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Ed's Excellent Soldering Thread

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  • HO RacePro
    replied
    I've heard about resistance soldering, but have no experience with it. Can someone contribute a post on it?

    Ed Bianchi

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  • Ecurie Martini
    replied
    I use 3 soldering products:

    Tix - excellent for brass and nickel - low temperature melting

    Sta Brite + Stay Clean flux - a little higher melting than Tix, a bit stronger and very good for stainless steel

    Silver solder (brazing) much stronger than solder but needs a higher temp. Some torches will do it but I prefer resistance soldering. My small set up can generate the equivalent of a 900 watt iron in a small area.

    Auto Union front axle assy.





    The stub axles silver soldered - the rest of the work with Tix

    EM

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  • RichD
    replied
    I like to use acid core silver solder for chassis work, it makes for stronger joints than you get with electrical solder. That may not be as important with HO cars however. When you use acid flux it is a good idea to rinse your work with water that has some bicarbonate of soda in it or anything made of steel will eventually rust badly.

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  • JDR
    replied
    Thanks, this is a great article. Both of you are really skilled. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. This is very helpful.

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  • HO RacePro
    replied
    There is another option when it comes to high-strength solder. It is brand-named 'Tix' and is available from Micro-Mark.

    https://www.micromark.com/Tix-Solder...ee-Inch-Sticks

    I haven't used Tix for any of my slotcar chassis. It seems to be harder to work with than the other solders I use. Your best bet is to use it with the Tix-specific flux.

    https://www.micromark.com/Tix-Solder...1-2-oz-bottles

    Tix also sells a rather unique product called Anti-Flux. You brush this stuff onto surfaces you want to keep solder off of.

    https://www.micromark.com/Tix-Anti-F...1-2-oz-bottles

    My own preference is to use rubber cement for the same purpose. But there may be instances where Anti-Flux is a better option.

    I haven't had much experience with Tix products, but I mention them all here just to make you aware they exist.

    Ed Bianchi

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  • Slotbob
    replied
    To begin with...

    Get the parts stabilized. Sometimes I weight them with pliers and whatnot.

    Get the tip hot, clean it off with a paper towel, "tin" it with solder.

    Put a tick of flux on the parts.

    Heat with tip of iron, touch the tip with solder (yeah, I know yer not supposed to), when it melts, move over to the part & see if it will melt there. If so, let it flow into the area to be soldered. When the joint is shiny, you are done.

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  • HO RacePro
    replied
    Between welding and soldering there is brazing -- something like soldering, except you use a brass or silver alloy in place of solder. Brazed joints are much stronger than soldered joints, and are almost as strong as welded joints.

    Brazing does not melt the parts being joined, like welding does, but the parts do get hot enough to glow. Only the brass or silver actually melts, and flows into the joint much like solder does.

    Brazing takes much higher temperatures than soldering -- around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. You need a torch to get those temperatures -- either oxy/acetylene or MAPP gas. Propane just won't cut it.

    MAPP gas is bottled like propane, and does not need an oxygen supply other than ambient air. It burns hot enough to do brazing, and is a whole lot cheaper to set up and use than oxy/acetylene.

    I have used brass brazing to repair motorcycle accessories. It is way easier to braze than to weld, and a brazed joint can be tougher than a welded joint. That is, a brazed joint can deform more under load without breaking.

    I have never used true brazing to build a slotcar chassis, but there is a near cousin that I've used extensively. The product is called 'Stay Brite', and is purported to be a silver solder. It comes with its own liquid acid flux, called 'Stay Clean'. You can use Stay Brite with ordinary soldering tools -- it does not require the high temperatures of true brazing. But it still makes stronger joints than ordinary solder.

    Stay Brite will also solder materials that ordinary solder won't. I have used it extensively to solder stainless steel. The Rattler Mark 2 uses Stay Brite solder to make joints between brass and stainless steel.

    Ed Bianchi

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  • HO RacePro
    replied
    A few advanced soldering tricks...

    Using heat sinks to protect existing soldering work from the next bit of soldering -- as described above -- is a very useful technique for advanced soldering.

    Something else I have used -- masking areas with rubber cement. Rubber cement -- once dried -- stands up beautifully against acid fluxes and the heat of soldering. Easy to apply with a toothpick and easy to remove. I have used it to keep solder off of gear teeth when I'm soldering a gear to a hub. Also to keep solder out of the threaded hole when soldering a nut into an assembly.

    And a Gerry Cullan specialty -- using solders with different melting temperatures. Again, so solder joints you have already made aren't melted when you make the next one nearby.

    Then there is solder wicking braid. Very fine braid pre-treated with a solid flux. Used to remove solder from a part. You heat up the part and touch the braid to it. The braid sucks up the liquid solder. Can be very helpful in removing excess solder from a joint.

