Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How To Solder With A Blowpipe

The use of blowpipes to increase heat to the point where soldering and/or fusing of some metals is possible is a well known technique throughout the world. The traditional fuel in many areas has always been charcoal, although bunsen type burners, alcohol lamps, or even candles are preferred because of the readily available flame.

An air-jet is produced by the restriction of the blowpipe. When directed through a flame, will produce a super hot sideways flame, or jet, which is easy to manipulate. The oilcan blowpipe illustrated here is also more efficient because it does not conduct heat to the lips, and is flexible so that the head and face do not need to be positioned uncomfortably or unnaturally to accomplish the work.

This oilcan blow pipe as illustrated here also serves as a collector of moisture, which is a byproduct of breath, and can cause problems if not addressed. Obtain an oilcan with a very small hole at the end of the spout. Variation in flame size then can be had by altering the flow of your breath. The nipple that the rubber tubing is hooked to can even be hard plastic. Rubber tubing is cheap at all auto parts stores, ask for vacuum tube or even fuel line.

This type of blowpipe is used for soldering of jewelry, small machine parts, the fusing of some metals such as gold, and also for certain mining assay tests for fusability of ores. Silver soldering is a breeze.

Beginners must learn to position the work and the heat source correctly, and tweezers come in very handy. The work must be positioned to accept this pinpoint heat produced with the blowpipe. This entails some getting used to and do not feel bad if you find yourself wishing for a few more hands -- everybody does.

Little alligator clips on extendable antennae rigs, tweezers of various sizes, hemostats, or those little shop helper benchtop tools with arms and clips -- all come in handy -- even jewelers vises of various types -- can be used to make this operation work better. Like anything: practice will make perfect, for your particular needs, do not fear.

Through experimentation you can see which part of your burner flame yields which kind of needle flame, and this is the way you can vary temperature by eye -- get used to the various flame colors you produce when you send the blowpipe-jet through the alcohol lamps flame.

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