Learning to Solder

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Old 07-07-07, 12:16 PM
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Question Learning to Solder

i'm rerouting some copper pipes for our heating system because I removed a wall, and this is my first time soldering. Needless to say, I'm having a lot of trouble. I'm getting the pipe ends and fittings nice and clean with a wire brush and emery cloth, applying flux, and heating the fitting back a bit from where the pipe enters so the solder is drawn into the joint. I'm also maneuvering the torch around the pipe as much as possible to distribute the heat. Some joints seem to be going great. Others I just keep trying over and over again, and the solder just seems to glob up at the end of the fitting and not get drawn into the joint. Am I missing something, or does anyone have some good advice for a first-time solderer beyond what you see in the home improvement books. i have to learn how to solder before winter. thanks so much for the help. i'm out hot water for the time being, as well.
 
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Old 07-07-07, 12:40 PM
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Clean the pipe and fitting well, apply flux to the pipe before insertion into the fitting and make sure the flux goes onto the pipe slightly before the joint and assemble.
Play the heat evenly across the fitting and onto the pipe slightly.
Move the flame back and forth and try not to concentrate on any area until the solder begins to melt.
Once the solder begins to melt play the flame onto the fitting but do not stop for too long on one spot or the fitting will overheat which sounds like what is happening in your case.

If you find that the joint begins to overheat you can sometimes salvage the joint by heating until the solder melts and then wiping with a damp cotton rag, applying more flux while the joint is being heated and then reapply solder.

By playing I mean to constantly move the flame to more evenly distribute the heat and prevent overheating in one spot.
 
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Old 07-07-07, 12:44 PM
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thanks

so i keep the heat on the fitting while applying the solder. I've been turning off the torch and working the solder around. i'll try againi sure would like to master this, and it seems like practice is the only thing that will get me there.
 
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Old 07-08-07, 02:58 PM
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If you are using water soluble flux that looks like white cream, this may be half or all the problem.

Those solder kits you buy will have that most times and even for the pros....very difficult to use and even crucial timing can foil a good solder joint.

I myself use tinning flux, comes in a green can and has good results.


If you are using old flux, pitch it as it will separate and cause the same problems you have now.

Here's a step by step tutorial http://www.easy2diy.com/cm/easy/diy_ht_3d_index.asp?page_id=35749917


There used to be one on this site and is very hard to find but I'll keep looking.
 
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Old 07-09-07, 04:23 AM
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http://www.doityourself.com/stry/h2handlecopper
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/cutjoincopperpipe
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/basicscopperpipe

 
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Old 07-09-07, 09:07 AM
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Question

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/basicscopperpipe


Soft copper tubing comes in rolls.....

However, since you can't solder soft copper pipe, you need to leave any joints accessible and can't hide them behind a finished wall.



Is this correct, you can't solder soft copper?

News to me.


Baldwin
 
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Old 07-09-07, 09:12 AM
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:embarrassedsmilie:

Thanks for the links.


Soft copper can be soldered just like hard copper. The outside diameter is the same and you have to be aware of straightening the pipe where fittings connect.
 
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Old 07-09-07, 09:32 AM
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Soft copper

Originally Posted by Baldwin View Post
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/basicscopperpipe


Soft copper tubing comes in rolls.....

However, since you can't solder soft copper pipe, you need to leave any joints accessible and can't hide them behind a finished wall.



Is this correct, you can't solder soft copper?

News to me.


Baldwin
Dunbar Plumber is right, you can solder soft copper.

Behind the wall usually means mechanical fittings; not solder. Luck.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 06:54 PM
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thanks for the tips

i actually got my project done. getting the hang of the soldering just took some practice and I followed the tips you all gave. Tough part was in some of the tight spots it was hard to tell if the solder was getting sucked in all the way around. I got better at keeping the heat moving around the joint and positioning the torch correctly. I got my heat pipes rerouted, no small job as I had to work around a chimney and through a closet, and they passed a pressure test. I pumped air into the lines with a bike pump and the pressure held overnight. Then I filled the lines back up and they ain't leaking. Feel a lot better now, and thanks for the help.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 07:05 PM
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Always love success stories

Glad to hear it worked out for you!
 
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