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Iron Temp And Soldering


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#1 greeneyedeagle

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 05:13 PM

Hello everyone. As seen in earlier posting, I just finished my first project. But as in may hobbies, the beauty of the project comes from what seems to be the easiest part which isn't so easy. For an example I took up pottery and found that making the pots was the easy part for me but the glazing if done incorrectly can made a nice thrown pot look very bad. I've learned that in stained glass, cutting and shaping is easy for me but the soldering makes all the difference in how it looks in the end.
I purchased a 100 watt iron with an seperate temp controller.... but how do you tell when you have the correct temp? The dial goes from 0 to 100 but that doesn't tell me the temp at the iron tip. I was also sold some 50/50 solder but I read tonight that it was a good idea to keep the iron tip flat, go over the foiled pieces to fill any gaps and then go back with 60/40 with the tip turned up sideways and make the bead.
I'm sure everyone has their own way of making the beads look nice but just trying to get a good start here.. or I should say an easier start. I do have trouble with spitting but not sure what is the cause of it.... and keeping a nice rounded bead.
So if you would like to share... I'm all ears / "Eyes".

Thanks for all your comments.

Palmer

#2 Marilyn

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 06:49 PM

I am not an expert so take my advice with a grain of salt. I use an iron that controls itself. It is a 100 watt waller as seen at <http://www.delphigla...?source=bings>. I only use 60/40 solder. I do go over my beads if I need to 'shape' them. The spitting may be caused from using too much flux. Practice, practice, practice!!
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#3 Rebecca

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:29 PM

You will have to find out for yourself where between 0 and 100 the iron works best for you. Some people, when they are just starting, like a lower setting and moving the iron more slowly. Then as they progress, they will go to a higher setting and move the iron more quickly. But sometimes a really lumpy solder is because the iron is too cool.

Spitting usually happens on the second side of the piece, and it is just what is going to happen when the flux is trapped between the solder on the back side and the solder you are laying down. If you get the solder to run all the way through when you do the first side, it won't happen. But who does that? So just hold the iron on it and work through it. Not having enough flux is a worse problem than a little spitting.

Rebecca

#4 Boris_USA

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:56 PM

There is no "magic formula" to soldering. Its an acquired skill. By the same token, its not rocket science either, and can be as easy or as difficult as one makes it. Knowing the exact temperature of the iron your using is of no practical use. Its only use is if you need to test your iron to see if its functioning properly. The rest of the time it will fluctuate up and down, depending on soldering speed, amount of solder being fed to the tip, and metal mass of the pieces your tip is contacting. Its not like you can set your control on one magic number and get perfect beads, although sometimes its implied in insructions you see.

If you can imagine any other skill you picked up, from riding a bicycle to driving a car, you can remember that it was not all that hard to do, when you started, but took a while to keep the bike in control, and to have the car go where you wanted it to. It soon became second nature, and you do it without thinking about it. Its the same with soldering. Once you have the right equipment, and know how your supposed to operate it, you start soldering without much thought, and you automatically compensate for changes, same as driving. Its that simple, if you approach it in a simple way.


Your first task should be getting a decent iron. A lot of the choices in that, is opinion and personal choice, mostly from advice from one place or another. I used to be a Weller fan, but not all that fond of them the last few years. I think the HAKKO 456 is as good as any starter iron you can get. Its rated at about 80 watts, but works better than my 120 watt Weller. Go figure. I suggest a controller, although there are those who see no use for them. Again, its personal preference based on ones own experience limited by what knowledge they may have. Each to his/hers own. This is my opinion based on my own preferences and years of extensive soldering of all kinds, with all kinds of equipment.

The first rule of soldering, assuming you have a decent iron, and good solder, (60/40 is my choice) is that you use NO MORE HEAT THAN YOU NEED TO DO THE JOB. This is reccomended by almost every commercial soldering iron manufacturer, that makes top of the line irons.

The second important rule is to keep the tip clean at all times, and well tinned with solder, as your soldering, even if you have to stop often and clean it on a damp spoge, and add some solder to the tip. A dirty tip does not transfer heat well, and overheats the iron to get it to do what a clean tip would easily do.

The third thing to remeber is to never let your iron run idle for any amount of time with out it being used. If its going to sit for a minute or two before your ready to solder again, crank it down or shut it off. Solder will not flow on a tip thats not hot enough, but will also lose bonding to a tip thats too hot. Idle temperatures go up dramatically, when your not using up the excess heat by soldering. Crud starts to form on the tip here, and form carbon and can kill the tip in a very short time.

A good iron is expensive, and is a fine tool, same as other tools, and requires the same care, same as any other fine tool. No shortcuts.

When you have all these things in your head, make up some long strips of float glass with foil, and place them side by side. Start soldering them, at a lower setting, until the solder starts melting, and crank it up a little at a time, until i flows well and sticks well. Try different speeds of moving the iron, and feeding solder. Dont linger in one place too long. If it does not look right, keep going, and adjust for it. You can go back over the spots you dont like when its cooled off. I know this can be a pain, but if you devote a little time to this, you will be surprised at the "feel" you get for the iron, and the automatic adjustments you start making, just by knowing how its reacting, same as driving a car, or using any other tool. In time, you will find the sweet spot, where it all comes together, and the heat, speed, and feed, is all perfect, and you will start doing single pass, long pefect beads.

Everyone will tell you that you need practice, practice, and more practice. All this is well and good, but no amount of practice will get you to where you want to be, if you do not know your tool, and how its going to react to what you do with it. Experiment and play with it, same as you would with any tool. Get a feel for it. No more heat than you need, a pefect clean tip, will keep the iron equal at all times, so any changes you make are under your control, and you can change them as you see fit for any particular job. Same as a car. If its running right and everything is working same as always, the rest is all in getting the right feel of doing the job.

