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High altitude soldering


#1

Help

I need some help with soldering at altitudes above 4500meters. We use
a bellows pump with gasoline as fule and rely upon air for the fule
mix. The pump is similar to jewelers torches used throughout Asia.

Could anybody suggest a substitute torch or a modification to our
existing torch. We do not have the luxury of compressed gases. The
fules we have available are kerosene and gasoline.

Cheers
pat
at nova@thaiway.com


#2

Dear Jatu, Your situation is a daunting one, but, you do mention
that you have gasoline available. If you also have a four
cylinder automobile engine you can make it function as an air
compressor by dedicating one cylinder to air compression while
the other cylinders provide the muscle. This kind of rig was
used here in America during the thirties and forties and was
especially useful in high altitude mining where jack hammers
were required and access was difficult. Good luck! Ron Mills at
Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, CA.


#3
Dear Jatu, Your situation is a daunting one, but, you do mention
that you have gasoline available.

I suppose that the costs might be prohibitive. But if you could
afford it, the hydrogen torches we use should work fine. That
would be for small soldering, of course. These torches convert
water to hydrogen and oxygen, which then re-combine when burned.
It wouldn’t matter how much oxygen was in the air, it wouldn’t
be needed. Perhaps your situation might merit some financial
help from some industry source, or Society of North American
Goldsmiths. How many of you are working there?


#4

Hey David, great idea on the high tech solution (with funding or
course).

If the problem can be described correctly there are probably
lots of sources to supply funding for such development work.

You and Jatu and another voluteer or so want to form an offline
working group to make this happen?

An issue is replacement of parts and chemicals, one doesn’t want
to have a great machine rendered inoperative because the cost of
special lubrication (or something) is more than a person makes a
day in the country it is intended for.

Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada


#5

Hi Charles; Glad you liked my idea, and of course I’d be glad to
help in an offline thread. My wife is a community developer,
perhaps I can get some professional couseling on just how we
might go about this. She has training in how to address
problems like this.

And by all means, lets get some others involved. Before we
begin, please allow me to re-post Jatu’s original message, and
let us see if any more of our readers might have some ideas.
Let’s see just how powerful this internet thing really is.

By the way, just to throw something in here. Nitrous Oxide is
fairly easy to make. Appart from the suffocation danger, it’s
not that dangerous, not explosive or corrosive. Doesn’t it
increase the available oxygen to hydro-carbon feuls? Maybe we
might give them some temporary solution to use until we might
aquire contributions of hydrogen/oxygen water torches.

Glad to help, still an `ol bench rat though . . . David L.
Huffman


#6

Hello Charles

My name is Pat I am a jeweler presently teaching and running a
jewelry studio in Chaingmai Thailand. In june I will be
conducting a jewelry workshop in Tibet on the north face of Mt.
Everest (altitude 4500meters).

We have funding from several sources to solve several technical
problems the Tibetans face. The area is very remote no
electricity or motorized vehicles. I have not visited the area
yet but I understand that the lack of Oxygen is a problem for
there soldering operations. The idea of using a compressor is a
good one but it does not solve the oxygen problem.

The local people use foot torches with gasoline or kerosene as
fuel similar to torches used throughout Asia. The rely upon air
to mix with the fuel, they also use some type of bellows
furnace.

My work besides teaching will be to set up workshop, not an easy
task given the conditions. before I leave I must submit a
proposal for equipment.

The project is a part of a poverty eradication program as the
peoples traditional way of life will very soon be drastically
changed . The idea is to bring existing traditional skills up to
a marketable level.

If you have any ideas I would appreciate your input.

Pat
I understand you attended NSCAD.
I graduated from NSCAD in 1986.


#7

people - haven’t been following this thread since soldering in
florida presents very few problems except keeping your equipment
afloat in our more moist times. BUT could the high altitude
oxyen lack be offset by using a french blowtorch? you know, the
kind with two tubes: one for fuel & the other for blowing to
increase temperature; after all, the bessemer steel process
worked the same way - bumping up the temp with oxygen blown in
the furnace - we southern females know more than how to make
juleps & a grit ot two … ive


#8

Have you considered the Solidox torch? I didn’t think it was too
good a solution here where O2 is plentiful, but it might be
worth the hassle at high altitudes.

