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Filet Brazing with 30% silver

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Filet Brazing with 30% silver

Old 04-29-20, 07:37 PM
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wsteve464
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Filet Brazing with 30% silver

Can it be done and does anyone have any experience with it? Does it just flow like regular silver brazing for lugs or can it Be built up?

I bought a Columbus Cento tube set and they recommend Castoline Silver Alloy 38230 for brazing or Tig it. I would like to filet braze it otherwise I have to send it out to have it welded.

Thanks for any info

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Old 04-29-20, 11:35 PM
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that's interesting, I wonder if they would recommend against something like filletpro? I'm not sure what causes the lower silver percentage to build more.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:06 AM
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I would wonder about the strength first. 45% silver can be built up although I would not consider it for true fillets. It can flow close to like what 56% does but is still "thicker". And then there's 50N, which I believe is FDA approved for stainless. With all I've read about the Cycle Design stuff I would look into that. A side note is that I wouldn't scrimp on filler. After all is totaled up the filler cost is relatively minor. Andy
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Old 04-30-20, 11:28 AM
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There might be some differences, but for me, 45% and fillet pro build fillets about the same. You have to be pretty careful about it or it will collapse
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Old 04-30-20, 11:38 AM
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I have looked up specs for various Harris silver %s. I ended up buying some 45% to try on another frame made from similar Columbus tubing to see if I like the results if that doesn't work I'll try filet pro. The working temps are within those specified on the Castoline chart. If this doesn't work out then I'll have to find a good west coast frame builder that can tig it.







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Old 04-30-20, 08:45 PM
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I note the "slightly reducing flame" reference. This is what I was first taught wayyyy back when with silver in general. I always assumed it was to reduce the hot spots that an oxidizing flame can cause so quickly. Thoughts from the smarter people? Andy
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Old 05-01-20, 07:58 AM
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Not sure if they are worried about hot spots or oxidation in general. The part where they mention "useful for wider gaps" is promising.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:43 AM
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On the Harris chart for the different silver formulas they give a "fluidity rating" the lower the number the thicker it is after melting. I have heard back from Castoline the 38230 is special order in the US. I am waiting to hear if there is a minimum order or not and if there is an equivalent in stock in the US.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wsteve464 View Post
On the Harris chart for the different silver formulas they give a "fluidity rating" the lower the number the thicker it is after melting. I have heard back from Castoline the 38230 is special order in the US. I am waiting to hear if there is a minimum order or not and if there is an equivalent in stock in the US.
I have been working through mechanical and material properties of various silver bronze filler alloys since seeing the same recommendation of Castolin 38230 for Columbus Cento tubes. Columbus also recommend Castolin 38230 for all their other steel tube materials. 38230 has an ISO designation Ag 230, composition (Ag 30%, CU 38%, Zn 32%). The exception is for Columbus stainless steel XCR they recommend T99 (Ag 56% Cu 22% - Zn 17%). T99 is simply a 56% silver braze filler used for lug joints like Harris Safety Silv 56. Note, T99 and Safety Silv 56 are silver braze fillers with 5% Sn. If you have a look at bikes from Saffron Frameworks London, "33% silver" is designated for fillet brazed frame using XCR tubing. Saffron state that they use Fillet Pro for silver brazing. I have used Fillet Pro but have never got an element composition. Wade Barcosi did confirm that Fillet Pro has an ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 430N/mm (430MPa), a solidus of 1200 F (649 C) and a liquidus of 1330 F (721 C). Solidus and liquidus temperatures that align with Fillet Pro are silver alloys with 38% Ag such as Harris Safety Silv 38T (Ag 38%, CU 32%, Zn 28%, Sn 2%). Safety Silv 38T has an ISO designation Ag 138. Ag 138 from Johnson Matthey states a UTS of 430 MPa and a fluidity of 2. By comparison JM states a fluidity of 3 for Ag 230 and 1 for Ag 156 (56% Ag). 1 = Free flowing filler metal when molten, 2 = Medium flowing filler metal when molten, 3 = Sluggish flowing filler metal when molten. The Harris 'fluidity' scale is similar; Ag 156 = 8, Ag 138 = 7, Ag 230 = 6, a lower number is less fluid.