Again, to save any arguments, this is my opinion, based on what worked and works for me. Each to their own. Its only as hard as one makes it.

#5 greeneyedeagle

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 02:39 AM

Thanks for taking your time to explain things.
Didn't know if we were allowed to post specifics here but seeing that most do... I will as well.
I bought all brand new equipment and the solder iron is an Inland Studio Pro 100 watt with a mini phaser temp control. So I feel as if I got some decent tools...just need to learn how to work "With" them. I even bought the extra tips, the 1/8 and 1/4 and it came with the 3/8 wide tip.

So I'll do some testing and see how things go......

Thanks again for all your suggestions.

#6 Boris_USA

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 08:39 PM

Thanks for taking your time to explain things.
Didn't know if we were allowed to post specifics here but seeing that most do... I will as well.
I bought all brand new equipment and the solder iron is an Inland Studio Pro 100 watt with a mini phaser temp control. So I feel as if I got some decent tools...just need to learn how to work "With" them. I even bought the extra tips, the 1/8 and 1/4 and it came with the 3/8 wide tip.

So I'll do some testing and see how things go......

Thanks again for all your suggestions.


Good start. I like the idea of having tip sizes to choose from. Now just play with it. Solder things together, and get the feel of it. You will see what it can do, and what it can not do, and you will remember the little things you pick up when it really counts on a project you want to do well.


I did about 3 hours of soldering today, and changed out irons 3 times, just to compare how each did under the same conditions. You never get good enough to where you do not need to try different things to improve your skills.

Have fun, which is the most important part.... :confetti:

#7 Kaleidoscope

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:25 PM

Good start. I like the idea of having tip sizes to choose from. Now just play with it. Solder things together, and get the feel of it. You will see what it can do, and what it can not do, and you will remember the little things you pick up when it really counts on a project you want to do well.


I did about 3 hours of soldering today, and changed out irons 3 times, just to compare how each did under the same conditions. You never get good enough to where you do not need to try different things to improve your skills.

Have fun, which is the most important part.... :confetti:


Since you stated that you bought an Inland soldering iron I am posting a link to Inland's tips on soldering. I change the heat setting on my iron depending on the effect I want, it is a learning curve.

http://www.inlandcraft.com/howto/pdf/htsold.pdf

#8 Boris_USA

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:14 PM

Since you stated that you bought an Inland soldering iron I am posting a link to Inland's tips on soldering. I change the heat setting on my iron depending on the effect I want, it is a learning curve.


Lots of good basics in your link. Its unfortunate that many folks disregard some of the "do" and "do not do" parts because they do not want to take the time needed. Taking a shortcut can sometimes be the longest way around. Thanks for posting the link.

#9 greeneyedeagle

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 07:28 AM

I found that link a while back, saved it and printed it out. I've read it a few times trying to get all the info to sink in. I'm better at hand-ons but like to have some basics in my head.

#10 Odell28

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:02 AM

The lowest melting point of solder used for electronics will be around 370F.
Hope your parents give you the opportunity to be responsible with this; it's a great thing to learn. I teach trainees how to solder at work, and it is so simple, yet most find it difficult. I've never understood why. The first rule is that solder flows to the hottest point....as long as you don't burn away all the flux. Flux is critical; solder just sits there without it, and burns away. So, always heat the parts you intend to solder, not the solder, when the parts get hot enough, the solder will melt. Easy to burn up parts if you aren't careful. Practice on old stuff until you get the hang of it.
A typical low wattage iron will not light a cigarette after laying on it all day, so, it is safer than people usually think, but it will burn skin immediately, so caution is always advisable.
Radio Shack, and Wall Mart have soldering irons, try to get one with replaceable tips if you can, always cheaper to buy a tip, than an entire new iron. Keep a damp sponge nearby to wipe the tip off from time to time, a clean tip is much easier to work with, and if it gets too dirty, it may not solder at all.
One more thing, always allow the unused iron to rest on a metal ashtray, or in a specific soldering iron holder, the iron will burn up if just left sitting there.

#11 Boris_USA

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 10:52 PM

The lowest melting point of solder used for electronics will be around 370F.
Hope your parents give you the opportunity to be responsible with this; it's a great thing to learn. I teach trainees how to solder at work, and it is so simple, yet most find it difficult. I've never understood why. The first rule is that solder flows to the hottest point....as long as you don't burn away all the flux. Flux is critical; solder just sits there without it, and burns away. So, always heat the parts you intend to solder, not the solder, when the parts get hot enough, the solder will melt. Easy to burn up parts if you aren't careful. Practice on old stuff until you get the hang of it.
A typical low wattage iron will not light a cigarette after laying on it all day, so, it is safer than people usually think, but it will burn skin immediately, so caution is always advisable.
Radio Shack, and Wall Mart have soldering irons, try to get one with replaceable tips if you can, always cheaper to buy a tip, than an entire new iron. Keep a damp sponge nearby to wipe the tip off from time to time, a clean tip is much easier to work with, and if it gets too dirty, it may not solder at all.
One more thing, always allow the unused iron to rest on a metal ashtray, or in a specific soldering iron holder, the iron will burn up if just left sitting there.


I would stay away from Irons that are too cheap. Most of those are made for handy repairs of household items, and not for using hours on end. They also have smaller barrels, and do not retain and store enough heat to do a decent run line. Get the best iron you can afford, and one made by a company that makes commercial irons is preffered. I would not own and iron that did not have a replacable tip. Ceramic heaters are best for smaller irons, which I use a lot. I can power up the iron, and be soldering in 20 seconds or so. One can not stress enough how important it is to keep everything clean, also. The best of everything is wortless if your surfaces are dirty or your tip is dirty. It only takes a film of crud, to cut your heat transfer in haly.




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