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Sculptor needing advice

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  • Sculptor needing advice

    HI everybody!

    I am a sculptor and I use 3/4 inch copper tubing and regular copper joints in my pieces. I am currently using the "old fashioned" method with a torch and solder paste. all of my work requires a "Curing" time because flux leaks out of the joint a few weeks later and needs to be buffed off before I sell the item. To head this off, I was thinking about using the propress. I have a few questions:

    Since I do not need a water tight seal, will I still need the special joints, or can I use regular old copper joints?

    These sculptures are funtional art, meaning people will be using them to hang things on. They are also "on the go" meaning they are moved from place to place regularly. Will the joint be completely immobile and secure after crimping, especially if I can use "regular" copper joints? This is necessary for safety.

    What is the look of the joint after it is crimped? Is it just like two rings where the machine tightend the pieces?

    Can this tool be used on copper union joints???? If not on regular union joints, are there special propress unions that go with this system?

    if someone can give it a try on a "regular" copper joint to see if this will work, it would be truely appreciated

    if anyone has a close up picture of what a joint looks like after it is connected, (either on a regular joint or a propress joint) it will be very helpful.

    Thanks for all of your help! I look forward to everyone's reply!

    Namaste' Nicole

  • #2
    nicole, the propress system will give you a totally differant look in your art work. probably for the worse

    why not just use some of the copper glues that have been spoken about in the last few weeks. it goes together without the flux or torch

    perfect for your type of work.

    phoebe it is


    • #3
      I'll give it a try!

      Thanks rick! I had tried other glues about a year ago with horrible results, but this sounds like its made just for my use! I went out and got some today, and I'll let you know what I find out.

      I also requested to have a demo of the propress unit, so hopefully someone will get back to me and I can see it in action for myself.

      Thanks again for the suggestion!



      • #4
        Nicole, The joints look like this. This is a union but you can guess what everything else would look like.

        Hope this helps, A demo will give you a good idea of how everything would look and if the system would work for you.



        • #5
          josh, close but no cigar. the picture is of a coulping. a union would have a large hex nut that allows for disassembly. also they are 10 times more money

          ps. propress pricing on fittings is going up july 10th.

          buy it while its lower.
          phoebe it is


          • #6
            Glue is a no go

            Well, the glue was a bust. I thought it was going to work, it seemed tight, but when I went back a few days later, one of the joints was completely loose. Unfortunately, just won't be safe.
            I'm still thinking about the propress, but haven't gotten a solid answer about what would happen if I used a regular, non propress joint with the unit. If it would work, I could probably cover the clamping points up with some decoration.

            So, Hopefully I will hear from the demo guy soon



            • #7
              How about an epoxy instead of the glue?

              What flux (make/brand) and what type solder were you using?

              What about brazing?

              Can you post a photo showing your work and possibly one which shows the problem you are having with solder joints?
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



              • #8
                HI Bob!

                I have tried epoxy with bad luck. I am totally self taught in soldering pipe together (I have soldered jewelry, but it is different in a way)

                I am using "oatey" brand safety solder (a solder/flux paste) to make a really clean joint. No solder at all is visible around any of the joints. They are strong, and they last, as long as I use alot of the product. They do leak a clear liquid (I am guessing this is flux) about a month after the joint is made, and later, this liquid causes a thick, corrosive green and white drip mark down the pipes. The entire joint then turns green, and the rest of the pipe is still shiney except where the drip marks are.

                The items I am making are used in spas as equipment. I call them "sculpture" but it is almost more like furniture. Here is a picture of it. It is called a "Shirodhara stand," and it is around 5 feet tall

                Pretty Huh?

                The shelf and the pot that is hanging on the end is separate (I don't make those! )

                I am currently having to keep about triple the amount that I would normally sell in one month on hand, which is draining my pocket book. If I could make them without having to hold onto them to clean later, I could make them as they are ordered, or at least have less on hand at once.

                Right now I don't have a picture of one with the dripping, the ones I have on hand are not there yet. I might have one in a couple of weeks.

                In short, I don't even really know what brazing is! I just want to make these in the best way possible, and still put out a product that is attractive and most of all, strong

                If I can't find another way, I guess I'll just have to call it part of the process...

