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Prepping PE For Soldering


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Do any of our esteemed colleagues have a preferred method of prepping PE for soldering & painting.  I've heard soaking the fret in white vinegar helps remove any residual oils so paint adheres better.  Anybody have any other advice?

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Regardless what you may have heard, photo etched parts put out by manufacturers are REQUIRED by EPA regs to thoroughly clean the parts before they leave the factory.  That's just one reason why PE parts are so expensive.  I can only assume the same goes for imported parts as well.

In other words, all photo etched parts are ready for painting or soldering right from the factory.

 

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It looks like Rusty knows more about the manufacturing process than I so I will defer to him for that.  I will start by saying all photo etch can not be soldered easily.  Stainless required special flux and solder and even then sometimes it doesn't work.  If it is brass or nickel silver then you are in great shape.  Easy to solder with silver based solders or lead if you can still find it. Easiest way to tell is to try a piece of the fret and see if it solders. 

 My procedure is to take a sanding stick and sand the surface to be soldered.  This removes any odd edges or burrs.  It also roughs up the surface to help the solder stick better.  Next I soak it in acetone.  Based on Rusty's comments this may not be necessary, but I do it to make sure I have left no oils from my skin when I handled it.  From that point on, soldering should be normal. 

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Rusty is correct but trace amounts of toxic manufacturing chemicals can remain behind. 

See my slides below to see Lead contaminated factory Swagelok brass compression fittings.  I ran a materials characterization research center. 

I always wash parts even after factory cleaning with IPA.

 

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Edited by Mister300
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Thanks for the responses everybody.  I obtained some flux from the tech at work who does a lot of soldering.  I guess a LOT of practice is in the offing.

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At one time, Mike Roof had a full photoetch course on the AMPS Central South Carolina website, and he's offered his seminar at the 2019 and 2019 IPMS/USA National Conventions.  I can't seem to locate it now, but here are a few inks to some other PE techniques he's compiled:

http://nebula.wsimg.com/50bec1f44d3264a5e6b906dbcc9fb03a?AccessKeyId=390FC1B05917598DCDF5&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

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