Author Topic: Starting Soldering  (Read 1021 times)

Online RichieW

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Starting Soldering
« on: April 28, 2021, 05:37:01 AM »
Dear people,
 
I want to start soldering metal parts, is there anything in particular to look for features wise in a suitable soldering iron? It will be mostly for small parts.

Thanks
Richie

Offline RLWP

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2021, 06:33:48 PM »
Not really, it just needs to be big enough and most soldering irons are. The one I use most is 25W made by Antex

Your challenges are going to be around getting the parts clean (wet and dry paper, glass fibre pencil, files), using the right flux (I use Powerflow paste), finding ways to support what you are soldering (cardboard jigs are surprisingly effective), waiting to get the parts hot enough (a fairly common beginners problem), cleaning up (old files and craft knife, solder sucker)), and getting rid of the flux (CIF cream and an old toothbrush). Oh, and get a stand for the iron with a sponge for water and a spring style heatsink to hold the iron, and keep wiping the tip of the iron to keep it clean.

That leaves you with solder, and things have changed since I learned. You are looking for fine, cored solder (around 0.8mm/22SWG). In the olden days, this contained lead, and had a good range over which it stayed liquid. Modern solders are lead free and I find them harder to use, they seem to have a higher melting point and a smaller eutectic range

I still use the leaded stuff - I'm not working in an electronics factory making thousands of joints a day, so I consider the risk to my health to be incredibly small. I've got a good stock and buy up reels at tools stores at car boot fairs (remember them?)

Oh, and don't move the parts until the solder has solidified - the joint goes crystalline and brittle. That means waiting a few seconds before testing it is strong...

Richard
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Online RichieW

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 11:21:47 PM »
Thank you so much Richard, that gives me a lot to think about. It looks so easy when I watch videos of joints being soldered but like most things I imagine there are many tricks to learn before it becomes easy. I shall practice on old bits and bobs of brass photo etch fret when I get my kit together.

Richie

Offline RLWP

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2021, 03:32:24 AM »
When you've got the hang of it, it is very easy. There's quite a bit of frustration on the way, unfortunately

Post your problems here as you find them, there's plenty of help available. And I'm sure other people will learn too

Richard
Hendon for flying - the fastest way to the ground!

Offline O_Pablo

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 03:45:26 AM »
Some time ago I found a few videos on YouTube with practical tips on how to solder photo etch to models. Maybe they'll be helpful.
My tips  - for soldering I use KOKI paste.

Paul Budzik
https://youtu.be/-7D3M3VqCUg
https://youtu.be/8H0lx0Ni7CU
Plasmo - David Damek
https://youtu.be/1AeK7goc_xM

Regards
Paul

Online RichieW

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 04:31:12 AM »
Many thanks Paul, I shall watch these videos. I enjoy Paul Budzik's and David Damek's videos.

Richard, thanks again. This is such a brilliant community. Hopefully I shall be good/knowledgeable enough to help others too one day.

Richie

Offline RLWP

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2021, 04:34:48 AM »
Many thanks Paul, I shall watch these videos. I enjoy Paul Budzik's and David Damek's videos.

Richard, thanks again. This is such a brilliant community. Hopefully I shall be good/knowledgeable enough to help others too one day.

Richie

Oh, you will. Once you've burnt your fingers enough

Richard
Hendon for flying - the fastest way to the ground!

Offline IanB

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2021, 04:30:57 PM »
On the BM forum, it was mentioned by one member that he contacted Hobby Holidays and the guy he spoke with helped him immensely in deciding what equipment he needed. He asked what he wanted to do and then recommended a suitable iron. I'll follow that advice myself very soon!

Ian

Offline O_Pablo

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2021, 10:25:28 PM »
Supplement to yesterday post - https://youtu.be/oTL6VLHNW1U
https://youtu.be/H3lx9aVs16Y and one more https://youtu.be/lReQcWr7UjQ
Regard Paul
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 01:48:35 AM by O_Pablo »

Online RichieW

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2021, 01:08:40 AM »
Many thanks Paul, I shall watch these videos. I enjoy Paul Budzik's and David Damek's videos.

Richard, thanks again. This is such a brilliant community. Hopefully I shall be good/knowledgeable enough to help others too one day.

Richie

Oh, you will. Once you've burnt your fingers enough

Haha, I'm hoping to avoid burning my fingers but then I hoped to avoid supergluing myself to my workbench last year too! ;)

Paul those videos were fantastic, I shall try the paste too. It looks as though it may simplify things a little.


Ian, that's a great suggestion, I'll give them a call. Best of luck with your soldering endeavours!

Richie


Richard

Offline O_Pablo

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2021, 01:41:12 AM »
You can also use a BGA ball. The diameter starts at 0.25 mm. The balls can also be used as snaps for upholstered seats etc.
And one more video tutorial about soldering - https://youtu.be/WouxLfUQu2s
Regards
Paul
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 05:42:13 AM by O_Pablo »

Offline Gene K

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2021, 11:03:48 PM »
Thanks Paul and Richard -- very informative. Now I have to Google BGA balls.

Gene K

Offline MoFo

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2021, 01:31:56 AM »
Another couple of suggestions.

If you're going to be soldering complex shapes with a lot of joins (say, a DH.2 tail, or a stripdown kit), or particularly if you'll be soldering white metal parts, you will really benefit from a proper, temperature-control iron.  With white metal, you can set the temperature below the metal's melting point, so you don't have to worry about ruining the castings.  With complicated, multi-step soldering, you can do things in stages using solders with different melting temperatures, so you don't have to worry about melting your previously-soldered joins.  Hakko are probably the biggest brand around the world, and their FX-888D is an excellent iron for around the price of a mid-range airbrush.  They also had an analogue iron, which is discontinued, but has been widely pirated and is basically the default iron in Chinese factories.  They're pretty inexpensive, and work perfectly fine for modelling purposes.  Weller also has a well-regarded temperature controlled iron.

Suggestion #2: get a variety of solders with different melting points.  For complex soldering jobs, it's really easy to re-melt one join while you're working on another, which can be a massive hassle.  With different temperature solders, you can start with the hottest stuff, then step down to something cooler so it's impossible to melt the previous joins.  Standard 50/50 lead solder melts at around 192' C (which is the same range as most white metals).  Tix solder is common with model railroaders, and melts around 150`C.  Model railroad shops will also sell low-melt solder that melts at (around) 100'C, 70'C and 50'C, so you can cover a pretty wide temperature range.  Protip: you can also use two alloys, called Wood's Metal and Rose's Metal, as low-melt solders.  Functionally identical to stuff sold *as* solder, the only difference is that they're sold in bulk packs of pellets, rather than pre-formed sticks.  They're readily available on eBay, and much cheaper than sticks of 'proper' solder.

And I'd re-iterate the importance of flux.  It's also worth noting that stainless steel - which is used in some PE sets - needs a special flux.  You can't use the standard stuff you'd use on brass or nickel.  And IIRC, Aluminium also needs a special flux, though it's pretty rare as a PE material.

Offline WD

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2021, 08:35:51 AM »
Some truly wonderful information here. Thanks for bringing it up Richie, and thanks for all the great advice all.

WD

Offline pepperman42

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Re: Starting Soldering
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2021, 08:56:48 AM »
The Paul Budzik video listed above is excellent
I was clean,shaved and sober and I didnt care who knew it.