A soldering iron is a hand-held device used to melt the solder (filler material) and join two metals. It is shaped in the form of a pen and uses a metal tip to heat the solder.
If you are a beginner, a soldering iron is the best equipment to heat the solder. It is lightweight and easy to hold. This increases the precision when you are applying heat over the solder.
But before choosing a soldering iron, you need to check the melting point of the solder. You need to choose a soldering iron that can generate a higher temperature than the melting point of the solder. Only then, you will be able to melt the solder and join the two metals.
For instance, solder made of copper has a melting point of 1,0850C. Then, you should get a soldering iron that can generate heat in excess of 1,0850C.
The maximum heat soldering irons can generate depends on the specific models. Some models can generate heat up to 1,4000C. Contrarily, some models can only generate heat up to 4500C.
Some models also come with variable temperature settings. You can set the maximum temperature depending on the melting point of the solder.
The following article explains the maximum temperature of a soldering iron and how to choose one with the right temperature based on your solder alloy.
What Does Soldering mean?
Soldering is the process of joining two metals together by melting solder (filler material). In the soldering process, we do not melt the metals. Rather, we melt the solder which fuses with the two metals and holds them together.
The solder is a metal alloy that is usually made of tin and lead. It is important the melting point of solder is lower than the melting point of the metals. Only then, the solder will melt first and fuse the metals.
To achieve soldering, you have to heat a soldering iron to poke the solder using its tip until the solder melts. Once it melts, you can join the two metals.
You can solder disjoint wires, electrical circuits, electronic components in PCBs, copper pipes, jewelry, and practically any two metals.
What is the Maximum Temperature of a Soldering Iron?
The maximum temperature of a soldering iron varies greatly depending on the model. As mentioned already, some soldering irons can get as hot as 14000C. But, whereas, other models can only get as hot as 4500C.
While choosing a soldering iron, you have to consider the melting point of the solder. The soldering iron should be able to become hot enough to melt the solder.
Some soldering irons come with variable temperature settings. Using this setting, you can change the temperature of the soldering iron to suit the melting point of alloys.
Choosing a Soldering Iron with the Right Temperature
When you have a soldering iron with variable temperature settings, you can set the maximum temperature that is more than the solder’s melting point.
Besides, you also have to consider the effect of the iron and the size of the tip.
Soldering irons that are high-effect and have a large tip consume less power to melt the solder.
For instance, a high-effect soldering iron with a large tip takes only 2500C to melt an alloy that has a melting point of 1900C. But, to melt the same alloy, a low effect iron with a small tip will take a temperature of 4000C.
Importance of Practice
Soldering requires a certain level of skill to melt the solder and join the two metals perfectly. But, unlike other processes such as welding, it is easier to master the art of soldering.
The important thing is to keep practicing until you can do it flawlessly. If you are using a soldering iron with variable temperature settings, you may find it difficult to set the correct temperature in the beginning. But with continued usage, you will be able to choose the perfect temperature for different solders.
You have to follow the trial and error method to gain proficiency in soldering. If you notice that the solder is not melting as fast as you thought, you will have to increase the temperature.
Contrarily if the solder melts faster, you have to decrease the temperature a bit.
Frequently Asked Questions
A soldering iron is a hand-held device that melts the solder alloy and joins two metals. They run on an electric supply and generate heat higher than the melting point of the solder alloy.
Instead of a soldering iron, you can use screwdrivers, alan wrenches, steel wires, and nails. But, unless you are proficient and have experience in soldering, we highly recommend you to use a soldering iron.
Lead has a low melting and is one of the commonly used ingredients in solder. While melting the solder, it releases lead fumes. Lead can lead to serious chronic health effects and cause nerve disorders, muscle pain, reproductive and digestive problems.
Yes, we highly recommend you wear a mask while soldering. It can prevent the inhalation of lead and other toxic metals fumes that can cause significant distress to your body.
When you heat the solder, it can cause spitting. Your skin will get burnt by the hot solder or it will absorb the chemicals. Both are harmful to your skin. Wearing gloves will protect your skin from these harmful chemicals and hot solder.
To sum it up, your soldering iron should be able to become hot enough to melt the soldering alloy.
If you will be using the same solder for multiple soldering purposes, you can choose a soldering iron that can become hot enough to melt it. If you will be using different alloys as solders, you can get an iron with a variable temperature setting.
Besides, a high-effect soldering iron with a large tip can melt the solder in a lesser time than a low-effect iron with a small tip.
If you have any further queries or doubts, let us know using the comments section. Our team will help you out.