can someone help me with my soldering dilema?

greetings to you all!!.....had my first crack at soldering today with no success! the solder did not take to the two metals. i got my soldering iron, flux and solder wire from an electronic supply store. my hobby is jewely making (non precious). do i need to have more knowledge of the metals i am using? i was under the impression that i could pretty much solder anything together. the various components i use are not all the same metals. ...any help out there??.....cheers in advance!!

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TheBagLady2 years ago

Hello I am trying to solder jewely to make bezels for fused glass I design, I have watched endless videos on this method of soldering but no information as to what won't solder, I tried soldering and the silver slid off the metal, so my question is what material can't or won't solder

framistan7 years ago
In my experience of teaching many persons how to solder, i have seen MOSTLY the newbee doesn't heat up the item hot enough.  Dont be afraid to hold the iron on the metal and get it really hot. Be sure the tip of the iron is SILVERY looking.... NOT charcoal-ee looking.  Another possible problem is your iron MIGHT be too small for the job.  Large metal items need large irons.   You are using an IRON right... not one of those dang solder GUNS !!!  I personally dont like the soldering guns because they often fail to heat up.
Here are a few metals you can NOT solder to...   ALUMINUM... GALVANIZED...  STAINLESS STEEL ..... POT-METAL ... and TITANIUM.   As a final tip... when soldering, do not use the iron like a paintbrush.  many newbees try to sort-of brush the molten solder to the part.  Resist the urge to paint.  HOLD the iron on the part and heat it up real good.
All of those CAN be soldered by appropriate materials.....  Steels solder easily if they are pretreated with chemicals like "Fry's liquid". Titanium IS difficult, but it can be done, and aluminium is relatively straightforward. Flux galavanised steel, and the zinc alone will "solder" the steel.
nepheron7 years ago
If you are using a soldering iron for jewelry, toss it. I use a little butane torch (@ $10 from ACE) for anything that's made entirely of metal. The solders flows much nicer if the whole piece can be evenly heated. if you are using that thin copper tape that stained-glassers use, make sure you use enough flux! more flux = smoother solder job.

Another possibility is that you are not soldering well clean metal. Always clean the metal with fine sandpaper and flux before soldering.
Very good points Nepheron!
seandogue7 years ago
silver solder is pretty standard in jewelry work...Brazing (bronze/brass soldering) or more difficult materials. As with all methods of welding, the materials that are to be bonded are the critical element for heating...dripping hot metal on cold metal simply doesn't work, because the "solder' freezes upon contact as the cold metal wicks away the tiny amount of heat offered by the molten solder. (A gross exaggeration of most situations, but hopefully illustrative). This is what's called a cold junction in electronics work, where the solder beads, rather than flowing onto the metal.

re-design and the others have outlined it pretty well..I'm just playing busybody and adding my own flavor to the mix to hopefully drive the point a bit farther home.
plumber_bob7 years ago
Try and see if you can get each piece to take some solder separately.
If the works, then you can just heat up the solder on both pieces and it should be easier to join them.

But as, Re-design, pointed out, different metals have different requirements to get solder to take to the metal.

NachoMahma7 years ago
> You have to heat up both metals hot enough to melt the solder or they won't join.  I think this might have been your first problem. - Re-design
.  That's my first guess.
.  And make sure you are using the proper flux and/or cleaning procedure.
.  As R-d points out elsewhere, electronic solder is not the best choice for jewelry. It's too soft and may contain Pb.
> do i need to have more knowledge of the metals i am using? i was under the impression that i could pretty much solder anything together.
.  Yes.
.  You can solder just about anything, but making a solder joint that will hold up to the abuse a ring gets and/or won't turn your finger green and/or won't give you heavy metal poisoning takes a little know-how. Google is your friend.
Re-design7 years ago
You have to do some research.  Some metals can be soldered but you have to use silver solder.  Or maybe you need acid core solder.  Or high lead content solder (making it less fit for jewlery).  Or low lead content solder.  Aluminum can be soldered but it is very difficult.  Some jewlery is brazed.

You have to heat up both metals hot enough to melt the solder or they won't join.  I think this might have been your first problem.  It takes a large iron for this unless your pieces are very small.  You may need to look into using a jewlers torch that runs on a small bottle of propane. 

Here's a link that links to two videos of someone soldering jewelry and below them are more links.

Good luck.
lemonie7 years ago
You can't solder pretty much anything, but make sure you go about it in a good way. Have solder on the iron's bit, touch that to the wire and apply solder to the wire - does that work?