Flux Removal

Probably most novice framebuilders use flux and getting it off can be particularly tedious. I admit that I have only used cycle design fluxes for some time, specifically because I find them a lot easier to remove. The only effective method of removal seems to be soaking the fluxed part in water until it loosens sufficiently to be brushed off. Hardened flux that has not been soaked off seems to set like concrete and otherwise requires a lot of heavy filing to remove. The hotter the soaking water the quicker the flux comes off but I have found it takes at least half an hour of initially boiling water to get brass flux to a brush able state. Wire brushing is most effective but can scratch thin stainless steel tubes unacceptably. Having got fed up with boiling several kettles I purchased this 8 litre boiler, which is enough to fill the metal flower tub I use to soak the parts
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This works quite well for forks and smaller sub assemblies but a whole frame would obviously need a very large amount of hot water, not to mention sizeable container. Rather than soak the frame in sections (also tedious) I have been experimenting with a steam cleaner.
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These can be bought quite cheaply. Mine holds about 400ml water and this seems enough to do all the joints I want to clean at a time. It enables me to clean off the flux in my garage as it only leaves a small amount of water on the floor as a result. It also largely avoids getting water inside the frame. I admit I have only used it with the cycle design ‘stainless light’ ¬†and ‘low fuming bronze’ fluxes. The stainless light flux is the easier to remove and demonstrated in the video below, in which I only use a scotchbrite pad to avoid scratching the thin stainless tubing:

2 Comments

Charlie Merivale

about 5 years ago

What an inspired idea. I think I'll go down that route as well. Thank you.

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Charlie Merivale

about 5 years ago

I'm now the proud owner of a Hoover hand held steam cleaner. What a top tip. One tankful removed all the flux from the frame.

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