Geek Stuff: Soldering

I’ve watched numerous Make videos

This one is interesting in that Kip says “If you do any kind of soldering at all….”.

Note his soldering skill. He pre-tins the parts then just tacks them together. That boys and girls is called a cold solder joint. In order to get a good connection or alloy you have to bind the parts to be soldered together through mechanical or some other force, then apply the soldering iron. Let it heat for 2 or 3 seconds, then apply solder to the parts not the soldering iron.

It helps if you have a decent soldering station. I’ve got an MPJA special. I love MPJA btw, they may not have EVERYTHING but what they have is very inexpensive. Things like 100 LED’s for < $2.

MJPA Soldering Station

Other useful things are a pair of helping hands. It’s a device with alligator clips on a bar that can slide, pivot, etc. Useful for holding things to be soldered. If you’re doing board work, a printed circuit board holder works well.

Needle nose pliers, diagonal cutters, wire strippers, etc. are also useful.

But supremely useful are the tools to remove solder. Sometimes it can be as simple as a piece of copper wire but there is also copper braid, and solder suckers.

I’m on the fence about fume extractors. I’ve got good ventilation in the office where I do most of my soldering. But while Kay says his cost him about $100 you can get this one from MPJA for about $40 if you’re the paranoid type.

I won’t leave you without what I consider to be a good tutorial video on soldering. It’s really quite easy.

You wouldn’t believe how many videos on YouTube get the soldering part wrong.

I’m just doing my part to make the world a better place.

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