How to solder (beginners guide)

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GingerBreadMan
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by GingerBreadMan » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:32 pm

I just finished soldering stainless steel to stainless steel. Here's how I did it.

First the tools that are required -

Image

Propane torch with solder iron tip (or you could use an electric solder iron as pintoshine describes)
Kester 817 liquid flux - says on label good for soldering SS (pintoshine has alternative fluxes)
95/5 tin/silver solder - your garden variety plumbing solder
Brush for applying flux
SS scrubby and SS brush on dremel tool

For this soldering project, I cut the rim off a SS bowl and I'm going to solder this rim to a SS pot. The idea is it will make it real easy to attach a SS bowl (I soldered a copper fitting to this bowl earlier) with black clips and seal with flour dough.

First step is to clean the SS surfaces to be soldered. First with the SS scrubby and then with a SS brush attached to the dremel tool. Apply some liquid flux and then attach securely with some black clips and start soldering.

Image

Actually I found it easier to solder with the pot in this position -

Image

Man I could solder SS to SS all day long. It's really easy to do.

Here's the final result -

Image

Some tips -

- pieces should be clean. I had four spots where the solder didn't stick. No worries, when it cooled down, I used the SS brush to clean it up, applied some flux and resoldered.
- do not attempt with just a propane torch, you'll just scorch the SS. The trick is the soldering iron.
- I found it best to solder an inch at 12,3,6, and 9 o'clock positions. Then I soldered an inch in between those. This way I could ensure the bowl rim was perfectly aligned on the pot.
- soldering SS to SS is more like making a little pool of solder and spreading it around. Nothing like soldering copper. It's very fast once you get started. Apply liquid flux again if it doesn't stick to the SS. It should right away.

Gee, I feel like a pro after doing this. Thanks to pintoshine for the great instructions.

Here's how the pot goes together with flour paste -

Image

A couple of black clips and this boiler is so easy to set up and break down.

Image
I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.

Cmonster
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Cmonster » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:10 pm

GingerBreadMan wrote:I just finished soldering stainless steel to stainless steel. Here's how I did it.
Nice work GingerBreadMan. You've made it look so easy I want to try and do some myself. :D
Thanks for the inspiration - I've got some work to do for my other hobby on a cylindroconical fermenter.

cheers, Cookie

HookLine
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:42 pm

Nice work, and tutorial, GBM
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

pintoshine
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by pintoshine » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:50 pm

GBM you win the prize for today. That is an excellent solution to a bowl on pot and many will benefit from you ingenuity. That is a real nice piece of work and you are going to get a lot of enjoyment out of that. Two bowls.. who would have thought. One for a platform and the other as the cape. You impressed me a lot with that. It is so obvious now that I see it. I will make sure that that design says GingerBreadMan forever and recommend it to all the newbs wanting a cheap and reliable setup. that is a perfect foundation for a pot still or a column. Kudos to GBM.
One question for the future builders. What are the brand names of the pot and the bowls and what are their place of purchase? I can never find any that fit that well. :cry:

Bohunk
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Bohunk » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:13 am

GB,
I had the same idea some months back, I got the idea from picking up a stack of bowls in a store, and found it hard to get one bowl off of the stack. The light went off in my small little mind, “interference fit”. I had been trying to figure out how to get away from messy seals, etc. If you find a store that has good quality bowls, you can pick two that fit together very well. I would suggest if you silver solder or weld the bowl to the top of a keg, you should leave the first bowl alone until after it is welded on, then cut the top off, this helps keep it from warping. I also left the first bowl much taller than you did, every little bit helps seal it up. Great tutorial GB, I hope more folks can benefit from your post.

The Bohunk

GingerBreadMan
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by GingerBreadMan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:29 am

Thanks pinto. I see this boiler as a product of evolution from all the posts and pictures I've seen here. The end cap was inspired by pikluk's design - which I would have done if I used a 2" cap. The 1 1/2" cap seemed better to put the bolt in the middle with a few holes.

Image
pikluk's mounting of a 2" copper cap to SS

This post (and seeing the SS bowls stacked) triggered the idea of soldering the rim of a bowl to the pot

http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... =16&t=3549

The more we post and show pictures and share whatever information the better we get at making simple and safe stills and of course making really fine likker.

pintoshine wrote:One question for the future builders. What are the brand names of the pot and the bowls and what are their place of purchase? I can never find any that fit that well. :cry:
To find a SS bowl that fit, this was more of a treasure hunt. I measured my pot and went around to different places and measured SS bowls with my handy Stanley tape measure. It would seem there is no standard size. I ended up finding the right size at a grocery store. Did the same thing when I built a still for my friend. We measured pots and bowls until we found the right size.
I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.

