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Sprayer for Prip's flux


I retrieved Peter Rowe’s original article on Prip’s flux and I
mixed some up and used it, with pretty good results. The only
problem is that the spray bottle I have does not spray fine
enough to get a really even coating. In his article Peter says
"The best sprayers by far are the cheap little
two-tube-with-a-hinge mouth atomizers that ceramics folks
sometimes use for applying glazes". I am not familiar with the
kind of sprayer he is referring to. Can someone please elaborate
on exactly what this is he’s talking about and where they are

Thank You
Steve Shelby


Hello Steve;
The atomizer that Peter refers to,I found at a local art supply
store,where they sell all types of art supplies
from sketch pads to paints and brushes. Good luck,John Barton,Images By JJ


Dear Steve, The strayer described is also used for setting
charcoal and dry pastel drawings and usually can be found in
artist supply shops. Just ask for charcoal drawing setting
liquid and the automiser to use with it. Thats the item you need
for Prip’s flux. Cheap too. Sharron in sunny Saigon


Steve: a ceramics place should have these, they are made of two
brass tubes (plated with tin or something) and hinged. One tube
is narrower and goes into the bottle, the other tube is fat and
when you blow, it forces air over the top of the thinner tube,
creating a vacuum that sucks up the liquid and then sprays out at
your object. If you have an art supply place near you the might
also have it, as its used for many kinds of art purposes. If
they don’t have them they definitely can order one for you as
they are in most art supply catalogs. And yes they do work well.
One thing though if you leave it in the Prips (HEY PETER I
SPELLED IT RIGHT!!!) over time the tube is liable to clog with
crystalized liquid. The solution is to use a thinner brass wire,
heat it and ream it out. It might ream out without heating but if
it won’t heating will melt the clog. OK, hope that


Steve, I can’t tell you where to get the spray bottle you
mentioned but I wanted to tell you how I solved the problem of
applying Prips. I got a needle nosed flux bottle from Rio
Grande. It hasn’t clogged yet and I use it to apply Prips while
I torch my piece at the same time. The Prips frosts up as you
heat the piece and I can direct the very fine stream of Prips
where I need it. NET


Sometimes referred to as a mouth atomizer, this tool ,when bent
for storage, resembles a compass. It is composed of two hollow
tubes. For use, open the tubes so they form a right angle,
submerge the longer(as I recall) end in the fluid to be sprayed.
Blow through the other end over the top of the semi-submerged
tube. It sounds more complicated than it is. Although this
method works I prefer my reclaimed allergy atomizer even though I
have to keep refilling it to use it in an upright position. It
has a finer mist and is easier to direct. I made a miniature
spray both out of aluminum roof flashing so I don’t get the spray
all over everything on my bench.

If you want one of the “mouth” atomizers, though, try a local
arts supply store first. These sprayers are sold for stencil and
ceramic glaze work. If you can’t find one there, try Sax Arts and
Crafts, 1-800-558-6696, item # 320-0821 or any other general arts
supply company. It’s only 3.75 ('99 catalogue price) so be
prepared to spend more in shipping than you will for the sprayer.
Linda M


Steve Shelby, I bought one at the local art supply store. It
cost a couple bucks. You have to fool with it to get the "right"
angle so that a mist comes out. Oh yes, the tube with the
plastic or rubber tip goes in your mouth and the end with an
angled cut goes in the liquid. It is sort of awkward since it
just hangs in the container of liquid like a bent straw. Try it
out with a glass of water before you go dunking it into your
Prip’s solution.

I mean to try another technique which involves making a super-
saturated Prip’s solution and collecting the precipitate. The
crystals are then dried and ground to fine dust. That dust is
mixed with denatured alcohol as a carrier, to be then used much
like the boric acid & alcohol dip/flame. IF the dust & alcohol
mixture is swirled well before dipping, it should work… may
take a 2 or 3 times to dip/flame. We’ll see.

Good luck, Judymw


I use a mister purchased from the drug store, generally used for
body mist or room freshener. Can buy them empty as well as full,
in aluminum, glass, or plastic.


Hi Steve, If you know anyone that has horses ask them for the
used syringes. The needles are a fair size and you can make a
good stream if you load one of them up with the prips. They also
work really well if you need to put wood glue in small places.
(repairing laminated wood) Susan Chastain


This would assume that the three components of pripps will drop
out of solution in the same proportion in which they’re added.
different chemicals have differing solubilities, so this does not
work. Besides, prips is just a mix of three different chemicals.
Your precipitate is nothing more than a mix of crystals of the
three componants. They don’t react to form anything else. So
skip the whole solution/precipitation step. Just grind up the
componants as dry chemicals, and mix with your alcohol instead of
water. However, note that just as different chemicals have
different solubilities in water, they do the same in alcohol.
You’ll need a very well mixed and stirred slurry. And then,
it’s very difficult to get a properly uniform layer.

