Soldering Iron Description
Originating from the Latin word 'solidare' meaning 'to make solid'. Soldering irons are handheld tools that are used to fuse together two working parts together, using an alloy that when heated becomes liquid-like allowing it to flow onto the required spot or into a crevice if needed. The soldering iron itself is made of a metal tip and an insulated handle, the heating is more commonly achieved by an electrical current passing through the metal. There are some cordless soldering irons which use a catalytic heating method that uses the heat created by the mixing of two chemicals, but this kind isn't used often. The alloy used needs to be easily fusible, as in easy to melt so it can be applied without too much trouble. Also, if it is being used to connect two electrical points the alloy needs to take into account electrical properties so the flow of current is favoured. Solder wire is available in a range of thicknesses for hand-soldering.
Often used for repairs and for electrical work some soldering irons come with a kit that includes a cradle to place it between soldering tasks and a sponge to clean it. Kits also have different metal tips for soldering depending on the task at hand. There is a range of different 'tips' available that are made of a copper core plated with iron, the copper is used for heat transfer and the iron plating is used for durability, these are use specific, so for instance conical or tapered chisel tips are typically used for electronics work. Depending on what you are going to be doing or which is more comfortable you can pick accordingly. The soldering stations that some kits have can be used to control the temperature depending on what kind of alloy you are using to solder with and is most commonly used during the soldering of electronic components as the other functions may be helpful for such work; for example a rework station mainly for surface-mount components may have a hot air gun, vacuum pickup tool, and a soldering head. A desoldering station will have a desoldering head with vacuum pump for desoldering through-hole components and a soldering iron head. Even the tweezers can be useful if you want to be more exacting as the main purpose of the soldering tweezers is to melt solder in a precise place. These stands can also have a magnifying glass attached on top so as to aid visibility on smaller components.
The tips need to be cleaned regularly as the build-up of melted alloy on the tip reduces functionality by affecting the heat transfer and the shape becomes bulbous getting in the way of one's neat work!