Hawke
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Hawke » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:11 pm

It should work great. One thing that may be of concern; If you find that when you remove the top and have a flood of liquid run out between the two. You may want to drill a couple of small weep holes in the rim, if this happens.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

Xnerd
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:34 am

Sorry no pictures yet but I wanted to ask a question anyway.

I have built a fairly large pot still head that will be attached to a keg VIA a stainless bowl.
I have a good thick stainless bowl to work with instead of the thin flimsy ones you find around today.

I was going to braze a 2 inch fitting right to the bottom of the bowl using standard brass brazing rod. But I have had issues with the stainless warping in a past attempt using ox/acetylene torch. Now perhaps I was using two heavy of a rod I am not sure. My past experience is mainly brazing steel bar stock and angle iron.

My question would be… do you think that silver solder would be a relatively strong connection (butt soldering) to a bowl like this? The reason that I want to do it this way is to reduce the internal reflux of this system somewhat. It is a tall keg and will have a lot of reflux going on all by it self.

I can’t decide whether to try silver solder or give brazing another attempt. I was thinking that perhaps if I do the brazing BEFORE I cut the hole in the bowl It might now warp as much. Or perhaps talk braze around the fitting to keep it tighter?

Anyone with any experience in this area?

Thanks you great posts here btw.

Jeff

Hawke
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Hawke » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:25 pm

I think silver solder would be strong enough, and requires less heat than brazing.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

Xnerd
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:21 pm

well too late LOL

I just tried it agian and damn its hard! funny thing is it sticks to the stainless easier then the copper.
Its like trying to get water to stick to butter!

I got it dont but I tell you what I will never post an image of it. It doesnt seem to leak.... much....
Now I have to figure a way to clamp the bowl to the keg. Lots of good ideas around here so I should be able to figure out something.
I hate do drill outside the bowl and use washers but that seems to be straght forward....

Xnerd
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:35 pm

Ok I filled the fitting with water and it did leak :(
It took about ten minutes to noticeably leak...

If you ware wondering I brazed it to the bowl before cutting the center out. That’s how I was able to fill the coupling.

I’m starting to get bummed out here. It leaked real slow I mean a teaspoon in ten minutes.
Perhaps in an open system nothing much will come out… I don’t know.

At any rate I will try to use it this weekend and then come up with a better solution.
What a nightmare this one aspect of this project has been. Next time I use the clamp I think….

Hawke
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Hawke » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:46 pm

Vapor will find it's way out pretty easily. Use some flour dough around the joint to seal it.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

Xnerd
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:00 am

Well...

I decided to try something that I should have in the first place. I put a bigger tip on my torch and turn up the heat.

I stayed far away from the joint and simply heated the whole thing up; bowl and fitting cherry red. As soon as it hit red the blobby weld smooth out and spread evenly. It is 100% sealed now... Still looks a bit rough but it will work. I'll use a hand grinder to improve the appearance for prides sake.

It is very tricky to braze copper to stainless. Copper just wants to get rid of the heat and the stainless wants to cave in! I think that I learned a whole lot doing this step. I wont soon forget this technique. You can’t stitch weld a thing like this! You have to have a HUGE area heated to red before you introduce the rod.

So its done now. I used a small stainless bowl to further reduce the internal reflux of this design. It will be tricky to attach this to the keg in a way that will allow easy removal.

I have a big box of stainless screws and wing-nuts so I am thinking about brazing three stainless machine screws up through the keg top around and using washers and wing-nuts to clam the thing down.

Xnerd
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:12 am

BTW I didn’t mean to hijack this thread with my personal soldering/welding issues. I am actually going to build a small still based on the design in this thread. It is very innovative! I am very impressed with the simple and effective method.
I do have a question for the author though… Is it necessary to use a soldering tip like this or could you do it with bare flame?

You did a very neat job on this so I think I should look around for a soldering tip like this!

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by pintoshine » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:30 am

I found the soldering tip(iron) to be quite necessary to push the solder around on stainless. Stainless lacks the wicking property the copper has. The solder wets quite nicely but puddles and does not run like on copper. Yes a tip or iron is necessary with stainless steel.

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by rad14701 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:32 pm

@Xnerd

You really shouldn't need to get the metals red hot for soldering... For brazing, yes... For soldering, no... Proper flux application and more indirect heat application would most likely yield better results... You may need to apply additional flux before/during the solder application process... Avoid heating too aggressively and don't allow soot to develop on the surfaces or it will need to be removed as it will become a thermal barrier and mess up the entire process... Use of a soldering tip pretty much eliminates most of the issues mentioned...

