Best fillers for whitemetal?

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby jon price » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:45 am

Hi

I'm interested to know what people find to be the best filler currently available for joints and holes in whitemetal. I don't want to muck about with low-melt solder as the chances of doing more harm than good are high. Some of the fillers I've tried (vallehjo for instance) are fine for plastic, but too hard for whitemetal making filing and finishing impossible. Any suggestions?

Jon Price 6540
Connah's Quay Workshop threads: viewforum.php?f=125

User avatar
newport_rod
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:48 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby newport_rod » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:48 am

I'd persevere with the lowmelt solder. Practice on some scrap material first, with a reasonable amount of care you'll probably find you'll be able to do the job successfully.

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2479
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Tim V » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:51 pm

I agree, for whitemetal, solder is the way forward.

Is there something wrong with your equipment? I use a 25W iron, through a conventional lighting dimmer, with a 60W bulb on the same circuit, but any low temperature iron should do. Plenty of flux, you should be able to puddle the solder into holes/gaps.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

User avatar
Paul Willis
Forum Team
Posts: 2543
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:00 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Paul Willis » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:06 pm

I'm also someone that would vote for using solder as the best method of filling gaps in whitemetal kits. Even if at the age of about 14 I needed to make my first wagon with a tarpaulin cover, after melting out the corner of an ABS GWR whitemetal kit :-/

One thing that is very useful is a *proper* temperature controlled soldering iron. No disrespect to those that use dimmer switches and the like, but a proper set up is probably equally cheap, and will give an "integrated" result. I have one of these Antex soldering stations, with a 50W iron.

http://www.rapidonline.com/sku/Tools-Fa ... 46/85-4780

(and probably many other suppliers) - 22 quid plus VAT.

I use two main settings, as originally described by Iain Rice in one of his books. It is 200 C for whitemetal, and 375 C for brass/nickel silver. The reason for the settings somewhat above the melting point of the relevant solders is that you need enough heat to bring the solder up to melting point, keep it there AND heat the workpiece up enough to make the sloder flow smoothly onto it and not make a dry joint.

If I'm doing a job on a large piece of metal, I'll crank it up further because of the extra heat-soak.

HTH, and yes, practice does make perfect.

Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

Philip Hall
Posts: 1582
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Philip Hall » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:30 pm

I've used car body filler (Plastic Padding, Isopon etc) quite successfully. I think the most durable approach is to use solder, though. However, whitemetal and I don't like each other very much so I only have to resort to such things very occasionally.

Philip

User avatar
Jol Wilkinson
Posts: 836
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:39 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:26 am

Flymo748 wrote:One thing that is very useful is a *proper* temperature controlled soldering iron. No disrespect to those that use dimmer switches and the like, but a proper set up is probably equally cheap, and will give an "integrated" result. I have one of these Antex soldering stations, with a 50W iron.

http://www.rapidonline.com/sku/Tools-Fa ... 46/85-4780

(and probably many other suppliers) - 22 quid plus VAT.

Flymo


The price on the Rapidonline website is for the soldering iron only, the whole TCU is £101, inc. VAT. I looked with interest, at that price it is such a bargain that I would have bought another (I already have one), only to be disappointed. It is still cheaper from this supplier than many of the usual model tool suppliers.

It is still a worthwhile investment and one of the best bits of model making kit I have bought.

Jol

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby John Bateson » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:56 am

Jol,
The page says
The 660TC soldering iron station from Antex is a complete temperature controlled station which has been designed to be wall or bench mounted.
And the price on the page is as Flymo states, about £22.

So am I puzzled by your note - but that is a pretty usual state for me.

Given that this is not an electronic control apparently and other soldering station with a full LED display can be had for around £50 I would tend to think the advert is as stated.

