernzomat...rnzoProd100063

Try the Stay Brite brand of silver solder from Harris. It will do what you need to do.

http://www.jwharris.com/jwprod/solderalloys/#SBSolder
Old 04-09-2006, 12:08 AM
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Kmot
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Default RE: Solder help

PS: You can buy the Weller WES51 soldering station (analog version) for $99:

http://www.action-electronics.com/wewes51.htm

Or the digital version like I have for $129:

http://www.action-electronics.com/wewesd51.htm

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