Assemblling white metal wagons.

John Lewis
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Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby John Lewis » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:02 pm

I have a number of white metal wagon kits to assemble, including a David Geen GWR twin reservoir gas tank wagon.

What do people recommend to use to "stick" it together, please, epoxy, superglue or solder (or something else entirely)?

John Lewis

Phil O
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Phil O » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:16 pm

I have always used low melt solder for white metal and a temperature controlled iron. I set the temperature so that the tip just starts to melt a bit of sprue and then turn it down a bit, that way I don't melt the parent metal when soldering. As always with soldering, cleanliness is essential, I also use green label flux and a good rinse afterwards.

Phil.

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David B
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby David B » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:18 pm

Solder wherever possible.

Set the temperature on your iron for about 165 - 175oC to start with. Rule of thumb as a starting point: melting point of the solder x 2 plus 25oC. MP of low melt = 70oC, doubled = 140 plus 25 = 165oC. It then depends on the amount of white metal (thin stuff, keep the iron cooler; thick stuff crank the iron up), the power of your iron (50W recommended as a minimum) and the size of your soldering bit (small bit, higher temp; big bit, lower temp).

I have made this kit and soldered it using a 50W iron and a pointed bit. I generally have the temp set at anything up to 200oC but never exceed this. Because the bit is small, it loses heat more quickly and on the whole you are soldering larger bits of white metal which can absorb the heat, so the higher temperature is fairly safe. However, when soldering more delicate parts like steps, I turn the temperature down to about 180oC. If you use a larger bit, you will need slightly lower temperatures. Try soldering bits of sprue or spare parts before attacking the kit. You will soon get the idea of what works well for your iron.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Guy Rixon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:34 pm

Never having learnt to solder whitemetal, I use epoxy for wagons. I use two kinds, both by Devcon: their 5-minute "Home" epoxy for the normal joints and their ballasted, slow-set kind if I need to fill in sink holes or similar in the castings. There's no need to use the slow-set epoxy for the main joints: the binding area is large and the 5-minute epoxy is strong enough.

Good clamping and jigging is essential for epoxy joints. Nobody can hold them square enough for long enough! I use a coffman clamp.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Le Corbusier » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:51 pm

Having taught myself to solder over the last few years I am not sure I would return to epoxy. This is just a personal thing. I like the fact that you can tack solder and unsolder until you have things just as you want them. Then once everything is square and true, you can then run in the various seams/joints with the solder filling and jointing. Once filed and cleaned back, it then becomes near impossible to distinguish the joint. So for me it is more flexible, I think stronger and more seamless. It does take a bit of practice though.

I found Tony Wrights DVDs on loco kit building invaluable in learning this process, as he demonstrates many of the relevant techniques in a very easy to grasp manner.

Having said that, I am sure you can also do a very nice job with epoxy etc.
Tim Lee

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Will L
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Will L » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:15 am

There is no doubt, solder is the way to go, for the reasons Tim gives.

Soldering white metal isn't as problem prone as people tend to think. Yes you do need to be careful with small pieces but big chunks (wagon sides) are hard to melt because they can absorb lots of heat.

When soldering small items, use a small bit to minimises the risk, but most of all use LOTS of liquid flux. So long as the joint remains wet and hissing only the solder will melt at as the boiling water in the flux will keep temperature down to 100c. You MUST remove the iron as soon as it stops hissing, but well before then the solder should have flashed into the joint.

I learned to do this and lost my fear, before temperature controlled irons became common, although I do use one now. I'm with David B as to the right sort of temperatures to use when yo do have one. It is a mistake to run the iron too cool as the solder will cool and set before it runs into the joint until the surrounding metal heats up, and that is when your are in danger of melting the casting.

Finally if you do melt something, all isn't lost, you can always build the casting back up by blobbing solder on, then filling it back to shape.

