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Soldering Iron...

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 4:59 pm
by SlotBaker
I'm in the market for a decent soldering iron, as my old good ol' Birko iron died a while ago, and I've been persevering with a cheapie stopgap one, but now need to get a bit more serious.

What do you chassis builders in Australia use and/or recommend for the piano wire and brass creations that we play with?

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:38 pm
by stoo23
Well, I guess, with almost 'specific' Reference to the Brass bit,.., Especially Larger/Thicker 'Chunks' of it,...

It's Pretty Damn Hard to go Past The Good Old Tried, Trusty and True WELLER 80 Watt unit, such as this;

weller-sp80d-marksman-soldering-iron-80watt-240-volt-50-hertz.jpg (44.02 KiB) Viewed 3725 times

In fact, a Quick Ebay search, returned This unit, at what one Could easily argue, is a pretty Damn Good Price !!
See here;

I have noticed this Series/Rating of Iron, is Also available as a 'Station' style unit, with Adjustable Temp and integrated Stand etc, which looks pretty good.

weller-wlc80d-marksman-soldering-iron-80-watt-leadlight-station-and-pencil.jpg (67.14 KiB) Viewed 3725 times

I Have used the Slightly Smaller 'Tip' as shown fitted on the 'Station' unit above and would suggest Would work very well with the Adjustable Temp', but have found the Larger 'Tips' work Better? in the Stand-Alone unit. They have a Good Surface Are on the 'Tip' to transfer plenty of Heat !!,.. :)

They DO Require a Degree of Care, like Always keeping a Wet Sponge available to keep the 'Tip' Clean etc.

I have used these for Years and am pretty sure is the Same unit that Fox has/uses as well !!

I have a feeling I also have a 'Nicholson' branded device which is intrinsically the Same, although the 'Tips' are Not interchangeable.

When attempting to Solder ANY Thick/Larger Lumps O' Brass,... there is NO Substitute for a 'Mutha' of an Iron that can Actually 'Apply' heat, instead of having the Brass act as a Heat Sink and actually 'Cooling' the Iron !!!!
Starting with Well Prepared Sanded and Clean 'bits' and using a GOOD (Acid) Flux !!

The 'Yanks', ALL seem to be Sold on 60/40, but I was SOLD on the 'concept' AND Use of good Old "Plumbers Stick" 50/50 !!, by Hutcho', Waaay back and is what I would imagine Foxy still uses as well.

In fact, whilst 60/40 CAN be used, it Was in fact 'Designed' to Exhibit Properties that DO work Far better for general electronics work, ie; that it can form Nice 'Blobbed' Joints etc,.. whereas (as one could possibly imagine, when considering it's Name), 50/50, exhibits a Greater ability to 'Flow' and provides a Very Nice finished Joint, with good Plasticity and Service life !!

Personal FLUX Likes, Uses and Dislikes vary Greatly !!,..LOL

I'm Still using some stuff that I tracked down to the Dude who Actually 'Originally' created it, (also Via a Hutcho' referral) and is Now available, as EZI-WELD 801.

It IS a VERY 'Capable' and Excellent Flux,.. in some ways, Hard to Beat/Go Past,... BUT,....
The stuff IS "Aggressive" !!,... 'Things', DO Require GOOD Cleaning afterwards AND During !!,.. lol

Personally, I really Don't Mind having to do that, as part of my building Process.

Fox used to use it as well, although I am pretty sure he has found and is using a Different and Obviously 'effective' Flux, that is Less Aggressive than the 801.


Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:59 pm
by stoo23
There is Also a 'Particular' "TYPE" / Generic "MODEL" Number Soldering Station, that is generally available from a Gazillion Different Sources AND Prices, on Ebay, that was Either a 60 or 80 Watt Unit, that Can be had for anything from about $39.00 odd and Above, that Does work quite well and I have in fact been thinking of Getting one.

Wayne B, used to sell the Very Same Units at Raceworld !!

When/If I can find a 'suitable' 'Link' / 'Reference', I will add to my 'Post'


PLUS,.. a Really 'Narky' device, that Especially for MY "Breifcase" Pit 'Bags',, would be Great for Simple & Quick requirements, whilst at the Track, is a Great 'Set of Bits' as used by Lindsay Byron !!

It has I believe, a USB style Iron, attached to a really Nice and Slim, rectangular Control and Temp Display unit, that is Powered by your common, typical 'Laptop' Power Supply !!

I have No details of the Above 'device', but 'Have a Look', next time you see him.

