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Old February 3, 2010, 11:14 AM   #1
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Aluminum/steel bond?'s something maybe someone has tried before.

I looked online and found a few ways, solders,etc. to bond Aluminum and steel. Nothing really seemed positive, and one said he managed to damage the aluminum he was working on.

Has anyone used a compound/mix/weld/solder that works good on bonding together Aluminum and steel?

The project in question is a AR-180B scope mount. The picitanny rail is aluminum, the upper receiver is sheet metal, the scope mount (aluminum) isn't getting a firm grip on the rifle's mount, so I want to use some type of mix to get it together.

Right now it's been rednecked with Electrical tape (To match the rifle's color ) around the receiver and mount holding it solid, but I want a permanent fix.

Any suggestions?

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Old February 3, 2010, 12:00 PM   #2
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Electrical tape? Man, you're supposed to use duct tape!

If you are determined to make it permanent, try a slow-cure epoxy to glue the two together. Or red LocTite.
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Old February 3, 2010, 12:03 PM   #3
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3M makes a marine adhesive (3M 5200) that seems to work with gun sights (not its intended purpose.) I heard about it from a local gun range manager, who also collect old boats. It's expensive, but I've seen it used for a lot of different applications. I've used it on a handgun sight that wouldn't stay on any other way... (not sure what the sight was made of, but couldn't get silver solder to work, and epoxies didn't work, either.) It takes a week (7 days) to fully set/cure. I found a tube at my local hardware store.

Once applied, you'll need a Dremel to get the mount off -- and that may be a bigger problem than the one you're trying to solve. (3M does say on the package,however, that Teak cleaners may soften the adhesive... so that could be a way to remove it.)

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; February 3, 2010 at 12:09 PM.
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Old February 3, 2010, 12:06 PM   #4
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The old AR-180 I had came with a tapered dovetail on top of the receiver.It was wider toward the muzzle.A spring loaded plunger in the AR-180 scope pushed on the rear sight base,forcing the scope forward,tighter on the dovetail.It worked quite well.It also attached/detached instantly.

So long as the taper angles match up,and there are no dings/high spots,this should work.

Maybe the one you have has a design change,or ???

If it is the older style mount,and if no one makes a base for mounting a conventional scopes,a machinist/gunsmith with a mill could make up a picatinny base that would fit the original tapered dovetail.Maybe Armalite would supply you a drawing of the design intent/dimensions if you talked to a tech engineer.

I'd hold off on the glue.
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Old February 3, 2010, 12:32 PM   #5
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Check at a automotive paint supply or a autobody shop. There is a 3M panel bonder out there that body shops use to bond glass/metal panels on to cars. Two part mix once it sets the panels do not come apart. Your parts may need a prep(sandblasting) for the bonding stuff to stick.
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Old February 3, 2010, 01:02 PM   #6
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I'm sure what has been recommended so far is worth trying. LOL, brother worked in a Shell Chemical plant that made a two part adhesive that could be used for glueing parts on airplanes that you could work like fiberglass.

Perhaps JB Weld would do what you need, just rough up the metal slightly to insure a tight bond. I've used it before when adapting a scope mount to a receiver it was not designed to fit. Of course I still D&T the receiver and used screws to secure mount with the JB weld used as a filler. LOL, needed to remove one of these JB Welded mounts once. Took quite a bit of force/pressure to remove it.
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Old February 3, 2010, 02:18 PM   #7
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Drill holes and screw the rail down from inside the receiver... Get a mount made up for the existing dovetail.

If you insist on brazing, epoxying or welding, get a steel base. The expansion coefficient of steel vs aluminum is goning to be a problem in something that gets hot and cold (like a rifle).


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Old February 3, 2010, 07:37 PM   #8
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The new 180B uses the same design as the old one. I got a rail that's supposed to fit. It's pretty tight, absolutely NO side to side slop, but a hair up and down. I haven't heard the problem from anyone figure either my rifle's mount is off, or the Stormwerkz rail is not right.

Walt Sherill: I'll keep it in mind, THANKS! I'm looking over a LOT of stuff/options right now, including my final topic.

