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Visa Jaw Advice

Hi all,

i have a project im working on. It requires some small vises to hold 1mmx1mmx3mm square wire in rows of 6 wires across (on the 1mm end) and idk how may rows yet.

Anyway, Im looking at holding them together using vise jaws like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/4-x-1-75-x-75-Machinable-Steel-Vise-Soft-Jaws-For-Kurt-4-Vises-FREE-SHIP/352358084197?hash=item520a2dae65:g:6KwAAOSwsnNcZyUo

what I’m wondering is if these jaws will hold up while I solder the wires together (mainly gold alloys and some pt and palladium).

any advice on which type of metal I should go for? At first I thought maybe brass or aluminum but am worried id melt them. What do you all think, will steel work best? Do I need a specific type of steel?

Build a little jig out of titanium. It has very low thermal conductivity, meaning it will draw less heat out of the joint making soldering easier. It also has a very high melting point, so safer with Pt & Pd soldering.
The larger the mass of metal that is in contact with the pieces being soldered the more difficult the process.

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The vise jaws will be a real heat sink. You might look at building something out of titanium strips that will do what you need. I have made titanium clips that look like bobby pins to hold five pieces of 2X2 square and 18 gauge twisted round wire while I solder them together over their length. I presolder the inside flat surfaces of the 2X2 square using seven very small pallions of solder along each edge. The clips are loose enough so that I can use a pair of heavy tweezers to manipulate the pieces into alignment as the solder points flow. Look at the home page picture of my website www.robmeixner.com

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One technique I use for such delicate assemblies is to lightly crazy glue (cyanoacrylate) the wires together. You can then set the entire assembly into plaster of Paris, exposing the area to be soldered. Once the plaster is cured, the wires can be gently heated to volatilize the glue. You may then flux(if required) and solder normally, with little chance of shifting.

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I would agree on the heat sink except for the fact that he’s not soldering silver. Gold, Plat,
Palladium. All of these can be soldered with localized heat, unlike silver.
I have a small machinists vice that I use all the time. Very precise, very movable. Mine was $75 a million years ago but I think that it would be worth whatever they cost today.

I don’t know how to attach a picture to this. If you need one you could PM me on FB Messenger.

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True, I thought about that with what little I know about Platinum and Palladium. I do now gold and would still be concerned with the jaws being a heat sink unless that material was very fine gauge. Thanks…Rob

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Keep in mind that he is soldering pieces that are very small in comparison to the mass of vice jaws. Pt and Pd might be OK, though the end joints would only be 1mm from the vice jaws.
Soldering in plaster is a good idea. I’ve generally only done that with assemblages of settings, which are irregular and thus difficult to hold in position otherwise.
Pt joints soldered in plaster are very brittle, as the high heat affects the plaster which somehow embrittles the joint. After you’ve broken the piece out of the plaster it is best to briefly reheat each joint so the solder flows again. That remelting brings back the solder’s strength. You don’t need to do that with gold as the heat is not enough to affect the plaster.
A sketch of the pieces showing their alignment and where and how you want them to be soldered would help us give you better guidance.

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I have never worked in Pt or Pd. I would say give the vise or the plaster method a try. Maybe practice the setup first with a less expensive metal just to see if there are unforeseen mechanical problems.

Another thought. What about lining the jaws with stips of titanium?

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You could tack the pieces together with a laser, then solder them. Do you know someone with a laser?