Mask Cord Production

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by twisterfencing, May 29, 2018.

  1. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    Yes, there is a special tool for crimping the connector onto the wire plastic insulation. This is an example of one.



    If so, technically, they are illegal for competition usage. Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about this. As long as there is decent conductivity, I'm fine with using it.

    Remember, you should solder the wire directly to alligator clip. However, you need to make sure the alligator clip surface is clean, use the proper type of flux, a high power soldering iron, rosin core solder, and plenty of patience. Oh yes, proper soldering is done by heating up the two parts hot enough to melt the solder. You may get a cold solder joint otherwise.

    Always use rosin core flux. Acid core flux (the flux the plumbers use to solder copper tubing) will eventually corrode the copper wire and give you problems later on. Don't ask why I know this.

    Last piece of advice, I remember once watching someone trying to solder a wire to an alligator clip. The only problem was that he had the alligator clip clamp between the jaws of a cast iron bench vise. The bench vise was acting as a heat sink and was absorbing most of the heat energy from the soldering iron. I corrected him by making a quick set of cheap man's vise jaws out of a piece of cardboard (business card). Afterwards, it didn't take him very long to heat up the alligator clip surface hot enough to melt the solder.
     
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  2. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Yeah...I had that same issue with using a vise. Hence the jig I made in the vid.
     
  3. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    I don't think that tool properly crimps the Mueller BU-27 alligator clip. That looks like the standard crimp tool for solderless connectors. It would make an "m" shaped crimp on the wings. The Mueller clip needs an "o" shape.


    We regularly fail cords that solder to the screw. The point of the rule is that the screw isn't reliable enough. The solder has to be to the body of the clip. Unfortunately, there is no requirement that you have a good solder joint, so we regularly pass bad joints. If we can peal up the wire, it will fail, but it can be a butt-ugly cold solder joint as long as it holds the wire to the clip with low enough resistance.

    Yeah, carry a small piece of wood that the clip will grab well and long enough to clamp into the vise.
     
  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    That is good to know, given the woefully craptastic nature of most of my soldering efforts. I can repair my own ( coiled phone wire ) cords again! :)


    I always just clipped them to the wooden bench itself.

    My question is: how do you keep the wire itself from acting as a heat sink? I have known the insulation nearest to the clip to melt/burn/discolor from the heat, and I suspect that that contributes to the teeny tiny phone cord wires breaking off ( or maybe they burn through ).
     
  5. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    A simple trick I got from Matthew Porter was to use a old fashion wooden clothes pin. It works like a charm.

    Everybody has their favorite approach to soldering the alligator clip to a wire. What I do is first to I take the wire and pre-tin the end. Then I take the wire, wrap additional insulation by the tinned wire end with a paper towel and bend the wire end with a right angle bend.

    Then I build up a small puddle of solder onto the alligator clip. I then put the wire end into the molten solder puddle and hold it there until the solder puddle and wire tinning fuse together. Let everything cool, remove the paper toweling, and close the wire restraint.

    Another tip. To help create the solder puddle onto the alligator clip, I remove the screw and reinstalled it from the other side. I only screw in the screw until the end of the screw is flush with the surface on the solder side. Then flux the surfaces, heat up the alligator clip, build up the solder puddle, and complete the solder joint. The screw can be removed afterwards using a pair of pliers.
     
  6. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    The key to soldering is flux. It takes so long to heat up the joint, and build up the puddle of solder, that the flux is gone before you get the wire in there. So dip the pre-tinned wire end in paste flux. Get a decent amount on there. Put a little where you will puddle the solder on the clip, although it boils off pretty quick there. Don't try to solder without enough flux.

    Another problem is "hold it there". It's hot!. So use a tool to hold the wire in the puddle. You hold the iron with one hand, solder with the other. Build up the puddle. When it's molten, put down the solder and pick up the wire. Put the wire in the puddle. Put the soldering iron down, pick up the tool, a screwdriver will work, but I have an actual soldering tool with a wooden handle. Hold the wire with the tool until the solder cools. It can't jiggle or you get a cold joint. The right angle bend dcchew uses is the right idea - keep the insulation away from the clip.

    If you can't get a good joint but you can melt the solder and get a puddle, then you either don't have enough flux, or you aren't holding the wire steady until it solidifies. Try using paste flux. It's magic.
     
  7. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    I thought those puddles were cheating! Now I feel better about the telephone wire cords I repaired for clubmates.
     
  8. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I always thought that when the solder says "flux core" that was enough unto itself. Never have used additional.

    I have also always wrapped the wire around the screw with a short length protruding beyond, tightened the screw down to hold the wire in place, then soldered the protruding bit of wire to the clip...

    Guess I have been doing it all wrong...explaining the solder blobs which look like baroque pearls.
     
  9. twisterfencing

    twisterfencing Podium

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    Guys: what Brian (AKA: brtech) is telling you about flux: is 100% correct.
    Story: I personally had the same perception of solder, flux core, did an OK job!
    Took on a hard headed challenge from Brian and found that he was right.
    I now use flux for EVERYTHING!
    A mini paint brush is now a standard part of my work bench.

    Soak the wire in it, put it on the clip,use it everywhere that solder is going to be.

    When soldering: flux is your friend, not kidding.
    Keep your solder iron tip dry and clean! Let the flux do the work for you.

    Now, understand, I consider myself a professional armorer. Learning something new is fun. I did. I normally help armorer's learn, it was my turn on this one issue.

    Here is the only flux I use: click here
    Fast, little residue, Bubbles fast, just an all around good flux.

    Uses: wire grafting, making and repairing body cords - mask cords, 1000's of Twister Blade wires and so on.

    Gary Spruill
     
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  10. mtwieg2

    mtwieg2 DE Bracket

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    Agreed, even if you get excellent wetting, moving the wire while the solder is freezing can result in tons of cracks, and will make the joint weaker.
    But there very different types of flux. For copper clips, you can get away with plain rosin flux or just rosin core solder. For steel, you really need acid flux for a good joint, but the residue will need to be cleaned thoroughly. I've never tried acid core solder.

    Yes, that's a perfect choice for soldering steel/stainless.
     
  11. twisterfencing

    twisterfencing Podium

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    let us know what you like for non-copper clips.

    Been using my choice, but would love to learn your ideas - suggestions.

    Gary Spruill

     

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