Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I find methanol in small quantities?
A: Methanol/methyl alcohol is often used in laboratories and in the auto and automobile racing industries. You can frequently find it on Amazon and at other retailers by searching these categories. It is also often sold in auto parts stores as "gas line anti-freeze". Brands containing 100% methanol or methyl alcohol may be used. Labels on these products will usually include the words "contains methanol" or "contains methyl alcohol CAS. 67-56-1".
If the product contains any additional chemicals, we do not recommend that you use it, as it can change the chemical reaction that takes place when you weld with Solar Flux. Some chemical additives will prevent Solar Flux from working as it should.
In all cases, we recommend conducting a test weld whenever changing any part of your procedure.
Q: Methanol isn't available in my area. What can I use instead?
A: If methanol is not available in your area, other forms of pure alcohol can be used. Look for alcohols in the 99-100% pure range. These are often marketed as "technical" or "medical" grade.
If the product contains any additional chemicals we do not recommend that you use it, as it can change the chemical reaction that takes place when you weld with Solar Flux. Some chemical additives will prevent Solar Flux from working as it should.
In all cases, we recommend conducting a test weld first. Also, different alcohols may require more mixing time or may cause the mixture to dry out more quickly.
Q: Can I use Solar Flux for brazing and soldering?
A: No. Solar Flux needs the high heat produced in welding in order to work. The temperatures generated in brazing and soldering are too low to allow the Solar Flux reaction to take place.
Q: How thick should my Solar Flux/methanol mixture be?
A: Mix the Solar Flux and methanol to a consistency between ‘thin and soupy’ and ‘thick cream’, whichever seems to work best for you. The consistency of the mixture, whether thick or thin, does not affect the operation of the Solar Flux or the quality of the finished weld, as long as the mixture is smooth and evenly mixed. However, we do not recommend remixing once the paste has dried out, as it can be difficult to get a smooth mixture again. A chunky or gritty mixture can result in some areas of the weld being unprotected.
Q: How many feet of weld can I get out of one can of Solar Flux?
A: Depending on the thickness of your mixture, you should be able to get approximately 550-650 lineal feet of weld from one 1-lb. can of Solar Flux.
Q: Do I need to remove the glassy residue?
A: The thin glass-like residue is chemically inert after welding and adheres tenaciously to the base metal. While this residue is unattractive to the eye, it does not affect the quality of the weld and usually need not be removed. However, if removal is desired, it is easily accomplished with a stainless steel wheel, stainless steel brush or common pickling compounds. Our research indicates that ‘Wonder Gel’, manufactured by the Bradford DeRustIt Company, is excellent.
Q: Are there applications where Solar Flux would not be recommended for use?
A: Yes, there are some pipe or tube welding applications where absolute purity and a polished inside surface are required. These include food or beverage lines where subsequent product refining will not take place, medical oxygen lines, computer chip manufacturing air lines, and high service temperature (above 1000°F) steam lines. In these situations we recommend purging instead of Solar Flux so as to avoid a difficult chemical cleaning process.