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Brazing VS Alumaloy (Aluminum repair rod)

I would like to address and discuss a specific question presented by a customer on our Alumaloy forum recently.  “What is the difference between brazing and using Alumaloy on my aluminum repair project?”  Please allow me a few moments to lay out the similarities and differences of repairing your aluminum project with Alumaloy versus repairing by brazing with bronze or copper.

Fix aluminum with no welding


First I will cover the similarities. Most metal workers will recognize that working with Alumaloy is very similar to brazing with bronze or even copper in the respect that you are bonding a broken piece of metal by melting another piece of metal to form a bond at the break. The process of brazing is a bonding of two or more metal parts with a different type of metal. Most often bronze is the metal of choice, although copper may also be used. When using Alumaloy you are also bonding two pieces of metal together. However, now you are using an aluminum alloy. In both cases, the metal is heated and melted to repair the break. The tools that are used are the same and the temperature that you need to work at is also the same. Another similarity is the use of a product called “flux”. (Flux protects the metal from oxidation during the bonding process, reducing the chance of oxidation.)  Flux is used with some of our other products such as Castaloy and Steelaloy but not Alumaloy.

In both brazing and in working with Alumaloy, the step by step process of repairing aluminum is identical. The parts to be joined are lined up and the tacking is done. To “Tack”, means that the metal to be joined with the bronze or Alumaloy is heated and the rod is applied to the meeting place. The rod will have a lower melting point than the parts to be joined so it will leave a droplet joining the two. Other “tacks” are done, using the same process, to keep the metal parts from pulling apart due to expansion from the heat. Once the tacking is done the main repair can begin. Again the metal parts are heated up to the temperature for melting and the rod is touched to them leaving behind liquid metal to fill in the gap and hold the two parts together. If done properly, all the gaps will be filled with rivulets of now hardened metal, holding the two independent parts as one whole, making the repair complete.

Aluminum repair rod

Aluminum repair rod

Now I will discuss the differences. Really, there is only one difference, Alumaloy is stronger. It is stronger than aluminum, copper and bronze. This is due to the fact that it is an alloy. In our special formula, we have been able to combine aluminum with other metals to create a product that has more tensile strength than in its original form. By using an alloy that has the same properties as the metal that was broken, a more complete bond is created. Simply put, your aluminum is now better than when you started. Since the area that was broken before may have been due to a shortcoming in the original metal, you can now rest assured that you have added a new level of durability to your project.

We hope this has helped to clear up any questions you may have had regarding the differences of our product and the brazing process. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please address them at our aluminum repair forum and we will do our best to answer them and make new information available to our customers as requested or needed.

How to guide to repairing aluminum products

How easy is it to repair aluminum products with Alumaloy?



It really is easy to do repairs with Alumaloy. You can do it with just a few tools and it isn’t complicated. Once you have done it a few times there will be little reason to throw things out that seem hopeless.

Tools you may need:


  • Aluminum Repair Rod(s)  “Alumaloy rod(s)
  • Wire brush for cleaning aluminum
  • Sand paper for cleaning aluminum
  • Pliers to hold Alumaloy rod
  • Propane torch to heat aluminum
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Safety glasses or face shield to protect your eyes and face
  • Stable work surface or vice to support the aluminum product needing repair
  • Rags for cleaning
  • Draft free work area

How to repair aluminum products with Alumaloy:


  1. Be sure to use appropriate safety gear to protect eyes and hands.
  2. First identify the break. Then situate the aluminum product in a stable position on a flat surface or with a vice. This will keep it from moving while you work and keep you safe. This area should be open but draft free.
  3. Once the aluminum in need of repair is secure, clean the break of debris. This may just mean a wipe with a rag up to a vigorous brushing with a metal brush or sand paper. DO NOT USE DEGREASERS OR CLEANERS THAT MAY BE FLAMABLE!
  4. Now that the aluminum break is clean and ready, you will use your torch to heat the aluminum. Do not heat the Alumaloy rod. You want the heat of the broken aluminum to melt the Alumaloy. Keep the heat in motion over the area you are working with. Test the surface for temperature by pulling the torch away and touching with the Alumaloy rod to it. When the Alumaloy melts and starts to flow freely you are at the optimal working temperature. You will need to reheat that location from time to time to keep the Alumaloy flowing. Work the Alumaloy into the broken area, letting it fill in the hole or crack, switching from heat to Alumaloy.
  5. Once the break is covered thoroughly, allow to air cool. After the aluminum product is cool you may need to sand or grind it to smooth the surface or reshape it. This step all depends on the use or needs of the repaired aluminum product.

