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Area 49

Soldering

Soldering is the act of joining two objects with solder. Typically, soldering is used in the production of electronics. Check with a Makerspace Monitor to get trained on the soldering iron.

 

Soldering Iron Quick Info

Soldering Iron

Soldering Iron and Soldering Station

Location: Makerspce

Use options:

  • get trained by a Makerspace Monitor

Safety Data Sheets for soldering materials

Soldering Safety

  • Soldering irons can reach temperatures of 482°C (900°F) and cause serious burns. Never touch the head of the iron and always treat it as if it is hot.
  • The solder used in the Makerspace is leaded solder. Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after soldering.
  • Always use the ventilating fan, as fumes can be harmful.
  • A wet sponge should be present during soldering iron use.
  • Return the soldering iron to the stand when not in use.
  • Hold items with a clamp or tweezers. Metal components can get dangerously hot when exposed to the iron.
  • Tie back long hair and lanyards.
  • Comply with all tutorial and operations instructions given by Makerspace staff.

How to Solder

  1. Wet the sponge of the soldering iron and insert the soldering iron stand into the holder.

Placement 

Fig. 1: Installation of the soldering iron stand

  1. Place the iron into the holder then plug in the soldering iron into the soldering iron base 
  2. Plug and position the fan and the soldering iron, turn the dial to 4 and turn on the iron.
  3. Once the iron is hot, touching the end to the wet sponge should cause a hiss or steam. Wipe both sides of the tip on the sponge to clean it.
  4. Hold the solder in one hand and the iron in the other and touch the solder to both sides of the tip. This action called tinning, allows for better heat transfer, which means easier and better soldering. It also is a good practice to tin and then clean the tip so it remains shiny.
  5. The tip of your soldering iron should be shiny and ready to solder!

cleaned tip

Fig. 2: A cleaned, tinned, iron tip

  1. To solder to a pad or other metal substance, bring the iron to the point where the solder is to be applied and heat up the area, then bring the solder wire to meet the iron and apply until a good solder joint is made- a good solder joint will be smooth and shiny. Typically, this is done holding the soldering iron like a pencil and cutting off a section of the soldering wire to be used. The key is to bring the wire to the where the pad and the tip meet, as that is where the temperature is to be the highest.

soldering

Fig. 3: Soldering onto a pad

  1. To solder two wires together, begin by wrapping the wires together so they are intertwined, then apply the soldering iron and solder to the joint.

soldering wires step 1 soldering wires step 2 soldering wires step 3

Fig. 4: Soldering wires

  1. Remember while soldering that the tip should be cleaned and re-tinned in order to maximize the effectiveness of the tip. The iron should also be returned to the holding stand when not in use.
  2. Once done with soldering, the tip should be cleaned (wipe both sides down multiple times on the wet sponge. The iron should be returned to the holding stand and powered down. The iron should be fully cooled before attempting to disassemble the soldering station.

Quick Tips

  • When attempting to solder to Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) or components with traces, using a lower heat setting will ensure that the pads do not come off of the board.
  • If you make a mistake, you will have to remove the solder joint, which is called desoldering. Desoldering is difficult and sometimes damaging to components, so make sure that the items you wish to be soldered are in the correct position before applying. Instead of desoldering wires, it may be beneficial to instead cut the soldered joint off and redo the joint.
  • Wiping the soldering iron on the wet sponge increases the efficiency of the iron, but also lowers the temperature of the head by a few degrees. Allow time to heat back up if on a lower heat setting.
  • When applying heat shrink, make sure to put in on the wire to be soldered before soldering. 
  • Electrical tape can be used to insulate solder connections and ensure longevity.
  • Note that the soldering iron stand will get hot once the soldering iron heats up.
  • Items being soldered to will heat up and therefore, taking breaks might be necessary to ensure the components being soldered don’t overheat.