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Acetylene soldering for tiny sheet steel?

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  • Acetylene soldering for tiny sheet steel?

    I've been messing about with acet soldering various alloys lately, and the only one that hasn't worked so well is steel. In fact it hasn't worked at all; I've had to resort to very low-power TIG settings. The result holds but doesn't look as nice as soldering at all. You see, the pieces I'm working on are very thin steel, and no bigger than fingers.

    From what I've read it might be the solder that won't take; the 15% silver plumbing solder rolls right off hot steel. Word is that 20% silver sticks.

    An acetylene minitorch uses fuel very sparingly, which I like b/c my gas supplier isn't too close. Any ideas about how I can get neat joints on tiny thin steel?
    Miller Dynasty 200 DX, air-cooled & footpedal
    Hypertherm 380
    Dinky Ingersoll-Rand compr. w/ line filter and condensation filter
    Lincoln O/A
    Electrolytic derusting tank
    Asstd powertools

  • #2
    Have you tried lead fee solder and fluxing the joints first?? Of course shine up the joints first to bare steel.
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    • #3
      Bomscho, by solder, using acetylene, I assume you mean silver solder?

      If you are refering to soft solder, that is lead based tinmans solder an alloy of lead, tin, antimony etc, why are you using acetylene?

      Soft solder works best for small jobs with a copper soldering iron, propane, kerosene, meths blow lamp etc.

      The flux for soft soldering steel is killed spirits, rosin and or tallow.

      When I was a boy I used to use a methylated spirit "blow" lamp for soldering thin steel jobs using the metal from jam tins, fruit cans, condensed milk tins etc.......most of them were already "tinned" so soldering was easy.

      The meths blow lamp was just a metal can with a wick at the top and a pipe pointing across the flame....you applied your mouth to a rubber tube attached to the metal pipe and blew the flame to make a jet, hence "blow lamp".

      Later I graduated to a self blowing meths blowlamp, which I still have and for small silver soldering jobs can't be beat.

      In all cases of soldering, cleaning and fluxing is 90% of the job.
      Ian.
      Last edited by billbong; 06-27-2012, 08:43 PM.

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      • #4
        Are you overheating ? Wrong flux? Go on the used book market and get a copy of the Linde OXY-ACETYLENE HANDBOOK. I got one in good shape delivered for about 5 bucks. It'll point you in the right direction.
        --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

        Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
        -------------------------

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        • #5
          urch, yup, i am fluxing with multi-purpose nonferrous flux (that's what i think is part of the problem, it's not formulated for steel), bright shining the joints and using 15% silver solder. I've read that a higher silver content, e.g. 20% would work better.

          billbong, though I am not using soft solder (it's a thick bright hard wire on a spool), that blow lamp story is awesome. I'm going to file that away in the "projects to research and make someday" folder.

          usmc, thanks, i'll look for that.
          Miller Dynasty 200 DX, air-cooled & footpedal
          Hypertherm 380
          Dinky Ingersoll-Rand compr. w/ line filter and condensation filter
          Lincoln O/A
          Electrolytic derusting tank
          Asstd powertools

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Bomscho, if you really want to get adventurous, try making a hydrox blow torch.......commonly known by several names like Browns gas etc.

            The jewellers trade use them for high class jewellery work and for the DIY'er they can be "manufactured" once you understand the principle of electrolysis, whereby water is broken down into it's constituents of hydrogen and oxygen by the application of an electric current.

            For a simple explanation you have two pieces of thin stainless steel plate immersed in a solution of water and sodium hydroxide and you apply an electric current, 12 volts at 4 amps etc to the two plates which are seperated from each other but are in close proximity.....Hydrogen is produced from the positive plate and oxygen is produced from the negative plate.

            When you mix the two gasses and burn them in a blow pipe you have a very powerfull oxy/hydrogen blow torch that will do all your silver soldering and brazing work without having to have stored gas cylinders....just plug into a power supply and gas is made.

            This has all been described before on many other sites and posts, and is fully described on Utube.
            Ian.

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