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Sweating Low Temperature Metals


#1

Hi Orchidians:

I need help sweating very large etched zinc plates together. Gold I
understand, but I seem to be in over my head with this low temp
stuff. I keep overheating and melting the top plate (a little). The
big problem is that the plates are chamfered on their edges
preventing a clear view of the pre-applied solder (tin/antimony) at
flow temperature. I can’t see and thus don’t srop heating soon
enough. Hope some of you have some suggestions.

Thanks for being there,
Mark R. Ramsour


#2

Hi Mark, Most low temp work of this kind is done with soldering irons
or coppers not torches. The flame temperature is just too high and
it is just not controllable . So for things like sheet metal work
and zinc counter tops and such the standard practice is to use large
masses of metal (soldering coppers range form 8 oz to 4-5 lbs )
heated to 500-1000 degrees F and they are applied to the items to be
joined to raise the temperature of the joint to flow temperature of
the solder See if you can borrow a big soldering iron (electric) or
get a soldering copper which is a bar of copper with a pyramidal
point on the end of a steel shank and a wooden handle. You heat the
copper bar with a torch or furnace (go to mcmaster.com and lookup
soldering copper) and then apply to the work to be soldered.

Regards,
Jim Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#3

Hello Mark; I can’t imagine what you’re doing with the zinc plates,
some sort of intaglio printing process? Is it possible to use epoxy
rather than solder? If you just need a thicker guage of zinc, perhaps
you can locate a supplier. Just my 2 cents.

David L. Huffman


#4

Mark, How large is very large? Can you fit your project into a kiln?
Then you could run tests at higher and higher temps until you got
the right flow.

Janet