Soldering Stainless steel

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allclene

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Ok, I'm a believer. I recieved my flux in the mail today
and I attempted to solder the joint again. I've noticed
with the new flux it etches the stainless even before I
get heat on it (it was bubbling away). The solder
flowed nicely and its a good mechanical bond. So yes
I will eat my words people and choke them down
with a beer! It's good to have a challenge every now
and then I think. Thanks to everyone who set this
stainless ordeal straight.
 

ekjohns

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bobby if you get a chance could you make a video of your process for soldering SS (preferably using propane). No rush just if you get a chance. I know there are videos out there but I would like to see your take on it before I try
 
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BargainFittings

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This video is the one I used when I first started.

His movements with the flame are very fluid and in the video you can see him coming back with the flux after he heats up the joint a bit and almost immediately after reapplying the heat you can see the solder wicking into the joint.

 
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allclene

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here is one of the fittings I did. It turned out nicely thanks to all the info everyone put out to show how it is supposed to be done.

fitting.gif
 

Huaco

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here is one of the fittings I did. It turned out nicely thanks to all the info everyone put out to show how it is supposed to be done.
Lookie there! It worked after all! Haha.
Good work man! Now are you a believer?
Still though, be careful while torquing the fittings on. I back-torque with a set of channel locks.
 

allclene

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jasonsbeer said:
I'm curious about the Oatey liquid flux that has been mentioned several times throughout this thread. It sounds like people have used it successfully, but the product information specifically states it is not for use on stainless steel.

What gives?

http://www.menards.com/main/store/20090519001/items/media/Plumbing/oatey/Prod_Tech_Spec/No_11_Liquid_Flux.pdf
I tried that home depot stuff and I had no success with it. Use the harris flux they mention in this thread. It works.
 

starman

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This stuff I used says 'all metals except aluminum' and specifically calls out stainless.

ForumRunner_20120904_195355.jpg

I'd still do the Harris between the two.
 

navmatt

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Just a little heads up, at Airgas, Harris Stay-Brite & Stay-Clean are now branded as Radnor. It's still from Harris.



My local Airgas had a pretty large display with several different sizes, I paid $14.17 for the kit, including at $3.75 hazmat charge.
 

wilserbrewer

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allclene

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I baught mine online. It cost me more to ship than to buy it. But it works the best.
 

navmatt

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I don't have to pay for a lot of the hazardous materials I dispose of, so I don't mind a fee now and then. I've decided that pricing at Airgas is determined by who helps you, I've paid multiple different prices for CO2 exchanges at the same store.

Soldering was a success:



Keggle holding water:

 

wilserbrewer

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I don't have to pay for a lot of the hazardous materials I dispose of, so I don't mind a fee now and then.
OK man...sorry wasn't pointing at you, just trying to expose the state tax collectors and their rediculous fes IMO...

Nice job w/ the solder...looks great!
 

NewBrewB

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Ok I built my 'keg tool' and made a dimple in the side of the keg. I'm at the point that I have to get serious about acetone/flux/solder.

Q1: How important is it to clean the edge of the hole and the coupler with acetone first?

Q2: I'm planning to use 220 grit sandpaper on the dimple and a strip of sandpaper to rough-up a stripe around the middle of the coupler where I want it to match-up. Is 220 good?

Q3: Some posts on here claim that a propane torch will get hot enough so I don't need to spend the $20 on a yellow-bottle (MAPP?) torch. Will propane work? I really don't want to get flux on there, solder all in-place, blasting it all with propane...and nothing happens.

Q4: To clean-up the black marks afterwards, I just use more flux, right?

Q5: What do acetone and flux do to bare skin? I plan to use normal household-cleaning yellow latex gloves... is that enough?

Q6: Is there anything else I need to know/do before I sand/set the coupling, cut the solder to-fit, and blast away at the coupling until the solder melts?

Thanks!
 

Huaco

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Ok I built my 'keg tool' and made a dimple in the side of the keg. I'm at the point that I have to get serious about acetone/flux/solder.

Q1: How important is it to clean the edge of the hole and the coupler with acetone first?

Q2: I'm planning to use 220 grit sandpaper on the dimple and a strip of sandpaper to rough-up a stripe around the middle of the coupler where I want it to match-up. Is 220 good?

Q3: Some posts on here claim that a propane torch will get hot enough so I don't need to spend the $20 on a yellow-bottle (MAPP?) torch. Will propane work? I really don't want to get flux on there, solder all in-place, blasting it all with propane...and nothing happens.

Q4: To clean-up the black marks afterwards, I just use more flux, right?

Q5: What do acetone and flux do to bare skin? I plan to use normal household-cleaning yellow latex gloves... is that enough?

Q6: Is there anything else I need to know/do before I sand/set the coupling, cut the solder to-fit, and blast away at the coupling until the solder melts?

Thanks!
1) VERY IMPORTANT
2) I used 180 metallurgical sandpaper so your 220 should be ok.
3)I used MAPP Gas for all of mine. I blow the flame directly up the center of the coupler until the flux boils. I then pull the torch to the outside and heat just the rim of the fitting with the flame until the heat builds up and puddles the solder. Make sure the fitting is in a position so that the solder puddles equally about the fitting. and not run off to the side.
4)I did two keggles for a buddy just yesterday. I noticed quite by accident that Acetone cleans up the brown solder QUITE WELL!
5)I have done 5 keggles without wearing any gloves... I am careful and don't get the flux on my skin. Acetone won't hurt you, (Unless you have an open cut on your finger like I have... Then it HURTS LIKE HELL!)
6)I take a measurement of my fitting and dimple through stages to JUST UNDER (about .005") the diameter of the coupler (checked with calipers). This way, I can draw the coupler through the dimple and make a MUCH better mechanical press fit.
 

krazydave

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NewBrewB said:
Ok I built my 'keg tool' and made a dimple in the side of the keg. I'm at the point that I have to get serious about acetone/flux/solder.

