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Titanium soldering grid


#1

Several months ago we had a discussion of using titanium for
supports when soldering.

For the last 3 years, I have used L shaped pieces of titanium sheet
to elevate sterling above the soldering board. It doesn’t solder to
the work and doesn’t act as a heat sink. The sheet I cut up was about
24 gauge, cut to 60mm x 8 mm, bent into an L.

When I started using argentium, the sag problem which occurs when
applying bezels is a real nuisance. So I explored using titanium mesh
of some kind. James Binnion kindly pointed out that titanium has a
relatively low flash point in mesh with very fine wires. So I went
looking for expanded metal in titanium. Alan Mason found it first and
shared half with me. The expanded metal has a cross section of about
2mm at its thinnest point. I sliced my half into 2 x 3 inch pieces
and find it superb as a support when working silver and gold.

Has anybody else tried it?

Judy Hoch - in Colorado with still over a foot of snow in my yard and
piles five feet high on the street, and more coming tomorrow. How
about you folks back east with cherry blossoms - want some white
stuff?


#2

I know Judy Hoch is happy with her half of the 12x12" piece I
bought. I, however, have not used my 6x12" piece since the first time
I tried, it making a sweat-soldered bracelet.

I only applied heat to about 1/3 of the grid; and, as a result, the
grid got all tweaked and deformed. I have tried various heating,
banging, and bending, and yet I still can’t get the thing to lay flat
again. Unless I can get the grid to lay relatively flat and stay that
way, it won’t be nearly so useful. So I’m hoping one of you brilliant
Orchidians has a great idea! Thanks!

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com


#3

Hi all. I sent the following post about a month ago and no one
replied. So I’m trying again!

  I know Judy Hoch is happy with her half of the 12x12" piece I
  bought. I, however, have not used my 6x12" piece since the
  first time I tried, it making a sweat-soldered bracelet. 

  I only applied heat to about 1/3 of the grid; and, as a
  result, the grid got all tweaked and deformed. I have tried
  various heating, banging, and bending, and yet I still can't
  get the thing to lay flat again. Unless I can get the grid to
  lay relatively flat and stay that way, it won't be nearly so
  useful. So I'm hoping one of you brilliant Orchidians has a
  great idea! Thanks! 

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com


#4

Maybe…place your grid between two flats of steel or similar and
apply pressure with an hydraulic jack in some sort of strong jig to
bear against. Or between two appropriately domed and hollowed pieces
of hardwood.

Doncha hate it when a good idea has an unexpected problem? Can
titanium be annealed and hardened in a small shop? Might be worth
looking into after/if you get it flat again.


#5

Resurecting this older thread because it exactly addresses what I’m hoping to find.

I’ve been using the usual steel grid / mesh (4 squares per inch) on a tripod but kept looking at the titanium strips I have from Knew Concepts. Has anyone experimented any more with using a titanium grid / mesh for soldering and / or torch firing enamels?

The non-heat-sinking quality of the titanium seems ideal, as does the non-soot creating factor, but I’m thinking there are some serious gotchas with it or more people would be using it.

Any thoughts? Help? I know enough about titanium to know I know very little.

Thx.


#6

I don’t use mesh or grid; for years I have used (and sent to many others
here on Orchid) pairs of titanium strips bent into a V. It’s all you really
need. Two strips about 1/4" wide: You set the two Vs with their points
inward and lay the workpiece on top. Ideally, you use a turntable though it
isn’t strictly necessary. Aim the flame down at a shallow angle under the
workpiece so that the heat bounces up onto the back of the workpiece while
rotating the turntable. The titanium absorbs almost no heat, will never
melt or solder onto the piece.

I make my own ti clips so I’m not sure what yours look like but you could
maybe just balance your piece on a couple of those.

Noël


#7

Hi Trish, the only down side to using titanium is the cost compared to using stainless steel mesh. which i currently use on my annealing bench. this is some 9in sq made from 1in sq angle iron supported on an upright 1in dia steel piece of water pipe. this sits in a 4 footed old cycle support frame circa 1900, and the propane torch is upright under the grid. thats some 2in in dia as i need lots of heat for what i do sometimes.
the grid is just s/steel square mesh from 1/8in wire with 1in by 1in squares cut to suit the Angle iron frame.
It eventually burns away but cheap to replace. All ex scrap yards which it pays to visit regularly for all this sort of stuff.
S/steel is much better than iron mesh which spalls off oxide as it cools so cant be used for torch enamelling.
When enamelling in my kiln, I use s/steel sheet cut to make supports to suit the larger pieces up to 12in by 12in.
Ted.


#8

Hi Trish,

Sounds like you might be using an iron grid instead of a stainless steel one–the stainless ones do not create any soot or black oxides which peel of as the iron ones do. I use mine extensively to solder on, as it lets the flame go under the piece when it sits on a base that then reflects the heat back up on the piece.

In addition to my square of heavy ss mesh, I also have rather fine stainless steel mesh (sort of like the size in a screen door or window screens) which comes rolled up. It is super easy to cut and form into any shape you can imagine, and being so thin and open, it’s not a heat sink and allows the flame to pass through fully. I have tons of jigs of all sorts which I made from it.

One thing that you need mesh for that you can’t do with clips is to put it on a tripod when you want your torch directly below the piece facing upwards.

In short, I highly recommend stainless steel mesh in different weights for different purposes.

Janet in Jerusalem


#9

I don’t seem to have a way to edit my post, so my edits are:
Line 2: peel off
Line 9: directly below the piece with the flame facing upwards.

Janet in Jerusalem


#10

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. The grid I’m using is stainless – I bought it as a 12" x 12" square and cut it down into various sizes with a cutoff wheel – but it still turns black and flakes off.