The Johnson Matthey silver braze catalogue is a great reference list where you can see the effects of filler composition on material properties such as wetting, flow and UTS. Unfortunately the UTS for fillers without tin like 38230 (Ag 230) is not listed in the JM catalogue, however, Stella from Italy has this information.

Unfortunately as a new member I cannot insert URLs or attachments.

You will see that the addition of tin is to lower the melting temperature, however, it does not necessarily make the filler more fluid, e.g. JM Silver-flo 33 (Ag 33%, Cu 33.5%, Zn 33.5%, Sn 0%) has a fluidity of 1 with an upper liquid temp of 740 C compared to Silver-flo 34 (Ag 34%, Cu 36%, Zn 27.5%, Sn 2.5%) with a fluidity of 3 and an upper liquid temp of 730 C. Silver-flo 33 UTS 540 MPa, Silver-flo 34 UTS 470 MPa, Ag 230 UTS 490 MPa. Flo 33 has a narrow 40 C liquid range, Flo 34 has a wide 100 C liquid range, Ag 230 has a wide 95 C liquid range.

Also of importance are the braze filler properties such as joint bonding strength, resistance to corrosion, ductility (elongation) and fatigue resistance. So you need to use a material that works and is matched to the tube material. In this regard I would trust the Columbus recommendation.

What is my experience? I have manufactured 6 frames since 2010, 3 using nickel bronze (nickel silver in the USA), and 3 using silver (Ag 38%, CU 32%, Zn 28%, Sn 2%). The 3rd frame I was set up to use Fillet Pro but could not get results I was happy with (unable to weld up slope and down slope like nickel bronze, and some porosity). I did use Fillet Pro to finish the rear triangle on the 3rd frame. This included breezer rear dropouts (first time). Following this I sought advice from the Fillet Pro agent in Australia about the best welding technique. His advice was pretty well was the same as from a post on this forum in 2009. It's tricky. Very fluid weld pool, a real technique to build a wider fillet, unable to weld in a position other than very slightly up hill. On a whim after finishing this 3rd frame I did a trial weld using a 38% silver filler rod from the UK sold as a lower cost rod for lug brazing (SIF No. 39) and found it was easier to build a fillet and porosity was much less. But, still no where near as 'weldable' as nickel bronze (SIF No. 2) with the purity of weld. I have never had any porosity using nickel bronze and I can weld at high angles up slope and down slope. It's just that the high temp of nickel bronze creates distortion of head tubes, bottom brackets and seat tube / seat stay junctions that require post reaming and re tapping / facing of BB threads. Hence, why trialling Fillet Pro and using SIF No. 39, but no more. Either I find a silver filler that is weldable or I go back to nickel bronze and weld smaller size fillets similar to the size that Dave Anderson uses. The importance of filler size was drummed into me by Jim Cook from Nimbus Cycles. According to Jim the fillet throat size is calculated by the ratio of tube UTS versus filler UTS plus 100% safety factor. e.g. Columbus Niobium (Spirit / HSS / Life) UTS 1250 MPa, Fillet Pro 430 MPa, Max 35 dia bi-oval 0.8mm joint end = 1250/430 x 0.8 x 2 = 5.8mm. Using nickel bronze at 540 MPa UTS reduces this fillet throat size to 4.6mm. Of course if a Spirit 35 dia down tube was used the throat size would reduce by the ratio of 0.65 / 0.80. I have also tried to contact Vincenzo Forgione in Italy to discuss silver filler materials. Vincenzo exclusively uses silver for his fillet brazed frames. He has been using the same technique for over 25 years making everything from mountain to fold up bikes. Vincenzo's fillet sizes are small, similar Saffron.

Nickel bronze was my initial filler material of choice after many discussions with Jim Cook of Nimbus Cycles. Jim was a mechanical engineer and metallurgist in the UK nuclear power generation before he started Nimbus Cycles. He made many bikes for TdF riders as well as doing research for time trial rider positioning for maximum output in the early days of sports science medicine with the University of Leicester. Jim was 76 back in 2010 when I did this research for making frames. He was a big believer in nickel bronze due to its higher strength (UTS 540MPa) and very low porosity. He also used to post shape the fillet welds using the torch rather than shaping with a file. This was a technique he learnt from a welder that used to weld engine subframes in Spitfire WWII aircraft. I have yet to try the post weld torch shaping technique.

