Author Topic: making solid copper head gasket...will any kind of copper do ???  (Read 9430 times)

Offline chicago

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hi fella's, planing on putting my bike back together and im making a solid copper head gasket but thought i would check with the forum for some advise on a few things im not certain on.
like....
1 does the copper have to be a special kind of copper or will any copper do.
2 would it be ok to use 1.2mm-1.5mm thick copper as when i went to adjust the tappets a while ago the adjuster screw was almost screwed right out before i got the clearence. so if i use a thicker gasket that would give more adjustment.
3 would a BBQ be ok to aneal the head gasket ?.
was thinking of useing this.....
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-COPPER-SHEET-200mm-x-200mm-x-1-2mm-C106-/150897902092?pt=UK_BOI_Metalworking_Milling_Welding_Metalworking_Supplies_ET&hash=item232237420c
all the best and cheers in advance, chicago
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Offline Stephen Foster

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Hello Chicago ,
Not qualified to answer any of Your questions but wouldnt it be much simpler
contacting "Lani" to make one ?
I bought rocker box gaskets in copper from Him & they didnt break the bank &
are first class workmanship ?

Steve ...
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I own a 1955/56 B.S.A Swinging Arm "Golden Flash" , had it since 1976 .

Offline Triton Thrasher

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The only part of the answer I know is that more or less any metal sold as copper is pure enough copper for the job.

For thickness, you don't want the height  of gasket material exposed to cylinder pressure to be "considerable," compared to the width of the clamping surfaces, which can be quite narrow between the stud holes and the bore.  I can't put an exact measurement or proportion to "considerable."
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Offline Goldy

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Have a word with College Engineering Supply as they specialise in supply of small quantities for model and hobby engineering http://www.collegeengineering.co.uk/BrassCZ106.htm
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Offline Goldy

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Sorry I clicked on the wrong list for brass there is one for copper.
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Offline BSA_54A10

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No any kind of copper will not do.
For gaskets you need to use pure copper sheet ( 99.9% ) and specify "full soft"

Yes you can use thicker gaskets so long as you remember to retorque the head till it stops loosening.
You may need to do it 4 or 5 times ( after some riding of course.

No a BBQ hot plate will not do unless you have a turbo charged BBQ.
The gasket needs to get red hot.
It can be done in stages just so long as it all gets to be red at some time.

You could use the burner on the BBQ if you can work out how to hold it.
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Offline Triton Thrasher

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No any kind of copper will not do.
For gaskets you need to use pure copper sheet ( 99.9% ) and specify "full soft"

Hmm. I'm not quite buying that. Do they really make copper sheet that is too impure for a gasket and cannot be annealed?  Isn't "full soft" just annealed copper? Aren't we going to anneal it anyway?


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You could use the burner on the BBQ if you can work out how to hold it.

Pliers.

Or was I supposed to let him work it out?
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Online KiwiGF

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Heh Chicago unless you are after a special thickness gasket I reckon you being based in uk and being blessed with multiple choice in suppliers unlike down here you would be better off buying a finished gasket?

If you buy a finished one and want to anneal as the other posts more or less any open flame will do BBQ or gas torch

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Offline 900triple

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To anneal the copper gasket you should heat until cherry red (not to difficult to achieve, BBQ, open flame etc) and then immediately immerse in cold water.

I agree though with the other post - its easier just to buy a stock item from a supplier. Even an old used one will be okay if you anneal it as above.

Hope this helps

Alan
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Online bsa-bill

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Quote
then immediately immerse in cold water.

Sorry to disagree Alan
 
Apparently this makes no difference to copper so I'm told, thinking about a little more Quecnhing is normally used to harden metal not what's wanted with copper(I'm open to correction on this guys) - bound to be metallurgist on the forum
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All the best - Bill
1961 Flash - stock, reliable, steady, fantastic for shopping
1959 Rocket Gold Flash - blinged and tarted up  would have seizure if taken to  Tesco

Offline Triton Thrasher

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Sticking it in cold water does work and it prevents subsequent burned hands.
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Offline Goldy

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I am not a metallurgist but I do know that if you heat high carbon steel and then quench it hardens it and if you heat copper and then quench it softens it.
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Offline 900triple

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I am not a metallurgist but I do know that if you heat high carbon steel and then quench it hardens it and if you heat copper and then quench it softens it.

As Goldy says copper is the opposite to carbon steels when annealing. Cheery red, immerse in cold water, soft as putty relatively speaking.
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Offline Sparky

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After heating to cherry red, whether you quench it or let it cool slowly makes no difference in the annealing process.  Quenching however will help clean off much of the surface oxidation that results from heating.
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Offline BSA_54A10

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Well I am ( or rather was ) a Metallurgist and Sparky has it correct.
Annealing in copper is simply a stress relief and if you think of it like that it should avoid confusion.
Annealing copper or tempering steels, both soften and both cooling rates are not important.

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Hmm. I'm not quite buying that. Do they really make copper sheet that is too impure for a gasket and cannot be annealed?  Isn't "full soft" just annealed copper? Aren't we going to anneal it anyway?

Copper sheet is made in a lot of different alloys for different purposes.
For roofing as an example there are grades that stay bright pink, grades that go dark brown & grades that go green.
Known in the trade as weatherproof ( stays pink ) or weathering ( goes green or brown )
None of these are suitable for making gaskets.
However any grade that is sold as "full soft" will be suitable which is why I made that comment.

Sheet copper with arsenic in it will heat treat and harden if you try to anneal it.
Same for chrome, vanadium and nickel and all of these are "micro alloyed" so typically contain less that 1% of the alloying element which technically is "pure copper" .
Even worse is that now a lot of copper is processed in China the compositions could be any where and you could be buying any sort of rubbish as most companies that shift manufacturing to China do not do it in order to produce a better higher quality product.
I would have to check but from memory any thing above 95% copper is allowed to be called "Pure Copper" depending upon the end use.
For thin section like rainwater fittings you want it to be hard.
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