How to solder thick copper wire?

I've got a bunch of copper wire that I want to solder into a marble run for my child. What's soldering method what I use? I know a soldering pen isn't sufficient maybe MAPP gas? And what kind of solder I'm unsure thanks in advance everyone

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  • Dale-E
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    What is the wire gauge of the wire you want to use?

     Electric soldering irons are rated in Watts and tip size. Get a 100 to 150 Watt iron. Get a Rosin core 63/37 solder. Brighten every wire tip before trying to solder them together. Try to use a good mechanical connection along with the solder.  

    What you want is something that functions similar to a miniature rail road track. So you will need frequent cross ties soldered under the two tracks to maintain proper even spacing.

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  • roger
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I  would  use a  propane  torch   (air/propane).  Use   plumbing  solder and  a  good  flux.   Using  lead free  solder  would be  nice    for your  child.   using  50/50  would  solder faster  but then you  expose your  child to the  lead.

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  • elhigh
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    MAPP gas is WAY overkill.

    A soldering pen might be enough. If the wires aren't too thick it will work.  Then again you want thick enough wires that they don't flex too much as the marbles pass.  

    If you need more heat, move up to one of those compact butane torches. They throw enough heat to flow the solder very well, no problem.

    Since it isn't for electronics or plumbing, it doesn't really matter what kind of solder, though I'm partial to plumbing solder simply because it's cheaper and widely available in one-pound rolls. You can get a lot done with that.

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  • 2 months ago

    You need sleeves to push the wires into, taper them with a dremel tool or bench sander, and then solder normally like plumbing with flux and propane torch. Or better yet just use insulating heat shrink sleeves.

    • elhigh
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      That won't work.  Remember, he said he's building a marble run.  Bumping over the heat shrink tubing will disturb the marbles.  A soldered joint can be sanded smooth.

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  • Joe
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Something like 14 or 12 gauge wire; the kind you would find behind the walls of your house?

    You can use an electric soldering gun for that: one on the larger size of what you can buy at a home center or hardware store.  Solder from the plumbing aisle should work.  (On pipes, you might need a torch for that stuff.  But it doesn't take as much heat for wire.)

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    What is a marble run?  Then I remembered.

    That won't work because it is a lot of work WHEN you are already good with a soldering iron or torch.  Yeah, use something more simple and cheaper like cardboard folded into a V shape from cereal boxes or 1/4 round moulding that has a cross section view of a u. out of wood.  The cardboard is cheaper way to go because he will lose interest faster than I can type a response. 

    • dennis2 months agoReport

      That's 100% opinion and an assumption of what I'm capable of. This is not a project just to keep him busy it's a learning project I don't buy my kids things just so I don't have to pay them attention. I build things with them and teach them in the process.

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