Author Topic: Tix solder for trackwork  (Read 2032 times)

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Chris333

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Tix solder for trackwork
« on: August 01, 2016, 07:36:13 AM »
+1
I'm about to hand lay some track and would like to try Tix solder because it is supposed to be way stronger than regular solder (blah blah blah). I'm hoping it will help joints from popping years later. I'm guessing due to expand/contract even though it mostly stay in the basement year round.

Will I have and problems with this?


ednadolski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2016, 09:15:56 AM »
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Will I have and problems with this?

Under normal conditions and with proper installation, I think that the brand should not make a noticeable difference.  If you are going to have conditions where properly-made joints could mechanically fail (e.g. rigid points soldered to moving throwbars, or excessive expansion/contraction) then better to address & mitigate those conditions rather than rely on the mechanical strength of the solder.

IF there is any chance that you will be filing the solder (ie, frogs & joints) then I strongly recommend a lead-free solder.  It is costlier and it does have a higher melting point, so you have to be more conscientious about heat sinking and clean joints.  That said, I see no reason to work with toxic metals when alternative approaches are available.  Remember, the filings will get on your hands and into your files, vacuum, and other tools.

HTH,
Ed

peteski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2016, 04:56:43 PM »
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Tix's slogan is "strongest soft solder on Earth" (or something like that).  BTW, that is a marketing term. They aren't comparing it to "regular" solders because there is no such thing. There are soft and hard solders. There are soft and hard solders.  Soft ones are all low-tempearature solders we use. Hard solders are the ones used for brazing metals (much higher melting temps).

When I bend Tix solder sticks they seem to be much softer and more pliable than a similar thickness 60/40 electronic solder.  Silver-bearing solder seems to be even stiffer.  But it does have a relatively low melting point (lower than most Sn/Pb solders).  That might be desirable to reduce plastic tie melting.

I would th ink that because it is so soft, it is not as strong. but maybe the softness is actually desired for this application?How that translates to strength? I don't know.  I'm also curious whether someone will offer some scientific explanation.

While I appreciate Ed's concern about lead, I think ti is a bit overblown.  Model railroaders and all electronic companies have been using solder with lead since their infancy.  I have never heard of any model railroader getting lead poisoning from soldering.  The main reason environmental police has forced discontinuation of lead-based solder use was because of concerns for the environment (lead leaching out of all the discarded electronic equipment). I suppose there is a risk involved in using lead-based solder, but I think that it is negligible if you observe basic common sense.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 05:01:51 PM by peteski »
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Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 05:17:58 PM »
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I just want a stronger joint. I bought the silver solder that Bob is always talking about and could barely get it to melt. Even used that super safe 30 flux.  It has a high melting temp.

Can't find it now , but though I read the Tix solder was like 10 times stronger than solder regular containing lead.

I hate when a year later something like this happens:

peteski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2016, 06:07:56 PM »
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Yes, one of the big benefits of Tix is the very low melting temperature (where silver-bearing solder is on the other end of temperature extreme).  But as far as strength goes, I nto sure how softer equals stronger.

The curved track which separated from the ties seems to me that would have happened no matter what solder used. If it bowed-in that much it seems to indicate that it was under very high stress.   Where did the extra length (which allowed it to bow in) come from?
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Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2016, 06:12:20 PM »
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I could have worked it a little too hard trying to fine tune it, but I have other straight track work that just one day popped off one rail.

Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 06:15:45 PM »
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This isn't a solder problem, but this was perfectly straight and then one day:


I have since fixed it, but still it is in the basement with only about 10-15 degree temp swing all year.

davefoxx

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2016, 06:22:34 PM »
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This isn't a solder problem, but this was perfectly straight and then one day:


I have since fixed it, but still it is in the basement with only about 10-15 degree temp swing all year.

I was going to suggest that cold joints may be the issue (especially since you said you could barely melt the silver solder), but looking at that bridge, that's got to be expansion/contraction.  Did the wood bridge dry out and shrink, leaving the rails with no where to go but wiggly?

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Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2016, 06:32:33 PM »
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I don't use the silver solder because it didn't melt much. I only tried one and then put it away. And my iron goes up to 700-800 degrees.

