To repair or not Vapalux 300 fount

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Jon Lander, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Jon Lander

    Jon Lander United Kingdom Subscriber

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    So as it says in the heading, I’m in the process of a restoration of a Vapalux 300 with steel fount and after a few days of soaking in white vinegar the fount has cleaned up pretty well. The major problem is that the bottom is pretty compromised with a fair few holes.
    Are these founts easy to solder a plate to, or is it just not worth the hassle.
    Thanks Jon

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2020
  2. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Few things are completely irreparable, but you have to consider the time, energy and expense of the task and weigh those against the probable chances of success. I wouldn't bother repairing it as I wouldn't trust the base.

    If you haunt eBay for the next few weeks or months you'll probably find a donor lamp which will have other usable parts.
     
  3. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Colin has a good point. Repair with epoxy or tin plate and solder, how long will this last if initially succesfull? The whole bottom is structurally suspect. And never forget it is a pressure vessel with fuel after all. Still can be a good show piece, and then a very apt example that steel is not a good idea for containers that can trap condens and are not used regularly. Your splendid E41 a good argument for brass, in contrast!
     
  4. Jon Lander

    Jon Lander United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Colin & Mike That’s what I’m thinking, that if I were to plate it how long would it last. I suppose this one could be just a display piece next to my E41. So looks like it will be another one in rapidal grey.
     
  5. MozzoSA

    MozzoSA Australia Subscriber

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    Looks like a good metal spinning challenge. If I had the tools I'd have a go at it for you. Never done it before though.
     
  6. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It looks to far gone to me.
     
  7. Jon Lander

    Jon Lander United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @JEFF JOHNSON I did think that. I’ve decided I’m going to try and save it and see if I can solder a small plate over the bottom. I’ve nothing to loose by trying and if it doesn’t work I’ll still paint it and have it as a dust gatherer.
     
  8. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    Make a shelf queen out of it. I think it's too far gone to be safe.
     
  9. JonD

    JonD Subscriber

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    The holes you see and might fix today are waiting to be joined by leaks from all the lesser rust spots which are just waiting to happen.
    I tried soldering such Swiss cheese on a meths tin (which is not a pressure vessel). I keep coming back to it time and again - doh! - another one.
     
  10. Jon Lander

    Jon Lander United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @JonD

    I won’t soldering the holes, I’m looking at a large repair patch over the majority of the base. I’ve done a couple of petrol tanks a few years ago, so not much difference.
    The biggest problem will be the actual solder due to the lower lead content.
    Once it’s done I’ll pressure test it in a water tank. If it fixes it all well and good if not then I’ve not lost anything other than a bit of time.
     
  11. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It should be an interesting experiment!:thumbup:
     
  12. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    Some small holes can be treated with something called POR tank sealer. The stuff ain't cheap but it works. I've used it before with good results.
    In my opinion, stress cracks are one thing, holes are another. I won't try to fix holes like the ones you have in your tank. I guess I would never trust the tank. I have well over 300 lanterns and I think I have maybe two or three I made "shelf queens" from. I think you should be able to find a replacement tank since the lantern is not rare, just a little hard to find.
     
  13. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    Understanding that when the fount is pumped up to approximately 2 bar (200kPa or 29psi) working pressure, there is a pressure force of over 2000lbs or 910kgs applied to the surfaces of the fount. Any flat plate surface, a fount’s base, will flex or bulge with this force.

    A lamp that operates with the fount’s base pressure of over 2000lbs force, or 910kgs, a flame on top and a tank of fuel all contained by a corroded and structurally suspect base ........ what could go wrong?
    :shock:

    Just food for thought.
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  14. JonD

    JonD Subscriber

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    As an old car mender (rusty body work between UK and US was being discussed somewhere else)
    I have been pondering what about that tank bottom and an oxy acetylene gas welder flame, which has a habit of blowing holes through thin bits!

    I can imagine being able to stitch up the small holes quite well while running over those rusty patches which are not yet holes would be interesting.
    If you turn up the acetylene mixture so the flame is yellow and carbon rich it converts rust back to metal by the reduction process.

    I have used it that way on car body parts. Would I trust it to a tank? I dunno.

    It makes a lot of heat which can distort parts and would probably unsolder a tank bottom very quickly. Best left as a thought experiment perhaps or try it on a really scrap tank.
     

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