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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Soldering Stainless steel
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:34 PM   #591
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Originally Posted by gmartin View Post
Bobby M. early in the thread said he was using a 150 watt soldering iron. People scoffed at this, and I think the overall sense was he was "kidding." And he never really fully responded.

I'm having trouble controlling the heat from my torch, and tried a 100 watt iron I inherited from my Grandfathe - it's probably eighty years old, with a Montgomery Wards tag for $1.79 still attached. Anyway, I find it works really well for tinning both keg and the hardware, much more manageable than the torch. Also was able to solder a locknut to a keg. The pyramid shaped tip can simultaneously heat the surfaces of the keg and the fitting, and flows solder onto both surfaces. While this looks watertight, I don't think the keg and nut get hot enough for solder to actually flow much between the flat surface of the nut and the keg, so maybe not the best joint possible. I think a bigger iron would be better; also, may try torching to reflow the solder.
I believe that was Swagman...

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If you don't mind like to stick my two cents in.

I have used silver solder for several years, some for fittings on stainless steel gas tanks, and a few custom fittings for brewers. There are several good brands myself I like sta-brite solder and acid.

For a tool I have found that a large very large Iron the one I have a present is 150 watt. I found better control and less of change of overheating like with a torch.

Just my two cents

Swagman
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:28 PM   #592
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wyzazz, Obviously you're right.

Torched the locknut to reflow the solder, and the nut settled down on the keg; a little more solder, and a better joint. But I at least don't have the technique down to do it with the torch alone.

BTW, I also have a 200/300 watt soldering gun ( for soldering coax connectors ) that seems easier to use than the torch for tinning and tacking.


Also, may have a useful tip: I know you guys are much better at this and never make a hole or dimple a little too large for your fitting..... I gave my keg tool a few turns too many and oversized the hole for a 1/4" coupling. At the bottom of the keg, so I had to support it from inside while soldering on the outside. To make a long story short, I used a telescoping magnetic pickup tool to support the coupling from inside. I took a short bolt and a washer and put these at the inside of the coupler, ran it through the hole from the inside, and used the pickup tool to support them: magnet sticks to bolt, tool telescopes to support from side of keg, and rubberhandle holds it in place by friction.

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Old 08-11-2011, 01:39 PM   #593
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Just wanted to update and say thanks to PJ and lschiavo for the responses!! You guys were right flux was the key. Last night I sanded down the area cleaned it and applied harris stay-clean. After I finished I could tell it was adhearing better than before. This morning I picked it up from the soldered location and man that thing was holding tight. Still it isn't really that pretty but it holds

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:47 PM   #594
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If you make the hole too big, you should be able to bend the flare back towards center the smallest bit with pliers or by tapping with a hammer. Just enough to grip the coupling.

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Old 08-20-2011, 03:40 AM   #595
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
If you make the hole too big, you should be able to bend the flare back towards center the smallest bit with pliers or by tapping with a hammer. Just enough to grip the coupling.

Bobby is right here. I have made the hole a bit to large before and a quick tap on the opening in the opposite direction, makes the hole small and you can re-pull the fitting or the tool. However you are doing the work.

Having said that.....I'm sure there is a point where you might just want to go a size larger on your fitting.LOL. It depends on how many home brews you've had.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:20 AM   #596
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ok i finally got around to getting this larger half coupling installed. i used a 3" spacer on the outside instead of the smaller white pvc i was using, and it was a piece of cake!

1" half coupling pulled through keg lid


frontside of test fit


installed in HLT (just water leak testing, no electrical hookups so no cover or ground)


hope this can inspire you to put an electric heating element on your vessel! thanks to all the posters in this thread for your inspiration to try this for my gear!

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Old 09-02-2011, 06:43 PM   #597
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I soldered a 1" NPT nut onto the side of my brew kettle this week. I had some trouble and re-learned a few things I had forgotten.

First, solder makes a difference. I was using 1/8" 4% silver-bearing plumbing solder from Home Depot. It leaked every time - I completely re-did the joint 3 separate times and tried re-fluxing and flowing the joint countless times. I don't know if the 1/8" wire required me to add too much heat (see next point) or if it was just crap solder, but I sucked it up and bought a pound of 1/16" Harris Stay-Brite 8 solder, and make a perfect watertight joint on the first try.

Second, if you think you're applying too much heat, you've already applied too much heat. Gently heat until the solder flows, then walk away. More heat than that will just burn the flux and ruin the joint. Don't touch the fitting until it has air-cooled.

Third, fittings of this size take longer than you think to cool to the point that the solder is hard. Be patient and don't touch it. DAMHIKT.

Fourth, CA applicators like these make fabulous precision liquid flux applicators.







-Joe

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Old 09-14-2011, 01:47 AM   #598
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Has it been verified that this is food safe?
I saw that it is lead free on the Harris website.

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Old 09-14-2011, 02:43 AM   #599
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Originally Posted by daufdi
Has it been verified that this is food safe?
I saw that it is lead free on the Harris website.
it's silver solder Not leaded solder. Once the flux Has been washed off there is nothing to worry about.

-= Jason =-
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:12 AM   #600
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Very interesting:
1) The "second attempt" is very impressive.
2) When I was associated many years ago now with the commercial soldering of T304 stainless (about the most common type), the flux used was Hydrochloric acid ("spirits of salts") plumbers solder was used & a thorough wash was required afterwards. I can't recall the dilution rate used on the acid flux. Gas heated large solid copper irons were used.
3) I was unaware that "silver solder" (it's pretty expensive) could be applied to stainless successfully, I thought higher temperatures were needed such as available by propane torch.
4) Without doubt silver solder is superior but the execution need only match the application so if it works..............
5) Surprised to read how tough the soldered joint actually is.
Well done for posting a clear factual & very useful "how to".

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