[Noisebridge-discuss] soldering copper sheet metal

Eric Michaud michaud.eric.c at gmail.com
Thu Nov 12 00:01:46 UTC 2015


I think learning how to braze copper pipes is a great place to start. Also
look up sweating copper pipes. Once you understand how that works in theory
and practice you'll be on the road to soldering your sheets.

On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:18 PM, Adam <adam at aperture.systems> wrote:

> Also, clean the copper beforehand with muriatic acid (home depot) and
> then rinse with water to ensure no acid is left behind.
> -^-^-^-^-^-
> Adam Munich - Builder of wild things (and organizations)
> Website | Linkedin | Twitter | Tel: +1-650-452-0554
>
> The key to mastering any skill is nothing more than passion and
> persistence.
>
>
>
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:17 PM, Adam <adam at aperture.systems> wrote:
> > You need proper tools. My iron has no problem soldering copper pennies
> > in seconds.
> >
> > Get a metcal RFGx rf generator:
> >
> http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=metcal+sts&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.Xmetcal+rfg.TRS0&_nkw=metcal+rfg&_sacat=0
> > A wand for it:
> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-OKI-MX-RM3E-Solder-Wand-with-Accessories-/111765721508?hash=item1a05c191a4:g:gSoAAOSwEetV7dh3
> > And this beefy tip:
> >
> http://www.amazon.com/Metcal-STTC-117-Soldering-Applications-Temperature/dp/B005T6WLY8/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1446848122&sr=8-11&keywords=metcal
> >
> > Use kester solder, and you'll be up and running in a hurry.
> > -^-^-^-^-^-
> > Adam Munich - Builder of wild things (and organizations)
> > Website | Linkedin | Twitter | Tel: +1-650-452-0554
> >
> > The key to mastering any skill is nothing more than passion and
> persistence.
> >
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 1:07 PM, Henner Zeller <h.zeller at acm.org> wrote:
> >> On 6 November 2015 at 13:01, Henner Zeller <h.zeller at acm.org> wrote:
> >>> On 6 November 2015 at 11:57, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>     I've uploaded photos of my failed attempts to
> >>>> solder copper sheet metal :
> >>>>
> >>>> http://www.systemateka.com/Copper/
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     Each of the three jpg files shows the same things
> >>>> from different camera POVs.
> >>>>
> >>>>     The longest copper strip separates the foreground
> >>>> attempts, tried various types of glues from the
> >>>> background attempts, tries with various types of
> >>>> solder and flux.
> >>>>
> >>>>     The soldering iron advertised 950 degrees F; the
> >>>> (blue) propane advertised 2000 degrees F; the (yellow)
> >>>> MAP advertised about 3000 degrees F.
> >>>>     Each got the copper (30 gauge and 24 gauge) hot
> >>>> enough to melt the solder. The propane was hot enough
> >>>> to get the copper bright rid. The MAP was hot enough
> >>>> to vaporize the copper and let a little drop of
> >>>> molton copper fall.
> >>>
> >>> Too hot! For soldering, you actually don't want to go much higher than
> >>> what needs to be done to melt the solder. Which means any torch based
> >>> attempt is probably too hard to control.
> >>>
> >>> If things are too hot, then you burn the flux, and if even hotter, you
> >>> evaporate part of the solder which will change the composition of the
> >>> alloy, making it work worse.
> >>>
> >>> For best results (I guess you already tried that), the copper needs to
> >>> be at the place of soldering; this is what flux is good for (in your
> >>
> >> This should read "needs to be _clean_ at the place of soldering"
> >>
> >>> case, with no electronic parts, even acid flux is ok; you get it for
> >>> copper-pipe buidling supplies).
> >>> The rosin is good flux while soldering, but for these big parts
> >>> pre-cleaning it with some acid-based flux is good.
> >>> Of course, mechanical means (steel wool?) might as well to get you
> started.
> >>>
> >>> What I often do when I have to solder something that sucks off a lot
> >>> of heat (such as: huge pieces of copper that are very good in
> >>> conducting heat away from where you want it :) ), put it on an (old)
