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Author Topic: Aluminum Solder  (Read 1089 times)
KW4MM
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Posts: 21




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« on: November 28, 2009, 05:34:19 AM »

Greetings,
I am constructing a homebrew 6 meter yagi and may want to do some aluminum soldering. At the Dayton Hamvention every year, I see the booths in the flea market area demonstrating a low temperature aluminum solder.  Never thought I’d have any need.  Anyone have any experience or maybe a brand name?

Thank you,  
Garth, KW4MM
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W5FYI
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Posts: 1046




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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 09:25:29 AM »

Once upon a time I bought some MF Products aluminum repair rod that would do what you want. You could probably find something similar, like Alumaloy, by searching for "aluminum repair rod" on eBay, etc.

You can also try using regular 60/40 solder on aluminum, if you scrape the oxide off the aluminum first. One trick is to submerse the aluminum in light oil to scrape or sand it then, with the oil still protecting the surface from air, heat it to melt solder directly onto it, but you heat a pretty hefty heat source to make it work. The neat thing is that you can then solder copper wire directly to aluminum that way.
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PULLRAFTT
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 10:03:53 AM »

AlumaLoy is applied after the base metal is heated to 760 degrees (i watched the infomercial). Might be a bit much for an aluminum element.
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KW4MM
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 11:39:29 AM »

Thank you all so much for the information. Alumaloy sounds exactly like what I am looking for. I have found it on Ebay and ordered some. The elements are 1" diameter where I need to solder. Yep, this is to be a robust antenna.

Gud DX to all. Hope to hear you on 6 meters.

73,
Garth, KW4MM
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WX7G
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Posts: 6131




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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 05:39:42 PM »

They sell aluminum brazing rod at Home Depot. It takes a bit more heat than a propane torch provides. MAP or propane and O2 should do the trick.
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N3OX
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2009, 02:42:15 PM »

"Yep, this is to be a robust antenna. "

Be careful of annealing the soldered joints by heating them.

You can easily take heat treated / aged aluminum to dead soft with a propane torch (I've done it recently on purpose)

So be careful.  Like PULLRAFTT suggests, you could end up with  problems.
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
N0OKS
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 04:17:36 PM »

Aluminum melts at 1,220 F. Extruders heat 6061 aluminum alloy to about 950 to 1,000 F. Use Google to find about about heat treating. The temperatures are not that high and you just let the piece cool.
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WB2LCW
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2009, 12:42:33 PM »

It is not as easy as the video on ebay makes to believe!
I have some of the Home depot stuff and some of the
Ebay stuff. Aluminum conducts heat away from where you apply it at a extremely fast rate.So it is difficult to get the metal hot enough! On antenna elements You will probably ruin the element before you can get it hot enough.The aluminum solder once it sticks to the metal
will not re-flow once stuck. The metal will no longer be shinny once the joint is soldered,If you are lucky enough to succeed. because it will have a burnt look .Also theheat will weaken the strenght of the aluminum.

Mapp gas may be the way to go? i dont have a mapp gas torch so I have not tried that. If you buy a torch,buy one that auto ignites when you pull the trigger otherwise you will wast a lot of gas..

Your best bet may be to find someone who has a mig ot tig welder and do it that way

73

mike
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2009, 04:59:22 PM »

"FYI" is rock solid correct! I've won a few bucks over the early years betting on Zero Ohm wire to aluminum soldering! These days I only solder shut holes in the XYL's aluminum kettle. It might be rough to do the required 'oil and scrape' routine for your project, but...if you can .......

73

dm
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KW4MM
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 04:32:11 AM »

Alumaloy did the trick. This product worked wonderfully! It was very easy to use. I had no problem getting the aluminum to the proper heat with just a home propane torch. The antenna elements did not weaken, warp or discolor. I cannot say enough good about it. I truly appreciate all the advise, recommendation and experiences that were offered.
73 and Happy Holidays to all.
Garth, KW4MM
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