can you weld paperclips?

I'm in the process of building a model structure. I wanted to use
something strong but light. I thought paperclips would be a good
choice. I would have to join them together somehow...welding,
soldering, brazing?. I've soldered before but that's about it and I
don't really know anything about welding. I don't think using regular
solder (which I normally use for electronics) would be strong enough
to hold the joints under pressure. Would I be able to weld the paper
clips together with one of those little butane micro-torch things?
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The answer is yes, but it takes lot's of patience and talent. Your question reminds me of a welder I used to know.
When I was a kid growing up in Seattle, my dad worked at Todd Shipyards. He worked with a welder by the name of Vince Wyatt (as I recall) that later opened a welding shop down on Harbor Island. Vince had many 'stick figures' that he HeliArc'd on top of Copenhagen cans and aluminum soda cans. The figures I remember were 3 or 4 inches tall, in various poses; a baseball player, a farmer, etc.
I've never seen anything like it since then. Vince had real talent. I'd love to have 10% of his ability!
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'Web Guy & Hobbyist Welder'
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"richie" wrote: (clip)Would I be able to weld the paper clips together with one of those little butane micro-torch things? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Since you don't trust soft solder to be strong enough, I wonder what kind of loads you are visualizing. The next step up would be silver solder, which can be done easily with a jeweler's torch. However, if you get the paper clip wire red hot in the process, you will likely anneal it, and it may end up being too soft for the job you are doing. How about giving us a more compete description of the project? Are you building some kind of structure out of business cards, or what? Sounds like it could be fun.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
So avoid paperclips.
Get some piano wire (any model shop) and a good pair of side cutters, rated for "music wire".
Then get a firebrick or two to work on, some wire wool for cleaning, silver solder, suitable flux (not soft solder flux) and a small gas torch - the sort with the larger sort of hand-held cylinder are about the cheapest.
Then clean the wires carefully, make a good mechanical assembly of them (tie them with soft wire first, or else clamp them somehow). Then apply a small "pallion" (snippet) of silver solder wire, using the wet flux to hold it in place. Heat gently under the silver solder melts, and it should flow beautifully.
Silver solder _is_ expensive. But for a construction of wire, a single rod of it will last for ages.
BTW - Take a look at Arthur Ganson's sculptures for a bit of inspiration,
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Reply to
Andy Dingley
You can solder steel paper clips with soft solder. Done properly it is quite strong. I would choose 50-50 alloy rather than 40-60 commonly used for electrical connections. Choose clips that are not plated and apply paste flux. I have even soft soldered piano wire for a slot car frame. The ends of your joints must be tinned with solder before soldering together. For a simple model keep it simple. Randy
Reply to
Randy Zimmerman
What about JB weld?
Reply to
My experience with JB Weld is that it is very slow curing (~12 to 24 Hrs). Before it cures it tends to creep with gravity, sometimes right out of the joint. If I were going with epoxy, I'd use the 5-minute type. Mix thoroughly for two minutes, let sit for a minute or three, and apply to the joint. It then tends to stay where you put it. The work time is very short in this case, so you need to be prepared.
One time I tried to glue a rare-earth magnet to a surface with JB Weld. I came back later to find the epoxy had crept "up" the sides of the magnet, following the magnetic lines of force. I forgot about what the filler in the epoxy is. :)
Reply to
Ken Moffett
"Ken Moffett" wrote: (clip) I forgot about what the filler in the epoxy is. :) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ LOL
Reply to
Leo Lichtman

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