The Complete Guide to Buying Soldering Kits

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The Complete Guide to Buying Soldering Kits

Soldering is the process of using a filler material, called "solder", to connect pieces of metal. When the solder is placed on a hot object, it melts and becomes liquid. Once the solder cools and hardens, it forms a bond with the other item. In contrast to welding and brazing, soldering occurs at lower temperatures, around 204 degrees Celsius.

Originally, soldering was used in jewellery making. The Egyptians are credited with first using soldering to make gold jewellery. They inspired other ancient civilisations to experiment with soldering, and the Romans became experts at this skill. Also notable were the metal-working skills of the Celts, Merovingians, and Byzantines who used soldering to create large brooches, earrings, and buckles thousands of years ago.

Today, soldering is used in many fields, such as plumbing, metalwork, and electronics. Soldering joins items, such as copper pipes, metal cans, wiring in electronics, and circuit boards. Soldering kits and tools are available from local hardware and electronics stores, Internet retail sites, and online marketplaces, such as eBay.

Buying a Soldering Kit

Jewellers use soldering kits to make and repair all kinds of jewellery. In addition, service technicians such as plumbers and electricians have their own soldering kits when responding to a customer's call. However, for simple jobs around the home that require soldering, such as repairing a small leak in a sink's pipe or fixing a broken clamp on a necklace, some people prefer to do the work themselves. To do so successfully, purchasing a soldering kit is a good idea.

There are various tools available for soldering, and those needed depend on the difficulty of the work being performed. The most basic of all soldering kits includes an iron, tips, and a stand. But, many other kits have extra tools, such as solder, sponges, and wiring tools. When choosing a kit, keep in mind the tasks at hand. If on a budget, remember that the more tools in the kit, the more expensive the kit is.

Tools for Soldering

There are only a few tools required for soldering. But, there are many more tools available to make soldering easier. Beginning with a basic kit of tools is a good way to start soldering. Knowing what each tool does is beneficial when making a buying decision.

Iron

The most important tool required for soldering is a soldering iron. The iron is the heat source that melts the solder. There are different wattage ranges depending on the work being performed. And, it is important to choose the correct wattage for the job to prevent damage to the item. For most jobs, irons within the 15 to 30 watt range are appropriate. However, for specialty work, such as wood burning and stained glass soldering, a higher wattage iron is needed because these items require longer heat applications.

Wattage

Designed For Soldering

15 to 25 watts

Small electronics, circuit boards, jewellery

25 to 40 watts

Large electronics, audio wires

40 to 80 watts

Wood burning, stained glass

In some kits, soldering irons may be called soldering guns. Soldering guns have pencil-shaped tips that heat up and allow for precise work. In contrast, the soldering iron is shaped like a gun with a large tip that is heated by an electrical current flowing through it.

Rosin Core Solder

Solder is a fusible metal alloy that joins metal pieces together. Its melting point is less than the items being soldered. There are many kinds of solder available, but rosin core solder is superior. The rosin acts as a flux when soldering, and aids in the connection of the metals. It comes in thicknesses that range from 0.25 to 6.0 millimetres. Rosin core solder comes in three types, which include 50/50, 60/40, and 63/37. The numbers illustrate the amount of tin and lead that are present in the solder.

Solder Type

Percentage of Tin

Percentage of Lead

Melting Temp (Celsius)

50/50

50

50

218

60/40

60

40

188

63/37

63

37

183

Choosing the right diameter size for the project is important; if the solder is too large, it could not melt properly and cause heat damage to the item and potential burns to the hands. In contrast, if the solder is too narrow, the pieces will not be joined seamlessly. As a general rule, choose a larger solder diameter for big jobs, such as pipework. For most standard electrical work, medium sized solder is appropriate. For small jobs, such as jewellery repair or small cell phone circuits, use the smallest size solder.