US Navy used to use chemical O2 generation in it’s oxygen
breathing apparatus to be worn while fighting fires. I don’t
know the chemicals involved.

Chunk Kiesling


#9
By the way, just to throw something in here.  Nitrous Oxide is
fairly easy to make.  Appart from the suffocation danger, it's
not that dangerous, not explosive or corrosive.  

A Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded in recent
years for research into the role of Nitrous Oxide, that is the
gas has a fundamental role in human physiology, an important
intermediary in neuro transmitter interactions. I will have
to look that up as to exactly what the claims are. NO the same
gas used in anaesthetics.

The point is if that compound is so fundamental to our
physiology the last thing I want is to have an extraneous source
getting into my system even in trace amounts as one would be
regularly exposed to if used in a workplace.

    Doesn't it increase the available oxygen to hydro-carbon
feuls?  Maybe we might give them some temporary solution to use
until we might aquire contributions of hydrogen/oxygen water
torches. 

Bottled NO is used to boost the performance of internal
combustion engines, a common practice for speed record breaking
attempts.

Kelvin Mok (@Kelvin_Mok1)
Home: (780) 463-4099 | Home FAX: (780) 430-7120


#10

Pat, I am curious as to what problems they might have at altitude
with soldering.Iam not sure but if you were to bring a small tank
set up with two regulators I think the pressure from the tanks
would be sufficiant to create a flame to solder with and you can
use the regulators to increase pressure on the oxygen or fuel to
adjust for the variance .I think.I am not up on my conversion of
meters but if 4500 meters is really 14,625 ft. you may have a
problem but on the other hand if they (the Tibetians) are using
a bellows and gasoline to solder with I would think it should
work.Also I had a Vietnamese jeweler working for me that swore by
gasoline and a mouth torch.they are probably more adept with that
set up.I know jewelers who solder at 10+ thousand ft with no
problems.Iam at a measily 5400 ft.If you are getting funding I
would go for a laser welder as an alternative or maybe a
hydrowelder.You could teach wax carving and have it cast at a
lower altitude. Best J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio


#11

Nitrous oxide is also used as a propellant in aerosolized foods,
notably redi-whip and other canned whipped creams. If you are
hesitant about ingesting nitrous, , take this into consideration.

Lee Einer


#12

Nitrous Oxide is NO2 it is the anesthesia gas and is used to
make canned whipping cream also the Horsepower, booster in
engines. NO IS NITRIC OXIDE - IT IS VERY TOXIC . NO reacts with
air to make N20 Nitrogen Dioxide which is also toxic . This
gas has a brown color. Nitrous Oxide is simple to produce but the
process is very dangerous. It is made by the thermal
decomposition of Ammonium Nitrate ( fertilizer) Remember the
Oklahoma City Federal Building And The BIG BLAST at Texas City.
Not a SAFE low tech process. Jesse


#13
    Have you considered the Solidox torch? I didn't think it
was too good a solution here where O2 is plentiful, but it
might be worth the hassle at high altitudes. 

I’m not familiar with this torch. What can you give
us like who carries it, how does it work, how costly, etc.

    US Navy used to use chemical O2 generation in it's oxygen
breathing apparatus to be worn while fighting fires. I don't
know the chemicals involved. 

Yes, the Russian space station used something similar, chemical
generation of oxygen. We might go some where with this.


#14
    The point is if that compound is so fundamental to our
physiology the last thing I want is to have an extraneous
source getting into my system even in trace amounts as one
would be regularly exposed to if used in a workplace. 

I remember hearing that dentists are not using it much any more
because they themselves are suffering damage from exposure, so I
think that indicates we should discard that approach.

    Bottled NO is used to boost the performance of internal
combustion engines, a common practice for speed record
breaking attempts. 

