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Borax Cone / Easyflo / Prips

G’day John Burgess (and anyone else who can advise)

I have been using Borax for 4 years and have been putting off
changing. I have been planning to make Prips for months after
following some of the posts on Orchid. My question is whether Prips
will both protect surfaces from oxide formation AND assist solder
flow, or whether one needs to add another flux like Easyflo where you
are doing your actual soldering work. And if so, how dangerous is
Easyflo to use?

I would appreciate your comments (which are always excellent!) Regards
Christel van der Laan in West Oz

I have been planning to make Prips for months after My question is
whether Prips will both protect surfaces from oxide formation AND
assist solder flow, 

G’day Modom; you rang? Prips flux does protect surfaces from the
dreaded fire stain to a certain extent, but isn’t the magic some would
say. It does work as a flux when soldering, but I do put a little
Easyflo on the joint as well, for Easiflo is the best flux I have used
for actual soldering. Dangerous? I dunno, really. I’ve been using
it for over 25 years and although I do have asthma, I have no idea
whether Easiflo is a contributory cause or not. (I have been told I
have “contorted bronchia”, actually). But if you’re really worried,
then stick to Prips for protection, and plain borax slurry for
soldering. After all, Prips does contain plenty of borax and a bit
more won’t hurt. Maybe you’ll never feel happy about Easiflo; nobody
has done any research on it’s effect on us. So what we have heard
about deleterious effects is just anecdotal. Sorry I can’t be more
positive. Cheers, – John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua
Nelson NZ

John, regarding prips flux for soldering… Yes it works, but not
exceptionally well. It’s mostly boric acid, which is fine as a
protectant, but not an exceptional soldering flux. It does work well
enough as a soldering flux if your metal is nice and clean, the joints
fit, and the solder is clean, and your technique is good. It has the
advantage of not promoting fire scale the way some of the much more
active paste fluxes seem to do sometimes (perhaps when they burn out
before you’re quite done). If you’re doing simple seams, especially
with the harder solders, then prips will do OK. If you’re working
with the lower/easier melting solders, you need them to flow
exceptionally well, or your construction is quite complex, then you
might find prips not to wirk quite as well as you’d like. But try it.
I use it as both protectant and soldering flux lots of times, and
often it’s enough. As to danger, I don’t specifically know about
Easyflo flux. Many of the white paste fluxes are flouride containing.
some of them are formulated such that in use, HF fumes or other
flouride fumes are not emitted, and some of these fluxes, like
Dandix, for example, then advertise themselves as being fluoride free.
Seems fishy to me, since they have fluoride, but just don’t give off
fluoride fumes in use. As to their danger, seems to me that any of
these should be used with at least reasonable ventilation and caution,
but those fluxes that don’t mention being fluoride free, or worse,
those that specifically mention the need for ventilation, should be
used with every bit as much caution as the lable suggests. Prips, of
course, has no fluoride containing chemicals in it at all. but even
borax and boric acid, I feel, should be used as fluxes with at least
reasonable ventilation. Heck, even if the flux isn’t giving anything
off, the flame, the soldering surface, even the metal, might be…


Peter Rowe

Hi John,

Just out of interest at one time I started to put a little Easyflo
flux in my borax dish to see if it would improve it as a flux. I found
the Easyflo flux good for the easy solders but not so good for the
higher ones. It did work to a degree but the borax cone started to
crumble after a while so I went back to the plain old cone. We also
make a flux up out of Borax, Boric acid, methylated spirits and boiled
water. The other guys seem to like it but I always return to my boring
old borax cone. It works for me.

From across the water in Wellington,

Chris Hackett