Five Shunter Challenge Pt7: The perils of flux

The dark art of soldering mystifies some, but I have managed to work my way through the mysterious technique by trial and error (with some reading). I remain impressed that in years passed I managed to build some brass locos with normal electrical solder. I now know that it is far easier to use a low-heat type of solder.

One lesson I am still learning is the best type of flux to use. Flux is a medium that helps concentrate heat on the joints that you wish to solder. Historically I have used solder paste, but I have discovered that although very helpful, it is virtually impossible to remove all traces of the waxy substance, which can lead to corrosion and the failure of solder joints. My primary issue with the stuff has been its ability to totally destroy paint work over time. Usually long after you have finished the kit.

Due to these problems I switched to a liquid solder a while ago, which is much easier to clean off brass. But as discovered in my previous ‘challenge’ blog, another problem arises: Corrosion. I have used Carr’s ‘Green Flux’ for a while, but this stuff really shouldn’t be left on anything for longer than a few hours. Annoyingly this includes my chassis jig, which the green flux started to eat at soon after I purchased it.

A cleaning regime is essential to eliminate any flux residue. Despite my aggressive cleaning regimes (boiling water, scouring powder, ultra sonic cleaning), some flux residue still manages to persist. I conducted some further research to see if there was a less aggressive flux that I could use. I purchased some different types of flux and I am currently using the O Gauge societies ‘Safety Flux’, which has so far, not caused me any further problems.

I have also started cleaning up work pieces (using the cleaning regime above) after every building session. Even if I plan to continue building in the morning.

Another trick I have used to stop the steel wheels and axles rusting is to store them in a plastic bag with some lubrication oil.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. No Rust

Sentinel post war 100HP 0-4-0VBT – RT Models

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear Box Fitted. Rust Issues. Super cleaning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear box only partly completed.

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Rust Issues. Super cleaning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DEJudith Edge

No progress

P.S. If there are any aspects of x5 shunter challenge that you want me to cover (be it soldering, equipment… anything at all) please do leave a comment or contact me by email. I will reply. You can also follow me on twitter for instant updates.

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