> >>> electric stove (with a solid platter, not this spiral thing rubbish)
> >>> to get up to temperature or close to temperature. Then whatever you do
> >>> with the soldering iron gets you much further.
> >>>
> >>> It is not the final temperature of the iron that counts, but if it can
> >>> keep going in putting enough energy in when the material (here:
> >>> copper) sucks away the heat.
> >>> An iron with at least 100W is probably needed for your task (can't
> >>> read it on the image).
> >>> (950F is actually too hot, you want to be not much more than 600-700F
> >>> on the material). The additional heating with the stove platter helps
> >>> you getting better overall even heating and less premature cooling
> >>> with a smallish iron.
> >>>
> >>> Also it avoids avoiding (too hot) solutions such as propane/MAP.
> >>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     My interpretation of the dark brown residue on
> >>>> the pieces in back is that is cooked rosin.
> >>>
> >>> yep, that is probably a fair assessment. Things were too hot.
> >>>
> >>>>     I've tried various glues: goop, water weld,
> >>>> super glue, krazy glue, liquid nails.... None of
> >>>> them hold enough to resist being pulled apart (with
> >>>> mild force).
> >>>>
> >>>>     I believe it'll be best for us to find someone
> >>>> who can do the work: we have various models to show.
> >>>>
> >>>>     Anybody interested in taking this project on? My
> >>>> guess is four to eight hours total, flexible time.
> >>>>
> >>>> Hopefully, with thanks,
> >>>> jim
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On 11/01/2015 03:34 AM, jim wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     oh: yes, I want to solder the pieces together.
> >>>> I've tried with clamping--no dice.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On 11/01/2015 03:28 AM, jim wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     yes. I've cut small pieces of 30 gauge and also 24
> >>>> gauge and have tried to tin them (tin 'em first, then
> >>>> solder them together, yes?) with horrid results: a dark
> >>>> brown crust develops that shows little round pin-head
> >>>> sized circles and the solder just sits in a ball and
> >>>> then rolls off.
> >>>>     I've used two different types of flux and various
> >>>> types of solder (tin-lead, silver...).
> >>>>     I've gotten the copper bright red with a propane
> >>>> torch. I've used a soldering iron.
> >>>>     I've washed them with alcohol, paint thinner, and
> >>>> muriatic acid; I've also washed them with a solution
> >>>> of lye and sodium carbonate and borax. I've sanded
> >>>> them with fine and with coarse paper, by hand and
> >>>> with an orbital sander.
> >>>>
> >>>>     In the past I've soldered electronic circuits and
> >>>> copper pipe successfully.
> >>>>     A couple of experienced people say it sounds like
> >>>> the surface of the copper sheets is contaminated, but
> >>>> golly! After all that scrubbing and washing and flux
> >>>> and heating?
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On 11/01/2015 03:08 AM, Cere Davis wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> So ur just trying to solder copper to copper?
> >>>>
> >>>> On Oct 25, 2015 4:37 PM, "jim" <jim at well.com> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     I've soldered electronics and plumbing and
> >>>>> am stuck trying to solder copper sheet metal.
> >>>>> I've used a soldering iron and a propane torch.
> >>>>> I've used alcohol, acetone, and paint thinner
> >>>>> to clean the copper as well as fine and coarse
> >>>>> sandpaper to clean the surfaces. I'm using
> >>>>> electronic flux (haven't yet tried plumbing
> >>>>> flux).
> >>>>>     The soldering is not working: solder does
> >>>>> not flow or adhere to the copper, and there's
> >>>>> a brown residue that appears after heating.
> >>>>> Using a torch for forty or fifty seconds
> >>>>> results in flame that does not immediately
> >>>>> expire.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     Anybody got tips?
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
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