Learning How to Solder

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Knowing how to solder can be a very useful skill to have. You can use soldering techniques to repair or take apart electronics, plumbing, appliances and many other modern devices. Soldering is use of a melted metal called solder to connect two things together. It is used to connect wires and electronic equipment and also to reinforce metal joints. In plumbing, solder is dripped around the openings of plumbing fittings to ensure they are watertight.

Things You'll Need

  • Soldering iron
  • Wire
  • Solder
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Rag
  • Clamps or clothes pins
  • Cut several lengths of wire using your wire cutters. These will be your materials to test soldering together. The lengths of the wire are unimportant. You can cut them to make a stick figure, or any other design you like. Place the wires together so that the ends are overlapping.

  • Strip the rubber insulation off the ends of all the wires using the wire strippers. Place the end of the wire into the mouth of the wire strippers and apply pressure. As you apply pressure, pull toward the end of the wire to remove the insulation.

  • Plug in your soldering iron and let it heat up for at least 10 minutes. Make sure the tip of the iron is not touching anything. If you smell burning, but the tip is not in contact with anything, that is O.K. The iron may need to burn off grit or factory finish when you first begin to use it.

  • Hold the two wires you wish to solder together with their ends touching, using clamps or clothes pins. Do not place a clamp over the place where the wires touch.

  • Hold the soldering iron with the edge of the flat tip in contact with the two wires you wish to solder together.

  • Bring the solder close to the other edge of the flat tip of the soldering iron. Gently touch the solder to the tip of the iron and allow the solder to melt and coat the connection. Once the wires are joined with melted solder, remove the remaining solder and the iron and let it cool.

  • Repeat the above steps to join all the wires you need to create your design.

Tips & Warnings

  • The melted solder and tip of the soldering iron are very hot. Use caution when handling them. Melted solder can make a mess if you use too much. Solder over something you can throw away.

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References

  • Photo Credit soldering image by Bube from Fotolia.com
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