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Author Topic: Copper working help needed...  (Read 1580 times)
jringling
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« on: March 16, 2009, 08:23:09 pm »

I have a quick question for any resident metal experts. I am going to be working copper alloy C11000. I am reading conflicting information online about annealing it. I know copper hardens as it is hammered. I know it has to be heated to soften it, but do I allow it to cool slowly, ie air or sand cooling, or do I quench it in cold water?  I have also found a spec sheet that states Alloy C11000 hardens at 1400-1600 degrees F, but anneals at 700degrees F, so does this mean that if I over-heat the copper it will harden it?

Should I or can I work the copper while it is hot?

Help please! I only bought enough copper rod as I needed to make leaves for the Tree Project. I should have ordered another piece to play with first.
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TimeTinker
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 09:00:20 pm »

Best way is to anneal it by heating until the metal has a dull red glow rather than bright red.

Cool quickly in cold water.

Be prepared to anneal more than once as it work hardens.

You can work it hot but it's not really any better to do so.

Don't worry about it as it's pretty easy and a very forgiving metal to work.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 09:11:58 pm »

yep get it red hot and quench it, you can air cool it but the effect with be the same it will get soft, you don't need to work it hot either, bash it about and re-anneal it as needed.

I've read the opinion that quenching hardens it, but only from people who haven't worked with copper. It hardens other metals but not copper!
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jringling
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 12:01:28 am »

Thanks for the answers. I did ruin the very tip by not heating enough the first time. After that I used the oxyacetylene torch to get a nice dull red and dropped it into into a water bucket. Works great.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 09:31:08 am »

Don't go mad with the Oxy, i use propane it can get copper up to temperature but not melt it. You get a feel for when it need re-annealing too the "ring" of it changes as it gets harder.
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TimeTinker
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 09:58:34 am »

I've even been known to anneal copper on a little picnic stove when I have had to improvise a job on a film set without access to my tools!  You will feel the change in the copper when it needs re-annealling as sidecar-jon has said with very little experience.  The secret is relax and don't try and get it done too quickly. Beaten work and forgework for that matter are more art than science so relax and enjoy it.

I'm glad it's going well for you.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2009, 03:48:07 pm »

yep i started copper work on the kitchen stove top, progressed to putting bowls in the wood burning stove! Id shout "red hot metal coming through" as i dashed through the house a 12" sheet of red hot copper on its way to the tap!
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Figbash
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2009, 03:58:54 pm »

To anneal copper, all you need to do is raise the temperature above 700F, period. The rate at which it cools has no effect on the annealing process. You can quench it in water or let it cool on it's own, it will anneal either way. Unfortunately, pure copper can't be re-hardened by reversing the process. It must be work hardened by bending or flexing the metal. Certain copper alloys can be hardened by heat treating (not C11000), but not pure copper.

C11000 is anneal resistant copper, meaning that it will stay hard at soldering temperatures. To anneal it, you will need to get it quite a bit hotter than 700F.

Tom
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 02:42:14 pm by Figbash » Logged
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