Thursday, 21 January 2010

Soldering for dummies!

I had a crack at finishing the other Masokits tiebars the other day. I just needed to solder up the ones I made a while ago and then either make a couple more from the etches or try to salvage some from the duff lot (the ones I forgot to clean before soldering!!), which I managed to do.

I learned two big lessons:

1) Use flux!!! To anyone with any soldering experience this should be obvious but my lack of said experience meant that I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to solder up the wretched things without using any flux, naively thinking that the fact I had pre-tinned the copperclad, wrapped the etches around it and applied lots of heat from the soldering iron (with no additional solder on the tip either) would magically lead to it all soldering up nice and solid. WRONG! The solder melted, sure, but wouldn't 'stick' to the etch. After some time getting frustrated with this, I hit on the idea that some flux might help, and maybe a little blob of fresh solder on the end of the iron too. Well, what a revelation! A good slop of Carrs green label flux so the tiebar was practically swimming in it, and hiss... the moment the iron touched the metal, the whole thing soldered up beautifully, solder flowing nicely into all the joins and cracks. Lesson learned!

2) A bodged solder job can be rescued! I followed Flymo's advice, given after my last post about the tiebars, selected the ones that weren't hopeless, dipped them in some Carrs acidip to clean them up, then, with my new-found discovery of flux (see point 1!) proceeded to resolder them. Job done!


  1. Matt, I'm glad that you found the tips useful. A couple more if I can suggest them:

    (1) for folding small and fiddly components, I was amazed how much easier a "Hold'n'Fold" made things. You can find them at A bit pricy, but very good quality. I have the 4" one.

    (2) for soldering, there is some good advice from Carrs at You'll find a datasheet with a huge amount of information on as a free download.

    Or you could come along to the Scalefour Society's taster day on 28 February and see what the soldering session gives to you...


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