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  • Question about working with brass pipe

    We have a job to replace piping on a machine. The owner wants us to use brass. Is there anyone here that regularly works with brass.

    I'm most concerned with what sealant to use and what dies for threading?

  • #2
    Re: Question about working with brass pipe

    Originally posted by APHCO View Post
    We have a job to replace piping on a machine. The owner wants us to use brass. Is there anyone here that regularly works with brass.

    I'm most concerned with what sealant to use and what dies for threading?
    I dont work with brass sch40 pipe on the regular but I have threaded it before. Brass is soft and easy to thread.. Same pipe dope that you normally use. Do you ever use brass nipples? Looks like there are special dies for it....but to be honest I have used regular hand threaders/steel pipe dies to thread brass pipe.....go slow and oil it. The steel pipe dies can rip the threads off of brass.
    Last edited by TheMaster; 12-31-2010, 07:27 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Question about working with brass pipe

      I've threaded a fair amount of brass in a 300 machine with regular steel dies. As when threading anything, make sure you have good, clean oil and sharp dies. The biggest problem I have with brass, is the pipe slipping in the jaws, you might try a wire brush on the jaws to prevent this.
      Last edited by bml; 12-31-2010, 09:45 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Question about working with brass pipe

        Originally posted by APHCO View Post
        We have a job to replace piping on a machine. The owner wants us to use brass. Is there anyone here that regularly works with brass.

        I'm most concerned with what sealant to use and what dies for threading?
        What will be running through it? What temperature? What pressure?


        Thanks.


        J.C.

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        • #5
          Re: Question about working with brass pipe

          It has been suggested before to use dies made to thread pvc pipe for threading brass...they work better than dies made for steel.

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          • #6
            Re: Question about working with brass pipe

            Haven't had much luck using pipe dope with brass. Usually wrap the threads with a thick teflon tape.

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            • #7
              Re: Question about working with brass pipe

              Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
              Haven't had much luck using pipe dope with brass. Usually wrap the threads with a thick teflon tape.
              Thats unusual. What kinda pipe dope? There was alot of brass water pipe installed in the 20's and I dont think they had teflon,but they didn't have 80psi water pressure either Most pipe dope works fine if the threads are cut proper.

              Ok now if you have a chain vise and you dont want your brass pipe to be dented or otherwise slip in the vise as you thread you can make a friction clamp.

              To make a friction clamp use a steel coupling of the appropriate size and cut it in 1/2.
              Now line the threads of the threaded steel couplings halves with sheet lead.
              Use the two halves to wrap around your brass pipe when you clamp it in your vise to protect it.

              Thats a homemade friction clamp.

              Original Poster: Is stainless steel an option?
              Last edited by TheMaster; 12-31-2010, 10:34 PM. Reason: ASk the O.P. a question

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              • #8
                Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                When joining threaded metal pipe I am a teflon tape followed by teflon paste kind of guy. When joining threaded brass pipe and fittings I use the teflon tape with fewer wraps to avoid cracking the fittings. Very easy to do and the fittings stretch like a rubber biscut anyways.

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                • #9
                  Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                  had new years at my buddies cnc shop and asked him what he does. brass machines like aluminum.

                  he cuts all his threads on a cnc lathe with a single point carbide 60 degree insert. takes approx 16 passes and is done under a minute with perfect results. plus the lathe chuck will not gall the soft brass.

                  for me if it's 1'' and smaller, i use my ridgid #1210 oiless threader with great results. the gold dies/titanium nitride dies do a factory job

                  http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/1210-Threading-Machine

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

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                  • #10
                    Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                    Skip the cutting oil on brass, put some kerosene in a squirt bottle and use that. Brass is soft and will gum up your dies with regular cutting oil.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                      Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                      Thats unusual. What kinda pipe dope? There was alot of brass water pipe installed in the 20's and I dont think they had teflon,but they didn't have 80psi water pressure either Most pipe dope works fine if the threads are cut proper.
                      Whatever dope is in my bag at the time, it varies Lately it's been Megalock.

                      Maybe it's these low quality brass fittings imported from China or Taiwan or wherever. Seems fine at first with dope, then a few days later begins to weep. Take it back off and start the process over with teflon tape. Seems to hold after that so I just go with tape all the time being careful not to split the fitting.

                      All of this using factory cut brass nipples of course. Can't remember the last time I actually had to thread a piece of brass.
                      Last edited by plumberscrack; 01-01-2011, 11:36 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                        Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                        Whatever dope is in my bad at the time, it varies Lately it's been Megalock.

                        Maybe it's these low quality brass fittings imported from China or Taiwan or wherever. Seems fine at first with dope, then a few days later begins to weep. Take it back off and start the process over with teflon tape. Seems to hold after that so I just go with tape all the time being careful not to split the fitting.

                        All of this using factory cut brass nipples of course. Can't remember the last time I actually had to thread a piece of brass.
                        I agree...I think its crappy machining and crappy brass. I want it make it perfectly clear that I have not threaded alot of brass pipe....just never the need nor the availability of materials. Mostly repairs on existing pipe in old homes.

                        I have a source for stainless and brass fittings of very high quality but they are very expensive and I can buy them straight from the factory distributor...at COST. Still unless its for a person understanding what they are getting....in a residential setting its too expensive. Those fittings are manufactured for nuclear,aerospace and chemical plant uses for the most part.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                          Originally posted by APHCO View Post
                          We have a job to replace piping on a machine. The owner wants us to use brass. I'm most concerned with what sealant to use and what dies for threading?
                          If brass worries you, how about selling the owner on using stainless steel? SS piping is quite common on industrial machines.

                          Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                          Can't remember the last time I actually had to thread a piece of brass.
                          Bill
                          Haven't you occasionally had to cut and thread a brass nipple that was a 1/4" too long?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                            had new years at my buddies cnc shop and asked him what he does. rick.
                            That's funny. I paid a visit to my machinist yesterday as well. He was as giddy as a school girl over his new pre CNC (built in 1976) 5' bench lathe. The thing is pretty massive. The die head alone weights over 300 lbs. He has to position it with a come along rigged to a hand lift truck. He'd been looking for this very model of French made lathe (the world's best, in his learned opinion) for over 20 years. It's ironic that he found it at an auction only 30 miles from his shop.
                            Last edited by Plumbus; 01-01-2011, 02:49 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Question about working with brass pipe

                              Thanks for all the input.
                              The owner mentioned stainless steel but my thinking was that may be too expensive and hard to obtain, but after reading the responses I may rethink and check closer to to find out about it around here.

                              There really is no pressure as this is a solenoid valve with most of the piping downstream feeding a spray head. Very little pressure while feeding, no pressure when turned off.
                              This job probably can be done without cutting pipe, if long nipples and couplings are available.

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