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Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:58 pm
by Externet
:shock: Very cheap soldering pencils use a tip that is nothing else than a rod held by a set screw.

A proper tip has a copper core and iron plated.
For not precision temperature work, like salvaging components off boards, what is the inconvenient on using a nail properly ground to chisel shape tip ? It should tin properly like an iron clad tip, right ?

In the Weller pistol years, many times I replaced the tip with plain copper AWG 12 piece of copper wire and worked perfectly. Now, on a pencil iron, the heat conductivity of a nail will be slower, but, would not erode as copper and can be replaced for $0 Has anyone tried ?

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:19 am
by dyarker
The thermal conductivity of steel is 7 to 10 times lower than copper. If you don't mind the traces coming off the board, etc, from the longer times waiting for solder to melt; then should be fine.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:16 am
by Joseph
I like the idea of the bare solid copper wire tip and have done it that way for a long time.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:11 pm
by Externet
Yes, the bare solid copper tip has to work well, but where did you find/get/source pieces 4mm diameter solid copper wire ? Less diametre is not stiff enough.

I will have to check the nearby metal supply store for 4mm copper rods...

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:16 pm
by Joseph
I found thick grounding wire at the hardware store. I think it is six gauge.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:25 pm
by Externet
That grounding wire... Good ! A foot will make maaany years of tips. Iron cladding not needed for longevity at that price, like vintage tips were, plain copper. Thank you.

These used to be at the 99 cent store. Not any more. And no RadioShacks in 100miles.

----> https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-pcs-3 ... autifyAB=0

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:59 pm
by Joseph
Indeed! You're welcome.

I inserted a rectifier and switch into the cord, so that through the diode is low, and bypassed is high.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:07 pm
by evahle
This thread reminds me of when I used to replace the expensive tips with grounding wire. I completely forgot about that. Thanks!

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:43 am
by MrAl
Hello there,

I have done this NUMEROUS times, too many times to remember all the times.
However, i do remember the way to get this to work right.

I have used steel and brass. Steel is about 8 times less thermally conductive than copper, but brass is only 4 time less conductive than copper. That makes a brass screw or rod better than a steel nail or screw.

The thing about a rod that conducts heat is that for the heat to get from one end to the other it takes time, and the lower the thermal conductivity the longer it takes to go from one end to the other, but the shorter the tip is the faster it gets to the other end. So if you have a copper tip that is 2 inches long and you make a tip out of brass that is 1/2 inches long and same diameter, you should see very similar results. 1/2 inch is little short so you may want to go a little longer than that, but you see how this works.


The other thing about a rod that conducts heat is that if there is no significant 'sink' at the far end, the tip temperature builds up and so the heat energy builds up in the tip along the entire length. So when you go to solder something, you have some extra heat energy to work with at least for a short time. This could mean soldering smaller joints faster just because you let the tip reheat after doing one joint.
In this case the bulk of the metal helps too, the more metal the more heat energy is stored for a time. So the diameter helps that too because the sheer volume of the metal helps to solder the joint, when allowed enough time to regain it's original temperature between joints. As a side effect, the extra diameter also helps to conduct MORE heat faster, so you get the dual effect that helps you solder the joint normally.

Summing up:
Copper is best, but brass is better than steel by a lot.
Keep the tip as short as possible.
Make the diameter as large as possible even though the tip is sharpened.

Notice how much this is like a wire conducting current. The better the material the better the conductivity, the shorter the wire the less voltage drop, the larger the diameter the less voltage drop.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:31 am
by Externet
Hi Al.
How much erosion brass, bronze tips show compared to copper ?

With an iron nail, erosion should be minimal, stiffness great, But of course slow heat conductivity that calls for fatter and shorter tips to approach a reasonable performance in certain uses.

Remember trying a gold clad tip when lead-free solder started... A total failure, gold being instantly washed/dissolved/melted/dripped away, something I did not expect. :shock:

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:37 am
by Joseph
Reminds me of when cutting steel with a diamond impregnated circular saw blade. The diamond tends to dissolve.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:58 pm
by haklesup
"Reminds me of when cutting steel with a diamond impregnated circular saw blade. The diamond tends to dissolve"

Probably due to overheating or advancing too fast. When using diamond to cut anything the key is slow and cool. While a diamond is very hard, they can be burned at a lower temp than the metal matrix holding them which in turn is softer than the diamond and can let go of the abrasive if you are too aggressive. So use plenty of cooling fluid or lubricant and slow way down to a crawl and let the tool do the work. Diamond bits should be treated more like grinding tools. Cooling and lubrication is actually a good idea for most cuts with any kind of blade in anything but wood.

Diamond blade (like the round kind for stone) is not the best for steel because it usually does not have teeth which make better work of gouging and removing the material.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:06 am
by MrAl
Externet wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:31 am
Hi Al.
How much erosion brass, bronze tips show compared to copper ?

With an iron nail, erosion should be minimal, stiffness great, But of course slow heat conductivity that calls for fatter and shorter tips to approach a reasonable performance in certain uses.

Remember trying a gold clad tip when lead-free solder started... A total failure, gold being instantly washed/dissolved/melted/dripped away, something I did not expect. :shock:
Hi,

Brass shows minimal erosion.
I dont think i ever had to make a brass tip twice.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:25 am
by Joseph
haklesup, those thoughts remind me how diamond fingernail files deteriorated much faster than I expected when filing steel nails or black drywall type screws, as far as I can remember.

Re: Beheaded fatty nail as soldering tip...

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:56 am
by MrAl
Joseph wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:25 am
haklesup, those thoughts remind me how diamond fingernail files deteriorated much faster than I expected when filing steel nails or black drywall type screws, as far as I can remember.
Hey there Joseph,

Just for reference, i may have missed one of your PM's as i did not log in for a while some time ago.

As for the diamond files, i use most of mine at low speed and have been sharpening my knives with one for years now.
I also used rotary diamond disks with good results.

I have read that somehow the diamond get absorbed into the metal, but i have not had a problem so far.

I am wondering if cheap quality has a lot to do with it.