Soldering is the process of joining metal surfaces together using a filler metal to create the connection, and we call this filler metal Solder. We use soldering to create connections between a lot of things, but most commonly to create connections in electronic circuits. In order to solder, and to solder safely, a few key resources are needed:
A soldering iron is the tool that melts the solder in order to create our electrical connections.
- For a beginner and simple soldering iron, see the Weller SP40NKUS 40-Watts Soldering Iron
- For a more advanced iron with more control and flexibility, see the YIHUA 939D+ Digital Soldering Station
- For a professional-grade soldering station, see the Hakko FX888D Digital Soldering Station
- For a cordless and rechargeable soldering iron, see the PINECIL – Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron
- For an all in one station with other key resources included, see the WEP 927-IV Soldering Station Kit
Solder is the filler metal that is melted in order to create our electrical connections. There are a lot of great options for solder that come in spools of all different quantities. We recommend Solder wire that is RoHS Lead Free 0.5mm/.02" diameter for all PCB applications. Depending on the type of circuit you are putting together, you may also need Flux in order to have a clean and effective surface to solder onto. Most Patchr kits and lessons will not require Flux for success.
Smoke is a byproduct of soldering, and not one you should breathe in even when using lead free solder. Sometimes referred to as smoke absorbers, these fans filter the air to make your environment more safe to work in.
- For a simple and effective fume extractor, see the KOTTO Solder Smoke Absorber
- For more professional-grade applications, see the Hakko FA400 or the Hakko FA430
Tip Cleaning Sponges
Throughout the soldering process we need to clean the tip of our soldering, which is called Tinning.
- Brass sponges work great for tinning, see this Base Holder Soft Coiled Brass Tip Cleaner Kit for reference
- Alternatively, a damp sponge can be used as well
Other Key Resources
- Safety Glasses are a MUST, ensure that your eyes are protected at all times when soldering
- Most soldering irons will come with a stand that keeps the hot end of the iron in a safe location when not in use, however stands can also be purchased separately like this one
- Helping hands can be useful when trying to hold your PCB or components in a key position, see these Helping Hands with Magnifying Glass, or These hands that clamp onto a table instead
- It is also important to keep your workspace clean as well as protect your environment, see this Silicone Soldering Mat
- Wire cutters are a necessity to trim and clean up your circuit, see the Hakko-CHP-170 Micro Cutter for reference
- Wire strippers may also be needed if you are working with braided or insulated wire, see this Multipurpose Wire Stripping Tool for reference
- Students and younger makers may find these Automatic Wire Stripper and Cutters easier to use when removing the insulation from wires
- We all make mistakes! Sometimes we are able to use our soldering irons to move solder from one connection to another if we place it in the wrong location, but other times additional tools might be needed. A Desoldering Vacuum Pump can be used to pull hot solder from a connection, while a Desoldering Wick will allow solder to flow off of your PCB and onto itself instead
For more information about soldering or how to get started with creating your own custom electronics and electronic circuits, visit us at Patchr.io to start creating your own custom electronics today!