It’s the boric acid and the borax that actually prevent the fire
scale. Boric acid is active at, and resists higher temperatures,
and the borax melts lower, giving earlier protection than boric
acid alone. The TSP acts as a wetting agent and to change the
surface tensions of the melting flux relative to the metal, so
that the melting flux can wet the metal instead of balling up
and pulling away. This works well so long as the layer of flux is
not so thick that it’s own viscosity and surface tension (or
whatever is doing it), causes it to pull away from the metal
anyway. The reason for the sprayer is that brushed on wet, one
gets areas of insuficient coverage combined with areas of too
heavy a coverage. The heavily covered areas ball up and pull
away, while the insuficiently covered areas are, well, not
protected. Mixed with just alcohol and dipped, you often don’t
get enough on, or an even enough coating. Yes, you avoid the
hassle of spraying. But it doesn’t work as well. Now, for
simple quick soldering operations like sizing a ring, it works.
But if you’re trying to do more extensive construction where fire
scale is more of a problem, you’ll find the sprayed on flux works
better than an alcohol slurry. You have better control over the
thickness and uniformity of the flux layer.

Peter Rowe


Steve, those sprayers are usually sold, as I noted, for glaze
applications in ceramics, and most ceramics supply places (the
better ones, at least) will carry them. When I was in art school,
the local book store which also carried lots of art supplies for
the art department carried these things, and they’re still
widely used, or so I believe. Or you can make one. They’re
really simple. One tube, about 1/8" in diamter (outside
diameter) and about 6 inches long, is the vertical tube that goes
in your liquid. at its top end is a simple bracket (hinged in
the commercial ones to allow you to fold it up and/or adjust it)
that holds a second tube, about twice that diameter by the hinge
and flaring slightly to a wider end into which you blow. It’s
usually about 4 inches long. The end of the wider tube butts up
against the side of the end of the longer tube, so when you blow
in the flared end, the air stream goes directly across the end
of the narrower feed tube. That creates a venturi effect, which
sucks whatever liquid the narrow tube is dipped in, up where the
air stream breaks it up into a fine spray. The sprayers last
almost forever, and cost just a couple bucks or so.

That’s more of a description than you need to buy one, but it
will let you make one if you’re so inclined. The commercial ones
are real cheap stamped tin plate or something. Some perfume
spray bottles work on a similar principle, and might work. These
would have an air bulb you squeeze to blow across the end of a
similar, though smaller, dip/feed tube on the bottle.

Or, an external mix air brush is also doing the same thing, by
blowing across the end of the feed tube… Harbor freight sells
a cheap chinese made external mix air brush for about 14 buck
normally, and on sale at regular intervals for about 6 or seven
bucks. It works fine too.

And some folks have used the type of sprayers used for asthma
inhalers or nasal spray bottles. I’ve not, so cannot be more
specific, but if you’ve got a buddy with asthma and some
discarded inhalers, it might be worth a quick try.

Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you need more info
or ideas on this.

Peter Rowe


Thanks to all of you for your replies to my post (sprayer for
Prip’s flux). you all were very helpful. I have discovered a
slightly different use for Prip’s flux that some of you might
find interesting.The contract work I do involves silver
soldering nickel silver, which gets an ugly black and reddish
fire scale everywhere it is exposed to the temperature required
for melting the solder. This takes many hours to pickle off, and
makes it hard to buff. Whenever I have been able to get an
uninterrupted coating of Prip’s flux on the metal when
soldering, the results are amazing: no discoloration at all! It
looks as if it were never heated up. If I can perfect my
spraying technique, this will save me a considerable amount of
time. Steve Shelby


For what it’s worth, I like the little sprayers from nasal
sprays. The mist is very fine. One cleans it VERY well, and
removes the tube from inside, so that it can be used upside down.
Roger Horner showed me this during a tour of the U of Wash.
studio during the Seattle SNAG. (Now my students with chronic
nasal problems find that they have a precious by-product–their
prescriptiion nasal sprayer!) Cindy

Cynthia Eid


Steve: the trick to getting a solid coating is to heat spray,
then heat again spray again, repeatedly until you get a nice
frosty coating over the whole area. It works…Dave

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