Author Topic: Soldering Question  (Read 1340 times)

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6axlepwr

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Soldering Question
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:56:13 AM »
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Why is it after annealing brass it will not accept soldering?

I have annealed some brass wire, but then I cannot solder the bundles together. Prior to annealing I could solder the wires together. But then I needed to anneal the wire and the heat broke the solder joint. So I tried it the other way. Anneal the wire and then solder it. Nope, would not work. I cleaned the carbon off after annealing also and still could not get the solder to stick. I was using flux also.
Brian

LV LOU

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 10:33:57 AM »
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Brian,what do you mean by"carbon"? Brass is brass,if you shine it up with oooo steel wool after annealing,it should solder.unless you're getting it so hot annealing it,you're destroying it? All you really need is a color change,you don't need it glowing.Why do you even need to anneal it? Really heavy stuff? It would be really difficult to get the temp right on wire,especially using something like a torch.Are you quenching it in water?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 10:36:34 AM by LV LOU »

6axlepwr

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 11:28:43 AM »
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The carbon or at least that is what I call it is the black soot that builds up on it after running it through a candle.

The wire is 0.008" diameter brass. Yes, sometimes it turns red passing it through the candle. I guess, that is destroying it. I do not quench it in water. It cools down rather quickly.

The 0.008" wire is the correct size for traction motor cables. I am having some cable blocks etched. But just a little while ago, I came across a place that sells 0.008" (0.2mm) solder. I can use this for the traction motor cables and slip it through the blocks. Then I can get the look I am after. I had to anneal the brass wire to get it to bend smoothly. Now I do not have to. But this is a learning experience. So if I do not heat the wire till it is red, I should be able to clean it up and solder it.

Thanks. I am getting better at soldering and soldering small parts, but still need to learn a bit more.

Just a for fun. When I make my coupler lift bars, if I anneal the ends that are at the center I can make an operating lift bar. What I do is make the two ends. I do not make the bar all as one part. Then I etched the loop that goes over the coupler. I etched the correct shape and the ends have loops with holes. I bend the loops 90 degrees to the bar. I anneal the ends of the brass wire that passes through the loop. Then make a return bend and you have an operating coupler lift bar. I also have the lift bar brackets etched. They look really nice.
Brian

6axlepwr

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 11:45:54 AM »
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I need very soft flexible wire. Finding the 0.2mm solder will do the job just fine.
Brian

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 12:02:18 PM »
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The carbon or at least that is what I call it is the black soot that builds up on it after running it through a candle.

The wire is 0.008" diameter brass. Yes, sometimes it turns red passing it through the candle. I guess, that is destroying it. I do not quench it in water. It cools down rather quickly.

The 0.008" wire is the correct size for traction motor cables. I am having some cable blocks etched. But just a little while ago, I came across a place that sells 0.008" (0.2mm) solder. I can use this for the traction motor cables and slip it through the blocks. Then I can get the look I am after. I had to anneal the brass wire to get it to bend smoothly. Now I do not have to. But this is a learning experience. So if I do not heat the wire till it is red, I should be able to clean it up and solder it.

Thanks. I am getting better at soldering and soldering small parts, but still need to learn a bit more.

Just a for fun. When I make my coupler lift bars, if I anneal the ends that are at the center I can make an operating lift bar. What I do is make the two ends. I do not make the bar all as one part. Then I etched the loop that goes over the coupler. I etched the correct shape and the ends have loops with holes. I bend the loops 90 degrees to the bar. I anneal the ends of the brass wire that passes through the loop. Then make a return bend and you have an operating coupler lift bar. I also have the lift bar brackets etched. They look really nice.
Okay..First of all,to anneal brass or copper,you do the exact opposite of what you do with steel.You heat it up to color change,then quench it it water.Heating it actually hardens it!! .008 wire would be almost impossible to to reliably anneal with a flame for a heat source.Me? Regular old copper wire would be probably what you need.Just strip a few different pieces of copper wire until you find the right size.If you insist on brass,take a few pieces of the size you want,wrap them tightly in aluminum foil,and put them in your oven at 500 or so.let them sit in the oven for 30 minutes or so,then quench the whole package in cold water..

