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I want to make some glass jewellery with copper foil, but obviously can't use my usual lead solder that i use for my stained glass art, which is the best lead-free solder and what flux would it need. Will my soldering iron work? its just a normal hobby one that i use for lead solder.

Thanks Emma

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Site quote "Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." \$\endgroup\$ – Harry Svensson Jul 14 '17 at 4:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it has nothing to do with electrical engineering. \$\endgroup\$ – JRE Jul 14 '17 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JRE if the joints are not in contact with your skin then the lead content is academic... Lead-free solder is also a possibility which i did mention - needs a higher temperature and strength issues may be reduced by the design. Silver solder is closer to brazing processes in terms of temperature and will definitely need a better / hotter iron. Also, engineers use silver solder for many things (tool making etc) and I, personally think, Emma made an intelligent assumption that some useful info could be found here. \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Jul 14 '17 at 5:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SolarMike ... I said partially, because: 1) the question as it stands could have been formulated in a way that better fitted this site (the title is quite off-topic), without impeding the solution of the OP's problem; 2) probably (but here I'm not sure) EE.SE is not the best site of the network to find a solution, maybe Engineering.SE could be a better place to search for an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati -- Codidact.com Jul 14 '17 at 7:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LorenzoDonati I think as soon as jewellery appeared in the title or body it raised warning flags... but sometimes it is worth remembering that processes can be used in many walks of life! \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Jul 14 '17 at 7:52
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You can try flux-core lead-free solder. It's typically mostly tin with a bit of copper and sometimes other metals. It's not as shiny as electronic grade eutectic solder (dull grey). The flux is in the core and is sufficient for soldering clean bright copper surfaces together.

I have no information on the biocompatibility of (for example) Sn99.3Cu0.7 solder for long-term contact. You should clean the flux off after soldering with an appropriate solvent such as IPA or lacquer thinner).

Melting point is higher than normal Sn60Pb40 or Sn63Pb37 solders- by perhaps 50°C so set your soldering iron to a higher temperature if it is adjustable.

Jewellery making suppliers may have other options for you such as colored solders that match metal colors, but I think they are mostly silver solders that will require a small brazing torch rather than a soldering iron. Some silver solders may still contain cadmium so take care if you start looking at unconventional sources. NSF approval is a good indicator it's probably not overtly toxic.

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