Soldering to Aluminum

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Comments provided a simpler method to try instead of the plating of copper described by the author of this article.

Soldering to Aluminum

Joel says:
June 11, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Bottom shelf option:

1. use vegetable oil as your flux in a little puddle on your solder area
2. scrape away the oxide in the solder area using the hot soldering iron tip
3. make the solder joint in the few seconds that the vegetable oil buys you before oxide reforms in the area

Works about 7/10 times for me. When it doesn’t stick, I just try again and it does the trick. Works great on aluminum foil.

Francis Esmonde-White says:
June 11, 2020 at 8:26 pm

An easy way to solder aluminum is to put some vegetable oil on the spot to be soldered, get the spot hot with your iron, then get the solder+flux to melt in contact with the vegetable oil. The oil prevents the oxide from reforming before the solder cools. I found this online (YouTube video?) around a year ago- I have used this with aluminum foil, it worked well…

BrightBlueJim says:
June 12, 2020 at 4:18 am

But do you know if there’s a reason vegetable oils are named [specified - W], rather than petroleum oils? I’m curious about this due to the amount of water present in most vegetable oils.

smellsofbikes says:
June 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

Vegetable oils have at least some acids in them, and break down with heat to produce a bunch more. I don’t think that’s the case with petroleum oils. I suspect those are part of the process for getting an oxide-free surface.

Luke says:
June 11, 2020 at 11:27 pm

Common refined cooking oils have smoke points above 200 C. If you need something really high temp, use purified sunflower oil or clear beef tallow, they take 250 C. The unrefined oils have waxes and water which starts to sputter and smoke at lower temperatures. Refined avocado oil can take 270 C.