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
https://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby John Bateson » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:33 am

Jol,
Still puzzled I had another look. I think this is a bad mis-representation from Rapid, the page I quoted described a full workstation but when added to the 'basket' it describes an iron only.
Bet there will be some disappointed buyers ...
John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
https://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

User avatar
Paul Willis
Forum Team
Posts: 2543
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:00 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:47 am

John Bateson wrote:Jol,
Still puzzled I had another look. I think this is a bad mis-representation from Rapid, the page I quoted described a full workstation but when added to the 'basket' it describes an iron only.
Bet there will be some disappointed buyers ...
John


Indeed! Apologies for my bad luck in selecting the first link that I came across with the iron that I have on it. It does seem to be very wrong in price.

The Antex site lists it at the same sort of level that Jol quoted - http://www.antex.co.uk/product.asp?strP ... 5&P_ID=892

However as they say on TV, "other brands of soldering station are available...". I know that Maplin do them on offer fairly frequently, so it could be just a matter of keeping your eyes open. They are currently doing an LCD one for sixty quid:

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=98133

HTH
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

User avatar
LesGros
Posts: 493
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:05 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby LesGros » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:23 am

Tim V wrote:I agree, for whitemetal, solder is the way forward.

Is there something wrong with your equipment? I use a 25W iron, through a conventional lighting dimmer, with a 60W bulb on the same circuit...

Tim,
This would seem to be safe way of keeping the iron cooler than white metal MP. I may try it; is the iron wired in series, or in parallel to the Lamp?

regards
LesG

The man who never made a mistake
never made anything useful

User avatar
Mike Garwood
Posts: 604
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:51 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Mike Garwood » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:14 pm

If you are really uncomfortable with going the whitemetal route , I would suggest Milliput - the fine, not standard. This is a 2 part product, which mixes together in equal parts. Goes off after about 6 hrs. Advantages, if you wet it, a lick of the finger or a drop of water on the scapel, you'll get a really smooth finish - no need for filing or sanding. Disadvantages, will start to 'dissolve' in hot water, or at least that's my experience. So you need to be a bit quick on cleaning up.

regards

Mike

ScottW
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:26 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby ScottW » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:40 pm

Flymo748 wrote:
However as they say on TV, "other brands of soldering station are available...". I know that Maplin do them on offer fairly frequently, so it could be just a matter of keeping your eyes open. They are currently doing an LCD one for sixty quid:

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=98133

HTH
Flymo


For many years I have been successfully soldering both whitmetal and brass/nickel silver with an Antex TCS 50W soldering iron. This is a temperature controlled soldering iron with the temperature controller built into the handel. It provides a temperature range from between 200-400 degrees centigrade. The iron is a lot cheaper than other makes with seperate temperature controller/iron. Squires advertise this iron in their latest catalogue for £49.99. http://www.squirestools.com

Regards

Scott

User avatar
Tim V
Posts: 2479
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Tim V » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:57 pm

Best not to mix iron bits between low melt and ordinary. If you can use two bits, fine, but better to have two irons.

Les, I wire the dimmer to a double socket, the plug the iron in one and an ordinary lamp in the other. The lamp is wired in parallel with the iron.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

User avatar
LesGros
Posts: 493
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:05 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby LesGros » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:44 pm

Tim,
Thanks, I shall follow your advice.
Regards
LesG

The man who never made a mistake
never made anything useful

User avatar
Jol Wilkinson
Posts: 836
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:39 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:09 am

John Bateson wrote:Jol,
Still puzzled I had another look. I think this is a bad mis-representation from Rapid, the page I quoted described a full workstation but when added to the 'basket' it describes an iron only.
Bet there will be some disappointed buyers ...
John


John,

I'm inclined to think it is incompetence rather than deviousness! Shame though, at around £22 I would rather enjoyed having several lined up on the bench, with different size bits fitted!

Jol

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Replies to Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby jon price » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:57 am

Hi

Thanks for all this input and discussion. I have an Antec variable, but that still doesnt convince me. With brass I can wipeout and start again without serious damage to components. With whitemetal I can destroy a casting in a kit that cost a large amounts of money.

I'll look at the fine miliput, and I like the idea of being able to get close to finishing without files for the same reason as above, files can easily and rapidly damage the components, and I like my modelling as idiot proof as posible.
Obviously the answer ois to make everything in nickel silver, but I'd probably end up with one beautiful engine and one carriage instead of a working railway.

