my soldering looks lterrible!!

FrizzleOctober 29, 2009

Some help please? Pointers, tips, tricks, should I hire it out??? LOL

I don't feel like my soldering iron is heating up enough, there seems to be a lot of "lag time" waiting for the solder to flow.... then it runs all over the place!

Grrr. I'm frustrated.

Can you explain the basic technique to getting it to look less like a volcanic eruption all over my project and more like those nice smooth thin lines???

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chinatreasures

Don't hire it out to me ~ I've got plenty to solder!!

First, let us know what wattage your iron is and whether you use a reostat; also what type of solder you're using (lead or non-lead).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 1:11PM
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Frizzle

ok... It's a weller iron SP-80 80w/120v with mastercraft lead free solder.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:58AM
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chinatreasures

Ok, that iron is a little weak for lead free solder but it can be done. Actually I use a little 60 w iron and lead free solder for my decorative dots and some of my pendants.

Be sure you are using plenty of flux. Flux will help the solder flow. Also, be patient, since you have a low wattage iron it will take a little time to heat up the solder and get it flowing.

Are you soldering stained glass or making jewelry? Also, what size tip are you using on your iron?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Frizzle

I tried a simple glass project, copper foiled it, gel flux and the lead free solder. The tip is 1/4" but I have a 3/8" one also.

Is 1/4" too big? too little? What about the 3/8"

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 9:55AM
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chinatreasures

I usually use a 1/4" tip but I think it's easier to learn with a 3/8" tip. After your initial deposit of solder, you will need more flux if you heat up the solder in that spot again. When you have laid down a layer of solder, reflux that line and slowly pull your iron on the solder to get a smoother bead. Start at a joint and finish at a joint. Soldering takes a LOT of practice! Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:22AM
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Frizzle

Ooooh, reflux after the solder first melts and set up to smooth it out??

I'll try that and see if it gets better...

Now, do I melt the solder onto the tip or near the tip? over, under, beside?? what's the best method?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:25AM
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Frizzle

WOOHOO!!

that worked! I needed more flux!

Doesn't look that bad now! I'm post a photo when I get to my home computer.....

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 2:11PM
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shasta_2008

Don't go over it too much at once cause if that glass gets too hot it will crack and you don't want to have to take it all apart to repair one piece! It happened to me before, but the smooth lines take practice.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Calamity_J

Good advice Shasta...that has been one of my continuosly painful lessons...cracking the glass!!! Grrr!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Frizzle

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:29AM
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texaswild

BEAUTIFUL. Isn't this forum great?!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 10:15AM
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Frizzle

Thanks. I can see where I didn't have the foil burnished against the glass enough on the blue piece on the left.

This was just a simple thing to test it out. I have a ton of those bezeled pieces to use as well.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:32AM
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silvamae

I love when this happens, when someone needs help and comes here and gets it. This forum is a great place.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:26PM
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iminmystudio

It looks great you will find the foil will also come away from the glass if you over heat it, in parts it looks as though you could use a lot more solder than what you have on here, sometimes it's easier if you use more as you aren't having to try and drag it along, it will just run along the foil, also more solder adds strength to the seams.
Now you've started you won't be able to stop!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 7:02PM
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Frizzle

How do you clean up the edges if it gets blobby? hold it up on end or smooth it while it's laying flat?

And what about some sort of hanging thing?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:16AM
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chinatreasures

Great job! For the edges, re-flux and add more solder to get a nice rounded edge while you stand the suncatcher on its edge. You can also add more solder to the seams.

For hanging, you can add small rings (jewelry jump rings or make your own from 20g wire by wrapping it around the barrel of a phillips screwdriver or ice pick). Flux the ring, flux where you will attach it and attach with a small amount of solder.

For a suncatcher this small, you could just put the rings on the corners. One ring on one corner (or two corners) and use fishing line to hang.

You may even consider embellishing it with beads. Put a ring on opposite corners and add beads to the bottom (and/or top) ring with beading wire and crimps or just put the beads on a head pin and attach to the ring.

Very nice job for a first try!!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 9:31AM
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