Are there possible fuel additives that would allow more complete
combustion, without creating an explosive danger greater that
already exists with gasoline? Again, I’m interested in
nitrates. We know that high nitrogen fertilizer and deisel fuel
(a rather sluggish combustive) are used as explosives. Might
smaller amounts work? I’m not a chemist, but I know some of our
posters have astonishing knowledge of chemistry. By the way
Kelvin, I’m sure we’d appreciate you continuing to help us with
this thread. At this point, all ideas are good ones until
examined more closely. Thanks David L. Huffman


#15

Pat. Perhaps you might consider jewelry styles that have no
soldering. These techniques might include combinations of
beaded work, woven wire, wire wrapping, forging, repousee,
chasing, piercing, linking etc. This area of Tibet must have
some indigenous jewelry styles, could you build off those
techniques? Adding soldering to their arsenal of techniques
might stifle a very unique style that has tremendous potential
in its own right.

Anthony Toepfer
Keene, NH


#16

The problem with the solid ox and the chlorate candles that we
used on the submarines and were also used on Mir is that you can
not control them. Once they are lit they will continue to burn
as they are a mono propellant (fuel and oxygen all in one) that
produces more O2 that it consumes in burning. So they are not
really useful for a torch as you can’t just turn it off when
you are done. They also are burning at 1800-2000 degrees F so
the container that they are burned in must be well designed.

Jim


@jbin
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
510-533-5108


#17
     I understand that the lack of Oxygen is a problem for
there soldering operations. The idea of using a compressor is
a good one but it does not solve the oxygen problem. 

I think that a compressor will indeed solve the soldering
problem at high altitudes. At 4500 meters, the COMPOSITION of air
is essentially identical to that of air at sea level ie., 21%
Oxygen, 78% Nitrogen, and 1% Others. The problem, both with
humans breathing and with torches that “breathe” ambient air at
high altitudes, is not the composition of the air but the
PRESSURE. However, if you take air from 4500 meters and compress
it into a tank to, say 100 psi, the air in the tank “doesn’t know
or care” whether it came from from a site at 4500 meters or at 0
meters. If you use a torch that has separate supply lines for
fuel and air, like a Hoke or Smith (Rio Grande #500-161), you
should be in good shape. I infer from your comment above that it
is feasible to have a compressor. If so, you should be home free.
Regards,… Bob Williams


#18

G’day; NO KEEP OFF THAT!! See also my very recent post on the
SOLIDOX torch system.

In any case the problem as I see it is that these folk who need
to use gases for jewellery work are so remote that any
deliveries of exotics like containers of gases are rather out of
the question. Even at the height at which they work, there is
still enough oxygen in the air to operate a gasoline engine, or a
torch with either bellows or lung blown air. (I have done
scientific apparatus glass blowing with bellows) The main problem
seems to be to get an appropriate fuel. Gasoline/air fuel
systems worked well in New Zealand for chemistry bunsen burners
in schools which had no gas supply, and I personally saw such
systems in the past. Not the best, but the users made the best
of what was available at the time, and what was available did
what was needed at an affordable cost. Just imagine the cost to
a very remotely situated jeweller who is barely able to support
his family on what he makes and sells, on having to pay for a
special delivery of a propane tank? Although oxygen tanks seem
to be discarded on high mountainsides like lolly wrappers, the
cost of transporting one of those would be horrific to your
struggling jeweller. A sense of proportion is required here.
Sorry to go on, but I just couldn’t resist. But cheers, John Burgess


#19

Brilliant! That’s exactly it! Jatu and Charles, Mr. Williams
has, I think, put us exactly on to the solution to the problem.
Now, it should be possible to compress air even without
electricity present. Gasoline powered compressors are certainly
easy enough to come across. I could even see, for small
applications, using air compressed into a simple storage tank
using foot operated bicycle pumps. The solution of the old car
engine with the one spark plug removed and a line hooked up in
it’s place comes back to mind. Let’s see if this can be developed further.


#20

David I like very much your idea of an offline forum to address
the Tibetan Project . How do we proceed? I have a outline
proposal for the Tibetan Project which I can e-mail to
interested people.

Thanks
Pat