I am trying to glue a 0.006" brass foil to a mild steel plate. I have done
it in the past but forgot what I used (note to self: keep better records!).
I have run several small scale trials and for some reason the results are
dismal: JB Weld, Devcon 2-ton, E6000, household Goop, Jelly cyanoacrylate -
the brass just peels off like I am using school glue!
I abrade both surfaces. I clean with acetone. I leave to cure for 24 hours
at least (that includes the CA). Nada!
What am I missing? BTW it is the *brass* side of things where the glues do
It won't kill you . Right away ... actually , the good stuff (Formica 140
...) will give you a pretty good buzz , with a lingering headache afterwards
. The non-flam stuff stinks so bad you won't want to breath the fumes , and
the latex/water based variety has basically no odor .
Try 3M weatherstrip adhesive , spread like contact and the brass applied
while it's still tacky .
Then I been doin' it wrong for over 35 years ! Laminated somewhere in the
tens of thousands of square feet of P-Lam with hundreds of gallons of the
stuff over the years , an' I ain't dead yet .
Lost some small bits and pieces of fingers (to router bits ...) over the
years , does that count ?
On Wed, 7 Jul 2010 23:03:04 -0700, "Michael Koblic"
Could it be the difference in the coefficient of expansion between the
brass and steel?
Give it one more try, this time using 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. It's
the only one I can use (on my laptop glare guards) which will go on
evenly and finely.
Or, if it doesn't have to be electrically connected, you might try a
thin double-sided adhesive tape. That might give them enough
separation if the COE is high up there in the GWN.
It's also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that's
sitting right here right now, with its aches and its pleasures, is
exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.
-- Pema Chodron
I didn't think that a very tenacious adhesive. I use #77 to adhere abrasive
glass when I want to do some scary sharpening. If I don't leave the paper on
for too long
I can pull it up rather easily. If I go say, 6 months, well, it really stick
but by then
humidity changes has caused the abrasive paper to hump up in places making the
It's exceedingly more tenacious for porous materials, Wes. But if you
don't ike that, try 3M #90 Hi-strength.
For ScarySharping, spray it on MDF and stick the paper to that. I use
whatever flat surface is handy at the moment, including laminate
countertops. The 50% of the times I do it dry, it doesn't matter.
EXPLETIVE: A balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight,
which somehow eases those pains and indignities following
Brass does not play well with epoxies. If I recall correctly it is
the copper that causes the problem. You can buy epoxy that is
especially formulated to work with copper at your big box store. It
is sold to glue copper pipe so look for it in the plumbing section.
About two or three times as expensive as ordinary epoxy.
And that STILL doesn't work, in my experience. I was trying to avoid
a big solder job when installing a replacement shower valve, involved
about a dozen joints. Ended up with a shower in the wall instead,
most leaked. So ended up with a solder job anyway. And a nasty job
trying to get the stuff apart again after gluing.
Any reason the O.P. can't sweat-solder the brass to the steel? You
can get solder-in-flux paste that works well for that. If the stress
at the joint is in shear or peel, that may be the only way. Would
have been my first choice.
maybe it's time for 1700s technology - have you tried soft solder? Tin the
brass sheet and solder in an oven - it's not hard to get to 640 deg - a
sheet of stainless on top and a clamp will make sure it's flat, proper
surface preparation and tinning will ensure a complete bond
You have several issues here. First, as others have mentioned, copper and
its alloys develop a thin, weak, invisible oxide layer in seconds. Second,
JB Weld is filled and is not formulated as an adhesive, but rather as a kind
of hybrid filler/so-so adhesive. Cyanoacrylate and epoxy, unless they're
formulated for high peel resistance, have terrible resistance to peel and
cleavage, which is what you're going to run into with material that's 0.006"
Everything is working against you. <g>
Tawwwwm suggested a laminate adhesive. That will cure a lot of ills, because
it doesn't get real hard and it does very well with peel loads. Its ultimate
strength isn't particularly high but it may well produce the strongest bond
in this case because most other adhesives that are stronger are also less
But here's a suggestion to help get a stronger bond, no matter what you use
(except with cyanoacrylate -- I don't think you can work fast enough to beat
its cure time). Use the "scratch-in" method, which works with the other
miserable metals that develop instant oxides -- stainless, aluminum,
magnesium, and, in my limited trials, copper.
The idea is to wet-sand the piece with a piece of fine sandpaper, wet-dry,
or Scotchbrite, with the part and the sanding medium soaked in adhesive. You
don't have to cut deep; just clean the surface well. The key is to never let
the part be exposed to air once you start. Keep it covered with adhesive. If
it produces too much sanding sludge, wet a rag with adhesive and wipe the
part, making sure you keep it wet and NEVER let air touch it. If you wipe it
dry, re-sand and do it all over again.