Jon Price 6540
Connah's Quay Workshop threads: viewforum.php?f=125

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1970
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Replies to Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Will L » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:58 pm

jon price wrote:... I have an Antec variable, but that still doesnt convince me. With brass I can wipeout and start again without serious damage to components. With whitemetal I can destroy a casting in a kit that cost a large amounts of money.


Soldering white metal isn't actually all that difficult, just a technique you need to learn, and once learned no more liable to disaster than anything else. I presume you will not be giving up your craft knife, despite the fact that it too is quite capable of cutting holes in things? Actually white metal solders better and more easier than most metals, and given that it remains a common modelling material you'd be better off learning how to do the job properly. The skills learned will be invaluable with other, hotter, soldering jobs which may be technically more difficult to do.

I'm not clear your right about the relative foolproof-ness of soldering harder metals either. Solder flooded over etched detail isn't that easy to get rid of; soldering long joints without introducing significant distortion is also a technique you need to learn, and if done badly, will just as effectively prevent a kit being completed.

Anyway, what do you want to fill. Surface blemishes should be dealt with by painting stage fillers, most, if not all, will do the job. Big gaps need solder, for strength as much as anything. A well made wide joint will form a meniscus, leaving a line which needs further filling at the paint stage.

Any white metal kit will have bits of sprue, practice on that, see just how hard it can be to melt a big bit with a soldering iron, and just how easy to melt a small bit, just to get the feel for it.

When choosing your soldering iron remember that the size of the bit is just as important as the wattage of the iron or the temperature your running it at. I thin 1.5mm bit can't deliver much heat so is ideal for soldering up small white metal components, e.g. wagon break gear. You will need something much more meaty for the big bits. In my mind getting the bit size right is more important than the wattage or attempting to control the temperature the tip is running at.

Finally remember the trade secret. Liquid fluxes are mostly water and boil above the melting point of low melt solder but below the melting point of white metal. As boiling liquids don't get any hotter than their boiling point, use plenty of flux, and so long as there is flux boiling away on the joint, the white metal won't melt.

Will

User avatar
grovenor-2685
Forum Team
Posts: 3451
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:14 pm

This is worth a read, http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm
Regards
Regards
Keith
Grovenor Sidings

allanferguson
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:27 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby allanferguson » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:26 pm

Will L wrote:
Surface blemishes should be dealt with by painting stage fillers


This thread has produced much from which I've learnt, and I must say I agree with the general tenor of the remarks about low temperature soldering. For me the key was the purchase (on the advice of John Brighton at a Scaleforum) of a proper temperature controlled soldering station. from then on White Metal soldering became a doddle.

However what Intrigues me is the reference above to painting stage fillers. What products specifically are referred to here? Painting and finishing is a black art for me, and I would welcome advice on the surface preparation of models (which, I have to confess, is what I thought the OP was referring to!)

Allan F

User avatar
Paul Willis
Forum Team
Posts: 2543
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:00 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:15 am

allanferguson wrote:This thread has produced much from which I've learnt, and I must say I agree with the general tenor of the remarks about low temperature soldering. For me the key was the purchase (on the advice of John Brighton at a Scaleforum) of a proper temperature controlled soldering station. from then on White Metal soldering became a doddle.


One thing that I don't believe that I've seen mentioned so far, and to me is absolutely critical regardless of type of iron, flux, etc, and that is the cleanliness of the workpiece.

As we've all seen, whitemetal oxidises to a grey finish very quickly. This also seems to be much more resistant to the action of a flux in cleaning the surface than brass or nickel silver is. This means that the solder will not flow cleanly, and usually (in my hands) results in applying too much heat to encourage it, with consequent melt-down.

So I always use a fibreglass burnishing brush to make sure that the surface is as clean and shiny as possible before doing the flux and solder routine. Obviously you don't want to burnish away delicate detail but as you should only (hopefully!) do this once, it's not a big deal.

