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Soldering and connecting gutters: simple instructions
Soldering and connecting gutters: simple instructions

Video: Soldering and connecting gutters: simple instructions

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Gutters made of metal are mostly connected by soldering - even if adhesive bonds are becoming increasingly popular. Read here which soldering method is suitable and how to proceed correctly when gutter brazing.

Table of contents Table of contents Soldering gutters: How to connect metal gutters

  • Material and tools for soft soldering gutters
  • Solder or braze copper gutters
  • Brazing material and tools
  • Glue gutters instead of soldering

Table of contents Table of contents Soldering gutters: How to connect metal gutters

  • Material and tools for soft soldering gutters
  • Solder or braze copper gutters
  • Brazing material and tools
  • Glue gutters instead of soldering

If you want to be on the safe side and not use the adhesive connections for sealing and repairing gutters, you should use a soldering iron - as long as you are familiar with it.

Depending on the gutter material, two different soldering methods are used when connecting: soft soldering and hard soldering. Titanium-zinc gutters are usually connected by soft soldering, whereas copper gutters usually use the brazing process for reasons of stability.

The material for zinc gutters is usually not made of pure zinc, but of a zinc alloy called titanium-zinc with small amounts of titanium and copper. It is connected to tin solder like electronic components.

Material and tools for soft soldering gutters

The solder used for gutters is a tin-lead mixture called L Pb60Sn40 (Sb) - it is an alloy of approximately 60 percent lead and 40 percent tin. The addition (Sb) is important because it indicates that the tin solder contains no more than 0.5 percent antimony. In the case of tin solder with a higher antimony content, the connection becomes too fragile and is not very resilient.

In addition to the tin solder, you need a so-called flux to solder zinc gutters: it cleans the surface, shields the metal from oxygen contact so that it cannot oxidize when heated, and also improves the flow properties of the molten tin solder. A frequently used flux is the so-called Z04S soldering water.

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A special soldering iron is used for soft soldering of gutters: It consists of a blowtorch that heats a large, firmly mounted copper iron. The soldering temperature - the temperature range in which the soft solder melts - is between 185 and 250 degrees Celsius, depending on the composition.

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Preparation of the gutter

First, the ends of the gutter to be soldered are sanded from above and below with fine emery paper in order to remove dirt, corrosion or production residues such as the fine oil film. Then remove the sanding dust with a dry cloth, align the gutter segments straight and put the ends into each other so that they overlap by about 10 millimeters. The end at the top must point towards the future slight slope. Also make sure that the gap between the gutters is not larger than 0.5 millimeters, otherwise the capillary forces do not work and the solder does not flow into the gap - the connection cannot be “soldered”, as it is called in technical terminology. Use a pair of pliers or clamps to press the sheets together if they are too far apart. Of course, they must be attached so that they do not interfere with the soldering. Once all other preparations have been made, brush the subsequent seam thoroughly with the flux.

Solder the zinc gutter

When all the preparations are done, you can start soldering. In principle, you should carry out the soldering work as far as possible on the floor and not on the already installed gutter - here you have a secure footing and can work more precisely. In addition, there is a high risk of fire when working on the roof - make absolutely sure that you do not point the burner flame at wood and flammable insulation materials.

First, connect the soldering iron to a propane bottle and ignite the torch. It has an adjusting screw on the handle, with which the air supply can be regulated and thus the temperature can also be controlled. Make sure that the screw is closed before lighting and open it with a burning flame until it turns blue - the higher the oxygen supply, the hotter the flame. It now heats the copper iron to the required soldering temperature. Simply hold the tin solder to the plunger until it melts - the working temperature has now been reached and you can reduce the burner if necessary - too high a temperature is not optimal, otherwise the tin solder will become too liquid.

Start at one of the top two points of the gutter and hold the wide-bottomed piston against the metal to warm it up. Then hold the tin solder to the plunger from below - it melts immediately, flows along the connection point and into the gap until it solidifies a little further down. Here you put the soldering iron back on and let the liquefied solder run down into the groove until the lowest point is reached. Do the same with the other side of the gutter until the gap between the two gutter segments is well closed everywhere.

After cooling, only the remnants of the flux are removed with a rag, as it can attack the metal in large quantities - your gutter is now well soldered.

Solder or braze copper gutters

With copper gutters, both soft soldering and hard soldering are possible. If you choose soft soldering, you need lead-free solder called Sn97Cu3 - it contains a small amount of copper of 3 percent in addition to tin. The stability of the connection is not comparable to brazing - therefore soft-soldered copper gutter connections are usually additionally secured with blind rivets.

Dachrinne aus Kupfer
Dachrinne aus Kupfer

When copper gutters are soldered, either the hard or soft soldering process is used.

Photo: iStock / alacatr

Brazing material and tools

A solder called CuP284 is mostly used for brazing copper gutters. In addition to 80 percent copper, it also contains 5 percent phosphorus and 15 percent silver. While solders with an even higher copper content are mostly used in the installation area, this is better suited especially for outdoor work because the melting temperature is relatively low at 700 degrees Celsius. In addition, thanks to the proportion of phosphorus, no additional flux is required.

Instead of a gas soldering iron, a welding torch is used for brazing - you therefore work directly with the open flame to heat the solder. A propane gas burner is usually sufficient to achieve the required soldering temperatures. A torch with an acetylene and oxygen cylinder is more convenient, however, as is also used for oxyacetylene welding. Important: If you ignite an oxyacetylene welding device, make sure that the oxygen cylinder is still closed beforehand. It is only slowly turned on when the flame is already burning - otherwise there is a risk of explosion!

Prepare and solder the copper gutter

For brazing, the copper gutters should also be sanded at the connection points as described above and then cleaned. As soon as the two gutter segments are just aligned with an overlap of around 10 millimeters, check the gap width - it should not be more than 0.5 millimeters so that a capillary effect can start to pull the liquid solder into the connection point.

When brazing, the copper gutters are first heated at one of the upper ends until they glow red. Then hold the copper solder at the top end in front of the gap until it liquefies and closes the gap. In this way you work your way down from both sides bit by bit until the connection is completely closed.

By the way: copper gutters are not only more expensive than zinc gutters because of the higher material price. Brazing also takes a little longer and therefore causes higher labor costs when installing the gutter.

Glue gutters instead of soldering

Because of the less work involved, metal gutters are often glued these days. Before gluing, the underside of the upper and the upper side of the lower gutter must be cleaned thoroughly or oil and grease residues removed with a solvent-based cleaner. After spraying, wipe the gutters with a lint-free cloth and allow the cleaner to dry.

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The overlap of the gutter segments should be at least 10 centimeters. After the cleaner has been vented, apply two beads of a suitable special adhesive for metal gutters to the inside of the lower gutter, parallel to the curve and at a distance of about 3 centimeters from the beginning and end of the later overlap. Then press the two channel segments against one another, taking care that they do not jam on the inner and outer beads. After gluing, a blind rivet is placed from above into the inner and outer bead to securely fix the connection. The hole must be pre-drilled with a suitable metal drill. Well-glued gutter connections are highly flexible, weather-resistant and hardly become brittle in old age.

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Folkert Siemens editors haus.de

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