Soldering Basics

Soldering Basics

Please select each item to learn about the basic tools and safety care needed when soldering. When you have read every item, and watched the video below, click the link at the bottom of this page and take the soldering multiple-choice test. 

Soldering (pronounced /ˈsɒ ˌdər ɪŋ/ ), is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal. Soldering differs from welding in that soldering does not involve melting the work pieces.

 
 
 
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Safety Glasses

It is extremely important to wear safety glasses or goggles while soldering. The fumes that dissipate from melting solder (called flux—you will learn more about flux later) can irritate your eyes and running the risk of jumping flux or melted solder into your eyes isn't one you would want to take. Protect your eyes with large seeing or safety glasses every time you solder.
 

Hair Ties

If a student happens to have longer hair, they are required to tie their hair back when soldering. Students with long hair should carry their own hair ties when entering the DRG. If a student forgets to bring one, rubber bands will available to them. 

 

Clothing

When soldering, loose articles of clothing and/or jewlery run the risk of getting caught on the iron, causing burns or fire. Students should wear fitting clothing, and avoid loose-fitting sleeves, bracelets, and drawstrings found on hoodies.

 

Fume Extractor

Don't subject yourself to irritating, harmful smoke and flux fumes while soldering. The fume extractors we have available for use or checkout in the DRG help protect you in four ways:

  • Absorbs particulates from the air caused by melting solder
  • Carbon activated filter traps noxious fumes
  • 5" fan provides plenty of air circulation
  • Adjustable tilting base maximizes effectiveness

Soldering Iron

A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering. It supplies heat to melt solder so that it can flow into the joint between two workpieces.

While there is no proper soldering iron temperature—the iron temperature should be set for both the component and the solder. When soldering surface mount components, a small tip and 600F -750F (315C - 399C) should be sufficient to quickly solder the joint well without overheating the component.

Soldering Stand

When not in use, a soldering stand is used to keep the hot soldering iron away from you and the work area. A soldering iron stand is made out of metal and comes with a cleaning sponge to clean the soldering irons' tip. For best results, lightly wet the sponge with some tap water.

 

Solder

Solder /ˈsädər/ is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece(s). In the past, nearly all solders contained lead, but environmental and health concerns have increasingly dictated use of lead-free alloys for electronics and plumbing purposes. At D.tech we provide lead-free solder for use and checkout.
 

Soldering Joints

Learning how to create proper soldering joints is fundamental to the soldering process. We will be discussing the correct steps and common mistakes that occur when creating soldering joints below. 

Step 1: On the hot iron, carefully apply a small amount of fresh solder and coat the tip. Wipe off the access on a damp sponge. It should still be shiny if you've done it right. Heat the joint. Place the iron tip so that it touches both the component lead and pad--the goal is to get as much surface area contact between the iron tip and joint as possible. Almost no heat will travel through the point.

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Step 2: Apply solder to opposite side. Apply solder to the parts, not the iron. By doing this, you ensure the parts are hot enough for the solder to "wet" and bond with them. Also, solder will run towards the heat source, so applying solder opposite from the iron helps to spread it out and cover the joint.

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Time: The joint should take about 5 - 7 seconds for lead-free solder. Lead-free solder takes longer to "wet" the metal.

Examples of good and bad soldering joints:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

For more soldering tips and tricks, please visit the Curious Inventor.

Wire Strippers

A wire stripper is a small, hand-held device used to strip the electrical insulation from electric wires.The addition of a center notch makes it easier to cut the insulation without cutting the wire. This type of wire stripper is used by rotating it around the insulation while applying pressure in order to make a cut around the insulation. Since the insulation is not bonded to the wire, it then pulls easily off the end.

After Care

After completing a soldering session, students must turn off all electronic tools and clean off their workspace from any access solder or wire they did not use. Students are also required to wash their hands immediately after cleaning up and checking in with an adult. Although rare, this ensures that students will not develop a rash that sometimes happen from prolonged exposure to flux fumes and residues.

Finished reading? Take the test!

Remember to check in with an adult after you are finished with your test and get approved for your first soldering session! Good luck!  (◠‿◠)/\(◠‿◠)

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