I am starting a new thread to document a build process of a new model - new to me. I don't have a real full scale tool but found some pictures and will work from that. Below is a pic of the goal. It is a little complex, but it caught my eye, and I've got to have one. Ralph
Thanks Ostie. With every project I start by visualizing the component parts from every angle in three dimensions and how the components come together to form the complete item. That also helps me plan the sequence and order. I have to see the component parts and their relationship to each other in three dimensional space. Then I can just get down to fabrication. Ralph
And perform other essential operations. I have a sequence to follow in mind.
All projects seem to require some drilling. Some of it can be done on the drill press, and sometimes it has to be done by hand with a pin vise or otherwise.
Tapping holes and cutting threads are basic operations in every build. Here it is important to follow drilling and tapping scales / schedules; the tiny taps employed can easily break and are difficult to correct. Sometimes a part has to be made anew and the procedure repeated. I just hate it when a tap breaks off and ruins a part - especially when the part was a long time in the making.
And here we are, parts laid out in proximity as they belong with soldering flux coating the areas that are to be silver soldered (this is really more like brazing than lead soldering). Often the pieces are pinned or tied (with thin wire) on a ceramic board. This is a very trickey procedure but it is magical because when done right the pieces aren't just "glued" together; they really do become one piece as the parts melt into each other without distortion if the temperature applied is carefully regulated. I have used a butane torch to unite smaller pieces and sometimes need to use an oxy acetylene torch. Sounds simple? Well, maybe it is untill a third piece is to be united with the previously joined parts in a multiple piece part. Keeping in mind that brass melts at 1650 to 1720 degrees Fahrenheit when a particular part requires the joining of several pieces that cannot be laid out for a "one shot" soldering, the first union is soldered with a "hard" solder which melts at 1365 degrees; the next union is soldered with "medium" solder which melts at 1275 degrees, and the third union is soldered with "EZ" solder which melts at 1240. Therefore it is important to observe and carefully regulate the soldering temperature in each case so that the second soldering heat does not remelt the first soldered joint and the third heat does not melt the previous two joints causing everything to fall apart or shift rather than adhere in place (I hate it when that happens). This got wordy because it can be a complicated process and much care must be taken. Ralph
Now back to the finish shop. The pieces/parts have been joined and the result is one strong piece, but a scaley mess that needs to be thorougly cleaned up. First I soaked the piece in pickle (an acidic solution) to clean off some of the scale. The remaining char and scale is filed off smoothly in great detail and then sanded with progressively finer grit till a desired surface is achieved. Then it is off to the buffing wheel for buff and polish. These procedures will determine final appearance of the item. If it is carefully and finely done, the product will turn out smooth and shiney like jewelry.
I"ve been anticipating this part with some apprehension because it is a critical operation to do precisely right the first time. The slightest error here could corrupt the entire piece and send me back to square one. And it has heartbreakingly happened in the past. It is important that this procedure be conducted with exacting precision. Sodering flux has been applied to the well cleaned surfaces that will make contact, and the bottom and side plates are positioned in perfect proximity to each other and pinned in place on a ceramic block. Higher temperature silver solder chips are arranged along the contact points, and heat is applied incrementally so that the brass parts achieve the melting temperature of the solder but not a temperature that would damage the brass. It is a thrill when the exact flow temperature is achieved and the silver solder is seen flowing to every contact point between the pieces--first left side, then right side.
A little closer view
Now the piece is allowed to cool as we wait to examine the results. It is not my intent to make such a big deal of such a small thing, but silver soldering can be very tricky. I have done it enough times in the past to feel confident about my skill level, but not enough times to think that I am an expert. Every time I hold my breath with hopeful anticipation. Ralph
A little progress every day. Sometimes the parts are assembled in their roughstate to make sure that they are compatible and for some tweeking or adjusting. And because I can't wait to see the shape and form that it is taking. This will often happen several times along the way.
Next comes my least faforite but most important part -- fine fileing and progressively smaller grit sanding. I'll spare you and not post those details. Ralph
Thanks again Maple Moose. I appreciate your thoughts and observations. I have found building planes challenging but very rewarding. The graph parer background is 1/4". I like to build in 1/4 scale. Ralph
As I follow along I am amazed by your skill. I'm also puzzled as to why the solder appears to be a brass color rather than the silver color solder usually hardens to. Are you filing away the fillets or do you use some kind of colored solder? If you are filing away the fillets, aren't you concerned that it will weaken the joint?
Thanks again Johnnie52. On this project I used yellow silver solder in some areas and in others I filed the fillets flush and have found that the solder in the areas of contact will do the job. I like to keep edges sharp because in miniature every little flaw is magnified. Ralph
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