It is just that simple. Alumaloy was designed so anyone can use it to make repairs on everyday products. You don’t have to have special skills or be a welder to use it. Common sense, patients, Alumaloy and a few tools will see you repairing all sorts of aluminum products. Never again will you have to throw something out because you do have the skills to restore them.

My Asian Pear Tree

My Asian Pear Tree
As many of you may already know, last year I tried my hand at growing for the first time.  This year I thought I would try my luck with a fruit tree.  I purchased an Asian pear tree, Pyrus Pyrifolia sp, from California and had it shipped to me about two weeks ago.  When she arrived I was worried about her complexion.  As you can see by the picture, her leaves and new growth were discolored and looked, in general, unhealthy.    It makes sense that she would seem a bit down, having  been in a box for 3 or 4 days.  I was concerned that my choice to place her outside in this state might not be a good idea.  I was also concerned that to leave her in the container indoors, may harm her as well.  It was time to research…  After some investigating, I found advice that I was safe to go in either direction. I decided to take the middle road and to acclimate her to the outdoors gradually so as not to shock her into the new climate. Looking at the progress she has made over the last two weeks, I feel comfortable with my choice.  At first, I’d take her outside for just about 30-60 minutes. At that time, it is mostly cloudy so I felt confident that the sun would not scorch her delicate leaves.  I slowly increased that time until she was spending a good part of the day outdoors. Eventually, she would spend most of the day outside and eventually, as the weather has warmed, in direct sun.  Over the last couple of days we have had some cold weather and she seemed to tolerate it well.  A few days ago I noticed she had a fracture in one of her branches.  Honestly, there is no way of knowing if this happened from shipping, the wind, or me carrying her in and out of the house.  I was devastated! More research….  I read an article that suggested that I stop all new growth from forming on the broken branch because the tree will grow a replacement.    I could leave the branch on the tree if there is foliage to help her produce energy and remove it later.   I took a picture to show that she did, in fact, start to grow a new limb. I clipped off all new buds from the fractured branch and I plan to prune it later in the winter.  After almost two weeks of this I removed her from the container and planted her in her new permanent home.  With all of the time I have invested, cost to purchase and ship I’m a little apprehensive about putting her outside all night.  The picture above is of her freshly planted before I put stakes in the ground.  Now that I have the tree secured the only thing left to do is wait….

Gallery of plant pictures grown by Derrick Bradshaw

First attempt at growing 2010

First attempt at growing 2010

Last year I tried my hand at growing a few things and I feel I had some decent success for a newbie….   I planted a variety of herbs, some pepper plants, and 4 blueberry bushes in the spring of 2010.  My herbs turned out well despite the fact that I was cultivating them all wrong.  Instead of harvesting in such a way that would promote plant thickness, I ended up pruning off the very sections of the plant that were needed to produce new growth.  This mistake was inconsequential in the beginning so I did not realize my error immediately. However, it became quite clear later on when the plant had nothing left to grow on. Here is what I learned… The plant grows leaves off of the main stem. This is your harvest. However, by chopping off the top of the plant, each point where a leaf was protruding along the stem will be stimulated to grow a new branch. (I was just taking the new leaves along the main stem) When you chop off the top of the plant, the plant goes into survival mode and begins to produce new branches to the side, making it fuller with more leaves to harvest. You want to be sure to always keep at least 3 leaf nodes along the stem and you do not want to cut below this point. This gives you a total of 6 node sites or potential new branches. I had been pruning these secondary branches far to close to the root stem thus causing the herb to grow tall with little to no surface area to grow more leaves.  Even with my learning curve I still was able to generate enough yield to supply us with herbs for cooking and I even  had a little left over to last us through the winter.