Q1: How important is it to clean the edge of the hole and the coupler with acetone first?

Q2: I'm planning to use 220 grit sandpaper on the dimple and a strip of sandpaper to rough-up a stripe around the middle of the coupler where I want it to match-up. Is 220 good?

Q3: Some posts on here claim that a propane torch will get hot enough so I don't need to spend the $20 on a yellow-bottle (MAPP?) torch. Will propane work? I really don't want to get flux on there, solder all in-place, blasting it all with propane...and nothing happens.

Q4: To clean-up the black marks afterwards, I just use more flux, right?

Q5: What do acetone and flux do to bare skin? I plan to use normal household-cleaning yellow latex gloves... is that enough?

Q6: Is there anything else I need to know/do before I sand/set the coupling, cut the solder to-fit, and blast away at the coupling until the solder melts?

Thanks!
1. I didn't use acetone on one single solder joint I did. And I've done about 20 now. No problem whatsoever.

2. 220 will work, just make sure you have a clean looking surface. I used the tape sandpaper that you find in the solder section of your hardware store... worked great!

3. I used a good propane torch, had zero problems. The key is to wait until the solder starts to flow and give it about 5-10 more seconds of heat. Any more than that, you start overheating it.

4. Barkeepers friend worked great for me and didn't waste any flux.

5. acetone will dry you out quite well, but wont kill you. I wasn't willing to try getting the flux on my skin since it seemed like a pretty strong acid.

6. Try to get the fit between your dimple and fittings as tight as possible. Other than that, it seems like you have a pretty good idea of what to do.
 

rekoob

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+1 to what Krazydave said.
I didn't use acetone either. After I made the hole and pulled the tool through I cleaned up with sandpaper (think I used 220 or 320) and wiped it off good using some paint thinner just to remove all the sanding grit. Like Dave said, just make sure it's clean looking. I did this on the keg around the hole and the coupler. Pulled the coupler through to where I wanted it, tried to make sure it was at the angle I wanted, I used a 10 or 12 inch piece of black 1/2" pipe that I screwed into the coupler and then tapped the end to adjust. Added flux, added a ring of solder I wrapped around another coupler, actually it ened up being almost two rings, slipped the solder over the coupler into the grove and applied heat with a propane torch mostly to the coupler cuz that's the thickest part, as soon as I saw wicking through to the heated side I removed heat.

I didn't think any step was very hard but judging the amount of solder you need to fill the grove was the hardest part really. Let is sit for as long as it takes to cool off, don't rush into trying to clean to fast. Clean up with a little more flux (I purchased a large bottle so wasn't worried about wasting the flux), any cleaning method would most likely work.

Take your time and you shouldn't have any issues at all.

Good luck.
 

krazydave

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I guess I should mention that I used three rings of the thin solder in the kit. That seemed to be a good amount to make a nice pool. Two would probably work, but I figured three could only add a little more strength. Of course, this is assuming your fitting is tight enough that it doesn't just wick through and drip out the other side.
 

NewBrewB

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What size hole punch do people use for the 1" coupling? I used the 9/16" punch I bought for my herms coil but had a problem with the lip of the dimple splitting. (As a workaround, I am JB welding the split to keep the flux and solder from running through when I solder. Fortunately, I decided to pul the dimple to the outside of the keggle so the JB weld will be on the outside, not next to the water/beer in my keggles....or if JB weld is food safe, I guess it does not matter.) *shrug*
 

slakwhere

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you need way bigger than that i think. my 1" coupling is like 1.5" hole saw. i took the coupler to home depot, found a saw slightly smaller than the OD of the coupler. tada.
 

rekoob

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I would think anyone you find that welds for a living would be able to weld SS. I only say that because every welder I know can weld SS.
 

Huaco

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I would think anyone you find that welds for a living would be able to weld SS. I only say that because every welder I know can weld SS.
NOT TRUE!

Ever seen pictures or worse yet, actual SS welded couplings on a Keggle from a guy that had no CLUE how to weld SS? N.A.S.T.Y!!!!!
 

BlackNotch

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Found this vid on youtube today, I did a quick search and haven't seen a post on the Muggy Weld SSF-6. Has anyone tried this on a coupling or spud?
 
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P-J

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Found this vid on youtube today, I did a quick search and haven't seen a post on the Muggy Weld SSF-6. Has anyone tried this on a coupling or spud?
That works very well. However, that particular solder requires very high temp to use & apply properly.

Harris Stay-Brite #8 melts @ 430° and is also very strong in bonding.
 

BlackNotch

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That works very well. However, that particular solder requires very high temp to use & apply properly.

Harris Stay-Brite #8 melts @ 430° and is also very strong in bonding.
I have some Stay-Brite, but noticed the tensile strength of the SSF-6. I would think heating two stainless washers would take less time than a coupling, but they claim to be using propane and it seemed pretty quick. That stuff isnt cheap either, $69 for two 18" rods.
 
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