A soldering iron is a handy little tool to have that has many useful purposes. Some of the uses are metalwork, arts and crafts, home improvements and car and engine repair. One of the most common uses for a soldering iron is soldering electrical wire when installing switches and electrical outlets. Read on to learn more.
Things You'll Need
- Sponge or damp cloth
- Soldering stand
Hold the soldering iron as if it were a pen and you were going to write your name. Do not touch the tip of the iron.
Heat up the area to be soldered by gently touching the tip of the iron to the surface. Solder is a combination of certain percentages of tin and lead. Together the two are called "flux". Applying solder is called "tinning" because of the percentage of tin in flux. There are various types of flux depending on the item to be soldered. Flux comes in various size reels again according to the job that needs soldered.
Apply the solder onto the joint by gently letting the solder flow into a volcano shape (in a peak style). Make sure the solder flows onto the joint and not around or beside the joint. If the solder makes a dip shape, it is not flowing in the joint and the joint is dry. Another way to tell that the solder did not hit the particular area is by the appearance of the solder; it will look very dull. When it's a "good solder," it will take on a very shiny appearance.
Search either in your favorite local hardware store or retail stores for the various types of soldering irons. Soldering is also used in crafts such as stained glass and usually requires either a higher watt soldering iron or a soldering gun.
Fix a bad solder or an existing soldered joint with what is called desoldering braid. Desoldering braid is made up of copper and is made to adhere to metal flux. Place the desoldering braid on the existing soldered joint. Heat the copper with the soldering iron which removes the metal flux for a clean surface.
Take clamps, and attach them to the area to be soldered. Hold it absolutely still. This is necessary in order to solder properly and to keep the soldered item still while it's cooling in order to have a tightly soldered joint.
Tips & Warnings
- Remember to work in a well ventilated room as solder contains a certain percentage of lead. Always wash hands after soldering. Wash the tip of the soldering iron at the end of every use. Soldering guns usually have a higher wattage. So if you are soldering PCB or wire components, the gun is too hot for that type of job and will burn PCB or wire components.
- Always place the soldering iron in its stand after every use.
- Never touch the tip of the soldering iron it gets extremely hot and you could get a severe burn.
- Always keep a first aid kit in or around your work area.
- Always keep the tip of the iron clean. Use a damp sponge to remove any residue caused by the flux material. After cleaning apply a very small skim of flux to the tip. This creates faster heat when using the soldering iron.
- Never lay the soldering iron down onto any surface.
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