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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen posts before where using sheet steel was mentioned for build things like locomotive cabs. Around here galvinized sheet steel is readily available in thinner guages.
Has any one done much with sheet steel? Any luck silver soldeing it? Anyone used galvinized. I know the fumes from torch cutting and welding can be nasty.
How about weathering?
 

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Chrisb,

I assume your talking some scale size like 1:29 or 1:20. If so
I have a couple of questions for you.

What do you mean by " thinner gauges" of galvi? thinner than 26Ga?

Why would you want to use Silver Solder on galv. sheet stock?

Why would you use a torch to either cut or weld?

Weathering would not be a problem, if by weathering you mean paint
not natural rust.

Just curious
Rick Marty
 
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Posted By chrisb on 11/09/2008 3:27 PM
Anyone used galvinized. I know the fumes from torch cutting and welding can be nasty.





First time I see you ever cut or weld galvinized sheet stock I am leaving. Stuff can and will kill you.
Use bending brake and saw.
Toad
 

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Working with thin gauge sheet steel is pretty difficult in a modelling environment. I too would warn you away from using galvanised steel, either welding brazing or soldering... The zinc will evaporate and the only real cure for inhaled zinc is drinking massive amounts of milk while being rushed to hospital for emergency chelating treatment. I would recommend you use sheet brass and sheet aluminium for model work. Both can be soldered with ease -or epoxied. As to silver soldering steel it is fairly easy -but you do need to be absolutely sure that all surfaces are bright shiny and chemically clean. I use a 55% silver alloy called "Silver Flo 55" with the std flux of borax ground with olive oil you will need a temperature of around 700C (dull red in shade) to ensure liquidity of the joint. This is fairly easy to achieve with Propane /Air -but is far better with MAPP/ Air as the flame is far hotter and "cleaner". I use a Benz-o-matic bottle torch -which I am very happy with -the only problem being that the bottle gets progressively colder as you use it. There have been several times when the bottle has frozen to my gloves!!!

regards

ralph
 

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The majority of modellers from n right up to 7/8ths scale here in UK and continental Europe use nickel silver or brass sheet for their flatwork/platework. No doubt Ralph will tell you how to 'stick it together' properly. I have a small resistance soldering iron ot build the smaller models, but I leave the bigger modelling to Aster and Accucraft.

As has already been noted, using a cutting torch on galvanised sheet will probably kill you. Best not to, eh?

tac
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What about using cold rolled steel? I think galvanized or stainless steel would be too difficult to work with.
 

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I use steel mostly for frames. If I have to solder then hot rolled steel (the black one) or drawn mild (the shiny) works best. If it is for something that is screwed together then galvinised is perfect. Much easier than brass. And cheaper. So far I haven't tried silver soldering only ordinary solder (the 2% silver sort).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for repiles, I did not know that Aluminum sheet can be soldered. I've seen white metal type brazing rods for cast AL.
Is this what you were refering to?
 

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Posted By jimtyp on 11/10/2008 10:24 AM
What about using cold rolled steel? I think galvanized or stainless steel would be too difficult to work with.

I reckon that if Accucraft can use brass and nickel silver sheet to build a model as large as a K-36, then cold-rolled steel is a bit of an overkill. Just my $0.02.

tac
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Not sure what you mean by overkill? Cold Rolled Steel is really cheap and can even be found in hardware stores. It works like brass. It will rust if left to the elements but most folks paint whatever they are building. Can't beat the price, for example, comparing 22 gauge brass and 22 gauge cold rolled steel for a 36" x 48" sheet; cold rolled steel $25, brass $167 - prices are quotes from onlinemetals.com
 

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Cold rolled steel works very well. Actually it works better than hard sheet brass because it is more friendly to drill. It bends better too, since it does not spring as much. You can cut thin steel by sandwiching in between pieces of wood, use a fine blade and cutting oil. Hold the saw at a rather steep angle and let the blade do the cutting. It solders fine. Give it a good rub down with clean steel wool or a wire brush, wash in soapy water and dry. Use the low heat and "creep up" until the solder flows. Steel paints better than brass too.

As Ralph said, stay away from galvanized. Fumes are terrible and dangerous.


Steel is good stuff. Give it a try.

Bob
 

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I did not know that Aluminum sheet can be soldered.


I got a roll of this: http://www.elfaelektroonika.ee/cgi-bin/web_store.cgi?artnr=82-912-13&lng=eng#!82-912-13 (the first that came up with google, no affiliation) but I haven't tried it yet.
 

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Posted By Ole Toad Frog on 11/10/2008 12:41 AM
Posted By chrisb on 11/09/2008 3:27 PM
Anyone used galvinized. I know the fumes from torch cutting and welding can be nasty.





