How to Solder Copper Wire

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There are many electronics projects that require soldering skills. Soldering can also be used to create metal-work objects or forms of art. Perhaps you have a small electronic device, such as a toy, with one broken wire. You can fix it using a soldering iron, as long as you follow the basic rules of soldering copper wires.

Things You'll Need

  • Eye protection
  • Soldering iron
  • Sponges
  • Solder
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Set out all your parts to solder. Because the soldering iron is extremely hot, don't lay it down while you are looking for the next part to solder. You can buy a soldering kit, which includes a soldering gun and base, sponge and solder. Or you may already have some components such as the soldering iron. Put on all protective gear.

  • Plug in the soldering iron. Place the soldering iron in the stand. The soldering iron will take a few minutes to heat up. Only heat it up when you are ready to go. This prevents accidental burns or fires. Get your sponge wet and then wring out the water. The idea is to have a damp sponge, not one soaking in water.

  • Check the manufacture's instructions for the appropriate wattage for your specific electronics project. Electronic components require a certain amount of heat. Too much heat can melt the part you're trying to solder. Soldering irons come in different wattage outputs, so check for proper wattage rating.

  • Apply the tip of the soldering iron to the wet sponge to make the tip clean. Cleanliness is a must for good solder joints. Hold the soldering iron to the part you are soldering. Think of holding a pen or pencil. Avoid any contact with the tip or heat shield; both can reach 400 degrees in temperature.

  • Hold the solder to the joint you are trying to solder. Place the tip of the solder at the point where the solder iron tip and part you are soldering meet. Hold the solder in place for a few seconds until solder starts to flow. Remove the soldering iron before you apply too much heat. Inspect your joint. The joint should look like a dome and be shiny. It not, then apply a bit more solder to build up the joint. Don't forget to clean your soldering iron often on the wet sponge.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice soldering as much as you can. It takes some practice to get good joints. Use some old connections or broken electrical components and practice your soldering before you tackle a major project such as soldering wires.
  • Always have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand for possible emergencies.
  • Soldering non-copper wire usually just requires a different solder that is suited for say aluminum wiring. Heat settings may be different too.
  • Soldering irons are hot, so keep it in its stand every time you aren't using it. Some solder contains lead, so wash your hands well after soldering.

References

  • Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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