" The Solder Shop Q/A "

Discussion in 'The Academy' started by rcline, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. rcline

    rcline Member

    This is where I'll answer all your questions about proper soldering and even some not so proper solder tricks!
  2. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I just read your tutorial on how solder works. My questionthen is, what part does flux play in the connection of solder to the metal where they bind together. I think you called it the intermetallic zone.

    I think I'm learning something after all . Thanks rc.

  3. rcline

    rcline Member

    Lynn- flux promotes cleaning of the metals while preventing air (oxygen) from touching the metals while the metals are hot. When the metals are hot, oxidation (rust) starts immediately, flux helps to prevent this.
    When I get into the class of flux (in the solder shop) I'll cover all that.
    and thank you for your fine question!
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Happy to see the tutorial, and this Q&A. Thanks for giving it another chance.
  5. rcline

    rcline Member

    hello pete, I'm really happy with the number of pm's that I have gotten over these two threads. Here is what n-gauger said ( if I can get this thing to copy and paste!)

    Ok - Temporary thing [​IMG] I placed the link to the Solder Shop in the reference section (First form on main page)

    "Member's FAQ" Forum


    The Mods & I are debating wether to put this "new Sub-Forum" into the Academy - with this link in the FAQ [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This is growing into a really cool idea!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    ~~ Thanks!! I'll let you know if / when anything else develops [​IMG]
    ~~ Mikey

    I am tickled to no end! -- randy
  6. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Hi I was wondering about when you solder track how you keep the ties from melting? I get it just hot enuf to run the solder and look down and the ties went with it !!! not a good thing LOL thanks for the ideas. I did talk to the radio shack in town they have no idea..
  7. rcline

    rcline Member

    Who dat73 --- What I do, and you might be able to do also, I snap the track loose from the rails themselves for about 4 ties back. Then I put a spacer between the rails and the ties to keep them seperated a little ways, after making my soldered connections, and letting the joints cool, I snap them back. Also I use a little heat sink (can buy at R.S.) to keep the heat from traveling down the rails to the point where the track is still snapped to the ties. Give that a try. Also I bet that several of the other members have several other good ways of doing it. I'm sure that they would to help you out also! (the heat sinks that I use are spring loaded clips made of aluminum
    which absorbs heat real fast, so be careful not to burn your fingers when removing them)
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I'm certainly no expert and I look forward to reading the rest of rclines tutorial, but my experience is that heat sinks drain heat away, making it take longer to properly heat the joint, thus melting the ties. Best way to avoid melting ties is to work fast. Keep the tip clean and hot, tin both the wire and rail, and then just hold the wire against the rail and heat. Ought to take like one second. However, if you do melt a tie or two, remove them and replace with others. I use a chisel blade to remove the cast on spike detail on the side away from the aisle and just slip them into place, glueing them. The fact that they are useless for holding the rail in gauge won't matter as you shouldn't have to replace more than two.
  9. rcline

    rcline Member

    Gary, you are sort of right. The idea of using a heat sink to prevent the heat from spreading any farther down the rail or up the wire or if you are soldering the leads (or pertinning) to a componet. I place my heat sinks at about the the third tie down. A proper soldered connection should not take any longer than about 2 to 3 seconds (if pretinned only about 1 to 1-1/2 seconds). In that short amount of time the heat will only travel about 1 to 1-1/2 ties down the rail (if pretinned, not even that far). I, myself, have never gotten my heat sinks hot, but I still use them as a safety factor. you are right about pretinning everything first! I'll be getting into that a little later on in the the solder shop, along with photos, charts and graphs. And then a lot of sneaky tricks and tips. I don't know if you have ever had any training in soldering, but I can tell from your above post that you do pay attention to what you do and you
    have no problem figuring out the do's and don'ts. Very good work on your part!
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I use rail gauges for heatsinks. That way, even if you soften the ties, when they harden the rail will be in the right place.
    If you have trouble finding rail gauges, the Kadee coupler height gauges have the same formation on the bottom.
  11. rcline

    rcline Member

    who dat73- Read what 60103 just now had to say. I told you that you would learn a lot of good stuff from other members! Great idea 60103 (David), I'm going to remember that one myself! Thank you for your itput.
  12. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    this all makes sence to me why didnt I think to take the rails loose??
    Not one of my brightest moments I guess
  13. rcline

    rcline Member

    Don't feel bad, I have a couple of track gauges and I never thought of it! I'm just to use to doing everything the "HARD WAY".
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I want to give a bit of warning to everyone about solder. The standard solder has always been either 50/50-radiator solder, or 40-60 which is covered in the "solder shop". Last time I was looking for solder to use for electrical soldering at work at Home Depot, I discovered they don't carry any solder containing lead anymore. Their electrical solder is 95/5 which is 95% tin and 5% antimony. This is a solder that I have used for years in refrigeration, because pipe joints made with 50/50 or 40/60 in a refrigeration system will only hold until the unit is started up and pressures come up to operating levels at which point everything blows apart! It is a lot stronger than lead solders, but not as strong as silver bearing solders. The down side is that it melts at much higher temperatures. 40/60 rosen core solder is still available at industrial hardware supply stores. When you go to buy solder, look closely at the package to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting.
  15. farnham

    farnham New Member

    I've heard that wet tissue paper is good as a heat sink. Makes sense to me, since water has a much higher specific heat than any metal?
  16. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    Can pewter be soldered?

    Can pewter be soldered or should I use a glue? Which would be stronger? This is for vehicles made from cast pewter parts.
  17. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    As with all metals, there has to be a way to solder, braise or weld pewter, but I don't think you will be able to use the standard tin/lead available. Dependent on the size of the parts, I'd use CA glue, just be sure they are free of any oil by cleaning them with water and detergent first. There are several recent threads in the Technical forum on this subject.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't know why I didn't think to mention this before, when it comes to removing heat, the most efficient thing around is water. The best heat sink you can get to keep ties away from the solder joint from melting is to put a damp wash cloth across the rails just a little ways up from where you want to make the joint. You can touch the soldering iron to the wash cloth and it will cool it off, but heat won't get past the wash cloth until it is pretty much dried out!
  19. pennman

    pennman Member

    Heat Sinke Under The Rails

    This might help some of you. I have N scale and when I solder rail joint I have a stainles steel feeler gauge ground down to fit between the rails and ties, it works rather well to keep the ties from melting I also use a alum. block wich I machined to fit the rails and absorbe the heat. just a little tip.

    THANKS TONY:wave:
  20. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    How do you solder small joints that you want out of site? for example, say i am making a catenary bridge made of brass, and i don't want there to be a big nasty glob of solder at each joint. how do i apply only alittle solder?

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