6axlepwr

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 12:26:49 PM »
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Thanks, I am going to give that a try. Appreciate the tip.
Brian

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 03:47:09 PM »
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Apart from the 0.2mm solder, have you looked into magnet wire? I've used some 32 gauge magnet wire for stuff I need to bend easily without kinks and it seems to work very nicely, you can clean the enamel coating off with a blob of solder on your soldering iron and it will be clean copper wire.
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LV LOU

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 05:49:50 PM »
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Apart from the 0.2mm solder, have you looked into magnet wire? I've used some 32 gauge magnet wire for stuff I need to bend easily without kinks and it seems to work very nicely, you can clean the enamel coating off with a blob of solder on your soldering iron and it will be clean copper wire.
Instead of magnet wire,which has an enamel coating on it you need to strip to work with it,why not just use strands from regular copper wire,which has no enamel coating on it,and is easier to find? Literally,every piece of wire you find is a candidate..

havingfuntoo

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2013, 06:26:21 PM »
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If you are using a wax candle to heat the wire, it will be coating the wire with a greasy soot that will need to be washed off with a solvent or detergent and water before you try to solder. Flux will not cut through it. Try using an alcohol burner or cigarette lighter to anneal the wire if you only want to soften a small section and you want the rest to stay hard. Bring it to cherry red, quench it in water, then pickle it with some acid (warm vinegar will do it). Bend and solder, flux will always help the solder to look neat.

ps rinse off the vinegar with water and dry on paper towel if needed and don't touch it with your fingers before you solder it.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 06:31:26 PM by havingfuntoo »

mark.hinds

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 01:10:03 AM »
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If you are using a wax candle to heat the wire, it will be coating the wire with a greasy soot that will need to be washed off with a solvent or detergent and water before you try to solder. Flux will not cut through it. Try using an alcohol burner or cigarette lighter to anneal the wire if you only want to soften a small section and you want the rest to stay hard. Bring it to cherry red, quench it in water, then pickle it with some acid (warm vinegar will do it). Bend and solder, flux will always help the solder to look neat.

ps rinse off the vinegar with water and dry on paper towel if needed and don't touch it with your fingers before you solder it.

Just to clarify, if you heat brass to cherry red and let it cool slowly, you have "annealed" it, and it will be softer and more maleable.  If you heat it and then cool it quickly by quenching it in water, you have "tempered" it rather than annealed it, and it will be harder and less maleable. 

BTW, if you have a gas stove, the flame from the burners is a good way to heat stuff cleanly. 
MH

robert3985

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 02:40:13 AM »
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Just to set the record straight.  Brass doesn't harden by quenching it.  Quenching does NOTHING to the crystalline structure of brass, but it does cool it down quicker.

The operative temperature to anneal brass is 700 deg. F, getting it any hotter (cherry red or more) will weaken it considerably. 

When I anneal my brass cartridge cases to keep the necks from getting brittle from work-hardening after a few reloadings, I put them in a shallow cookie pan with enough water in it so that when the cases are lying down, the water covers them.  However, the cases are initially standing up, and I take a Propane torch and heat the necks until they turn "blue"...then "straw" colored, then tip 'em over in the water with the tip of my torch, then on to the next one.  I don't allow them to get red.  If I did that, then I'd crush the case and throw it in the scrap bin, 'cause it would then be weakened enough to be dangerous to load and fire.

So, the way to soften hard brass wire is to heat it just enough so that you can see it change color...to "blue", which really isn't blue, but a darker color, then hold the torch on it for just a bit longer.  You can then quench it or just let it cool.  The effect will be exactly the same on the brass wire.

However, if you're doing this to steel wire, it will harden.  But, steel is a whole different animal than brass.

There's lots of disinformation out there about annealing brass, so just 'cause you read what somebody thinks doesn't mean it's true.  It's not a big deal in model work since we aren't loading anything full of powder, chambering it and and pulling a trigger to set off the powder and send the bullet downrange.  However, the methodology is pretty plain how to anneal brass cartridges, and if it were wrong, I'd have had thousands of rounds blow up in my face over the years which hasn't happened. 