I've considered two options:

#1. I wanted a steel base. *Buzzer sound*. I looked and no one makes one Everything is is 6061 Aluminum bar stock. That peeves me, why can't anyone make a steel one?

#2. I would like to drill and tap it.
The front of the mount would do no good. It's a solid contact there, it's teeter-tottering up and down at the rear of the base, and very front of the mount.

I can't D&T the back of the mount/base, because of the spring holding it on. I know if it's D&T'ed, I wouldn't need the spring, but I'd hate to mess it up....Then again, it'll be messed up if I weld/solder/mix/etc. it to the gun.

I could D&T into the receiver.... But the sheetmetal looks pretty thin do to that. I will look closer however, there might be room between the bolt carrier and top...

If there's any more suggestions, or thought's I'm still interested I greatly appreciate all the insight I've received so far. On something like this, I figure it's best to move Sllooooowwww and get a LOT of advice before permanently drilling, melting, obliderating,etc. my rifle.
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Old February 3, 2010, 09:39 PM   #9
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A bonder is your best bet.

Among the recommended types would be a high grade epoxy from Brownell's. They're a leader in epoxy bonding for firearms. This could be mixed with powdered aluminum or stainless steel.

Another possible choice would be Loctite's "Black Max".
This is a modified super glue in a black rubbery bonder base that is specifically designed to mount gun sights and shotgun ribs.
From all accounts it really holds.

Results with either depend on prep. One thing that really helps is to roughen the parts to be bonded to give the epoxy a better grip, and by making sure the parts are surgically clean of any oils.
Any way you can give the bonder a "lock" also helps. This means getting the bonder into holes or under areas that physically prevent the parts from separating.

The keys to getting a good bond are getting the areas CLEAN, roughening to give the areas a "tooth" for the bonder to adhere to, and getting as good a mix of the bonder as possible.
To mix, you can use a powder scale to insure a perfect mix of component, and when you actually mix it together, you want to really mix it well.
Usually if the instructions call for mixing one minute, I mix at least 2 minutes, and try not to whip it and cause bubbles in the mix.

Using any kind of screws to assist in holding really helps.
As example using a couple of small machine screws or button-head screws from the inside up into the mount along with a bonder into the screw threads. Instead of major scope mounting screws think small screws and epoxy.

A good resource for this project would be to contact the Brownell's Tech Staff and talk to them. They'd have more info on what bonder to use.
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Old February 4, 2010, 03:32 PM   #10
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The thing is designed so it should all draw up tght,My guess is the up/down wiggle is caused by a high spot.A ding,burr,spot weld.If you can find the hispot and dress it off,likely it will work fine.

You might try using a sharpy marker to ink the places where it fits,put it together/apart,see where the ink is rubbed off.
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Old February 4, 2010, 08:39 PM   #11
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Check at a automotive paint supply or a autobody shop. There is a 3M panel bonder out there that body shops use to bond glass/metal panels on to cars. Two part mix once it sets the panels do not come apart. Your parts may need a prep(sandblasting) for the bonding stuff to stick.
You read my mind (or I read yours). That stuff is very strong
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Old February 5, 2010, 11:23 PM   #12
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I have had good results with JB Weld with proper prep of parts getting bonded.

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Old February 6, 2010, 01:29 AM   #13
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Any adhesive the doesn't flex would be doomed to fail for that purpose. I might try Ecclectic E-6000 and let it cure for, oh, a month.
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Old February 8, 2010, 07:19 PM   #14
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Apologies for the long delay! I got busy and the whole topic passed my mind.

I appreciate all the help! It gave me alot of stuff to think on.

What I'm sorta planning is to shim it. Just large enough to keep some tension on the scope mount, (possibly) screw the mount to the shim and keep it centered. Then epoxy/meld for a slighter tighter bond.

HiBC: I agree it should I and a few other people looked it over very closely. It SHOULD be a perfect fit. NO high spots, dirt, metal spots,etc.etc. Perfectly smooth

It might be awhile before I do alot with it. For now the electrical tape is working good (a week of riding in a pickup and getting generally abused), so there's no real rush on it. Although I DO plan on doing something better, I think that would work okay, as the tape seems to hold up pretty well to the elements and still hold stuff secure.
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