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Understanding Soldering


I want to learn more about soldering. I want to understand how
metals heat and how to make accurate, well-fitting joints. Can
anyone give me more on “T” joints, butt joints, curved
joints, connections and cleanup. I need someone to help me out with
different styles of soldering such as pick style for precision,
stick soldering for larger pieces and chip soldering.


Dear R,

The best way to learn is to experiment. Take scraps and solder
various shaped pieces on to each other. Watch when, how and where the
solder flows in relation to the shape and thickness of the piece in
relation to the placement of your heat source. Use the various temps
of solder and see what they do. Try various metals, each has their
own “personality” A good exercise for torch control is to solder
balls of solder together without melting the ball shape, like making
a tall snowman. Basically just know that

  1. Solder won’t fill a gap, so file your pieces to an exact fit, hold
    it up to a light and see if any light shines through.

  2. Solder won’t flow across dirt, make sure the pieces are free of
    any dirt, oils and oxidation then apply flux.

  3. Solder flows toward the greatest heat, so position solder on one
    side of the piece and draw it through with the torch. You want the
    two pieces at the join to heat evenly, you will see that the larger
    part will need more heat than the smaller or thinner part.

That should get you started.
Have fun, Marta