                Thanks for your help~



                • #9
                  nicole, try a water soluable flux such as "everflux". also "watts" makes presoldered fittings and you just add flux. i think these would work nice. home depot sells them.

                  the flux in the other paste is typically not water soluable. try washing the joint off afterwards when done. both inside and out.

                  phoebe it is


                  • #10
                    Rick, remember the old fittings that had the hole drilled in the side through which you could add solder to the joint? To help keep the exterior of the her joints neat and reduce cleanup she could drill an 1/8" hole in the socket of the fitting and add solder through there. since she only needs to make it mechanically strong and not watertight this might be an option using standard water soluble flux as you suggest and standard 1/8" solid wire solder (50/50, 40/60, or other). The presoldered fittings would also work as you suggested. I don't know the price of those fittings and how it might impact her production costs or profit but they I also think the presoldered fittings are worth consideration.

                    I think what happens is that since she is using the solder/flux paste and trying to leave as neat a joint as possible on the outside that the socket is not getting filled with solder (Nicole, for plumbing almost no one would use the stuff you are using if they had any soldering experience). This leaves space for flux to accumulate in the socket which then leaches out over time as it absorbs moisture in the air and temperature tend to soften it. As Nicole said: "...they last, as long as I use alot of the product..." , so this tells me that there is excess flux which is not removed during the soldering process or afterwards. Corrosion also builds up in the empty socket space that shows up over time, and a month as she says sounds about right for this to occur.

                    Nicole, you could try drilling a 1/8" hole in the side of the fitting socket in a place which would be inconspicuous when the piece is finished. Then use a regular water soluble flux (w/o solder in it) and apply flux to both the fitting socket and the pip, being careful to only flux the area of the pipe that will be inside the fitting socket. You can in the beginning help determine this by inserting the pipe in the fitting before applying flux and using a pencil to draw a line on the pipe at the edge of the fitting. You can then use this line to guide you on where to apply flux to the pipe. Heat the pipe and fitting and when at temperature apply solder through the hole. The hole can be located at the top, bottom, or side; you can use the heat of the torch to draw the solder around inside the fitting and distribute the solder for a strong joint.

                    Until your soldering skill improves, if you position the joint for soldering so that the pipe is vertical and the fitting is at the bottom, you will have less problem with solder running out of the joint. If this is not possible then after heating use a clean cotton rag to wipe any flux off the outside of the pipe before you start to apply solder. The molten solder will follow the fluxed and will complicate your attempts at having a clean finished joint. using the 1/8" will eliminate introducing solder at the edge of the fitting as is normally done, which even though the process can be performed neatly and quickly for plumbing work would not yield the results you desire for sculpture.
                    Last edited by Bob D.; 07-08-2006, 08:11 AM.
                    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
                      nicole, try a water soluable flux such as "everflux". also "watts" makes presoldered fittings and you just add flux. i think these would work nice. home depot sells them.

                      the flux in the other paste is typically not water soluable. try washing the joint off afterwards when done. both inside and out.

                      I'm with Rick,

                      Use "Everflux" and wash it well with water. You should not get any solder bleed.
                      the dog


                      • #12
                        Sculptor needing advice

                        Hej! Nicole.
                        Ok! I'm a Danish trained stainless master, but I have done a bit of "unusual" work in copper. My suggestion might seem a bit drastic, but as a sculptor it will give you a lot more "power to your elbow" and let you do weird & wonderfull things in other materials, such as stainless steel!
                        Take a deep breath & 2 steps back, and learn to Tig-Weld! This lets you do very neat, beautifull,and extremely strong joints, in most metals. It takes some time to learn, but as a sculptor, you must have "hand & eye" allready, so your learning curve should be quite steep!
                        I have worked with artists & sculptors, & they all fell in love with Tig welding.


                        • #13
                          You Guys are great!

                          All of your suggestions have been so helpful! I have a lot to try in the next few weeks. I really appriciate all of your awesome ideas. I feel like I came to the right place.

                          The TIG welding does sound especially interesting (and fun!) but I will have to weigh the expense option. Quite a pricey start up, but sounds like a cure to my issue.

                          Thanks again everybody! I will definately keep an eye on this board for the future!



                          • #14
                            As to your question regarding the use of the pressing tools with a standard solder fitting. Well, because of the design of the propress fitting that is used with a larger OD than the solder fitting and the jaw set being a larger OD, it would not be possible to get the jaw to close enough to make a crimp. Nor would it be recommended for safety reasons. Hope this helps ya out.