He may even 'chime-in' himself,.. :)

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:24 pm
by SlotBaker
Stoo, many thanks for the info.

I had a Weller 80watter (simmilar to your link) a few years ago, but it didn't last all that long.
I was doing a fair bit of soldering on onw job, and the iron was on for about 30minutes, and ended up cooking itself to dull red hot. It was never any good after that. Maybe I just got a dud, but have tended to shy away from Weller because of it.

The old Birko 100watt I had for 30years could stay on for hours on end and always work well. But it finally died. There's a 200 watt one on ebay atm, but that's a smidge too big. :o

I was thinking of Hakko, but that WLC 80D looks interesting, so will check it out further.

I'd also be interest to have a look at that 'generic' one if you can find the link.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:25 am
by brady
Hi Steve.Mate I have an 80 watt Weller station ( same as in Stoo's photo)and your wellcome to it..You will have to find some tips is all.The other thing I recommend is going on ebay and looking for the station Stoo mentioned.They are cheap and work fantastic and you can also get some great chisel tips for them on ebay as well,but they do come with a variety of tips.My station has WEP 942 stamped on the front.But if you want the Weller its all yours.Regards Brad.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 10:59 am
by SlotBaker
Hi Brad, that's very generous of you, and I'll take you up on that.
I've got some copper rod that I can turn down and make all manner of tips, so that would be great.

My plan is to get an 80 watt for the heavy stuff, and something with a bit more finesse for the finer stuff, plus electrical fiddley bits.

Couldn't find your WEP 942, but could only find 'Hakko' 942??? :?

I was looking at WEP stations, and they look OK, but don't know anything about them.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 11:48 am
by Mark Fox
Yep as Stoo says I use a Weller 80 watt currently but previously used a Weller 100 watt which I would recommend.

My100 watt iron died after many years of service and I had the 80 job already so just started to use that. Either work fine but if I was to buy a new one I would go for the 100 as 100 can do anything the 80 can but the 80 cannot do everything the 100 can.

I reckon you were unlucky with you Weller Steve as I have had years of service from mine - I used to use a 120 Lotring years ago and they are also very good irons.

I have never used a station with any of these irons - I just fire them up and go.

I have a small heat controlled iron that I use at the track and at home for lead wires and pinions as it heats up in 30 sec and does not run the same chance of cooking the motor terminals.

For solder I have always used plumbers 50/50 bar solder for building.

Hope this helps although I reckon Brad has got you sorted.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 12:02 pm
by neiljb
I have been using a WEP 937D for a couple of years without complaint. I understand it is a Chinese knockoff of the Hakko and is considerably cheaper than the original. As Stoo mentioned you see them on EBay from $39 upwards. I think I paid around $50. You see a lot of them around the pits.
However Brads generous offer is hard to beat.
I also have one of the digital temperature control units that Lyndsey uses, mounted in my pit box. It works a treat. The only drawback is, if you don't have a donor laptop charger, they can be expensive to buy. If you are at the Geoghan drop by and I will give you a demo.
Unless you really want to make your own tips, you can buy complete handles on EBay for a couple of bucks. Cheap and nasty Chinese knockoff and they don't last long, but the price is right. I usually buy a couple at a time.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 1:30 pm
by SlotBaker
Thanks Mark and Neil, all good info.
Neil, only a 10% chance of being at the Geoghan, so probably catch up next Retro round.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 2:34 pm
by brady
No worries Steve,I'll just keep bringing down to HSC starting this Sat.until your there.Regards Brad.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:16 pm
by SlotBaker
Brad, excellent.
Many thanks.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:06 am
by brady
Hi Steve.You mentioned making your own tips.Does the raw copper give a clean run like the iron coated tips..Thanks Brad.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 12:44 pm
by SlotBaker
Hi Brad, I've not noticed any problems with the copper tips, or thought about doing a comparison, so can't definitively answer your question.

Once the tips are tinned, I'd imagine they would be very similar in performance.

The first time I was aware of the 'iron coated' tips, I just thought it was a cost saving measure, rather than for better performance.

Has anyone else got any thoughts on Brad's question??


Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 8:03 pm
by Greg Erskine
I have always "assumed" copper tips are plated to extend their life by protecting the copper from the flux.

Re: Soldering Iron...

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 12:03 am
by stoo23
Yes,.. (sort of), but would you believe it Actually has More to do with helping to 'Protect' the Copper from being Eroded by 'Lead Free' Solder !!

Remember 'Savbit' ??

If you are going to be using Copper Only 'tips', then it would be advisable to use Solder containing Lead.