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Xnerd » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:48 pm

rad14701 wrote:@Xnerd

You really shouldn't need to get the metals red hot for soldering... For brazing, yes... For soldering, no... Proper flux application and more indirect heat application would most likely yield better results... You may need to apply additional flux before/during the solder application process... Avoid heating too aggressively and don't allow soot to develop on the surfaces or it will need to be removed as it will become a thermal barrier and mess up the entire process... Use of a soldering tip pretty much eliminates most of the issues mentioned...
I was brasing.

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Kirko » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:01 am

Brazing is also called silver soldering, or vice versa.
The interchangeable terms is a source for much confusion.
Soldering is the use of a low temperature metal to join two items.
Silver soldering (or brazing) uses a higher temperature metal (still lower than the melt temp of the material to be welded) to basically weld two items.
In soldering, you stick two metals together through adhesion.
In brazing (or silver soldering) the filler material creates a new alloy at the joint, fusing the metals.
Silvaloy brand silver "solder" and many of the other silver "solders" are not silver soldering, they are soft soldering. Even if a solder does not contain lead, it can still be a "soft" solder.
A good quality silver solder will contain at least 80% silver, and melt at around 1700 F, the higher the silver content, the less oxidation of the solder while welding and the higher the temperature needed. All silver soldering (brazing) is done with the metal at or near red heat.
Whether soldering or brazing, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. When soft soldering, clean the metal with abrasive, rinse, then detergent, rinse, then rinse with solvent. One fingerprint will ruin the flow, if that happens, re flux with a wire brush and scrub the solder in as it melts.
With brazing, cleanliness is just as important but harder to maintain. You can't scrub it in because your brush will burn up, you can use a long handled scraper to scrape the seam as the braze flows but this is tricky, often necessary. Heat causes oxidation, oxidation stops the metal from joining, the key is to have everything bright (by scraping or sanding) and clean and work fast. The longer it takes you, the more the metal will oxidise.
If you get half way through and build up too much fire scale (oxidation) stop, scrape the metal bright, pickle with sodium bisulphate, re flux and start again.
The best way to avoid oxidation while brazing is "fire coat". Mix boric acid and pure alcohol 1 to 5 (one part boric 5 parts alcohol). Pour or brush this on your joints and immediately light it, the alcohol burns off and leaves a coating of boric (flux). A good flux is boric acid and borax 50/50 mixed with water or alcohol. Any commercial brazing flux should work.
Silver solder will flow towards heat, it also will draw itself along a seam by way of capillary action. Learn to use the capillary action, learn to draw the solder with heat. If you are soft soldering, I have no advice except, don't do it.
Silver soldering is also called hard soldering.
Silver solder generally comes in 3 grades, easy, medium and hard, they are all 3 hard solders.
I prefer to use hard silver solder on everything but it may be easier if you use medium or easy. All 3 melt at high temperature, the benefit of having 3 solders is you can join complex items by starting out with hard, going to medium when adding more parts, ending with easy for the last parts. This avoids earlier joins from coming apart while soldering later joins, not usually needed for still making.
My main supplier for flux, pickle (sodium bisulphate, called Sparex ) and silver is Rio Grande, in Albuquerque NM, give them a call and ask for the tool catalog, everyone should have one of their catalogs, they are the standard for the industry.
So:
Clean it
scrape it
wash it
rinse it
fire coat it
flux it
braze it
pickle it
repeat as necessary.
I may not have explained this as clearly as you like but I'd be happy to answer any questions.

winowilly
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by winowilly » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:14 pm

Kirko wrote:Brazing is also called silver soldering, or vice versa.
Well, not really. "brazing" as it's name implies uses brass as the joining material. When using silver alloys it is usually called "silver soldering" or "hard soldering", sometimes "silver brazing". You can use any term you like, I'm just pointing out that brazing does not especially mean silver.

OBTW: Anyone tried soldering pastes? these are fluxes with powered solder mixed in. Just paint on the joint, assemble and heat until you see the solder flow. Really easy to use. Think I even saw it at Home Depot.

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by mampoer » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:13 am

This is my first post on this (or any) forum.

I have used solder paste for several years in the electronics industry. We use it for fixing surface-mounted components to printed circuit boards. I tried in on some copper pipe joints and I wasn't too impressed. I found that most of the paste was squeezed out when I assembled the joint and there wasn't enough remaining in the joint to make it waterproof after heating it and melting the solder. I had to feed in some wire solder to finish the joint to my satisfaction.

Maybe this was because I was using (lead-free) solder paste instead for the electronics industry rather than the plumbing industry, but I doubt it. The paste I used had 89% solder and 11% flux.

Mampoer

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by rad14701 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:46 am

mampoer wrote:This is my first post on this (or any) forum.

