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Author Topic: Soldering Brass?  (Read 40309 times)
sidecar_jon
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« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2009, 09:03:59 pm »

all good advice, one could line a tin with fire cement and use that a little hearth. A good tip when using a torch is to find out the hottest bit of the flame which is just above the blue cone and use that rather than the dirtier burning top or cooler bottom.
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aquafortis
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« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2009, 12:15:16 am »

Fryolux is excellent stuff.

Regular electronic/plumbing flux is also very useful but the most important thing is to make sure the metal you work with is scrupulously clean and preferrably freshly abraded, and most importantly free of grease.

Brass, copper, bronze and mild steel can be successfully soldered.

Don't overheat the work - the flux will burn out and you'll have to start over. In respect of this a great big soldering iron beats a propane torch as it won't allow the work to overheat. Size matters here and what you're after is a thermally massive iron with a controlled heater, preferrably adjustable.

One here - http://www.tooltronic.com/products/soldering-industrial/hexacon-p300-300watt-heavy-duty-soldering-iron.php

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Doctor When
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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2009, 03:03:28 pm »

In respect of this a great big soldering iron beats a propane torch as it won't allow the work to overheat. Size matters here and what you're after is a thermally massive iron with a controlled heater, preferrably adjustable.

Heavens! That's ENORMOUS! I've never seen one quite that big before.

I successfully completed my first brazed joint this weekend: A decorative brass casting to a standard brass plumbing fitting. It seems to have worked, giving a strong shiny joint despite using incorrect materials (lead-free high-temp fluxed electrical solder). My butane torch seems to have done an adequate job.

On the way from Mailorder Land is some proper silver solder and flux.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2009, 05:45:41 pm »

.."my first brazed joint...."

Soldered surely?...
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Doctor When
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« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2009, 03:01:47 pm »

.."my first brazed joint...."

Soldered surely?...

Hmm, good point. Historically, I always equeated soldering with an iron, and brazing with a flame.

Guess that's a habit I'll need to break then!
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jringling
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« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2009, 03:14:23 pm »

.."my first brazed joint...."

Soldered surely?...

Hmm, good point. Historically, I always equeated soldering with an iron, and brazing with a flame.

Guess that's a habit I'll need to break then!
I am confused still.... Historically, I always equated soldering with a low melting temp and brazing with a higher temp... with either flame or iron... Which is which?
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2009, 03:29:48 pm »

I've always thought Brazing was with a bronze filler....soldering is with lead (or lead free nowadays) or hard solder such as silver.
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von Adler
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« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2009, 03:38:33 pm »

Soldering happens at lower temperature, brazing at higher. The temperature border is somewhat arbitrary, but usually anything below 450 °C is considered soldering, anything above that but short of welding is brazing. The terminology isn't exact, but here's a Wikipedia article on the subject.
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aquafortis
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« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2009, 02:59:05 pm »

Brazing needs a good gas torch, and is usually conducted at red heat. The filler is a brass rod or silver solder. It's lead-free and very strong but needs a bit more skill and finer preparation than lead based soldering.

Bronzewelding is another thing again, using bronze, flux cored rods to join copper or brass. This is specialised, oxyacetylene torch territory but gives really lovely joints on copper piping, and the joints will easily be the strongest part of the pipe run.
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Mr Peter Harrow, Esq
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« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2009, 01:13:26 am »

Nice thread, showed me how to solder the brass links in my nunchuk cane.
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TechDante
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2009, 02:47:01 am »

a question about soldering. i have an antique fog horn thing (loverly thing makes lots of noise) but it had been left in an attic and was in need of a serious clean as with teh rest of the the brass. i carfully stripped it down and cleaned it all up getting original brass shimer back but upon putting it back to gether the solder around the piping from teh bellows unit to the horn gave way and now the seal is not air tight and will not drive the reed. how would one go about re soldering this joint. picture can be uploaded if needed
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Narsil
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2009, 02:17:14 pm »

Soldering : The filler metal has a relatively low melting point and is drawn into the joint by capliialry action. The strength of the joint is usually less than that of the base metal. Most suitable for creating joints which need to be sealed and or electrically conductive but are not subject to great mechanical stresses.

Brazing: The filler metal has a higher melting point than solder but lower than the base metal, the filler flows by capilliary action but a certin ammount of gap filling may also be possible. On non-ferrous metals the joint will usually be as strong or stronger than the base metal. Also suitable for ferrous metals where thermal stresses are a problem or exotic metals which are difficult to weld where ultimate joint strength is not essential.

Welding: The joint is made by melting both the filler and base metal to create a homogeneous bond. Usually the filler metal is of similar composition to the base metals (with some exceptions). Tho joint should be stronger than the base metal. Most metals can be welded with varying degrees of difficulty.

The terms brazing and soldering are sometimes used interchangably for silver solder (hard solder).

