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Aluminum to Aluminum Soldering??

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  • Aluminum to Aluminum Soldering??

    Hi,

    I really enjoyed all of the information contained in all of your posts; it answered many of my questions regarding soldering in general. However, I am wondering if anyone could give a newbie some advice. Any would be HUGELY appreciated. I have a couple of questions relating soldering aluminum to aluminum. This very light soldering, perhaps on drop at each point.

    I have a project I would like to start; I will need to be soldering aluminum to aluminum and the project will require many soldering bonds. I am new to soldering and would like to start off on the right foot and am hoping you can give me some direction to start.

    I would like to use a soldering pen, but have no idea which one would be the best for my needs. I don’t want get more soldering power than I need.
    Can you please suggest which pen I should purchase?

    Also, I am not sure which flux or solder I will need to do this project and I am hoping you can tell me which I should purchase.

    I want to Thank You, in advance, for any advice you could give me.

    With My Sincerest Thanks,
    ArielSue

  • #2
    Welcome,
    Soldering aluminum is a tough place to start. Indeed, many, if not most of us, will only attempt it under duress.

    I presume that by soldering pen you mean a small pencil iron. Aluminum is very thermally conductive and you will probably need all the heat you can get. You would have better performance with a torch.

    I am sure others will contribute ideas and opinions.

    If you pursue soldering aluminum and get good at it, you will be very good at soldering.

    Good luck.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

    Comment


    • #3
      I know they tin plate, silver plate, and nickle plate
      aluminum connectors for the electrical industry.
      It allows them to run copper next to aluminum
      without them corosion.
      I read in an old text about soldering aluminum.
      Will follow this post for interest.

      --Doozer
      DZER

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll second Weston. Alu has another major difficulty in that it instantly forms a tough oxide layer, which has to be physically abraded under the flux so the flux can do its job.
        If you are dead set on soldering, you'll need to practice lots on small pieces before you do it in anger.

        Because of these difficulties, soldering is really only done when for some reason welding is impossible.
        The alloy used is quite expensive, and you'll almost certainly need a torch.

        The most satisfactory method of joining it is AC welding, though oxy-gas is quite possible. Both are probably easier than soldering, though I may be wrong.

        I'll be watching this thread, too.

        Reading this through, I realized that I seem more negative than intended. Soldering is perfectly possible. Go for it, and you"ll be justifiably proud of yourself.
        Last edited by Jono; 11-08-2013, 06:13 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I suggest that you describe what you're project is, or are trying to achieve. There may be alternatives to soldering aluminum, which is typically to be avoided.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is a product I bought but never used. They are rods that you use with a propane torch. I watched the demo & they bonded thin alum cans, cast alum, etc. I don't think you can spot bond with a soldering iron though but there may be something smaller or similar.
            "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
            world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
            country, in easy stages."
            ~ James Madison

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by flylo View Post
              There is a product I bought but never used. They are rods that you use with a propane torch. I watched the demo & they bonded thin alum cans, cast alum, etc. I don't think you can spot bond with a soldering iron though but there may be something smaller or similar.
              I've used those rods for a few things. Like most things, used within their "envelope" they work fine. They are not a substitute for a welded joint but for things where you don't necessarily require the strength of a weld, they will pretty easily stick two Al parts together. It takes a minor amount of practice.

              Comment


              • #8
                In my opinion aluminum soldering or brazing is an "action of last resort". Only used where welding isn't possible. I've used the Dura Fix product and those from Muggy Weld, for low to no stress joints or as a "ding" filler". This is a torch process and I doubt you could do it with an iron. Given a choice I'll always go for the TIG torch.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Aluminium can be soldered with normal solder and plumbers flux.

                  The key to making a good joint is to first tin both sides.
                  You will need to clean the Aluminium generally , but as Aluminium instantly forms an oxide layer 1.5-2nm thick ,you have heat the Aluminium with a gas torch or similar ,then form a pool of molten solder (keep it shiny with flux).
                  Now use a hot soldering iron to scratch the Aluminium under the molten solder pool. Due to the molten pool,no oxide will be present to stop the solder bonding.Once both sides are tinned they can be joined.

                  Its a similar concept to how you glue Aluminium with epoxy glue.

                  Rob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've soldered Aluminium many times. The special solder has an aggressive flux to strip the oxide layer and I also use it to 'tin' Nickle plated Iron wires, like you find on PT100 temperature sensors.
                    Paul Compton
                    www.morini-mania.co.uk
                    http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey Paul .. are you talking about actual solder, or are you talking about the brazing rods
                      sold at the fairs by the tin can joining man .. and HF. If you are talking about some
                      actual special solder .. how about a link.
                      John Titor, when are you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Like this?
                        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37105624/20121202_234212.jpg


                        This was done with a small torch and liquid flux. The solder was Canfield lead free soft solder. Was quite some time ago... I'll try to find the flux that I used and let you know.

                        paul
                        Last edited by ironmonger; 11-08-2013, 09:26 PM.
                        paul
                        ARS W9PCS

                        Esto Vigilans

                        Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
                        but you may have to

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've only been soldering for 50 years, and I'd have said (as one who tried it a few times) that soldering aluminum with an iron wasn't happening.

                          I have done it with a propane torch, although it was considerably closer to welding than soldering.

                          A soft solder that is lead free should be a bismuth based solder, similar to some modern lead-free SMT solder. I have never tried that, and presumably it will work. Never got anywhere with lead solder, though.

                          The real answer is likely to be the flux..... the right flux does the job, the solder itself, if not totally incompatible with the base materials, may not be as important.
                          1601

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikeamick View Post
                            Hey Paul .. are you talking about actual solder, or are you talking about the brazing rods
                            sold at the fairs by the tin can joining man .. and HF. If you are talking about some
                            actual special solder .. how about a link.
                            Actual solder used with a conventional electric soldering iron (of sufficient power).

                            http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/level5/mod...=en/212537.xml
                            Paul Compton
                            www.morini-mania.co.uk
                            http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by flylo View Post
                              There is a product I bought but never used. They are rods that you use with a propane torch. I watched the demo & they bonded thin alum cans, cast alum, etc. I don't think you can spot bond with a soldering iron though but there may be something smaller or similar.
                              The demo with this stuff looks really great but actually using it is a totally different story. How often does one repair the hole in the bottom of a soda can? I have no welding equipment and no friends who have welding gear so I'm stuck with trying to "solder or braze" aluminum if I want to join parts. I've discovered that the melting point of the rods is so very close to the melting point of the aluminum base part that I have end-up melting the base part instead of get a welded joint!

                              When the rod demonstrator was asked about using flux, he said that it was not needed as it did not use any in he repair of the soda can. I'm sure there was some good slight of hand was going on because I've had zero success in soldering any of the aluminum parts I've wanted to join. Maybe the base of the cans were "prepared" in some way before hand to ensure the demo would work?
                              Bill

                              Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

                              Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

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