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Power draw bar project needs help

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  • Power draw bar project needs help

    Hello everyone

    I have built a power draw bar for my mill. Its almost the same as the one Bob Warfield has, and posted pic here a few weeks ago.

    The project has all gone well, with one exception. I need to solder the copper tubes into the 90 degree fittings on the top of the unit, and I am having no luck at this. I don,t have any experiance soldering anything other than wires on electrical jobs, and have never tried doing any copper tubing before.

    I am using the same solder and paste that I allways use when doing wiring with the exception of using the oxy-acet torch with a 00 tip. The smallest I have anyway. I seem to get the tube soldered to the fitting, but man I,m making a mess here. I have been doing a few test runs on some un-needed fittings, and some spare tube and I think it will hold but it looks so messy.

    I know I have to be doing somthing wrong here. Most likely because I,m wingin it all the way here. Like I said, never had to solder copper tube before, and have never been shown, or told how to do the procedure properly.
    If someone that has experiance at this type of thing could set me straight, Im sure I could get the job done with out it looking as bad as it is now.

    The ass kicker of it all is, other than soldering these two tubes into the fittings, this job is done!

    TIA Paul

  • #2
    Clean the inside and outside of where the tubes go together aith sandpaper until they are bright and shiney. Put some soldering past on the joint and push the tube into the fitting. Heat the tubes with the torch. When the copper is hot enought touch the solder to the joint and the melted solder will be sucked into the joint. That is all there is to it. It is easy if some one showes how to do it. Gary P. Hansen
    In memory of Marine Engineer Paul Miller who gave his life for his country 7-19-2010 Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Freedom is not free, it is paid for with blood.


    • #3
      Gary is correct. Sounds to me like you don't really trust how little solder you really need. I'm thinkin you are shoving too much into the joint. I like to put the heat on the fittings if i can...when they are hot the tubing is hot enough as well. I actually prefer a small propane torch for this.
      I have tools I don't even know I own...


      • #4
        Hi Paul. FWIW, I used plumber's solder and flux paste from the hardware store for my fittings. The guys are right--takes very little solder. If things get hot enough, it will pull the solder in by capillary action. Takes a surprising amount of heat on the copper, so I wonder if maybe things just aren't getting hot enough?


        Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


        • #5
          My experience would opt for the propane torch too. I never tried a 00 tip but I always got everything too hot for solder with oxy-acet.

          I recently put my air compressor outside and plumbed air all over the garage/shop with 3/4" copper. Used propane for something like 50 joints and there was no one more surprised than me when I didn't have a single leak. A lot of them were upside down and a bit ugly from gravity, but soapy water don't lie. Not a bubble anywhere.



          • #6
            If you are tring to use rosin core solder you will never get a good solder job.Get some acid core solder or solid solder and a jar of acid flux, then do as the others said. You should be able to do this with a propane torch.


            • #7
              From a plumbing pro.....

              As GaryP & Torker have said....
              Clean the pipe & fittings, then use some acid flux paste....Heat the fitting with a propane or Turbo torch & touch the solder to the fitting. It should melt & flow into the joint easily. Otherwise it's not clean enough. Oxyacetylene torches easily over heat the joint.
              Otherwise, consider flare fittings ???
              I hope the power drawbar works. I'm hoping to come up with a similar version to suit my Rockwell. (Like I need yet another project.) I need a whole box of round-tuits.....
              Or more beer......


              • #8
                I'd suggest you go to the hardware and splurge on a matching roll of plumbing solder and flux to start with. If the flux is wrong for the solder you will never get anywhere. Old style flux won't work on the new solders.

                Then I'd clean it well with sandpaper as others have said.

                And then I'd ditch the 00 tip for a regular propane torch. The flame is much softer and completely adequate for job at hand where as the O/A setup can easily get too hot.

                Heat the area that you want the solder to flow to more than the area where the solder will be starting from.

                Take two aspirins and call us in the morning
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                • #9
                  I have never used acid flux. Paste flux or rosin-core solder work fine. The "secrets," if there are any, are as others have said:

                  1. Clean the surfaces well until they shine with grit paper or steel wool or a wire brush (good for inside fittings; you can buy specially-made brushes for this).

                  2. Heat the joint with a torch -- I'd use propane rather than oxy-acetylene, you want general heat, not pinpoint -- and apply the solder to the side of the joint away from the heat. When it's hot enough the solder will melt and wick into the joint and be drawn around towards the heat. Add enough solder to fill the joint, but don't overdo it.

                  Once you get the hang of it, it's trivial.
                  Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                  Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                  Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                  There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                  Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                  Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                  • #10
                    ...And another vote for a little less pinpoint heat, more "area" heat, and letting capillary action move the solder, rather than the torch. The solder will follow the heat, provided the joint is clean and fluxed.

                    The curse of having precise measuring tools is being able to actually see how imperfect everything is.


                    • #11
                      Power draw bar project needs help

                      Thanks guys for posting on this matter.

                      I wasn,t surprized after reading the posts from all of you guys.
                      Seems as though I wasn,t doing anything properly with this solder job.
                      To start with, I had assumed that because the tube, and fittings where new I didn,t need to sand them till the soldered area,s were shiney. Then the next thing I had no idea of, was how much heat it takes to get copper up to temp.

                      I thought I would have burned through the copper tubing. I did not have enough heat for sure.
                      So thanks everyone, as usual I have learned a few things from you guys.
                      I,m allways amazed at just how easy it was, provided I had the information to do things properly.

                      Thanks again , Paul
                      Last edited by 8ntsane; 01-15-2007, 08:34 PM.