building a metal/wire ball

Old 04-02-19, 12:51 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
building a metal/wire ball

hello, im trying to build an orb, using thick aluminum wire, that will break down into 2 halves, making it easy to store. my idea of the design will have the wires soldered to a washer on the top and bottom of the orb (ball), using a bolt of some sort, (stacking the washers) to hold the two halves together when it is being used.
having trouble soldering the wire to the washers.. is aluminum not a good material to use? i was drawn to it because of how lightweight it is, along with being strong enough to support weight of other balls on top of it, ..and it reflects the light well.. please help. appreciate any suggestions.
Old 04-02-19, 03:14 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,349
Received 2,319 Upvotes on 2,064 Posts
What material is your washer made of? What alloy aluminum wire are you using? What type of solder specifically are you using?

Plated steel (washer) does not solder well with "common" solders but there are solders that can do it. The same goes for aluminum. Common solder from the hardware store don't work with aluminum. If you want to make it of aluminum make sure you are using alloys that can be soldered. Unfortunately the very popular 6000 series alloys don't solder well.

If I understand what you are trying to build most similar items I have seen are made from steel, tack welded together then chromed. Suitable for being made in a factory but most people don't have the tools.

Copper is one of the easiest, commonly available metals to work with. It forms easily, is very ductile and it's easy to solder. It's also heavy and annealed/soft wire is not the strongest. Then there is the color which is very different than aluminum and it quickly tarnishes.

I make a lot of my sculptures out of stainless steel. It's easily formed with the right tools. Can be TIG welded for assembly. It's easily polished to a variety of finishes. It's quite strong and does not rust or tarnish so it's great for outdoors.
karenib voted this post useful.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: