Soldering Tips, Equipment, Suggestions


#1

I thought this topic might be helpful for novices like me wanting to start building some DIY projects. I know I and maybe others can benefit from this topic.

What Soldering Irons, 2nd Hands, Tips do you recommend. What are the pitfalls. How to save beginners from mistakes.

So all you who have had techniques and tips to help us new guys, have at it.


#2

This will be a re-iteration of an earlier post, but:

The best advice I can give with regards to soldering consists of:

  • Wear eye protection!

  • Work with good ventilation (or a simple fume extractor/filter).

  • Use a good quality flux.

  • Use good quality LEADED solder (60/40 with a rosin flux core, ideally). Leave the lead-free stuff for situations that require it (only commercial stuff, and not always then).

  • Buy a proper, quality, temperature-controlled soldering iron/station. The Hakko 888 is well worth the $99 it goes for. Especially when you compare it to many of the “compatible” or outright “knock-off” cheap Chinese versions.

  • And of course heat the joint NOT the solder!

More sophisticated soldering stations become useful when doing assembly of smaller and/or more sensitive components.

And then to go a bit further …

  • Never blow on a joint to cool it!

  • If the joint isn’t shiny once it cools, then reheat it until it is fully melted again, then let it cool once more.

  • Choice of tip (and iron) is dependent on a) the size of the joints/components you’re soldering and b) the thermal mass of what you’re soldering. Large busses, switches, connectors and so on requiring more thermal mass (larger tip or iron) to solder efficiently than tiny cable connections or small components.

  • The Hobby Creek “helping hands” and PanaVise vices are well worth having.


#3

Thanks @Carmantom for starting this thread this will be of benefit to solder virgins like me. Thanks @Torq for sharing a little wisdom again.

-Paul-


#4

Tyll Hertsens had a good post on this sort of thing, also.

You can read his original post here. I have a couple of different versions of the “Solder Buddy”, and if you’re new to soldering “The Artful Solderer” is well worth reading.

Having done lets-melt-metal-to-make-joints covering everything from heavy-welding on the ocean floor all the way down to hand-soldering micro-pitch SMD devices, I will say that the right tool makes things 100x more enjoyable (and VASTLY easier) and the more you practice the easier it gets … and it’s not that hard to start with (well, okay, the ocean-floor stuff has some challenges, and the micro-pitch SMD stuff is always a PITA).


#5

Already awesome sources & tips. Keep um coming


#6

I have had experience with welding, I did a night school class on mig welding. That was 32 years ago though. It’s the total lack of experience with electronics that worries me. Although I am sure that they won’t be needing me to design circuit boards or anything.:grin:.

-Paul-