I haven't used the vicious laminate adhesive for years, but my recollection
is that it dries very, very fast. You'll have to work quick. And work
outdoors. You'll be slopping it around and the solvent is horrid.
Do the same with the other piece you're adhering to, if you can (not if it's
wood). Then put them together wet -- or, in the case of laminate adhesive,
when they've reached the proper tacky stage.
You'll get a good mechanical bond, and it's one of the few ways to also get
a chemical bond with these metals. In volume production they use a PAA
anodize on aluminum, but the scratch-in method works about as well, in my
experience, and I've had success with it on other metals. I ran some crude,
informal tests with it back around 1980 when I was writing about adhesive
assembly for _American Machinist_.
I got this tip from the guys who founded the WEST System. They're epoxy
experts. They were NOT dealing with peel loads; how well you do with that
will depend mostly on your adhesive. No over-the-counter,
room-temperature-cure epoxy is very good in peel. Most cyanoacrylate is
dismal in that department, but there are some sort of gummy ones that may do
I forgot one important thing: If you want to try epoxy, keep in mind that
its maximum strength, particularly in metal-to-metal bonding, is achieved
with a bond layer approximately 0.002" thick. Any thinner, and the strength
goes to pot -- especially peel/cleavage strength. I often leave a little
sanding grit in the joint to be sure I'm not starving it out.
It can tolerate a thicker layer, up to around 0.006" or so, without losing a
lot of strength.
On Thu, 08 Jul 2010 11:58:06 -0400, Ed Huntress wrote:
[snip re abrade and clean with acetone]
Maybe you sent it out to a plating shop and then suppressed the memory :)
Couple lists of BC platers:
Might also be worth inquiring at local shop North Island Chrome Inc, first
item on <http://www.yellowpages.ca/search/si/1/Plating/Campbell+River+BC
Thank you and all the others.
I was not aware of copper being a problem with glues.
I have your "scratch-in" method saved in my works folder from last time you
mentioned it here and was going to try it next. The only reason I was
hesitating is that the reverse side of the brass foil is supposed to look
intact and in the past any speck of dust or other mechanical disturbance
produced blemishes which were impossible to get rid of. However, I guess now
is the time to try again, very carefully.
As for the optimum layer of glue I wonder if going to a coarser abrasive
would help by producing more pronounced peaks and valleys on both sides of
the material - perhaps just on the steel side.
I was going to try the solder paste method as a last resort. I have played
with a couple of different kinds and I don't like them for ordinary
soldering/silver soldering. However, this may be the right place for it.
I'd try the Scotchbrite, on a flat piece of glass or something similar.
It sounds like a reasonable idea. I've experimented a bit with grades of
sandpaper, however, and I prefer using finer grits. But you may be on to
Good luck. Let us know how it works out.
When you're bonding metal with strong adhesives, it's good to keep the
peel-strength/cleavage-strength issue in mind. That's one weakness of those
adhesives in metalwork. As an aside, this is what rivet-bonding is all about
in making aircraft wings. If you look at how the rivets are placed it's
clear that they're not being used for the sake of their shear strength, as
aircraft rivets normally are. They're there solely to keep the edges of the
wing skins from lifting and starting a peel failure.
Through trial and much error I found techniques of increasing a glue bond
strength that work for me (this is probably what proper engineers learn in
the first semester). Just changing the shape of the joint ever so slightly I
find the glue holds so much better (a cylinder glued to a flat vs. cylinder
recessed by a few thou *into* the flat - does not have to be a particularly
good fit, either. Also works for improving soft solder joint strengths. Then
there is less clean up then when using high temp soldering - but that is
another story!). Since I discovered the joys of press fit (now that I have
the machinery to produce one) things are even better. But there is no way
around it in this case and I shall have to defeat the pesky peel some other
Yes, your cylinder example is a good one. In the first case there is a big
cleavage load. If you recess the flat to provide a shallow "socket" for the
cylinder, you have a shear load where they overlap, and that's where
adhesives are very strong.
A good example is the chassis of the Lotus Elise, which is also used in the
Tesla electric sports car. The chassis is made of tubular aluminum
extrusions that are bonded together with epoxy. The joints are
plug-and-socket types, or very close to plugs and sockets, in which almost
all of the load is in shear. Where there's no peel or cleavage,
metal-to-metal bonded joints can be stronger than the parent metal itself.
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