Lindsay G
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Lindsay G » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:25 am

Definitely go down the solder route and start to build up your low-melt skills in the process. You can fill up gaps in white metal kits and smooth them over with solder in a way that you can't with epoxy. Soldering also takes minutes then you progress further whilst with epoxy you've got to wait until everything sets before progressing. As to how using solder with whitemetal wagon kits can build up your skills - and perhaps, more importantly, your confidence - here's a wee image :

Solder or Epoxy.jpg
Solder or Epoxy.jpg (63.64 KiB) Viewed 3931 times

They're 2 sides of a DJH Caley loco. The side on the left is as it comes. The door is in the wrong place, it's set back when it should be flush, handle holes are incorrect, and the upper cab cut-out should have sharper curves around the edges -apart from that it was near perfect. The one on the right has been corrected with infill of low melt solder and intro of a brass strip around the cut out. That can't be accomplished with epoxy. OK, a few steps away from the first steps into whitemetal wagon kits, but I reckon you'll never tackle butchery to kits if you don't start to master low melt soldering in the first place. And relatively cheap wagons are a good place to start on the first rung of the ladder.

Actually, there is another perspective. With epoxy, you seem to end up with a lot of sticky fingers and glue blobs on your new jumper. But with solder, there's a fair bit of fun and fascination in watching the solder change colour and set so quickly - then you move onto the next stage, whether that's correcting/adjusting what you've just done, or on to the next step towards completion.

I would add another thing - try epoxying a wagon - and make the comparison for yourself. Personal preferences, horses for courses, some prefer the epoxy route and there's definitely a place for epoxy and learning how to work with it.

Whatever, have fun with it,

Lindsay

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:48 am

I found this very helpful http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm
Regards

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:22 am

grovenor-2685 wrote:I found this very helpful http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm
Regards

Thanks for that Keith :thumb

An excellent addition to my 'how to folder'.
Tim Lee

Joe Newman
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Joe Newman » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:09 pm

What David B didn't say was that he wrote a very clear and well illustrated article on soldering white metal in Finescale Railway Modelling Review issue 2.

I could scan it for you John if you do not have access to a copy - just send me a PM.

I hope this helps.

Joe

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Will L
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Will L » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:48 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:I found this very helpful http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm

A timely reminder that my boiling flux tip goes back as far as early days of cast metal kits and the original model railway pundit "Robo" Ormiston-Chant. Now there was a man who would have really enjoyed the forum.

Alan Turner
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Alan Turner » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:37 pm

Will L wrote:
grovenor-2685 wrote:I found this very helpful http://www.norgrove.me.uk/Robbo.htm

A timely reminder that my boiling flux tip goes back as far as early days of cast metal kits and the original model railway pundit "Robo" Ormiston-Chant. Now there was a man who would have really enjoyed the forum.


Ah yes a man who reserved Christmas Day afternoon to servicing his Unimat SL.

regards

Alan

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David B
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby David B » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:19 pm

A good way to get in to soldering white metal is to get hold of a simple wagon someone has made using epoxy. These can be picked up for pennies from toy fairs and swopmeets.

The model can be reduced to it's component parts by soaking with Nitromors paint stripper which gets to work on the epoxy and softens it. It is then a simple matter to scrape the glue off. If you want to try with a previously (badly) soldered white metal kit, drop the model in to boiling water and you will have all the component parts. The melting point of white metal is well above 100oC so the technique is quite safe (for the model). Cleaning takes more effort as you have to remove the solder with files though a clean iron can help remove the bulk. I have melted the solder with an iron and rubbed it off (quickly!) with a finger but not made a habit of doing this.

It is always worth practising and experimenting on scrap metal or cheap models. Old metal bodied loco shells are ideal for practising airbrushing once old paint has been stripped off. Don't be afraid to experiment.

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MarkS
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby MarkS » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:36 pm

I have used an assortment of techniques for whitemetal from solder to superglue.
I find epoxy is miserable to work with, and concur with previous statements about soldering, it has much going for it.
One thing that has not been mentioned is that low melt solder has cadmium in it so ventilation is important!

