Steel tip on a cheap soldering iron

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I bought a 40W soldering iron for $4.95 at Crazy
Clark's for a temporary soldering job. It was a
bit too hot which is what you'd expect at 40 Watts
with a tip the same size as a 25 Watt iron but the
real fly in the ointment was the silver coloured
tip that turned out to be unplated: within a few
minutes it was already pitted and looking crook
with the solder being burnt by the extra heat.

    I found some spring steel rod the same
diameter and ground a cone tip on the bench grinder
by spinning the steel in the battery drill. After
fitting to the soldering iron it runs great: the
lower conductivity of the iron tip cuts the heat
nicely and doesn't overheat the solder at all, the
tip manages to solder fine and only bogs down on
a massive join as you'd expect with the lower
thermal conductivity. All in all it made an
unusable iron into quite a good one.

    I'll have to try some other irons I have
that need tips that I can't get locally. Dicky's
doesn't seem to have tips for their budget irons
although the one that might fit, with a shoulder
machined on it, is $6.95 or half the cost of a
budget iron.

Re: Steel tip on a cheap soldering iron

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Most of these cheap irons are not designed for soldering electronic
components, rather more likely they are intended for stained glass work etc.
The bottom line on the subject is you aren't going to be getting anything
suitable for electronics work at these ridiculously low prices.  Anyone half
interested in doing a reasonable electronics soldering job will buy a
temperature controlled iron of one sort or another.  Gawd, even the old
Weller TCP jobs would be more suitable by a country mile!


Re: Steel tip on a cheap soldering iron

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No arguments there, I think it was made for a lower voltage
or it would have been better used for wood burning. Still
for the price I'm happy with it, it'll be a good cheap spare.


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