Noel, I’ll give the titanium strips I have a try like you suggest. They are only 1/4" thick, so will work with a bezel and backplate, but probably not torch firing for enamels. Do you use them on a charcoal block (hard, I assume?) or what type of block do you prefer for that kind of soldering?

Ted, I don’t do anything even close to the scale of the items you create, but I was hoping the titanium wouldn’t be as big of a heat sink as the stainless steel grid when soldering. The one person from the '07 part of the thread mentions twisting – do you think that might be a problem?

Janet, as I said, I’m pretty sure what I have is stainless and not plain steel. Here’s what I bought:

  • ASC Stainless Steel Mesh 304,#4 .047 Wire,Cloth,Screen,Woven wire 12"X12"

I also have a smaller mesh screen (I think it came with the tripod when I bought the latter) though it may not be stainless, but the mesh is so small that it seems like it would burn up quickly. Have you experienced that?

I’m using a Smith Little Torch with propane and an oxygen concentrator (the one from Rio). Too hot, maybe? Hmmm… but I need the heat for the enameling. (And I love it.)

I’ll report back if I find out anything more. Thanks for taking the time to help.


#11

I have asked knewconcepts if they would make titanium soldering meshes. I
would love to have one the stainless really is the pits over time. Vince
LaRochelle


#12

Hi Trish,

  1. titanium 1/4in thick? thats more than I could mange, I guess you mean wide?
  2. Re twisting, not sure what you mean?
  3. the heating bench i described is used for all sorts of heating as well as enamelling, its in fact a plumbers torch with removeable heads from 1/2in , 1in 1.5 and 2in.
    fed from a 100lb propane tank.The regulator is set to 15 psi.
    So I made this for torch enamelling some 50 yrs ago and have 2 off.
    the support mesh is also of different sizes depending on the need.
    for example fire oxidising a 12in titanium bowl ,I use the 2in head.
    For enamelling say a small tear drop pendant, the 1/2in head.
    then for annealing say a punch or press tool I use the 2in head AND! cover the area with fine iron mesh to make a sort of oven.
    all really simple.
    then for heating bronze prior to minting hot, it has a lift up lid
    also of s/steel gause to enclose the flame to make an oxygen free enclosure to prevent oxidation
    Ou local scrap yards get in all sorts of s/steel in sheet and mesh form. you now need a hard hat and yellow jacket to look around. I offer to do repairs for free to the yard manager to ease! the path for materials.
    Pay a nominal sum just to keep their accounts happy.
    works v/well.
    Ted.

#13

Hmm. I’ve used my heavy mesh square (about 4"x4") daily for at least 20 years and have never had any flaking/peeling/soot/etc… It is now a smooth, dull black. Same with my fine mesh jigs. I mostly use a propane-only torch, but have used them with my oxy-acet mini torch. Never had any of my small-mesh melt from the heat of the torch. Don’t know why you would need the oxy for your propane for enameling–enamel melts at a temperature much lower than that needed for soldering…

Janet in Jerusalem


#14

LOL, Ted. Yeah, 1/4" wide. Sorry for the slip.

I don’t have room for a large setup, so I’m hoping to work up something that will work for my small scale pieces.

Thanks for all your info. Appreciate it!


#15

Hi, Janet,

I’ll keep practicing and hope I get to the point where I’m not wrecking my props.

Thanks for the information.


#16

Titanium is essentially not a heat sink at all. I use the Vs on top of
whatever kind of block, usually solderite, on a turntable (annealing pan).

You could use wider strips if you felt the need. For torch enameling you
could use titanium Vs on top of a steel screen on a tripod so you could put
the torch underneath. Titanium won’t stick to enamel, I’m pretty sure, and
would protect the enamel from flaking steel.

Noël


#17

A titanium soldering grind would work so much better. Vince LaRochelle


#18

Thanks, Vince, for asking Knew Concepts. Fingers crossed they can make it.


#19

HI Gang,

Ah, this explains all the weird emails I’ve been getting about the Ti strips.
I have good news and not-bad news.
Not-bad news: no, we don’t make Ti wire grid, and have no plans to. Because…
Good news: we already make a couple of things that do the same job, and are easier to maintain.

I’ve soldered on a stainless wire sheet for years, and for a certain style of smallish stuff, it works great. It just warps. Which is fine, if you grew up working on a wire nest like I did. But if you’re looking for a purely flat surface, it’ll drive you mad. Even Ti wire will warp eventually.

So my suggestions are two:
A) Use the Ti strips we already make, and bend them into “V” shapes as Noel does, then use those to jack the work up off your soldering block so you can get the torch under it. Or…
B) use our titanium soldering trivets. Those are specifically designed to be soldering supports, and get the work further up off the block, to make it easier to get the torch under it.
In either case, it helps to position the work right at the edge of a block, so you can get the torch down along side the block, shooting up under the work.
The trivets do a slightly better job at this, because they don’t lay along the whole underside of the piece, there’s a hollow in the middle so you can get the flame through. If you need a larger support area, just use several of them.
Titanium doesn’t suck heat much at all, and the trivets only have point contact, to minimize what little heat they do draw.

For those who’ve asked, the Ti trivets can be used in an enameling kiln with no problems. Enamel won’t stick to them, and they don’t flake like iron ones do. No heat sinking problems either.

Regards,
Brian Meek
Knew Concepts


#20

Hi Brian instead of wire mess like the stainless steel kind. How about a
titanium mess like this see this link
http://www.stanfordmaterials.com/titanium-ti-mesh.html
Just a thought. Vince LaRochelle