My pepper plants, jalapenos, and sweet peppers were started from seed; mainly because I wanted to see  how that worked.  What I learned was that starting from seeds takes much longer than I would have thought and there seems to never be enough time.  Once the plants got going and I thought that all of my work was going to pay off,  the end of the season was already here.  You add that to my biggest mistake, allowing too many plants to grow in the same pot all together and what you end up with is a tiny, overcrowded crop.  So needless to say, this year I made a few adjustments. The first thing that I did differently was to start the seeds a little sooner and  inside. It seems to be working.  I should have enough baby plants ready to plant outside once we are past the threat of a frost.  I am so tempted to put them out now, but I have been warned to not put them out until after Mother’s day, just to be safe. I have set them outside for a bit each day but even the wind has seemed to beat them down some. Another adjustment that I have made is to limit the number of plants per pot. I plan to weed out any weak plants and, in the end, have only one strong plant per pot. This should allow me to give more care to fewer plants, thus producing quality over quantity.  I still managed to get enough peppers last year to use in cooking and chop up for salsa but I am hopeful with the tweaks that I have made to have so many more this year!

I also purchased and planted 3 Chippewa and 1 Blueray blueberry plants last year. I placed them at the rear of the back yard as the tags say they could become as large as 6ft tall!  I wanted to make sure that they had adequate room to grow to their full size. For the most part, they seemed to handle the transplant okay with one doing exceptionally well and one not so well.  One corner of my yard tends to be dry, while the other corner slopes down and tends to pool water around the plant.  Because of this both of these plants ended up looking pretty bad by the time fall arrived.  I decided to replace the plant that got too little water with a Duke blueberry plant and to keep the other one, in the pool of water, to see if it could make it through the winter.  The pictures below show the plants as of today, April 5, 2011.  The first picture shows the bush that looks the best, located where the ground holds water, (who would have guessed?).  The next picture, the bush to it’s left, is the Blueray which does not show any signs of life yet.  I’m hoping this bush made it through the winter.  I drove all the way to Champaign to get this one.  I read that Blueberry bushes cross pollinate so my hope is that the conglomeration of varieties that I have placed in the yard will result in the most luscious blueberries in all the land!    So far, 3 of them have started to wake up. I am patiently holding my breathe for the 4th!  I will post the results with pictures as soon as I know the outcome.

Gallery of plant pictures grown by Derrick Bradshaw

New property acquired near Millikin! 56 Fairview Place: Decatur, IL

Back in January Quality Home Locator announced on its website an acquisition of a property near Millikin University.  I’m sorry, I’ve been so busy over the last couple of months posting this to my website had slipped my mind.  This property will provide housing for students attending Millikin and has already been rented for the 2011/2012 school year.  However, my company is taking applications for the 2012/2013 school year and beyond.  A detailed property sheet on 56 Fairview Place can be found at QHL’s website.  The property could easily support 2-3 millikin students and is within a half mile from campus.

Possible long term residency is available and details on this can be provided by my office.  If you are a millikin student looking for student housing or wishing to rent this property feel free to contact us.

New property acquired in South Shores! 2630 South Franklin Street: Decatur, IL

My company, Quality Home Locator, just secured another property located in the South Shores area. This 2 bedroom house will be available for rent later this month, April, 2011.  A press release was announced today on the Quality Home Locator websites as well as a detailed property sheet on 2630 South Franklin Decatur, IL. My company has been providing quality homes to the Decatur, IL area now for almost 10 years.

If any interest in this or any other property owned by Quality Home Locator please contact my office.

How to guide: live at college with off-campus housing

Going away to college is a much anticipated time in many young people’s lives. When preparing to move out of the house and away to college, there are many aspects that initially run through our minds; what classes will I take, should I order my books online or go to the bookstore, and what will my roommates be like? Although very important questions, the number one question that you should be asking yourself is where am I going to live? Traditionally, students were assigned to a cramped dorm room with one or two additional people with little to no say-so in the matter. College is a time for new experiences, making lifelong friends, and gaining a different perspective on life. There is a lot to take in and you can help to make this transition easier when you are comfortable with your living arrangement.

