View Full Version : Homebrew soldering iron(pic)

06-26-2005, 02:11 PM
Went looking for my favorite iron the otherday and couldn't find it,I think it sprouted legs.

End result was I made another one


I started out with a piece of 7/8" copper rod 1-5/8" long,drilled and tapped it for 1/4"-20 about 3/4" deep.Threaded a section of 1/4" rod and screwed it on tight.
Next step was to heat the copper slug up to red heat and forge the point,once the point was formed I brought it back up to red heat and tightened the thread up,then quenched it(neat way to make sure it will never come off) Finished it off by threading the other end 1/4-20 x 1" long and screwing it into a file handle.It all took about 30 minutes,but sure was fun.

06-26-2005, 02:48 PM
Not much of a solderer here, so I am wondering do you just heat it up with a torch to use it, and why not get a electric one?

06-26-2005, 03:54 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mochinist:
Not much of a solderer here, so I am wondering do you just heat it up with a torch to use it, and why not get a electric one?</font>

Any form of flame that gens enough heat to achieve the correct temp.It can be oxy/fuel,air/acetylene,air/propane even charcoal imbers.

Electric irons are fine for electronics,stained glass and such,but bigger things like copper range hoods,radiators and uhhmmmm...corn mash errrahhh...boilers http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//rolleyes.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif require a little more punch.

06-26-2005, 06:06 PM
I haven't used one like that since I was a kid ...and didn't really know what I was doing then (not to imply I know a lot more now). But yesterday I was watching one of the home/DIY programs that featured a rain gutter company rolling and installing one piece copper gutters and downspouts. They were using irons like that to solder the endcaps, and downspout fittings.

I was amazed how fast they were melting the solder. It appeared they were just touching the iron to the metal and it was instantly at soldering heat. In fact it looked like they were really making the contact with the solder, rather than the copper sheet.

G.A. Ewen
06-26-2005, 06:30 PM
That is NICE !!!!

06-26-2005, 08:42 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lynnl:

In fact it looked like they were really making the contact with the solder, rather than the copper sheet. </font>

Yup that's pretty much it,laying the solder between the iron and the work means the solder melts first and conforms to the work transfering heat much faster than trying to heat the work with the iron and then applying the solder.

This is a small iron,only about a 4oz head,still I can run about 6-8"of seam in .035" copper before a re-eat is needed.

06-26-2005, 09:05 PM
Melting solder between iron and material can result in cold solder joints.
The iron should be well tinned to ensure rapid heat transfer.
A heat it up iron is ancient technology.
There are electric irons in the 500 - 600 watt range, with about a 1.5" wide tip.
Or, solder with propane, oxy/acy works just fine too.

06-26-2005, 09:50 PM
Nice job, haven't used one like that in years. They really do a nice job on copper.


06-27-2005, 01:18 AM
Nice soldering iron. I have three gasoline blowtorches I use on occasion and they all have the hook on top and the notch over the tip of the burner to heat this type of soldering iron. It works really well, particularly when you don't want to drag a cord around.

I guess the next step is to make one that clamps onto the tip of a propane torch like an old Berns-O Matic tip i picked up about 30 years ago.

06-27-2005, 07:09 AM
TRy it with a decent heat gun http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif no muss, no fuss (heating the iron, I mean)
Ahh, fond memories of sal-ammoniac fumes.

06-27-2005, 08:34 AM
Nice, I bet that would work great for soldering some battery packs together too.

Ted Coffey
06-27-2005, 08:50 AM
You can also use an electric hot plate or burner to heat the "copper".

Michael Az
06-27-2005, 09:32 AM
Nice job Wierd!

06-27-2005, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the memories. I used one back in the days when I took electric shop in high school. We had to solder wire splicing connections. Lets see, that was back about 1947.

Cecil Walker
06-27-2005, 11:40 AM
That's one nice iron, but you need to make two. One to use and one for display purposes only.

3 Phase Lightbulb
06-27-2005, 12:16 PM
Have you made a desoldering gun yet? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


06-27-2005, 03:52 PM
That is, you need to make two. One to use while the other one is heating up.

Very nice.

06-27-2005, 07:13 PM
Thanks all for the replies.

Ha,ya I got a 350 watt electric iron,it's big,it's heavy and it's slow,hence I never use it anymore.

Got an actual gas oven for this one and it's brothers.

No Adrian I haven't built a desoldering gun,but I do have a torch and a blowgun http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Brian,I wonder if that's where the term "too many irons in the fire" came from?

Weston Bye
06-28-2005, 10:54 AM
Too many irons in the fire came from blacksmithing. To make efficient use of his time, the blacksmith would have several other workpieces (irons) heating while he was working another. Having too many irons in the fire happened when one or more of them burned, lost critical metal due to scale, or became otherwise ruined because it remained in the fire too long.