My ties are glued down about every inch so once the rail is soldered to it there is nowhere to go. But I don't take the layout outside in the sun either.

ednadolski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2016, 07:08:57 PM »
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Model railroaders and all electronic companies have been using solder with lead since their infancy.  I have never heard of any model railroader getting lead poisoning from soldering.

Sorry but that has got to be one of the worse excuses for disregarding safety information.  Lead *is* a known toxin and has been demonstrated and documented as such for decades.  It does not become any less so, just because you yourself have not "heard of" any particular cases.   (And how could you know of any such cases anyway?   It's not like there are bodies of research that compile long-term group health statistics of model railroaders).

Filing lead-based solder *will* create very small, fine particles that will readily get on tools, fingertips, parts, etc.  Even if the exposure is small, how is it a good idea to deliberately disregard the hazard?

While the hobby necessarily involves the use of certain kinds of hazardous materials, these can be used safely when properly handled.  If you wish to disregard proper handling recommendations, then that is of course entirely your own right and choice.  However I don't think it is a good idea to downplay the potential risks by holding up flimsy anecdotal 'evidence' as justification.

This is not about being alarmist, but I think it does fall under the "common sense" that you mention.  Why develop bad habits unnecessarily?


Ed


« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 07:11:27 PM by ednadolski »

peteski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2016, 07:13:30 PM »
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I suspect that what you are seeing is not temperature, but moisture/humidity related. Wood can swell under more humid condition and dry up (shrink) when relative humidity is low. I see that in the gaps in a hardwood floor in my house.  In the winter when t it is cool and humidity is very low there are visible gaps in the floorboards. In the summer when it is warm and very muggy, the gaps full close up.  The humidity (relative amount of moisture in the air) is related to temperature too, so it might seem like the temperature is the problem. But as I understand, for example the 60 degree air at 50% relative humidity has less moisture than 85 degree air with 40% humidity.

No matter what on the layout expands and contracts, the rail needs expansion joints every few feet.
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peteski

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 07:17:47 PM »
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Sorry but that has got to be one of the worse excuses for disregarding safety information.  Lead *is* a known toxin and has been demonstrated and documented as such for decades.  It does not become any less so, just because you yourself have not "heard of" any particular cases.   (And how could you know of any such cases anyway?   It's not like there are bodies of research that compile long-term group health statistics of model railroaders).

Filing lead-based solder *will* create very small, fine particles that will readily get on tools, fingertips, parts, etc.  Even if the exposure is small, how is it a good idea to deliberately disregard the hazard?

While the hobby necessarily involves the use of certain kinds of hazardous materials, these can be used safely when properly handled.  If you wish to disregard proper handling recommendations, then that is of course entirely your own right and choice.  However I don't think it is a good idea to downplay the potential risks by holding up flimsy anecdotal 'evidence' as justification.

This is not about being alarmist, but I think it does fall under the "common sense" that you mention.  Why develop bad habits unnecessarily?


Ed

I'm not disregarding anything.  I use common sense.  :)  In many decades of being in the hobby I have never heard about lead poisoning of model railroaders in the groups I hang around in, in the model magazines or on the news.  This might not be the most reliable or accurate source of info but it is good enough for me.

I have filed and sanded lead sheet used for weighting cars and even when using fine grit sandpaper the filings or "dust" is not even close to be fine enough to float through the air (lead is quite heavy).  Unlike the find dust produced when sanding resin-cast shells.

Of course Ed, you right - we can *NEVER* be too safe. Plain common sense to me.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 07:21:09 PM by peteski »
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mmagliaro

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2016, 07:32:32 PM »
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Chris,
What kind of silver bearing solder did you use?  I use some 2% silver bearing solder I got from Radio Shack and it does not seem any harder to melt than regular solder.  And it definitely hardens to a stiffer, stronger joint than conventional rosin-core electronics solder.

Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2016, 07:50:26 PM »
+1
Looks like the link is old, but I used this stuff:
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31228.msg344821#msg344821

96/4 Tin/Silver solder

Chris333

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Re: Tix solder for trackwork
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2016, 08:05:03 PM »
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Well crap.

I just tried it again and it worked  :|

I will so though I used to touching one side of the rail and holding till I see solder ooze out the other side. This stuff didn't really do that I had to touch both sides to be happy with it. Used the supersafe 30 flux. Maybe I'll try the silver solder with my old hardware store flux.