Many colleges and universities allow students the option to live off campus. Due to the fact that this is a newer concept, some students overlook this opportunity and end up regretting it in the future. The first thing to consider when choosing where to spend your college years, is to educate yourself concerning the residency rules and requirements of the college you are attending. Some colleges will not allow freshman to live off campus, while others are very accommodating. After you learn the preferences and requirements of your school, it is time to consider your options. You can choose to live on campus and live with a random stranger, or you could think about getting your own place off campus. Many freshmen will live on campus for the first semester or so. If your college does require you to stay on campus or if that is simply what you choose to do, it is a great chance to meet friends and decide who you would like to live with during your remaining stay.

One of the most appealing benefits to living off campus is that it could potentially save you a great deal of money. Traditionally speaking the cost of living on campus is often 3-4 times higher than finding some great off campus housing. When deciding on the college of your choice it is important that you find something that is well within your budget and that is convenient to the school. You also need to ensure that the neighborhood the housing is in is safe. It is important to spend some time looking at the housing areas around the school and getting an idea of the prices and then compare these prices to your own personal budget. Often times, you will be lucky enough to find an off campus residence that includes trash, utilities, and laundry services in your rent. This will help to reduce your living costs further. As stated before, even in cases when those fees are extra, the overall price of living off campus is significantly lower than living on campus. In the trying times of the economy, saving money should be on everyone’s list. Take your time when you are making your decision and always allow 30-60 days to shop around and become familiar with the area. There is generally an application process as well that you should allow time for.

It is also economically beneficial to have multiple roommates; between 2–4 occupants per residence is a good rule of thumb. Initially you may end up in a dorm on campus, but say after a semester or two you build close, trusting relationships with friends that you would enjoy having as your roommate, the option to move into your own place will always be there for you to take advantage of. Not only will you already know the people you are rooming with but you will start to gain the valuable experiences of adult hood. Living with roommates off campus not only has its social and economic benefits but it can also be beneficial environmentally. Living with multiple people lowers the need for each individual to have their own vehicle and car pooling is very common. Having roommates and friends off campus also makes it more fun to ride public transit because you will be accompanied by a fellow comrade. Many schools also run “routes” of transportation from nearby off campus residential communities to campus. There are many available options of transportation when you live off campus.

College is a time of change and discovery and many of the skills that you learn in college will help to propel you into life after college or the “real-world” as some may say. Living off campus is a great way to start gaining your independence and allows you to take full responsibility for yourself and your home. After all you are an adult now; you might as well start living like one. Unless, however, you prefer living in small cramped room, paying, often times, exorbitant rooming costs and being paired up with a complete stranger, you may want to give off campus living a serious thought.

Promo Driver acquired by Bradshaw Consulting, Inc.

Most recently Promo Driver, The Custom Autoloading Screwdriver, was acquired by Bradshaw Consulting, Inc. The Autoloader® Multi-Bit Screwdriver is ideal for everyone. Offering 6 preloaded commonly used industrial-grade bits, smooth pump action, and magnetic bits, this screwdriver has it all. The Promo Driver, as suggested by the name, is perfectly designed to be used as a promotional item. Any company logo can easily be added to the screwdriver and instantly you have a new customized product! Check out the Promo Driver at http://www.promodriver.com.



Website: http://www.promodriver.com


Year Started: 2011

Owner: Bradshaw Consulting, Inc.

Description: Promo Driver, founded in 2011, is the Custom Autoloading Screwdriver. This screwdriver is designed to deliver bits quickly, without having to touch them. The Promo Driver offers six commonly used industrial grade bits, a rotating front collar for fine adjustment, and magnetic bit tips. Made to withstand up to 150 pounds of torque, the patented pump-action mechanism allows you to change bits in two seconds or less. You can also customize the Autoloader with your company logo, whether you want to use it as a promotional item, or brand and sell as your own product! The Promo Driver can be used to promote your business to clients and customers or just as a handy tool around the house.

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