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  #1  
Old 12-16-2003, 01:23 AM
SteveB SteveB is offline
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Default cutting acid for soldering

Hi all.
Since Jessea brought up the subject of soldering, I haven't yet seen a post on cutting acid to reduce the amount of zinc-oxide one must breathe while soldering. While this may seem obvious to many, there are a few who have not heard of this life saving tidbit.
As many of you know, zinc, and muriatic/hydrochloric acid creates a really wicked "smoke" when mixed together, which is the process to prepare metal for soldering. This, if encountered as often as tinners must do so, can kill, or cause very serious respiratory illnesses later in life.
So, here goes....
Take enough acid in a non-glass jar, and throw 1/2" x 1/2" pieces of galv'd sheet metal in the jug-- thick ness does not matter-- pick scrap,and cut small. Allow for the "boiling" process to settle down, and place more. After about 10 pcs, the boiling will cease enough to make the acid "cut" and be usable for standard soldering purposes.
The more acid one uses, the more zinc coated galvanized metal one must use.
Keep in mind, if you put too much metal in the jug, it can kill the value of the acid. You want there to be enough to reduce the volatility of the "boiling" not stop it all together.
Important
Do NOT place a whole bunch of galv'd metal in a jug all at once. You'll have a minaturized version of Mt Vesuvius, or Mt St. Helens go off in front of you.
This is in fact a highly volatile chemical reaction and it can get very very hot. So, give it a few miunutes before you try to pick up the jug, or move it with bear hands.
Hope this helps with those who solder a lot,and are tired of breathing disgusting, and actually dangerous fumes.
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:30 PM
pricer pricer is offline
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Default Watered Down Acid

I clearly understand this solution and intend to try it. I was taught years ago to mix to muratic acid with water 50/50 in a glass container, an old coffee cup in my case. Looking back there are many things that I have seen that was not very reliable. I have never been successful at soldering on any kind. Gutter seal has been very kind to me over the years on light gauge drain pans and roof jacks. The closest I have come is silver brazing refrigeration lines. I not a pro at that either but the guys I work with that are usually fail badly at soldering. The lack of education is terrible. I guess when you find yourself stopping to read a can of flux for guidance your most likely in trouble. I need to read the section "soldering 101" before asking too much. Need more time.


Thanks, pricer
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2004, 03:36 PM
Grue Grue is offline
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Default

Being one of those that worked with spouting before the invention of silicone, pop rivets and commercial flux. I've "cut" a lot of acid. Us old timers call neat acid "spirits" short for "spirits of salts" - undiluted hydrochloric acid. Diluting the acid with water was frowned upon as it is a dangerous practice. If you must dilute you should add the acid to water NEVER water to acid as the acid tends to spit the water (and some of the acid) out. Spirits was only used on steel.

To solder galvanized material you had to use "killed spirits" and made your own. To make killed spirits you added zinc to the acid and could buy granulated zinc for the purpose. We also made our own flux brushes by cutting hair from a horse hair broom and containing it in a piece of folded sheet metal. Brushes had to be neatly trimmed so that flux was ONLY applied to the joint area. Quality was paramount (not speed)

The chemical equation for the process is that hydrochloric acid is a compound of hydrogen and chlorine, by adding the zinc you are replacing the hydrogen with zinc to end up with zinc chloride. Lots of heat is released in the chemical reaction so don't use glass containers to do the mix, they tend to shatter and send acid in every direction. Hydrogen gas is also released in quantity so the whole mix is surounded by explosive gas. You always made killed spirits outside particularly as in those days everyone smoked, the warning was don't smoke while you're killing acid.

So we soldered galvanised material using zinc chloride as a flux and there was a very good reason. If you used acid, you'd remove the galvanising from the material and the joint would rust because you'd never be able to cover all of the area treated with acid with solder. One carried a wet piece of terry toweling when soldering and washed the joint once the solder had set. The towel was also used to wipe the iron to keep it clean.

Soldering copper & brass one used nitric acid, really nasty stuff, and god knows what we breathed but the nitric got the metal clean. You always gave the job a "drink" (water) when finished to remove excess acid.

Glenn
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Old 03-24-2004, 06:13 AM
marky marky is offline
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Default

have you tried SALAMONIAC this was used a lot in shipyards i dont know if it is still available or was done away with , like all good things said to be dangerous.
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Old 04-17-2004, 05:26 PM
steve2 steve2 is offline
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Salamoniac is still available as a block here in Ohio, but I use it to tin my soldering irons. Also available here is a product called Ruby Fluid. It is zinc chloride and I use it to solder copper all of the time. I get good results with it.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:05 PM
Grue Grue is offline
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Salamoniac is much the same as "smelling salts" used in the boxing ring. I would not like to be sniffing it all the time. Steve 2, it's the only thing to use for tinning irons isn;t it!

Glenn
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Old 04-17-2004, 11:06 PM
steve2 steve2 is offline
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Glen, you bet it is, but boy what a cloud of foul smelling, throat choking smoke it raises when I tin a couple of irons. I also differ from the apparent norm in that I dip my irons in killed acid to clean them as I am soldering. I've tried water, but after a while there seems to be a coating that the water will not get off and the solder doesn't melt as readily as on a shiny iron.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:21 PM
Manny Manny is offline
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HI guys,regarding tinning irons i was given a inside tip my first day,Hank the mechanic i started with who was as old as the common cold i thought back then-told me to crush salamoniac to a powder then place it in a glass jar and add water,dip the irons into the solution every once in awhile to clean off any unwanted build up.
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Old 05-01-2004, 03:59 PM
SteveB SteveB is offline
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Default Onto different things-- Dip

Manny,
Yes, that old timer has it correct.
Crush the sally-- I usually used about a teaspoon (I never measured, just cut off a chunk with your knife, and crush it) or so, into a bucket-- and mix with as much water as one might need.
When I was working, I'd grab two- two gallon buckets from the caulking crew-- those yellow one's-- Sikaflex-- and have one for just water-- I'd wipe my soldering once finished, and the other for my "dip." The dip gives the user a clean 'iron' when the tip is burning up too quickly.
I used those buckets where ever I went to solder. The plastic buckets allowed me to take them out to jobsites. Every one would laugh, but it kept my irons clean, while they were constantly having to re-tin theirs from over-cooking them.
Hope this helps.
Yes guys, I am still alive.
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Old 05-02-2004, 11:22 PM
steve2 steve2 is offline
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So my question for you Sally guys is this: did your irons still wear away about an inch or so from the tip so that the iron sort of necked down between the tip and the body of the iron? I have dipped my irons in Ruby Fluid which is a comercial version of killed acid, and they have always shown the same wear pattern. I read somewhere that it happened because of using acid as a dip instead of water. I tried water but no good. Why did I never think to use some Sally in the water?? I'll give this a try. Thanks
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