Brazing and soldering can both be used to join dissimilar metals but this is not always possible with welding.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 10:12:46 pm by Narsil » Logged







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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2009, 08:49:16 pm »

. how would one go about re soldering this joint. picture can be uploaded if needed

Sounds quite easy, hopefully its a tight fit, clean it up get all the old solder off (its probably lead and heating it up might not be a great idea as it will run sooner than the lead free that you get nowdays). Dip the end in flux paste assemble it, heat it gently until solder melts. The tight fit will draw the solder in by capillary action. Don't use much solder.....
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TechDante
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temporay till i finish my steampunk outfit


« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2009, 10:10:51 pm »

. how would one go about re soldering this joint. picture can be uploaded if needed

Sounds quite easy, hopefully its a tight fit, clean it up get all the old solder off (its probably lead and heating it up might not be a great idea as it will run sooner than the lead free that you get nowdays). Dip the end in flux paste assemble it, heat it gently until solder melts. The tight fit will draw the solder in by capillary action. Don't use much solder.....

thank you very much i assume i can use the stuff that plumbers use for joining copper pipe
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2009, 04:40:44 pm »

. how would one go about re soldering this joint. picture can be uploaded if needed

Sounds quite easy, hopefully its a tight fit, clean it up get all the old solder off (its probably lead and heating it up might not be a great idea as it will run sooner than the lead free that you get nowdays). Dip the end in flux paste assemble it, heat it gently until solder melts. The tight fit will draw the solder in by capillary action. Don't use much solder.....

thank you very much i assume i can use the stuff that plumbers use for joining copper pipe

That is probably exactly what its soldered with originally. But id clean that off and use modern stuff, both flux and solder. Yes use plumbers solder, don't over heat it just so the solder runs all round the joint, you will see a bright bead of solder all round when its done.
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theviewfinderlife
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« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2010, 12:19:53 am »



Heating will cause oxidisation which would need alot of elbow grease to remove, insead you clean the pieces in a pickle (keep all iron avay from a pickle or anything pickled afterwards would have a coating of iron). 

Being a plumber I'd suggest denatured alcohol.  Useful stuff, kinda smelly though.  Spray it on your soldered joint while still hot and use a shop rag to wipe away the oxidation.  You'll be left with bright shiny pipes.  Then if trying to hide as much of your solder as possible lightly sand it with varying grit sandpapers.  However if soldering in a shop with control over the orientation of the pipes (instead of soldering vertically like I do in clients homes where appearances don't matter,) it should be fairly easy to keep a clean bead of solder.
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Tinker
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« Reply #41 on: July 18, 2010, 05:11:38 pm »

For a low-cost surface suitable for resting work on for soldering and brazing, one shop I worked in used pumice stone pebbles in baking trays.  They were small enough that you could mound them up or shift them around to give the work some support where necessary but large enough that the torch flame didn't blow them away.  Firebrick would work, if you can find a hardware store that will sell you one or two, rather than making you buy a pallet-load.  Charcoal works well too, and the combustion of the charcoal helps consume stray oxygen and keep the metal from oxidizing.  Find natural wood charcoal from a cooking supply, pick out a big lump and rub it against a brick or concrete to flatten it, and bind it in a couple places with iron wire, as it tends to crack.  Vermiculite or perlite, often available in bags at garden supplies, would work as it is very heat resistant, but the pieces are small and easy to blow around if the flame is too strong.  Ceramic tile would work, but often cracks from the heat, so you'd have to use several layers between the flame and your workbench, or else break it to pebbles in advance and use it in a pan.

For a low cost flame source for brazing or soldering tiny pieces, historically a blowpipe and lamp were used.  It's an ordinary alcohol lamp, with a blowpipe either mouth blown or using a bellows, to add extra air for hot combustion.  A candle could be used with a blowpipe in a pinch.  As the circular breathing needed to keep a steady jet of air isn't something everyone learns easily, one can improvise a bellows from a plastic bag squeezed between two pieces of stiff cardboard, and lead the air to the lamp with a few cents worth of aquarium tubing from the pet store and a nozzle made from a hypodermic needle from the druggists.  Use a fine whetstone to take the bevel off the end of the needle and leave it square at the end, so that the air jet runs true.  This work, while specifically about using the blowpipe for brazing, has some good instructions and pictures.

http://books.google.com/books?id=jK8_AAAAYAAJ&dq=blowpipe&pg=PA11#v=onepage&q&f=false

   
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Tinker
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« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2010, 12:26:43 am »

I decided to go make a blowpipe lamp, since I know about them in theory, but haven't needed to use one.  When I need to solder or braze something, I have several different torches, varying from rather small to large, so I've never needed to use a blowlamp, haven't bought or made one, and know of them from reading but not from hands-on.  I made an alcohol burner and two different blowpipes to use with it.  It took less than an hour, and cost nothing. I took lots of pictures, and I made a tutorial, hosted at a website I write and manage.