Flux

Rosin core solder already has flux made into the solder, so additional flux is not necessary. However, for an older solder joint where the flux is gone, it is helpful to have flux. Flux is a paste-like, greasy, oily liquid that cleans the metallic surfaces being soldering. It also helps in the production of smoother solder joints that adhere securely to pin and pad surfaces. There are three types of solder available including: water soluble flux, no clean fluxes, and traditional rosin fluxes.

Tips

Because soldering irons come with a tip, it is not mandatory to purchase separate tips; however, several sizes are available. It is necessary to use the right-sized tip for the soldering job. Typically, users should choose a tip that is slightly smaller than the item being soldered. This allows for better control of what is being heated and soldered. For small detail work, use pointed tips. For larger wiring work, use a flatter, screwdriver-style tip.

Iron Safety Stand

An iron safety stand is a place to put the soldering iron when not in use. It holds the iron safely and securely and protects the tip from causing heat damage to the work surface. An iron safety stand is also helpful when cleaning the tip of the iron. In many kits, safety stands are included.

Solder Melting Pot

Solder melting pots are small, temperature-controlled portable pots that are used for melting solder and tinning the ends of wires. They are particularly useful for smaller jobs where the temperature consistency is important. Solder pots are made from porcelain or cast iron.

Wiring Tools

Some soldering kits contain basic wiring tools, such as strippers, cutters, and pliers. A wire stripper is a small tool used to strip the wire from the electrical insulation from wires. A side cutter cuts unnecessary parts of component leads, wires, or plastic. Pliers are used for holding, clamping, and positioning items. If these items are already owned, it is not necessary to choose a kit with them included.

Sponges

A soldering sponge is used to wipe off excess solder from the tip of the iron. Ideally, the sponge should be damp when using. It is important to remove solder from the tip of the iron so that the heat functioning works properly.

Exhaust Fan

Basic soldering kits will likely not include an exhaust fan. However, it is beneficial to have an exhaust fan when soldering because the fumes produced are not good for anyone to breathe. Exhaust fans help ventilate the workspace and get rid of the strong fumes.

Safety Goggles

Another helpful item to have when soldering is a pair of safety goggles. Small pieces of hot solder often fly from the soldering joint when working and the eyes should be protected from this hazard.

Buying Soldering Kits

To find soldering kits, check out local hardware or electronics speciality shops. Also consider browsing online retailers. One of the best places to locate a large selection of soldering kits and tools is on eBay. Numerous brands and types of soldering kits to fit any budget are available from sellers all over the world on eBay. Best of all, using eBay saves time and money.

Searching for Soldering Kits on eBay

To begin a search on eBay, type in exactly what you are looking for in the search box on eBay's home page. Whether you want to find a new, used, or refurbished soldering kit, enter "soldering kits" to find a wide variety. For a more refined search, enter more specific search criteria, such as the brand, make, or model of the soldering tools you seek. After examining the listings, you may want to narrow down your options with the available refinements. Using this approach is especially beneficial if you are feeling overwhelmed by too many choices.

Buy Soldering Kits on eBay with Confidence

Buyers gain many advantages when shopping with eBay, such as limitless shopping opportunities all under one, safe and secure username. Registering for an account is free and easy. Additionally, eBay's partnership with PayPal allows users to protect their personal financial information and save time when completing transactions. This, combined with over 100 million users on one the world's largest online marketplaces, benefits buyers who wish to shop from the comfort of their homes.

Conclusion

Soldering is a skill that has been used for thousands of years by people all over the world to join metal items, make jewellery, and, most recently, to create electronics. The soldering process has seen many refinements throughout the generations, and many tools have been created to make soldering easier. Basic soldering tools are consistent with the original tools and include a soldering iron, solder, and a stand.

With new advancements, improved tools are now available, including a variety of soldering irons and guns, as well as different-sized tips, solder, sponges, melting pots, wiring supplies, and safety items. Soldering kits for all kinds of jobs are easy to find from local electronics and hardware stores as well as online retailers. When ready to purchase, be sure to check out eBay for a large selection of soldering kits from sellers all over the world.

 
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