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Brass Handrail - How to Make? - Need Advice on Making Brass Handrail.

Post your favorite modeling 'tips' and 'tricks'

Postby TennesseeJim » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:53 am

I need to make some simple brass handrail for my conning tower and around the guns. I'm not sure where to start - I don't have much solder experience.

Does anyone know where any tips might be posted?

Is there a back issue of the SR with some instructions?

Any help is appreciate - Jim
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Postby JWLaRue » Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:10 pm

Hi TJ,

I've made my share of handrails for my Type VII r/c subs and I started in much the same place that you're in now.

Here are the two methods that I ended up being comfortable with:

For deck railings -

I create a jig to do the construction work with. Essentially, there are two parts. The first is a length of wood that I drill a series of holes into. These holes a spaced to match the required spacing of the vertical posts of the railing. Into these holes, I place the vertical posts, each being cut from brass rod to the necessary length. You should wind up with the tops of the posts lined up all at the desired/correct height. Next, I lay a piece of rod across the tops of the posts and use a little bit of tape to hold the railing up tight to the post.

Once I am satisfied with the way it looks, I remove one of the pieces of tape, typically I start in the middle and work out towards the ends, and solder that joint. You are essentially soldering a 'T' joint so there isn't a lot of brass-on-brass contact to provide strength. To help make it stronger, I use a high strength solder like Stay-Brite silver solder.

If the railing has a mid-high horizontal railing, this is done after the top railing is complete. To do these, I cut individual pieces to fit between the vertical posts. These are held in place with a second set of jigs....whose function is to hold the part at the right height at both ends and yet leave the actual contact area clear so that you can use the soldering iron. Think of this jig as a "U" shaped piece of material that is laying down. The arms of the "U" straddle the vertical post and are used to hold the mid-railing in place. I use a bit of tape to hold the railing part to the "U" jig.

When all of the joints have been soldered, I remove the railing from the jig and carefully hand file the solder joints to remove any excess.

For circular conning towers -

I use a similar approach, but instead of placing all the vertical posts in a wooden jig block, I do the work directly on the conning tower Wintergarten. This makes it much easier to do when the 'verticals' are at any kind of angle.

-hope this makes sense without the use of photos!

Jeff

p.s. The December issue of the SCR has an article that I wrote about my building the OTW Type VII kit....and I touch upon building the railings there and it has some photos of the railing jigs that I used.
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Postby TennesseeJim » Tue May 04, 2004 1:58 pm

Jeff:

Still working on my soldering.

I'm using a 40 watt iron. Is that big enough?

- Jim
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Postby JWLaRue » Tue May 04, 2004 4:15 pm

Hi Jim,

...that depends on how large the piece(s) of metal are. The more mass that you have, the more heat will be needed.

For railings made from something up to 1/8" brass rod, a 40 watt iron will probably be okay. My first Type VII set of railings were done with exactly that size/power of soldering pen. It was good enough, but not very flexible in terms of the amount of heat that I could apply at a given point.

My preference is to use an adjustable soldering torch with a very fine flat tip on it. With a little trial-and-error I can adjust the temperature so that it is not necessary to hold the tip of the torch on the work piece for very long. In other words, I have the tip hot enough to heat the two brass pieces quickly....but not hot enough to affect solder joints and such too far away from the joint being soldered.

I also prefer to use a silver solder and flux combination. The flux helps to transmit the heat (in addition to aiding in solder adhesion).

-Jeff
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Postby boatbuilder1 » Wed May 05, 2004 12:05 pm

hey you could try using a soldering gun I use mine all the time for small areas where an open flame is no good for the tower work emerse the tower half way up to keep it cool hold it down with a small chunk of lead

and dont for get to wash the bras thoroughly before painting or you will have hard time getting the paint to stick

ca
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Postby JWLaRue » Wed May 05, 2004 2:14 pm

Chuck,

I believe that you misunderstood.....

The soldering torch that I am using does not use an open flame as the heating 'element'. The flame is entirely internal and heats up a removeable tip. ...and as I noted, I use a fine flat tip. The tip is basically the same as found on a soldering iron.

I find the torch to provide a much more controllable amount of heat that an electric iron. A quick adjustment and the temperature responds almost immediately.

-Jeff
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Postby boatbuilder1 » Sun May 16, 2004 6:28 pm

I know I have the same thing but I still prefer to dunk the part to have some insurance against mishaps

:)
charlie



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Postby JWLaRue » Sun May 16, 2004 9:02 pm

Chuck,

Help me out here, I'm possibly confused....but what does using a torch (vs. electric iron) have to do with immersing the work piece part way into water?

As for providing a heat sink (which is what you are essentially doing with the immersing), my favorite method is to use a set of surgical locking forceps. They provide plenty of heat sink capability for the short time needed while heat is being applied...and they serve to hols parts together when necessary.

-Jeff
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