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Author Topic: Have you ever soldered white metal?  (Read 479 times)

Offline Gonzo100100

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 48
Have you ever soldered white metal?
« on: May 17, 2022, 09:20:04 PM »
Please let me know if this is a dumb idea so I could abandon it before I spend money on it.

I am considering to get a soldering station to assembly or to repair broken (mostly 28mm) figures made of white metal instead of continuing to use super glue. I would use it only occasionally but the idea is to make the figures more durable.

I found the information that the right temperature to solder white metal to itself is 70*C. I have looked on Amazon and all soldering stations have temperature range of 90 *C +.
Do you know of any soldering station that is considered good for white metal kits and is cheap at the same time?

What do you think about soldering white metal in general?

Offline 2010sunburst

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 312
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2022, 09:53:32 PM »
Yes it can be easily done, I’ve soldered wire spears into 15mm Zulu hands back in the day.  I used an Antex 15 watt iron, not temperature controlled at all.  Railway modellers use the technique a lot for assembling white metal kits.  However, it takes a light touch and the right solder and flux.  Have a look at the Carrs web site here for more info. 
https://www.phoenix-paints.co.uk/products/carrs

Offline FifteensAway

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3347
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2022, 12:32:45 AM »
If you dive in, get yourself some alligator clips to dissipate heat to avoid melting your subject.  (once upon a time known as 'roach clips' in certain circles)

Offline beefcake

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 7127
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2022, 05:53:59 AM »
I'd suggest testing it out on something you care very little for first as well (speaking from experience here)


Offline 2010sunburst

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 312
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2022, 06:28:45 AM »
Good advice from beefy.  Takes a while to get the “touch”. 
Never tried croc clips though fifteens, I just used wet toilet tissue packed around the bulk parts.  As long as it doesn’t stop hissing, you can’t damage the metal.  To be honest, it would be difficult to melt a whole figure, but making holes is quite easy…..

I would say 70DegC solder and the correct liquid flux are essential, as is a fine tip (about 1mm) on the soldering iron.  You can do it with 145DegC detailing solder, but that is sailing pretty close to the wind.  I use Carrs 70DegC solder, a 40%phosphoric acid liquid flux, and an Antex 15 watt iron.

Hold the parts together mechanically.  Blue tack works well.  Like fine painting you really only want one thing moving to minimise the chance of errors.  Next liberally flux the joint.  If you can get a bead of flux to stand on there all the better.  Next, put a very small bead of solder on the iron.  70 solder is funny stuff.  I find it best to make a “smear” of solder with the iron, then cut out a suitably sized scrap and drop it on the iron tip with tweezers.  Next just touch the solder on the iron tip to the surface of the flux on the joint.  This will heat  the flux but not the metal.  There will be hissing as the flux boils away, but that’s OK.  Flux boils below the melting point of the metal, but above the melting point of the solder.  Remove the iron before the hissing stops and you shouldn’t damage the model.  The solder will remain liquid in the boiling flux and will be pulled into the joint, glueing the parts together.  Once the joint cools you can remove the blue tack and rinse the figure under the tap to remove residual flux.

Hope this helps, but if all this sounds a little risky, or is a bigger investment than you want to make, then a good two part epoxy, such as devcon or araldite, will probably give a good enough bond.  It will certainly be better than cyanoacrylate, which has no real shear strength in my experience.   

Offline has.been

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 5721
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 07:46:14 AM »
When my eye sight was much better I used to solder
lances (upholstery nails) to metal figures. Stronger
than superglue & faster than epoxy glue. It does
require 'the touch'. Practice on less valued figures.
I used Sassanid levy spearmen. When I had mastered
'The Touch' I was able to solder tiny bent pins onto
Hinchcliffe musket ends as bayonets.
Worth trying.

Offline gweirda

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 147
    • Brawlfactory
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2022, 10:12:26 AM »
Quote
Hold the parts together mechanically...you really only want one thing moving to minimise the chance of errors.

This is important (I assume the 'one thing' is you with the iron).  Along with all the excellent advice given, keeping everything stable (and well lit) will allow you to concentrate on developing/executing "the touch".
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 10:14:09 AM by gweirda »

Offline The Dozing Dragon

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3868
    • The Little Soldier Company
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2022, 10:48:46 AM »
Tried a long time ago but failed miserably... thank god for superglue these days.

Offline Gonzo100100

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 48
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2022, 12:26:11 PM »
Thank you for your replies and instructions. Before any purchases I decided I could borrow some soldering iron from my father because I knew he has some. I managed to actually get 2 of them from him.
The big soldering gun probably will be of no use to me but what about the 30W blue iron? Should that be good for what I need or maybe it’s too hot and I would be better off with 15W one like proposed Antex 15-watt iron?
From the Phoenix Precision I ordered 70°C. Solder and Red Flux - 50ml. I hope I got all I need for now.

Offline 2010sunburst

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 312
Re: Have you ever soldered white metal?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2022, 02:55:52 PM »
The big iron will be too heavy to control properly for this.  The 30 watt one should be fine, just don’t hang around too long on the joint  ;).  Both that and the Antex will reach the same temperature.  The difference is that the 30 watt will recover more quickly when used, and store more potential energy that can be passed into the joint.  Practice on old figures before committing to something you want to keep. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 02:59:01 PM by 2010sunburst »

 

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