My findings:

I played around with this for a while, soldering jump rings and attempting a repair on a heavy shanked ring.  This isn't a replacement for medium or large torches, but it's a fair replacement for the smaller jeweler's torch.  It puts out a fair amount of heat, enough to easily soft solder small or medium pieces, or to hard solder small to tiny pieces.  It doesn't have the flame volume to do hard soldering on larger pieces.  The advantages I can see for this are that the flame is very clean and is cheap to run.  The clean aspect of the flame is why this was used as a flame source for assaying minerals.  It doesn't add anything to the assay, where heavier fuels would add carbon.  The flame was colorless enough that it was easy to see the green fringe in the flame from copper while heating sterling silver, which was cool.  Based on the pint volume of the jar I used, this could run for hours and hours on pennies worth of fuel. Compared to the cost of acetylene or MAPP gas, that's nothing.  Disadvantages are that the flame only runs hot while you're blowing through the blowpipe.  This isn't as big a disadvantage as it sounds, as you can easily blow for thirty or forty seconds without any special techniques, or indefinitely using 'circular breathing'.  Circular breathing through a blowpipe isn't that hard, as the aperture is small so the air trapped in your mouth lasts a while and you have plenty of time to breath.  It would take a bit of practice to get good at controlling the flame, and mine tended to vary a bit as I breathed, but still worked well.  I made a crude bellows from a plastic bag and cardboard in hopes of getting a bit more of a controlled air blast but it didn't work well; although the concept was sound and I was able to make it work to an extent, it needed a lot more work put into the valves.  Flap valves of cardboard and polythene just didn't cut it and it leaked a bit and didn't put as much air out at the blowpipe end as I'd hoped.  It doesn't appear in the tutorial, for that reason.

Read more:  http://www.angelfire.com/planet/skerjastrond/blowpipe.html  This is image heavy, but I sized them down a bit so it isn't too crazy, even for dialup.
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hardlec
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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2010, 03:18:42 am »

The difference between soldering and brazing is rather subtle, many professionals use the term interchangeably and the quibble is off topic.  For later discussion, the difference is not really trivial....

Can brass be soldered? Yes.  Brazed? Yes.  Welded? Yes. 

There is a lovely little book called THE COMPLETE METALSMITH.  It will explain in detail, and, being spiral bound, it will lay flat so you can access the book while you are working.  It should be available at any bookstore, but it may be necessary to special order it.

The advice in the thread so far has been wonderful.  I hope I can add:

Solder flows to the heat.  If the solder doesn't flow, it is not hot enough.  Too hot is not a good thing either, so it is necessary to be careful.

Good solder, good brazing rod and good flux is usually available in finer welding supply stores.  Jewelry Supply stores that handle the stuff are rare.  Silver Solder used for jewelry may or may not be the right stuff.  The solder used to repair silver jewelry is designed to make the joint invisible.  Good flux is a good investment. 

The electrical “soldering iron” is good for electrical/electronics work.  There is a model that is several pounds worth that is used for soldering gutters and such which can “braze” but it uses enough electricity to power a small apartment.

Torches vary in size.  There is a model out that uses a modified butane lighter as a fuel source.  It is a surprisingly good “precision” torch but it can’t solder large items.  I use mine mainly on earrings and to light my bigger torches.   There is even an oxy-fuel torch that uses an air tank and a fuel tank the size of CO-2 cartridges for bb guns.  It is a rather expensive thing to use, as the fuel is costly and lasts only a few seconds.  There is a pencil torch that is good for small projects, and I use it a lot. A crème Brule torch, used to light French deserts on fire (Crème Brule, Crepes Suzette, etc.) is also a good small-project torch
My favorite torch is a bernz-o-matic “mini-torch” which is a hand-piece on the end of a hose.  I use MAPP gas and get all the heat I need for projects like ring shanks and the occasional bicycle repair.






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endberg
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« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2010, 01:10:14 pm »

There is a cheap chinese hobby torch, wich works with lighter gas.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Is it enogh to start some small brazing work (little wires, cogs, etc.), or should I save some more money for a decent torch?
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2010, 05:29:38 pm »

It will soft solder small things, fine. I used a similar one for ages on thin tube and brass rod etc.
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elShoggotho
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« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2010, 05:34:31 pm »

For small pieces of brass, I use a small brazing torch. For larger pieces, I have a plumber's brazing torch around. For the brazing rod, I use a silver alloy. 50 percent silver, 25 percent copper and zinc each. Basically silver and brass. You also need brazing flux, to keep the parts from oxidising.
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hardlec
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« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2010, 03:55:50 pm »

Bernz-o-matic makes a very basic oxy-fuel torch.  It uses propane and oxygen. 

It can be uses with the O2 off, and it is an adequate propane torch.  With the O2 on it can weld or cut steel. 

Soldering/brazing requires that the heat match the size and composition of the project.  A bike frame needs a lot more BTUs than a watch fob, but about the same temperature.  small torches often can't heat a big object hot enough.
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elShoggotho
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« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2010, 05:09:32 am »

How would I go about brazing larger sections of copper plumbing? As we know, copper pipes of a certain length dissipate the heat faster than a torch can supply it. I've tried two torches, with less than complete success. As it stands, I might be forced to use two-component resin instead of copper brazing rod.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2010, 09:47:02 pm »

If you mean joints, central heating engineers use Map gas and a heat shield behind the pipe...
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