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Author Topic: a question about copper sheet  (Read 1779 times)
stardust
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« on: August 08, 2009, 03:07:34 pm »

sorry if this is a daft question, but i have never worked with copper before, so please excuse me.

can a sheet of 0.5mm thick copper be attached to another piece using a soldering iron to produce a similar line to a weld and is there any specific solder i would need to use or would regular solder be ok.

i have designed a simple copper lantern which could probably be joined using split pins which would look like rivets, but i want to attempt to produce a neat 'weld' as well. hope that makes sense!
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2009, 03:25:09 pm »

Depends on the size of the sheet, it acts like a giant heat-sink so it takes a while for it to come to the correct temperature with a soldering iron, however it is possible Smiley You should sand the area you want the solder to go on so it is shiney and rough, this helps the solder to adhere. Upon completion of the joint you may also wish to use a steel file on the soldered area as it will most likely be bumpy (a wood file would probably go blunt Undecided)

you can solder almost any metal that has good enough heat conduction, but remember, soldering is not welding, do not get the two mixed up Smiley

By the way different solders dont differ much, however some seem to work and others dont, it all depends on the alloy- old stuff often has lead in it so don't breathe those fumes!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 03:26:52 pm by JingleJoe » Logged

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stardust
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 03:28:53 pm »

thank you. the solder-to-look-like-a-weld idea is more for aesthetic reasons than structural. the structure will come from the rivet/split pins.
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jringling
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 03:44:44 pm »

I would use a torch, but the temps involved will make it VERY difficult to get a solder joint to look like a weld. You could try putting a small rod in the joint and solder that in place... that MAY look like a good weld bead.....
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 04:58:13 pm »

I'd make the solder joint look like a solder joint.

It's a perfectly good way of joining copper and will age up quite nicely of its own accord. Just clean any remaining flux from the metal and let nature take its course.

The old time coppersmiths would have taken a pride in only using the minimum amount of solder to get the job done, so big blobby joint lines betray the amateur or the apprentice about to get his a**e kicked.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 07:50:16 pm »

With a torch it would be easy to solder. Clean it up as mentioned, clamp it as a very close fit with some liquid/paste flux in there, heat it up and run the solder along the join, the capillary action will flow it into the joint, easy. The clamp could be the rivets of course. As for what solder id just use plumbers solder. If its to look like a weld/bead you could use brazing rods but then it would be a difficult job getting it up to the much higher temperature needed, they would however look more like a traditional welded bead.
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stardust
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 08:10:25 pm »

thank you very much for sharing your wisdom with me. i am completely new to this so it is very much appreciated.

and D. Johannes von Clausthal - more information on solid rivets would be much appreciated thank you.

i was planning on using the rivets to hold it in place whilst being soldered.

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jringling
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2009, 03:53:56 am »

thank you very much for sharing your wisdom with me. i am completely new to this so it is very much appreciated.

and D. Johannes von Clausthal - more information on solid rivets would be much appreciated thank you.

i was planning on using the rivets to hold it in place whilst being soldered.


Check out the plague doctor mask I made from copper sheet... 100+ solid rivets... I found a source here in the US for low quantities of rivets that is fairly inexpensive.... Smallparts.com I think... If the rivets are set correctly, you will not need to solder anything...
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Robo Von Bismark
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2009, 11:21:19 am »

As a side note to this topic, I was talking to one of the metal workers at my job and fold out he also works with brass/copper on the weekends.

He mentioned that copper sulphate (found in most gardening shops) can be used to colour the silver finish of tin-based solder to match the copper sheet. You crush the blue crystals into a fine powder and then use a wet rag to rub them into the silver join.

I tried it on an earlier piece and it works quite well



I don't know how well in would work with brass



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stardust
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2009, 11:56:47 am »

wow - thank you! it's so nice to wake up and find all of the answers i need have appeared in the night!

i will definately try the copper sulphate thing and i would prefer to work with round headed rivets anyway.

i can't wait to get started now. Grin
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Robo Von Bismark
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 02:11:59 pm »

What is that thing? It looks pretty interesting.


Old raygun design made with brass found objects. It was good practice to learn Copper/brass soldering with. The part your looking at is a bracket I made to fit a fake vacuum tube to the top.

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8524.0.html
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jringling
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2009, 03:00:34 pm »

Very nice mask by the way, is it heavy?

Not too heavy. I keep meaning to take it somewhere and weigh it... I should be able to wear it for 1/2 hour intervals without a problem...
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2009, 12:00:04 am »

wow - thank you! it's so nice to wake up and find all of the answers i need have appeared in the night!

i will definately try the copper sulphate thing and i would prefer to work with round headed rivets anyway.

i can't wait to get started now. Grin
I'm with Dr.Quack, let soldering look like solder. I agree that rivetting will act like clamps, but if you haven't properly cleaned and fluxed the areas to be soldered, you can't easily unclamp the work and re-flux it! So, clean the copper to a nice clean shiny finsih for the soldered areas. Leave the bits you don't want solder to adhere to (we even used to mask off the bits not to be soldered with "plumber's blacking"). I use a paste flux ~ make sure it is properly formulated for the solder type you are using. I know different types can be made to work, but with rivets and a desire for a neat finish, why take the risk? Then heat the joint up with a gas torch until the flux flows clear and dab on the solder rod. The rod should melt on the heat in the metal, not in the heat of the flame. That way you should get a good joint. Once the solder rod is flowing well, take the heat away and let the remaining heat in the metal carry on the job. Only re-apply the heat of it starts to stick. Copper Sulphate will colour the surface of solder but the solder will continue to darken over time, so the joint will still be visible. It is often used in Tiffany lamp style glass working where the copper tapes have been soldered over for strength. As in all things, practice makes perfect! Good luck. 
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