    Received wisdom is that a strong mechanical joint makes for a strong solder joint. See if you can make your joint a mechanical assembly before you solder it. Can be done by press-fitting, folding sheet metal, crimping, or wrapping the joint with thin bare wire. I have also used purchased 'hairpin' spring clips to hold brass tubing together to form a 'T'.

    https://www.mcmaster.com/#hairpin-clips/=1b2pkex

    I cut off most of the wiggly stuff so I just have the straight bit, to fit down the center of one tube, plus that nice tight circle to hold a larger brass tube in place as the top of the 'T'. Great for axle bushings.

    Whatever works!

    Ed Bianchi

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  • model murdering
    replied
    The iron is not a spatula!

    Sweating solder is pretty easy. I've been burning all manner of stuff for years and years. I'll use my latest drop spindle module for some visual



    The biggest failure point in soldering is lack of heat across the entire joint. Technically the solder should not touch the iron, unless you happen to be tinning the tip or small wires. Once applied to the project, it should always remain in contact, save for a few exceptions. If the solder doesnt blow off the tip, yer not hot enough.

    Note: See the first burn? I cleaned and inspected the frame rail, axle beam joint. It was isolated with a heat sink and the backing plate was soldered on the spindle. This way I can immediately see if I compromised the first joint and so on as I progress. I always clean up after every step, so I dont solder myself into a corner and have to back up to correct a fatal flaw....dont ask! LOL



    The backing plate shown above in the first frame was re-fired. It had a cosmetic pock in it, so I heated it right back up and let the old solder slough through and out the bottom. Then I rapidlly wicked in a fair amount of excess solder and let it run right through. With that excess, comes excess flux as well; that scrubbed out the offending particulate or "greazy what have you" while resoldering the joint.

    All that crustified sauce is just spent/oxidized flux. What is significant is that what lies beneath it is all squeaky. It just blows off with a wire wheel in the dremel. Obviously a huge nono/failure, were it an electrical connection; but there's more than one kind of soldering. Reworking electrical joints is quite another matter/skill set entirely. Reworking mechanical joints is no great shakes, so I included the theme with the thought that it is just as important to know what to do when "doing it" in the first place goes awry! It just coincidentally happened 2 weeks ago. LOL!



    Note: No globs or hangers! If the solder doesnt run cleanly out the bottom as shown, yer still a might cold.

    Typically you like to plan your joints so that they can be heated from below because heat rises, but life isnt always optimum. Soldering takes a matter of seconds. Staging the job is what takes the time. Clamps, gator clips, forceps and a good hobby stand are not optional. You cant heat a joint correctly thats wandering around or wigglen'. The top of the joint will start smoken a bit when its close to ready, tease the solder on top and when correct temperature is attained it will freely wick down through the joint .... POOF! I cant over emphasize that you have to wait patiently for the joint to heat up, BUT you must have the iron in good contact for that to EVER happen. Steady!

    Mechanically captured joints work better than free wheeling butt joints or other ill conceived imagineering situations .... LOL. Typically, I like an index hole, a slot, a cradle, a sleeve to support my joints.

    Aside from "heat rising" and isolating your previous work, allowing an escape for excess is not a bad idea. It not being a perfect world, I like to have an exit for any liquid solder to escape or free fall from the project, should things become less than optimum.



    Gators and forceps arent just for clamping. Heatsink theory is "soldering 101", when you get beyond the single hits and blips, and start laying out more complex assemblies. Here Im backing the the horizonatal frame connector (behind) from the axle beam frame rail joint. Otherwise the whole shebang butters up and goes buh-bye.



    Welding is quite another matter, and has no practical application in slotcars. It requires a fair amount of commitment. Best to take the introduction at the local JC or Voc-tech, unless you have someone qualified to teach you. It requires steady nerves, and a fair amount of control over your instincts and automatic reflexes. Some people just dont respond well in proximity to molten metal, plasma arc, and all the fun and games associated with "dancing with fire".

    Some guys can't handle the claustrophobia of being chapped and hooded up, let alone upside down, backwards, or out of position. They always make it look pretty and glamorous on the tube when they are stacking dimes with a TIG on a perfectly staged joint. Unless you're in high end production its NEVER gonna be like that. LOL!

    Seriously though Nick, I whole heartedly encourage learning how to burn.
    Last edited by Wet Coast Racer; 01-12-2018, 06:56 PM. Reason: Removing extraneous content

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  • Slotbob
    replied
    Re: Soldering--

    I am not as good at it as the big boys here, but the lead-filled solder smoke always seemed to invariably make it up my nostrils (which may account for a lot...).

    I now use an old (and larger) computer fan that I sit right next to my work to suck the fumes away.

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