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Hello all,

I'm fast learning that an important part of soldering is a clean iron, but I'd like to know what I should be doing to look after my soldering iron and keep it working at its best.

What should I clean the tip with?
 

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If it's old and the tip's a bit scruffy I would give it a touch up with a fine wire brush like a suede brush when the iron is hot. When soldering wipe the tip every so often on a wet sponge or cloth and if you are white metal soldering dip the tip in the flux. This will keep the tip really clean. I always keep a couple of spare tips on hand as well in case one gets ruined.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (N Gauge James @ 29 Mar 2009, 22:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello all,

I'm fast learning that an important part of soldering is a clean iron, but I'd like to know what I should be doing to look after my soldering iron and keep it working at its best.

What should I clean the tip with?
 

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QUOTE (Ozzie21 @ 29 Mar 2009, 13:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If it's old and the tip's a bit scruffy I would give it a touch up with a fine wire brush like a suede brush when the iron is hot. When soldering wipe the tip every so often on a wet sponge or cloth and if you are white metal soldering dip the tip in the flux. This will keep the tip really clean. I always keep a couple of spare tips on hand as well in case one gets ruined.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

Best way! exactly the same as I was shown years ago


David
 

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after cleaning, 'tin' the tip, otherwise it becomes quite poor at heating up, and transferring heat to the job

best if possible to buy a new tip....or a selection of tips, especially if using different types of solder, ie lowmelt, 145degree, etc...as each solder has a different chemical make-up, and mixing [using the same tip] is quite detrimental.

is jenolite still available?
 

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Keeping the tip clean while working is best done by using the brass shavings that you can readily buy at shows. Plunge the tip in just before using and again after will keep the tip bright.

White metal and liquid fluxes are death to modern tips and they will need replacing quicker if used with these materials. It is difficult not to for kits though.

The kindest solder seems to be the multicore variety which again is pretty useless for kits.

I too have scraped and filed tips and it works after a fashion but is indicative that a new tip is needed. Funnily enough, running in a new tip is almost as difficult as using a past-its-best one!!!
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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I use a tip reviver which is a product that you put the tip in to while it is hot andthe crystals? bubble and splutter and fizz and clean the tip. Sorry, not very technical, byt Richard sells it at DCC Concepts and it comes from Japan originally from memory. It is very good. I have a different tip that I use for my whitemetal soldering work though becasue the white metal as an alloy after soldering it makes a mess of your tip over time.
 

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Just another modeller
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***Soldering Iron tips have a plating that is necessry for the life of the tip.

Any aggressive cleaning or filing is a total no-no.

The problem with acid fluxes is that if left on the tip they will indeed damage it, which is why the tip should always be cleaned before turning the Iron off.

Procedures:

When first turning on after long use, allow to heat then dip tip in liquid flux, followed by a good wipe on a damp sponge and re-tinning.

If needed use a tip reconditioner as recommended by Paul (LF). This will both aid cleaning and re-tin the tip for you. After reconditioning, wipe and add a little of your own solder.

Before each joint, wipe tip on a sponge

never leave the Iron on for hours at a time unnecessarily. If you have temp control, turn down if not doing another joint within a couple of minutes.

wipe the tip between every use on a damp sponge

at MOST use a brass wire wool to clean off scale - never a file or sandpaper. If you have already done so, then the tip will never be as good as it was, heat transfer will get worse and its time to replace it.

Before turning off, wipe the Iron clean with a damp sponge and add a generous doppop of solder to the tip. Turn off leaving this in place - that way, the older will corrode not the tip, and it can then be removed leaving a good tip when the Iron is not used.

finally... try to avoid traditional acid fluxes. We use an Iron all the time and use our own brand organic fluxes for every modeling metal.

regards

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 30 Mar 2009, 04:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Soldering Iron tips have a plating that is necessry for the life of the tip.

Any aggressive cleaning or filing is a total no-no.

Yep! Richard, I agree. This is exactly what I was taught. I was also taught that it interfered with the heat qualities of the tip and, perhaps, more importantly, once damaged in this way, tips would require more cleaning after use and therefore, more work
.

Far better to just simply wipe of with a damp, natural, (not a man made foam) sponge during and after use before the tip cools. The tip will last longer too! As Richard has stated.

Cheers

Ian
 

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I have found C+L Finescale give very good service and advice for soldering products.

Tel: 01 275 852 027
C+L Finescale website

The Tip Cleaner product code is C1042 30ml £8.50 - this is superb for for cleaning and tinning the tip.
Do give it a shake before opening each time and treat with respect DO READ THE WARNING LABEL.
The Brass Mesh for wiping the tip on is C1302 Soldering Tip Cleaner / Holder £5.50
Solders & Soldering Aids

Chris
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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I am interested in the comment regarding man made versus manufactured sponges. Can you enlarge on this. My sponge that cam with my Antex several years ago now could do with a change and I thought that maybe replacements are available? Isthis the case or do I cut one out of a bathroom sponge or something else?
 

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Hi James.

Maplin sell a small tin of Tip Tinner/Cleaner which I use both at the begining and end of each soldering session. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Apart from that a wipe on a damp sponge is all that is necessary.
 

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QUOTE (Lancashire Fusilier @ 31 Mar 2009, 10:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am interested in the comment regarding man made versus manufactured sponges. Can you enlarge on this. My sponge that cam with my Antex several years ago now could do with a change and I thought that maybe replacements are available? Isthis the case or do I cut one out of a bathroom sponge or something else?

Well! a man made one would not perform as well IMO. I am talking that cheap foam sponge, it will not stand the heat as well as the natural type sponge that I have seen supplied for the purpose of soldering iron tip cleaning. Not to mention the possibility of toxic fumes being liberated should the cheap stuff be overheated


Cheers

Ian
 

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Just another modeller
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*** As long as its kept damp, any sponge will do. The natural sponges as per original will last far longer and are less sensitive to heat thought.

BTW - sorry if I'm a bit slow replying to posts or PMs for the next fortnight... I have moved house and apart from being buried under a mountain of modeling stuff I didn't realise I had and no modelling area yet set up...we have no intenet access in the eveing for about a fortnight....

regards

Richard
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 29 Mar 2009, 17:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>after cleaning, 'tin' the tip, otherwise it becomes quite poor at heating up, and transferring heat to the job

best if possible to buy a new tip....or a selection of tips, especially if using different types of solder, ie lowmelt, 145degree, etc...as each solder has a different chemical make-up, and mixing [using the same tip] is quite detrimental.

is jenolite still available?

That is very good advice.

I have found that after using low melt solder with a it, its very difficult to get it to work well with the higher temp solder.

I just use the antex sponge. they are available as spares and i usually have a couple in the drawer.

Peter
 
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