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Using Solder Paste
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Dean W


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:05 am    Post subject: Using Solder Paste Reply with quote

Soft solder paste.

The little Fleischmann 120/2 I'd been working on had a leak at the joint where the steam pipe enters the boiler.
I thought I'd put a few pics and words here about this repair, mainly to show the use of soldering paste.

For those who aren't familiar with soldering paste, it's just as the name implies; A paste used for soldering.
You can buy it in either regular soft solder, like we usually use for our toy engines, and you can get it in
hard brazing paste for silver soldering.



This is the joint that will be repaired.  When I ran the engine to test it after the first repairs needed to get
it going, I could see bubbles coming from the fitting in the top of the boiler.  You can still see a faint stain from
the water that had boiled away there.

I think you can also see that the fitting had been painted to hide the solder color.  That paint has to come off.





Using some acetone on a Q-Tip, I worked it into the paint, being careful not to drip any on other painted surfaces
on the engine.  After a few minutes, I was able to get all the paint off, and down to clean metal.







The solder paste I'll be using for this comes from a company called SRA here in the States.  This is 96/4 solder,
(96% tin, 4% silver).  It is not silver solder, as in hard solder.  It does have a little silver in it, but
not enough to be called hard solder.
The number directly above my thumb is the melting temp in Farenheit.  That 430 degrees is one of the highest of
the regular soft solders.  
You can get paste solder in most of the normal ratios you'd find for solder wire.  50/50, 60/40, etc.

There is one drawback to solder paste.  It has a shelf life, usually of about one year.

Besides the ratio of metals that make up the solder paste, (meaning, the 50/50 numbers and etc.), the pastes
come in flow rates.  The normal flow rates are called "free flowing", "semi-restrictive", and "restrictive".  
These names don't mean anything concerning the metal in the paste.  They tell about the characteristics of the
paste stuff itself.  Free flowing is kind of runny, and probably not what you would want.  Semi-restrictive is
fairly firm, and will stay where you put it quite well.  Restrictive is very thick, or firm paste.  
I use semi-restrictive paste.  It is thick enough to stay put, and will not run much when you heat it, but is
also fluid enough to squeeze it into tight places.  







The paste comes in a tube, like a syringe.  It has a screw on cap to be kept in place for storage, and a blunt
needle tip, for putting down a fine bead.
Each time you go to use it, squeeze a small bit out of the end before you put on the needle tip.  That way, if
the paste in the very end of the syringe has become crusty, it will not clog your needle.
When you are done, wash the needle out with hot water.  Use a small wire to make sure it is clean.







Here's the setup, ready to go.








To use it, put a small bead along your joint.  The one shown here is too much.  I was afraid the size of the
normal sized bead would not show on the camera, so made this one big, just for the picture.
After the picture, I wiped this off, and ran another one.  All you need for a joint like this is a small string
of it just as it comes out of the needle.  Would be about half as much as I show here.








I used this small hand torch for this demo.  These are pretty nice torches.  They run about 45 minutes on
a filling, and a can of butane refill gas will fill it about five times.








The flame was set to the lowest setting.
The paste is put on the joint and the flame is played between the boiler and the fitting.  Do not put the flame
right onto the paste.  You want the metal to melt the solder, not the flame.  
You will see the paste start to thin out slightly, and get wetter looking, and suddenly the gray appearance of
the paste will turn to silver as the solder melts and flows.  At that point look all around your joint to make
sure the solder has melted all the way 'round.  If it hasn't, play the flame around the area that hasn't melted
yet.  If you get tiny pinholes, which will look like a small dent in the solder, put the flame right on that
point for a few seconds, until you see the "dent" fill up.  That will about do it.

When it's cooled a bit, clean the new solder joint well to remove any residual flux.  For this particular paste,
warm water on a paper towel will do, and to get any from inside the boiler, I just put hot water in it and
shake it.  Then rinse.








Not too bad.  Looks better than the German one above it.  








I decided to repaint the joint as it had been originally.  This paint matches brass pretty well.  It's also
a good match for the color used on Weeden cylinders.  Testors brand.








Done.

Thanks for having a look.

Dean
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice Dean, i did not know that solder paste existed in paste form. I have to try that out too.
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MrDuck


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This answered quite a few of my questions on soldering.
Thanks
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TwistedPatience


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmm thanks Dean I'm none too clever in the soldering department either so this is great thanks.
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Wallace


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic Dean. First time I've seen it used in detail.  
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you,very useful and informative.
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IndianaRog


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dean, that was excellent...just one question.  Does it matter what kind of solder was originally present in the joint?

I ask because I have a Wilesco vertical that started to leak at the steam tube on the top.  Unlike your example there, I can see residual solder.  If needed I can gently grind the original down so it is flush with the surface and then use paste as you illustrate.

Just want to make sure there isn't a compatibility issue to worry about.

Thanks again...I'm thinking we need a dedicated "Dean" thread with all your cool tips!
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MrMamod


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another great post Dean and i have also used the paste before as it saves using flux and solder BUT what are you doing using my gas torch as i have the exact same model - Great piece of kit and i wouldn't be without it.
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Dampfzauberer


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thing to do!
I bet tha's a lot more practical on parts, which you can't see (like re-joining boiler + endcaps)

But you may allow me to note:
That little thing you soldered to the boiler is normally screwed-in, it has a thread inside of the boiler  
So when it was leaking, you should have unscrewed it and re-attached with some kind of thread lock.
Then solder back the pipe.
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27ace27


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Dean, this will be very helpful to a lot of people (myself included!) I'm sure!

I did not know that Mirko! very interesting. But IMHO, soldering is the easiest option as (at least on my 120-2) everything is held in place with metal tabs. and if one had to unscrew that, one would have to risk marring paint and breaking tabs.
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Swift Fox


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great tutorial Dean, that could come in useful for when i do the steam pipe on my ME3 as it is awkward to do. Never ceases to amaze me with the talent we have on here.

Thanks for sharing.
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Stilldrillin


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely done/ shown, again Dean!      
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That little thing you soldered to the boiler is normally screwed-in, it has a thread inside of the boiler

Was just going to say the same thing. I've got a few Fleischmann 120's and they have some red stuff sealing them.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the info Dean. I have some of that paste which i used to repair a couple of engines its great stuff but very expensive here. and it goes off before you get to use up the whole tube
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting, Dean.
I've never seen soft solder paste before, never even heard of it.
We are never too old to learn!
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