I have used solder paste for several years in the electronics industry. We use it for fixing surface-mounted components to printed circuit boards. I tried in on some copper pipe joints and I wasn't too impressed. I found that most of the paste was squeezed out when I assembled the joint and there wasn't enough remaining in the joint to make it waterproof after heating it and melting the solder. I had to feed in some wire solder to finish the joint to my satisfaction.

Maybe this was because I was using (lead-free) solder paste instead for the electronics industry rather than the plumbing industry, but I doubt it. The paste I used had 89% solder and 11% flux.

Mampoer
First and foremost, does that solder paste contain any lead...??? If so, don't use it if it is going to come into contact with anything a human might ingest... You wouldn't eat lead paint chips, would you...???

Second, you need not worry about getting paste into the joint itself... Capillary action will draw the paste into the joint just like it does with standard rolled solder...

Hope this helps...

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by Dnderhead » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:30 am

what? the hole object of paste it you pant/smear it on where you want it .and heat and yes you can git it in lead free, used in laminating copper and
printed circuit boards/auto soldering

rad14701
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by rad14701 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:58 am

I recall sweating a portion of our hot water baseboard system with solder paste almost 40 years ago and we didn't have to put the paste right into the joint during dry fit assembly... We reverted back to standard sweating technique because solder paste made our work harder instead of easier...

Whether paste or solid solder the theory is the same - heat the copper and the solder is drawn into the joint... Copper joints are far to snug for paste to stay between components during assembly... At best it would be pushed deep into the joint and then be drawn out of the joint, the opposite of standard sweating where the flux and solder are drawn into the joint...

Regardless, lead content is still the biggest concern...

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by mampoer » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:10 am

Solder paste is available in many different alloys and yes, the one I used is completely lead-free. It has 97% tin, 2.5% silver and 0.5% copper. I might be new to this forum but I have read just about everything on the parent site several times over! I have been distilling for about five years and soldering for about 45 years! The problem with the paste is a mechanical one. You can put it exactly where you want it but if the joint is a close fit then most of it gets displaced when you assemble the joint (slide the pipe into the coupling, for instance). The solder CAN flow back into the joint, but it can also flow all over the place and frankly it is just as easy to use wire solder, and a lot easier to control.
Mampoer

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by winowilly » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:46 pm

Rad: Not sure about the solder being "drawn out of the joint", capillary action can only draw the solder into the joint. At any rate, if you only paint it on the tube that is going into the coupling then any that is scraped off will be on the outside. I like the idea of it helping to “tin” the surfaces in the joint and then adding a little more wire solder from the outside. I’m always a little leery because I can’t see anything of the joint except the outside and have to assume that the mating surfaces are well joined. Whenever I can I like to “tin” the surfaces prior to assembly. If you use a brush they will usually still slide together. Sometimes they won’t slip together, so I just heat them while pushing them together. OBTW: They make wire brushes similar to the combo used for battery posts and cables that are great for prepping.

rad14701
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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by rad14701 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:16 pm

winowilly wrote:Rad: Not sure about the solder being "drawn out of the joint", capillary action can only draw the solder into the joint.
In or out, the solder is drawn towards the heat... Therefore, if the solder paste is in pushed deep into the joint during assembly, prior to applying heat, it will be drawn out if heated where the components meet...

Regardless, any way you slice it, using rolled solder is better than using paste - in my humble opinion...

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by legalost » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:12 am

pintoshine wrote: What are the brand names of the pot and the bowls and what are their place of purchase? I can never find any that fit that well. :cry:
I was able to find a WINCO SS Double Boiler that hold 20 liters and a WINCO 10 in SS mixing bowl to work very well together. Everything fit good and it all high quality food service grade. I was able to locate them on Amazon below.

http://www.amazon.com/Winware-Stainless ... 765&sr=8-9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
http://www.amazon.com/Mixing-Bowl-Heavy ... 876&sr=8-1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by alwaysannoyed » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:33 pm

I for one am grateful for the advice, I am learning this all on my own, through trial and error, allot of error! And I am glad for the guide lines. Thanks again.

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by pumpman » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:27 am

Man I realy needed the info on this thread. You guys are doing some great work. I'm building a pot still from GBM's design and found some real nice SS stock pots at Wallmart. The sizes they have are 8,12,16 and 22qts ranging from 30 to 45 dollars. Finding the bowl was a crapshoot though. I think I found mine at Ross. I'll post some pics when I'm done with it,if I can figure out how.
Likker in the front and poker in the rear

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Re: Howto solder (beginners guide)

Post by myles » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:20 am

One thing I have heard about but dont know what to use, is an ANTI-FLUX agent. Something you put on before you solder that STOPS the solder going where you don't want it to go.
I think in the old days they used some sort of soot or carbon product. Anyone know what the modern equivalent is?

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