When I was running the Thiokol model shop many years ago, we did many projects that needed representations of piping or wiring, and hard brass wire was just too difficult to work with, even breaking if the bend was too sharp because it'd work harden and become brittle with just one bend sometimes.  So, annealing brass was something we did quite often, and we always quenched it just for safety's sake.  Made for nice, smooth easy bends...and quenching brass rod NEVER made it hard...NEVER.

peteski

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 03:25:27 AM »
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Well Bob, how exactly do we know that what you just stated is not just one of those "facts" you read and believe in on the Interwebz?  ;)

As far as workability goes, I agree that this whole annealing brass thing is way too complicated, and that using thin copper strands from stranded electrical wire is probably the easiest solution here.
. . . 42 . . .

LV LOU

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 08:26:08 AM »
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Just to set the record straight.  Brass doesn't harden by quenching it.  Quenching does NOTHING to the crystalline structure of brass, but it does cool it down quicker.

The operative temperature to anneal brass is 700 deg. F, getting it any hotter (cherry red or more) will weaken it considerably. 

When I anneal my brass cartridge cases to keep the necks from getting brittle from work-hardening after a few reloadings, I put them in a shallow cookie pan with enough water in it so that when the cases are lying down, the water covers them.  However, the cases are initially standing up, and I take a Propane torch and heat the necks until they turn "blue"...then "straw" colored, then tip 'em over in the water with the tip of my torch, then on to the next one.  I don't allow them to get red.  If I did that, then I'd crush the case and throw it in the scrap bin, 'cause it would then be weakened enough to be dangerous to load and fire.

So, the way to soften hard brass wire is to heat it just enough so that you can see it change color...to "blue", which really isn't blue, but a darker color, then hold the torch on it for just a bit longer.  You can then quench it or just let it cool.  The effect will be exactly the same on the brass wire.

However, if you're doing this to steel wire, it will harden.  But, steel is a whole different animal than brass.

There's lots of disinformation out there about annealing brass, so just 'cause you read what somebody thinks doesn't mean it's true.  It's not a big deal in model work since we aren't loading anything full of powder, chambering it and and pulling a trigger to set off the powder and send the bullet downrange.  However, the methodology is pretty plain how to anneal brass cartridges, and if it were wrong, I'd have had thousands of rounds blow up in my face over the years which hasn't happened. 

When I was running the Thiokol model shop many years ago, we did many projects that needed representations of piping or wiring, and hard brass wire was just too difficult to work with, even breaking if the bend was too sharp because it'd work harden and become brittle with just one bend sometimes.  So, annealing brass was something we did quite often, and we always quenched it just for safety's sake.  Made for nice, smooth easy bends...and quenching brass rod NEVER made it hard...NEVER.
+1..Bob,I actually own a bullet casting business,I have a Magma casting machine,a Star Auto sizer,and two hand Star sizers,and a half dozen reloading presses.I'm a Dillon Dealer..I cast about a half million rounds a year,probably shoot 1000 a week..[Well,I did when I could buy primers.. :x]

havingfuntoo

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 10:51:34 AM »
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MH’s suggestion of using a gas stove burner is also another good suggestion for getting a clean flame.   

Bob you are right but it is hard to get a thin piece of wire not too hot yet hot enough to do the job. Being lazy I tend to over heat more often than not just to get the job done ….. fortunately I am not working with ammunition casings just hobby bits and pieces and on the edge of my abilities with the odd bit of emergency patch up pipe work needed in a truck wash. It is always good to be informed by those who know better, we can never stop learning. I have not thought about placing the object in water to keep it cool, the old boiling water in a cabbage leaf trick.

Sokramiketes

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Re: Soldering Question
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 02:45:05 PM »
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Just to clarify, if you heat brass to cherry red and let it cool slowly, you have "annealed" it, and it will be softer and more maleable.  If you heat it and then cool it quickly by quenching it in water, you have "tempered" it rather than annealed it, and it will be harder and less maleable. 

BTW, if you have a gas stove, the flame from the burners is a good way to heat stuff cleanly. 
MH

Yeah, you're describing the process for steel.  As Bob notes, brass is different and doesn't care if it is cooled quickly or slowly.  A lot of modelers use the flame method because it is quick and done at the bench while you're working on something.
Mike

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