Soldering White Metal

I had a little time today to work on my BWH wagon and the step I’d reached was to apply some under-body detail to the hopper chutes. The chutes themselves are large, triangular, white metal castings that I had previously glued into position using some quick-setting epoxy glue. Before I glued them on I’d scrubbed them with a glass fibre brush and removed any casting flash with files and wet and dry paper. I wanted them nice and clean because it makes keeping them clean much easier as the wagon comes together. It also means that the glue, paint and solder I intended using on them will adhere better. Dirt is the enemy of good adhesion (Trev’s modelling rule number 37)! šŸ™‚

This photo shows the white metal shutes in place and the hopper release levers soldered to the side og their respective shoots. These are all "handed" so it helps to have them all lined up and ready to apply in a logical sequence.

This photo shows the white metal chutes in place and the hopper release levers soldered to the side og their respective shoots. These are all “handed” so it helps to have them all lined up and ready to apply in a logical sequence.

The instructions suggest affixing the release handles with glue but I decided that using low melt solder was the way to go. I marked the position of each handle with a pencil line on the chutes and then applied a small dab of Carr’s 70 degree solder to the chute. This was done with my variable temperature soldering iron set at about 300 degrees. There is no chance of melting the chute with a much hotter iron than would be suggested by the melting temperature of the solder as they act as a heat sink. To get the solder to take means you need to use more heat than would at first seem wise. However be warned, when you come to apply the small white metal handles you MUST reduce the heat or you’ll end up with small blobs of white metal instead of details. I found that reducing the iron to about 220 degrees worked well. I positioned the handle castings and then ran the solder round the edges of each part. When happy I removed the iron to allow the solder to set.

The next step was to bend up the u channel beams that run across the gap between the hopped doors, These come as three brass etchings that must be folded. I used a small hold and fold to achieve a straight fold and then soldered along the fold line using normal electrical solder with the iron set on 450 degrees. I then tinned one edge of the u channel with Carr’s 188 degree solder and the spot where they were to be attached on the hopper doors with Carr’s 70 degree solder. With a bit of fiddling and diddling I got the three u channels to sit where they needed to be. A bit more work but much more satisfactory than gluing these parts into position and if you get them in the wrong spot it’s a reasonably easy job to reposition them.

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