I need a tool. I don’t believe it exists. I want a piece of
transparent heat resistent materiel for soldering on. Something I can
lay the design under and be able to lay out the components for
soldering on top. Wire screen won’t fill the bill. Like a see thru
soldering pad. Any Ideas? Or maybe some of the craftier folks out
there can make a million.
You can use a quartz disc (mcmastercarr.com, Part Number: 1357T26 6
inch quartz disc, $146.88). Quartz is heat resistant to 2100oF, so
it will be resistant to all soldering temperatures, except for the
higher grades of platinum solders. Using quartz as a soldering
surface may change your technique somewhat, as it will react to heat
differently than other soldering surfaces, but I’m sure you can
compensate with torch technique. Also, I don’t think you’ll be able
to get away with laying the quartz disc directly over your paper
design…if the quartz heats up enough, there goes your design! You
will probably be able to keep the design safe by elevating the quartz
disc a bit above the paper design to allow airflow between them to
keep the paper cooler. You could make a simple 6 inch diameter ring
out of 1/8 inch wire and set the disc on top of that, or find some
other suitable way to elevate it slightly.
If you do try this approach, please let us know how it worked out
I’ve seen channel inlay artists handle this issue by making multiple
copies of their pattern. Laying the pattern on their soldering
surface, they pinned the channel wires in place, building the pattern
with successive soldering operations and replacing the paper pattern
after each torching.
Just a thought and I may be way off, but have you considered the
possibility of actually drawing your design right onto a heat
resistent material? The first thought I had was to scribe your design
on a piece of slate using a nail. I believe you can rub it right off
and use the slate over and over. If slate is not stable enough, maybe
another material would work? How about drawing with a sharpie onto a
piece of ceramic tile? Couldn’t you burn the sharpie marks off after
you were done?
The most likely thing to use for this would be a sheet of mica - the
kind of stuff that is found in furnace door windows. I’m not sure
where you would get a piece of reasonable thickness which would
prevent the heat from passing through it.
I need a tool. I don't believe it exists. I want a piece of
transparent heat resistent materiel for soldering on. Something I
can lay the design under and be able to lay out the components for
soldering on top.
Never heard of anything like this, but you can accomplish the same
thing a different way. Place a piece of transparent sticky wax over
the design, then press your components down through the wax, so that
the components touch where you’d like them to be soldered together.
Cut off the extraneous wax from around the design, leaving about a
1/2" border around the assembly. Place the wax/component assembly in
a shallow cardboard container (1/2" deep is fine), and press the edge
of the wax down to form a seal against the bottom of the container.
Mix enough casting investment to cover the assembly, and fill the
container, and let set. When cured, peel off the cardboard, then peel
off the wax. What you are looking at now is the back of your design,
ready to be soldered. When finished soldering, dissolve the
investment and get to polishing.
Try some of the glass that they are using in the new fireplaces. I
have watched a demonstration where they had a block of ice sitting on
top & a torch directly underneath! Expensive but just might work,
heat transfer appeared very high, the ice was melting rather quickly.
I’ll be very surprised if such a material turns out to exist but
what do you think about this as an alternative? Make several paper
copies of your layout. Put one on your current soldering block and
lay the components out on top of it. Begin soldering and let the
paper burn off. Since you still have the original and other copies if
needed, you’re good to go.
I want a piece of transparent heat resistent materiel for
soldering on. Something I can lay the design under and be able to
lay out the components for soldering on top.
Here’s an alternative approach that might work for you. There’s a
company that has a soldering pad designed specifically for jigging up
repeat work. The pad is very soft and you work with it by positioning
the first piece of the work “into” the surface of the pad (making an
exactly positioned impression of the work). You can then spray that
area of the pad with a hardening agent and let it dry. For all of the
subsequent pieces of the same layout, you just put the pieces into
the impressing and they’re automatically held in the exact same
orientation (eliminating a lot of time and inconsistency).
You can also use the pad without spray hardening it, so that you can
create the impressions of many pieces over time into any available
I use it whenever I’m having a fit with correct positioning of a
piece or when I need to do a bunch of the same item (like when I’m
making a bunch of tube bails).
I have mine in my home studio and don’t remember the name of it off
hand, but will look it up when I get back tonight.
Would that possibly solve your problem? (you could easily trace your
design onto the surface, for example.)
No Limitations Designs
Where I’ve just posted my new winter collection! And am amazed that
my newest series has already sold out (gotta make MORE!!!)!!!