Although I once glued a whitemetal coach together with "Shoe Goo" (still very stuck together), I generally use Gorilla brand super glue for whitemetal work these days. https://www.gorillatough.com/product/go ... uper-glue/ - This stuff ain't your grandpa's superglue, it's very strong, and somewhat flexible.
I have found that for a whitemetal to whitemetal (or plastic) joint, the materials will fail before the joint.
Cheers,

Mark.
"In the end, when all is said and done, more will have been said than done..."

martin goodall
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:54 pm

David B wrote:The model can be reduced to it's component parts by soaking with Nitromors paint stripper which gets to work on the epoxy and softens it. It is then a simple matter to scrape the glue off.


I have found that you don't need to soak the model in the Nitromors. It suffices to pour about half an inch (or less) of Nitromors into the bottom of a jar, put in the model and screw the lid on tight. The jar is then left for 24 hours, and the fumes from the Nitromors will do their work. I found when I opened the jar the next day that the old model had just fallen apart into its component parts.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:18 pm

martin goodall wrote:
David B wrote:The model can be reduced to it's component parts by soaking with Nitromors paint stripper which gets to work on the epoxy and softens it. It is then a simple matter to scrape the glue off.


I have found that you don't need to soak the model in the Nitromors. It suffices to pour about half an inch (or less) of Nitromors into the bottom of a jar, put in the model and screw the lid on tight. The jar is then left for 24 hours, and the fumes from the Nitromors will do their work. I found when I opened the jar the next day that the old model had just fallen apart into its component parts.


Thanks for that tip Martin.

What type of Nitromors would you recommend ? .... I recall reading elsewhere that a lot of what is now available is not as concentrated as the original for health and safety reasons.
Tim Lee

John Lewis
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby John Lewis » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:09 pm

My grateful thanks for all of the advice and encouragement.

I will have to absorb all the tips and techniques, dig out my tools and have a go.

Thank you again

John

jasp
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby jasp » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:13 am

Nitromors was reformulated some time ago, presumably as a result of EU dictat.
It previously contained methylene chloride (dichloromethane) which is pretty nasty but very effective stuff for paint removal.
The current stuff is near useless for paint removal but may work on epoxy.
Methylene chloride is available and I understand can be mixed with wallpaper paste to make a Nitromors type material. I have not yet tried this but intend to do so as I miss my old formula Nitromors.
Jim P

martin goodall
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby martin goodall » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:53 pm

Sorry for the delay in responding.

I confirm that the Nitromors I used (quite a few years ago) was the original format. I was not aware it had been re-formatted since then.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby Le Corbusier » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:03 pm

jasp wrote:Nitromors was reformulated some time ago, presumably as a result of EU dictat.
It previously contained methylene chloride (dichloromethane) which is pretty nasty but very effective stuff for paint removal.
The current stuff is near useless for paint removal but may work on epoxy.
Methylene chloride is available and I understand can be mixed with wallpaper paste to make a Nitromors type material. I have not yet tried this but intend to do so as I miss my old formula Nitromors.
Jim P

Jim,

I would be interested to know how you get on ... I have an old K's loco glued together with Araldite sometime in the 70s which II need to strip and disassemble for a re-build - so quite apposite.
Tim Lee

allanferguson
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Re: Assemblling white metal wagons.

Postby allanferguson » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:01 pm

I had some time ago a few plastic wagons which had been assembled (badly) with epoxy and painted. Somewhat to my surprise an overnight soaking in Nitromors left me with a pile of perfectly reusable parts. That would be the old formula, however, and in light of the above I doubt whether it would work now.
Re soldering. I ruined quite a few kits before someone doing a demo at a scaleforum showed me how (and I'm sorry I can't remember who, but I'm very grateful to him). A key factor is not having too hot an iron, so I went and bought a temperature controlled Iron and that was one of the best purchases I've made (I have three now!).
For holding the parts together plasticine or blu-tak are very useful, and sellotape is surprisingly effective if you're quick.
Incidentally I nearly always use 100 degree solder -- it saves a lot of faffing about when joining whitemetal to brass.

Allan F


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