HTH
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

martin goodall
Posts: 1133
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:44 am

By all means use low-melt solder for assembling whitemetal kits, but do not, repeat - DO NOT, rely on it as a filler for cracks and holes.

The reason for this, as I learned myself (and as confirmed by others), is that over time - which could be a year or more - the solder will 'shrink', leaving an obvious line or depression where it has been used. If by that time you have painted the model, you will be less than happy about it!

In the case of the loco kit on which I discovered this phenomenon, I had not painted it (being a very slow modeller!), and so it was a relatively simple matter to smooth over the 'dip' with Milliput.

It is always the way that when you discover something like this for yourself, and mention it to friends, it turns out to be a well-known fact (!). I certainly got this sort of feedback, and I think I have also seen it mentioned somewhere in the model press.

So when soldering a whitemetal kit with low-melt solder, be very careful about using it for joints along the tops of boilers or saddle tanks if you don't want those joints to show up later. They may look perfect when you have done them, and even after painting the model (if you paint it fairly quickly after assembling the model). It will only be quite a bit later that the join (and any filling of holes, etc.) will begin to show.

The best method is probably to use low-melt solder for structural joints, but to use Millput for filling any joints, cracks or holes after basic assembly. As I imagine everyone knows, it can be used neat as a sort of putty or mixed with water to produce anything from a thick paste to a liquid slurry. But do take precautions to keep it off your hands if you don't want to get dermatitis (just as you would when using epoxy resins).

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1970
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Will L » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:48 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:This is worth a read, http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm
Regards


Thanks for that Keith, well worth a read, or a re read depending on your age. I haven't given Robbo a thought for many a year, which is unfair as you can recognise where some of my ideas may have come from. He must have been a cracking modeller in his day but eventually demonstrated that we don't necessarily get wiser as we get older!

Will

User avatar
grovenor-2685
Forum Team
Posts: 3451
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:01 pm

but eventually demonstrated that we don't necessarily get wiser as we get older!
Yes, we've all got it coming if we last long enough. Enjoy life while you can.
Cheers
Regards
Keith
Grovenor Sidings

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1970
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby Will L » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:41 pm

allanferguson wrote:... what Intrigues me is the reference above to painting stage fillers. What products specifically are referred to here? ...


I'm using Squadron Green Filler at the moment but its not the only one out there. Best to chose one that wont argue with your paint. Basically once you've primed your model, work the filler into any blemishes, rub down with fine abrasive papers or similar and undercoat over the top. If you can still see it do it again. All part of the rubbing down between coats that you should be doing to provide that professional looking finish, either on your model or on the front room woodwork.

martin goodall wrote:By all means use low-melt solder for assembling whitemetal kits, but do not, repeat - DO NOT, rely on it as a filler for cracks and holes.

The reason for this, as I learned myself (and as confirmed by others), is that over time - which could be a year or more - the solder will 'shrink', leaving an obvious line or depression where it has been used. If by that time you have painted the model, you will be less than happy about it!

In the case of the loco kit on which I discovered this phenomenon, I had not painted it (being a very slow modeller!), and so it was a relatively simple matter to smooth over the 'dip' with Milliput.

It is always the way that when you discover something like this for yourself, and mention it to friends, it turns out to be a well-known fact (!)...


Not that well known Martin, can't say I have ever suffered as you appear to have done. It is certainly true that the low melt solder will recess into a joint as it cools down, which could take a while, but I haven't noticed any longer term effects than that. That said I rarely sprint from build to paint stage either and I just assume I'll need to work on vanishing visible joint lines that shouldn't be there when I've primed/under-coated the model and can see them properly. Just looked over some old white metal friends who have been hiding in their boxes for a good few yaers. No problems there. I certainly wouldn't go along with your prohibition on low melt as a white metal gap filler.

Will

modelmaker87

Re: Best fillers for whitemetal?

Postby modelmaker87 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:44 pm

Guys, if you are working with metal fill it with metal, or the closest thing as a metal filler. Have used this product sine the early 60's and has never failed yet. Check out:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?p ... ber=647161

Cheers, Tony


Return to “Other Workshop Practice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests