Soldering refers to the process of melting and joining two or more metals. As compared to brazing and wielding, soldering requires a low temperature. During the process, heat is applied to the metal to melt it so that it can be filled into the joints.
For soldering, heated and melted metal is filled into the filler metal where it gets pulled in. It fills up the material which is joined to the other metals. The filler is called solder. It enables easy wetting action and when the metal cools, the joints can be seen. The joint is not strong like the base metal but it possesses the strength and water tightness as needed.
- Introduction: The page provides a good overview of soldering.
- Soldering: The New Mexico State University offers an introduction to soldering.
- Soldering Overview: NYU offers an overview of soldering with pictures and helpful information.
- FAQs: Come here to find answers to frequently asked questions about soldering.
Some of the equipments which are used for soldering are temperature controlled soldering iron, solder, small tweezers, rosin flux, magnifying glass, soldering iron tips, holder, and cleaning sponge. The electrical equipments comprise of wire, nose pliers, wire stripper, and clips, which are used to hold the application. Soldering iron can heat up and cool fast so it’s suitable to be used for soldering. The soldering iron is selected depending on factors such as wattage, power source, and temperature. Rosin core, a common type of solder, can be found in three types: 50/50, 63/37, and 60/40. The melting temperature for 50/50 is 425 °F and it contains 50% tin and 50% lead. The melting temperature of 60/40 is 371 °F, and it contains 60% tin and 40% lead. 63/37 can melt on 361°F and it contains 63% tin and 37% lead.
- Tool List: The Pennsylvania College of Technology offers a list of tools required for soldering and other electronics work.
- Soldering Techniques: The University of North Carolina’s Department of Chemistry provides a guide to soldering techniques with information on soldering equipment, soldering irons, and more.
Some of the safety tips while soldering include:
- One should not touch the soldering iron tip and keep the soldering iron on stand.
- Avoid excess heating by taking up the soldering tool which is temperature controlled as excess heat can damage the circuit boards and connectors.
- Avoid direct contact with electrical equipments.
- The region where the soldering is done should be well lit and ventilated.
- Wash hands after completing the process. Keep first aid kit for minor burns and seek medical attention if the burns are more serious.
- The joints and components should be given time to cool and should not be touched immediately after soldering.
Here are some links to more safety tips:
- Precautions: Penn Engineering provides some essential precaution tips for soldering.
- Soldering Safety Checklist: Use this checklist to ensure that you are going to have a safe soldering session.
- Lead Soldering: The page provides comprehensive safety information on lead soldering.
- Safety Soldering: Here are more safety tips for soldering.
To prepare the soldering iron, it should be kept on stand. Wait for the soldering iron to warm up. Melt the solder top and prepare for filling. When the soldering iron is heated well, it should be held in the hand like a pen and the hand should be at the base of the iron. The soldering iron should be touched on the joints and it can be removed after making the joint. Examine the joint before removing it.
- Soldering Guide: The guide provides good information on how to prepare for soldering.
- Electronic Devices: MIT shows how to prepare for soldering wires to electronic wires.
After completing the preparation and tinning, the filler metal is melted and poured into the joint of the base metal. The filler metal is selected because of its low melting point. The melted metal is pulled into the joints due to capillary action and the bond is formed.
The soldering iron should not be heated for too long. The joint should not be moved until the melted metal cools. The soldering iron tip should be kept clean to get effective results and care should be taken in the selection of soldering rod and tip.
Clean up is necessary because the tip of the soldering iron will start producing smoke if it is not cleaned. After every soldering process, one should clean the tip of the soldering iron. One of the common methods used for cleaning is using a damp sponge which is rubbed on the tip. Tip cleaner can also be used for clean up. The tip cleaner comes in a small pot in which the soldering iron tip can be dipped. Solder stations are used for holding the soldering iron and it can be used to prevent the iron from getting dirty. Solder wick can also be used for cleaning up the joint or the circuit.
- Cleaning: The page offers advice on cleaning the soldering tip, tip maintenance, broad cleaning, and more.
- Soldering & Cleaning: The page provides information on the soldering and cleaning process.
Desoldering refers to the removal of solder components from the joint. After some time, the metal loses the property to be reused so it has to be desoldered. The brittle solder on the joint can be removed using desoldering wicks.
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