Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
If you are interesting in making handmade jewelry or building computers and other electrical components, learning how to use a soldering gun is a worthwhile endeavor. A soldering gun is a tool that can be used to join various metal components with a melted tin-lead fusible alloy. The user must manually regulate the temperature in a soldering gun by holding the tool’s button until the solder melts, then releasing until the solder begins to solidify.
To solder, place the tip of the soldering gun directly against the area to be soldered and carefully apply the hot solder to the area where the soldering gun touches the metal. Only apply the minimum amount of solder needed to set the connection; excess solder will run into the other components of your project. Never blow on the hot solder or try to use the connection before it is completely cooled. This will create small fractures in the metal joint and weaken the bond between pieces.
If a soldering connection has been done properly, the solder will be bright and smooth. Poor soldering connections are often have sharp points or ridges and are rough, flaky, or grainy looking. If a connection is made incorrectly, you’ll need to use a de-soldering braid or a solder sucker to remove the solder and reconnect the components.
One of the most common mistakes beginners make when soldering is failing to keep the soldering gun and the components to be joined free of dirt or debris. Trying to solder components that haven’t been cleaned properly will result in weak connections. If the tip if the gun is not cleaned correctly, oxidation and deterioration may occur. Periodically running a lightly moistened cloth across the soldering gun during a lengthy work session is the best way to ensure crisp connections. However, you can also purchase special sponges and cleaning pads to care for your soldering gun.
Since traditional soldering guns can be dangerous if not used properly, many hobbyists turn to the Cold Heat Soldering Tool for their soldering needs. This battery-operated, cordless soldering gun reaches a temperature of 500 degrees, yet is cool tool to the touch just seconds after use. Since the heat is created within the special proprietary bevel tip, the Cold Heat Soldering Tool is said to be 20 times more efficient than a standard soldering gun. Optional chisel and conical tips are available to use with this type of soldering gun.
@Melonlity -- Yes, a soldering iron is probably better for working with electronics than a soldering gun is. But here's the thing. A soldering iron is great for precision, whereas a soldering gun is good for larger scale projects that require high heat and a wider area.
In other words, you just need the right tool for the job. A soldering iron is good for some jobs, whereas a soldering gun is good for others.
Meanwhile, I kind of like the cold heat soldering gun when I am using a project that needs a gun. The problem with any soldering tool is that the heat tends to linger and it is easier to burn yourself. You can avoid that risk with one of those dandy cold heat guns that cool off in a hurry. And, yes, there are cold heat soldering irons, too. They are a bit more expensive, but worth it.
I have always preferred a soldering iron to a soldering gun. If you are working with electronics, you do not want to get a soldering gun. That is because they are generally hotter and throw heat across a wider area. That means you can burn out your electronics in a hurry if you are not careful (and it is almost impossible to be careful enough with a soldering gun to avoid ruining things).
No, for electronics you need a soldering iron. They don't get as hot and it is easier to keep the heat they generated in a small area (perfect when you are working with electronics).
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!