How to Make a Copper Rolling Ball Sculpture

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11 Discussions

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AndrewF200

6 months ago on Introduction

Hello. Videos seem to be unavailable. Could you post them again? I would like to start building my rbs again and would like to refresh my memory by watching your videos again. Thanks

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sykotoaster

2 years ago

Hey there. Great instructional video. I am in the process of making one now. A bit different design, but your vids gave me what I needed to know. I'll post it when I'm done. You were right about the frustration involved, but I just walk away for a minute and my desire to keep working is restored.

6 replies
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swirlingbrainsykotoaster

Reply 2 years ago

Cool. Hope the videos help! Yes, post it on youtube and send me a video link when you're done. I'd like to see what you come up with!

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sykotoasterswirlingbrain

Reply 2 years ago

I do have a couple questions: What do you suggest for cleaning dripping solder from the copper wire. I tried burning it off, but sometimes rather than dripping, it just burns. I saw a tool at Home Depot that looks like it might be an abrasion tool to "sand" off excess solder. Also, are you using a lot of flux, or just enough to grease the two points at the joint? I was looking at our torch and it looks like the flame is a bit more concentrated than mine. What type torch do you have? Thanks for the reply!

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swirlingbrainsykotoaster

Reply 2 years ago

You can use a solder sucker or solder braid to get rid of excess solder. Warm it up until it becomes liquid then suck it off or press with the braid to soak it up. You can find them at stores that sell electronic parts or on ebay. Try your best not to need them, tho, of course. I sometimes heat up a blob then push it off with something (like some wire of cold solder).

For fluxing, probably more is better than less, but not too much. Don't dry brush it on. You'll want to slather it on but probably not put a big blob of flux. If when you put your torch on it and it turns black, that's not good. You'll want to get scotchbrite and clean that off before trying again. When you get it clean and shiny, then flux again, then try to solder again.

I got my propane tip at Home depot. It's just the standard one that plumbers use. A fine tip (3/8") is better than a bigger type (5/8") and certainly not the really big ones used for heating floors (3/4", 1" or bigger). You want a concentrated flame about 1 to 2 inches long (maybe longer depending on your needs) and touch that flame on the joint you are wanting to heat and even move in about 1/2" more closer to get to a good hot spot on the flame. You'll have to get experience at it to find that right sweet hot spot.

When you solder the two wires have to make physical contact (like don't try to bridge a gap - that will not hold). Hold the flame on the joint about 10 to 20 seconds while occasionally touching the solder every second or two to the joint (after the 10 second mark) to see if the solder will melt. If the joint starts turning black, that's no good, clean and start over. Once the solder melts, push in about a BB's worth of solder into the joint. Don't keep the flame on it after the solder has flowed in. If you keep the flame on it after it's done then it will start oxidizing and turn black and then you'll need to scrub that junk off.

I hope that helps.

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sykotoasterswirlingbrain

Reply 2 years ago

That is a wealth of information. I might need to get a new torch then. I think mine might be a bit big. Also, yeah, that is exactly what I was doing with the solder - letting it drip while the flame is going rather than touching the solder to the joint.

I am making sure there is not a gap between the joints - you were very clear about that in your instructions =)

Thanks!

Very useful!

Best,

Tom

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swirlingbrainsykotoaster

Reply 2 years ago

Also, if your torch is a bit big but it's working for you, well, go with it. Whatever works, right?!

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swirlingbrainsykotoaster

Reply 2 years ago

When you solder be sure to heat both wires of the joint, i.e., the metal, not the solder. If you heat and melt the solder and drip it into the joint it will bounce off or be a cold solder joint which won't stick properly. If you flux and then heat both of the wires of the joint and make the really hot wires melt the solder instead of the flame, the solder will stick perfectly. So yeah, heat the wires, not the solder and it works. I hope that helps.

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RexE4

2 years ago

What does the missus think about you using her bathtub for caustic chemicals?

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spinda26

3 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for the very informative videos. I will let you know how my first sculpture turns out!

1 reply