(that’s never happened to me before.)
here's a shot in the dark... what about a flat sheet of mica, like
I’m voting for Aerogel myself. It’s transparent and a very good
Here’s a fellow selling a big slab on ebay.
<Snip - Sorry, No eBay links on Orchid please>
I don’t know how high the bidding is going to go, I’m guessing a
couple hundred dollars.
It is rather fragile. It may work for soldering, but it might
shatter if you were to drop a hammer on it, so don’t drop hammers on
it. People make fiberglass reinforced composite aerogel, but I lost
interest before trying to hunt down a supplier.
It is very pretty, but too soft and gritty to make jewelry, I think.
(I got to handle some a long time ago at a visitors center at a lab.)
Unless you made a protective cage… hmmm… aerogem.com makes
little glass pendants with aerogel in them, but they are very boring.
Whenever we need to see something from the bottom to align to
something on the top, we take advantage of a unique property of
silicon which is the transmittance of infrared light. This would
require a camera that is sensitive to that part of the spectrum.
Another method is an overlay of one image captured over the top of
the second image. We do this upside down on a Karl Suss SB6 substrate
I don’t know how expensive image capture tools are, but if you don’t
mind working from a video monitor, then it would seem reasonable. I
know animation artists use image capture tools for line drawing
tests, so it shouldn’t be ridiculously priced like semiconductor
A projector might work too. A laser vector graphic writer?(think
laser show), whatever it would take to place the design on the work
surface so you can set your pieces. After seeing alarm clocks that
can project the time on the ceiling, anything seems possible.
University of Cincinnati
Thank you for the creative ideas on the soldering pad. I tried to
follow the link for the quartz disc to no avail. I’m going to try
burning up multiple drawings and the mica today.
And wanted to pass along my source for mica…and a bench anvil. I
look for the OLD irons (no holes in the bottom) that are electric,
dismantle and you have mica inside and a nice little bench anvil too.
Also wanted to tell you about the green stop off pen from stuller…
(No connection) It works so well! Like using white -out but better
I’m not sure what this would really accomplish for you. I take it
you have some sort of complex assembly, perhaps even with some small
parts. Laying out over a drawing would put the pieces in alignment
but what is going to hold them there? Stuff moves under the torch.
The pressure from a brisk flame with blow things around, bubbling
flux will move things too. Sometimes even the solder itself will
cause a small part to jump.
Using any of the various holding methods will insure parts stay in
alignment. True, sometimes its tricky to clamp and still have flame
access where you want it, this needs to be worked out.
Another thing that may apply is that a paper concept doesn’t always
translate to three dimension directly. The way metal surfaces
reflect light can alter one’s perception of exactly where/how pieces
need to be in relation.
I might suggest to make your drawing to such a size that you can have
it in close proximity to the work and check overall alignment as you
pin/wire/third hand/invest. Chase the essential relationship of the
drawing as interpreted by the metal. That sounds incredibly awkward
and vague, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to better describe it. I view
drawings as guides rather than blueprints.
The most likely thing to use for this would be a sheet of mica -
the kind of stuff that is found in furnace door windows
I’m not sure how many types of mica there are. Several years ago I
bout a couple of pieces of mica about 4 inches x 6 inches, with the
thought of using them for a similar application.
While it’s true that mica is fire proof, it has one bad
characteristic (at least the stuff I got did). It expands unevenly
I had positioned several small objects next to each other in
preparation for soldering. Imagine my surprise when I put the flame
to them & in a few seconds the mica expanded & the pieces literally
jumped off the mica. After that experience, I tried playing he flame
over the mica to warm it as evenly as possible. Even using this
technique, the mica expanded unevenly. Needless to say, I gave up on
mica & went back to my trusty fire brick.
They use mica sometimes to make lampshades, so possibly a supplier
of lampshade materials would be able to supply sheet mica
I’ve fired enamels on mica sheet specially prepared for this (Sold
by Thompson Enamels, among others). The sheets are about 4" x 5" and
the firing process (1450 degrees for 3 minutes) usually turns the
sheets opaque and very flaky. They don’t hold up very well for
I searched ebay and found a total of 3 ads for aerogel, one of which
uses a photo of a sheet of aerogel used to promote the sale of a much
smaller piece. Just wanted to make sure anyone else interested in
this item saw that the large sheet is not what is for sale.