One thing to consider is that with silver where the position (only slightly up hill) is required and building a fillet is difficult, it therefore takes longer to weld a joint and hence more heat builds up in the job. Hopefully Castolin 38230 (Ag 230) takes away these downsides. Any opinions and information is welcome.
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Old 10-22-20, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wsteve464 View Post
Can it be done and does anyone have any experience with it? Does it just flow like regular silver brazing for lugs or can it Be built up?

I bought a Columbus Cento tube set and they recommend Castoline Silver Alloy 38230 for brazing or Tig it. I would like to filet braze it otherwise I have to send it out to have it welded.

Thanks for any info
Don't know. But you don't have to use the rod they recommend and can certainly fillet braze it using an appropriate rod if you want to. Omnicrom is basically cromoly only better, and all the same consumables will work fine. Most people don't use that TIG rod either but ER70S-2.
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Old 10-22-20, 06:09 AM
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evr, welcome to the forum and thanks for your informative first post. My guess is that the Columbus recommended filler is still pretty tricky to use, but I would be interested in contradictory reports. I know there are people that use a lot of nickel silver. The downside being that you can develop a sensitivity to it. I think that happened to me when I used it a lot. Nothing too serious, but just enough to be annoying.
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Old 10-22-20, 02:47 PM
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Agree, Omnicrom is just another cromoly alloy, so use whatever you have been using, LFB, Fillet Pro, SIF No. 39, Nickel Bronze etc will do the job. Matthew Sowter of Saffron replied that he uses SIF No. 39 (Ag 38%, CU 32%, Zn 28%, Sn 2%) on all his stainless steel frames (XCR, 953). So the filler specs on some of the Saffron XCR frames is meant to say 38% silver instead of 33%. From my experience SIF No. 39 is far more usable than Fillet Pro. It will be interesting to see what silver filler Vinzenzo Forgione uses.
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Old 10-22-20, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for the welcome. Yes I heard that some people develop a skin sensitivity to nickel bronze, pity because it forms a very pure weld. I used nickel bronze for my first frame as I had used it quite a bit as young fellow in the motor racing business on cromoly tube chassis. Also, it was Jim Cook's filler of choice. I did consider TIG for my first frame and even had a lesson from an ex F1 chief engineer. The lesson went very well but I decided there would be far too much practise required to become proficient using TIG. Regarding Castolin 38230 (Ag 30%), my guess is it will be much easier to build a fillet than SIF No. 39 (Ag38%) as it's flow / fluidity is rated less. The key question for 38230 will be control of porosity and ability to post rework a joint without introducing more porosity. If the porosity is controlled as well as SIF no. 39 and you can weld more up slope and down slope then it should be a goer.
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Old 12-22-20, 04:56 PM
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I received a reply from Vincenzo Forgione. He uses a 45% AG rod from Fontargen designated AF 320. This is a flux coated rod. The 45% Ag aligns with a post from Fred Parr recalling; "When I was testing oversized handmade tubes that were reeled very thin I used a similar alloy to make the "Whats holding it together" look but the oversized tubes were not accepted, they in fact were rejected and almost a decade went by before anyone made anything with bigger dia tubes,and of course that was Masi. Masi in Italy joined with brazing methods but when it came to California A45C quickly was adopted and most if not all were made with Cad 45 Silver." Fontargen AF320 ISO 176272 designation Ag 145. Ag 45%, Cu 27%, Zn 25.5%, Sn 2.5%. UTS 420 MPa. The equivalent Harris material is Safety Silv 45T. I have procured the same material in Australia supplied by Johnson Matthey (Sliver-flo 452). Flowability of 2, same as Safety-Silv 38T, so I suspect welding up slope and down slope will not be possible but figuring porosity will be low with the reduced zinc content. I am going to trial a flux coated rod alongside a bare rod with silver flux paste. Cheers.
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Old 12-22-20, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for following up.
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