First time I see you ever cut or weld galvinized sheet stock I am leaving. Stuff can and will kill you.
Use bending brake and saw.
Toad



Toadster:

Calm down, Dude. Grab a cold one and let us reason together.


You're absolutely right, and I'm not arguing with you. Torching galvanized can be hazardous to your health.

Having said that, I've done it on several occasions, of necessity. All I had to repair with and too long a cut, and too heavy a gauge for snips. (I didn't have a scroll saw). What you do is go outside, where the air is moving. Use a big fan to make the air move if it isn't. Be very aware of eddy currents and don't take a deep breath. Just shallow ones. Tie a wet bandanna across your schnoz. It won't help, probably, but it'll make you feel better and the cool damp will enhance your sense of smell. (Does for me, anyway). If you smell something incredibly nasty, exhale fast and step back. You can always restart your cut. Finding used lungs at an affordable price is harder.

As for soldering it, all I ever used was lead solder. I filed/ground/got the zinc plating off farther than I needed it, and soldered to suit. This isn't so dangerous. I fixed the gaurds/guides on my bale loader this way. Except for the rust, my repairs lasted 'way better than the factory material.

I intend to try making some car bodies or engine cabs and whatnot from some leftover galvanized I've got. I think it'd be great to model a dented gon of some kind. I think I'll use handmade rivets, though.

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU DO TRY A TORCH, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, BECAUSE THE STUFF IS VERY BAD FOR YOU TO BREATHE. TOADSTER AND RALPH ARE RIGHT.
 

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Hi all,
Lots of interesting comments here on this subject.
Makes one wonder how a sheet metal shop could possibly stay in business if
they couldn't weld or solder galvanize sheet without HAZMAT shutting
down the operation.

There is no need to use a torch on any galvanized sheet. Material under 14Ga. can
usually be shop cut, over 14 Ga most items can be ordered from the suppliers pre-cut
by their heavier duty shears. It is a real thrill to stand beside a shear that is lopping
off 10' long 1/2" plate, makes a little noise.

Welding galv. is done all the time, wire feed and traditional old stick being the most common
methods. Adaquate ventilation is of course a must as has been mentioned.

The mention of not soldering galv. really left me puzzled. How else would you possibly make
a water tight closure in architechtural sheet metal work (flashings) not to mention pans,
tubs, buckets, funnels, you name it.

The zinc coating on galv metal has a melting point of just over 700 degrees F and a boiling
point at about 1600 Degrees F, that is the point that it turns to thick white smoke and
boils off into the air. Soft solders, tin lead mixes, have melting points ranging from about 350 Degrees F to
just under 600 degrees F. depending on the mixture. The old standby 60/40 flows at about 400-450.

So normally the soldering is not hot enough to flow the zinc let alone vaporize it.
A more real worry would be the fumes from the muratic acid, used as flux, that is placed on the zinc to cut it
prior to soldering. Lets don't even talk about the burning Salamoniac fumes produced when cleaning
and tinning irons prior to soldering.

Of course the hobby room is a little different than the commercial shop and different rules apply but
the laws of physics don't change. Benign fluxes are available that work perfectly on galv metal and don't
create objectionable fumes.

Later
Rick Marty
 

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Rick,

Very glad you took time to post some facts. I've been turning the notion over in my head for several years about putting a vented hood in my upstairs shop. Now, I'm going to do it. Point of fact, I just sold my Jet torch setup to my son for a pittance. I'm going to get a cheap 'n dirty single stage one from my pals in China. I don't (won't) do precision work anymore.

I too have been pricing sheet brass, and hey, I'm old an got a bad heart! Sheesh, already. As one person pointed out, brass is lots more expensive than galv, or even mild steel.

It just seems to me that using thin mild steel is so much more cost effective--not to mention easier to work--that it's a wonder more guys aren't using it.

Again, thanks for the facts.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the feedback. My main reason for looking at steel was availability. Copper appears to be rare now. You can still find step flashing but its expensive. I brought up galvinised as I thought non galvinsied steel sheets thininner than 18 guange were hard to find though i could be wrong.
Copper is easy to work with but I have trouble keeping pant on it.
 

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Chris,

Some years ago I Googled several metal suppliers, asking for tin to make re-enactor dishes, cups, etc. I found two that would agree to ship me 'ends'. The big outfits like to deal in nothing less than entire rolls and up. But a few will sell a hobbyist 'ends', which are ends of rolls of varying gauges, widths, and thicknesses, and lengths. I found I could buy several dozen square feet for ~ $100/shipment. That might seem high, but on a sq. ft. basis it was very cheap. Bet you could resell some of the excess.

Hope this helps. And don't hesitate to try using mild steel. You might start a trend.

Les
 
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