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What are the different types of soldering irons?

Ceramic heating element for soldering iron

Soldering is the process of melting an alloy (solder) into a joint and joining two or more metal objects together using a tool called a soldering iron. A soldering iron is shaped like a stick or pen and has a metal tip that can be heated to melt the solder. The tool can be used for plumbing, electronics, circuit boards, and even to make jewelry. In this article, we’ll look at gas welding and soldering irons, welding guns, and the different tips and types of solder you can use with.

Different types of soldering iron tips  
Depending on the type of project you are working on, you may need different types of soldering tips.  Tips come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small tips to large wedges.  Here, we take a look at six common styles you might want, as well as the types of work these techniques can be used for. Please note that these tips are used with gas soldering irons and electric models will have a similar, but possibly smaller style.  

1. Small hole tip for concentrated area
Small hole tip for concentrated area

2. Larger tips for pipe work
Larger tips for pipe work

3. Fan tips for larger sections of pipe
Fan tips for larger sections of pipe

4. Pointed tips for connecting joints, used for tin-smithing
Pointed tips for connecting joints, used for tin-smithing

5. Wedge tip for larger surface areas
Wedge tip for larger surface areas

6. Sharp tip for delicate work
Sharp tip for delicate work

7. Electric Soldering Kits 
An electric soldering iron kit is a great all-around standard choice for your project. It’s affordable and versatile, as the kit comes with several different tips to use. Rod irons are usually lighter and easier to use than soldering guns or air guns, but they may not be as hot. The soldering iron will have a dial that allows you to control the temperature, depending on the project you’re working on and the material you need to melt. This type of soldering iron also requires an outlet to use, unlike a gas version, which is cordless and more portable. In general, an electric welding kit is a good choice for starting smaller home projects that you may be working on. 
Electric Soldering Kits

8. Types of Solder 
Solder is a molten material that is then joined together by two different metals. It is an alloy whose melting point varies according to the mixing of the materials. Lead and tin are common metals, but alloys can also be made of zinc, brass, copper, or silver. The one you choose for your project must have a lower melting point than the object you want to add, and your soldering iron must be able to reach a high enough temperature to actually melt the solder.
You’ll find that the three main types of solder are lead-based, lead-free, and flux cores. The most common ratio for lead-based solders is 60/40, where 60% tin and 40% lead form the mixture. The higher ratio makes it easier to melt and produces harder joints, making it one of the strongest materials you can weld with. Lead-free soldiers are more commonly used in consumer electronics. Lead-free solder has a higher melting point than lead alloy solder. Then there is the solder wire with flux core. The product has resin built-in adhesion because flux eliminates oxidation from the metal leading to a better working surface.
Types of Solder

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