A soldering iron is used for soldering accessories. When soldering, two metal parts of a workpiece are joined together by means of a type of metal that has been melted by heat. The metal parts of the workpiece that are to be joined together will first have to be heated in the place where the connection is to be made.
When these bonding sites are heated, the solder is added as bonding material. This solder consists of metal or an alloy of metals that have a lower melting point than the workpiece parts to be joined together. Due to this lower melting point, the solder melts earlier than the parts of the workpiece.
What is a soldering iron?
A soldering iron brings the parts of the workpiece that have to be joined together locally to the same temperature as the solder that is added. This allows the solder and the parts of the workpiece to be combined into one whole. The heat that the soldering iron uses for this is indirect heat. The soldering iron first absorbs heat and thus brings both the workpiece parts and the solder to the correct temperature.
For this process it is important that the soldering iron can quickly absorb a lot of heat. In addition, the soldering iron must also be able to quickly dissipate heat to the material to be attached. A soldering iron must therefore be able to conduct heat well.
Copper is a commonly used material for soldering irons. In the past, a soldering iron was heated by means of a flame. A gas flame was usually used for this. Today it is more effective and safer to use electricity. Therefore, most of the soldering irons in use today are electric soldering irons.
Electric soldering iron
An electric soldering iron has great advantages. There is no need to use combustible gas. This reduces the risk of fire. However, care must also be taken with an electric soldering iron. An electric soldering iron can become very hot, just like a soldering iron that uses a gas flame. An electric soldering iron can be connected directly to the mains.
A soldering iron that uses electricity to get to the right temperature consists of a built-in heating element. This heating element heats a copper iron (hence the name soldering iron). The copper bolt absorbs the heat and then releases it again. The copper bolt can be used to heat the fastening parts of a workpiece and to melt the filler material (solder). When an electric soldering station is used, the temperature can be set as desired. This keeps the temperature constant during soldering.
Protect soldering iron from oxidation
Copper has the advantage that it conducts excellently and absorbs heat well and distance. A disadvantage of copper is that the material oxidizes. Although in some cases (for example for roofing) this gives a nice appearance, oxidation during soldering is not desirable. That is why the copper of the soldering iron is provided with a thin layer of tin. The tinning of the soldering iron is done by means of heat. The soldering iron must be brought to the correct temperature. The tip of the soldering iron must be thoroughly cleaned.
A file can be used for this. When the tip has been thoroughly cleaned, it is coated with soldering flux. After this is done, a thin layer of soldering material (tin solder) is brushed over the soldering iron. The tin layer must be applied evenly over the soldering head. When this is done it is important that this layer does not burn off. When this happens, a new tin layer must be applied.
Different iron heads
A soldering iron contains a head that can have different shapes. This means that a soldering iron can be used for slightly larger surfaces as well as for smaller surfaces for very accurate soldering. It goes without saying that the soldering iron must be equipped with the correct soldering head before starting the work.
Once the soldering iron has been brought up to temperature, you will have to wait until it has cooled down to prevent burns. A soldering head may be in the form of a tip for precise soldering. For the coarser work, a soldering iron that is hammer-shaped is often used or a large bolt head that is tapered.