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tamigawa 06-16-2007 08:53 PM

Soldering SBS
I know Sam already did one one here, but Rick and I decided that we needed one with pics. ;)


Here are some basic tools that you'll need for soldering and working with PE in general. In addition to what is show here, you'll need some very fine steel wool, preferably 4 ought. Fluz is a nessesity, and you will need a roll of fine solid core solder. Do not get the rosin core kind. I also find a 3 hand tool usefull to hold solder in easy reach and to hold solder wick (more on this later)

Also, you will need a soldering iron. It doesn't have to be a variable temp one but, if at all possible, it should be. Mine cost about $35.00 and the tips are about $2.00-5.00 each. I usually work at about 700 degrees but you can go as low as about 250 to 400. (IIRC)

I use a extra fine tip:

a fine chisel tip:

and the most used, a fine tip:

tamigawa 06-16-2007 08:54 PM

So, let's start.

(These parts were already soldered together, I pulled them apart as I didn't really have any other PE that would be a good demonstration)

The part I will be working on is a side fender piece from Aber's Panther set. It needs to have a support bracket fitted to the bottom and a small rivet attached to the top.

First, you spread a bit of flux over the area that the part will be soldered on to. The flux helps the solder to flow into the joint and also cleans the metal.

Next, I added the rivet:

Now, after heating my iron up to 700 degrees, I flick it against the solder that is held by the 3 hand tool. You don't want too much solder, or too little. When you flick the solder, it will go "puff" and a bit of white smoke will come up. (If you can see a ball of solder on the iron, it probably needs cleaning. Use a wet sponge and wipe the tip clean. DO not use an abrasive as the tips are specially coated and it will ruin them) It is probably not a good idea to breathe the smoke in either as the solder is lead ;)

Next, using tweezers to hold the rivet in the desired position, Bring the iron to touch the joint. (Most often, if not always, I like to have the parts held together in some way, being tweezers, 3 hand, etchmate, etc. I find it makes the prosses easier) When the iron hits the flux, it will "hiss" and the solder will flow onto the joint. If the solder is not flowing, it pobably means the tip is either dirty, or the iron is not hot enough.

Here is the soldered joint:

After the part has cooled, (about 3-5 sec, depending on how big the part is and how long the iron was in contact with it) use the steel wool to clean up and excess solder.

and here is the soldered rivet:

One tip, if there is a bit of excess solder on the part, you can spread some more flux on and kind of "flood" the solder around. Then it will not be visable when paint is applied, and what is, can be either scraped off, or steel wool will take care of it.

tamigawa 06-16-2007 08:55 PM

Next, we will do the bracket.

Same drill, flux applied:

part positioned:

solder applied:


and cleaned:

Another tip. For small parts, such as rivets, wing nuts etc, you can "pre-solder" them while on the sheet. What this means is that the part is given a thin coating of solder, cut out, and then positioned. The iron is then applied to the part "dry" of solder and the heat melts the thin layer of solder, bonding the parts.

Rick did this part to demonstrate the presoldering technique. Thanks rick. :thumb:


Brackets bent and flux applied:

more flux:



and done:

tamigawa 06-16-2007 08:55 PM

One last example.

This is the hinged portion of the Panther fenders. It is a good example of how to fill a joint and how to clean up excess solder. :rolleyes:

Here I have the part bend to shape:



Now, since there is a gap on the outside where the two bits were joined, I need to fill it. No duh. ;)

For this, I don't use flux, because I want to minimize the amount of solder that is going to inevitably flow into the inside joint.

Get a liberal amount of solder on the iron, and scrape it off onto the seam.

Once this is done, the seam can be sanded smooth.

Unfortunatly, some solder had flown into the inside seam. Generally, you can just spread it out and use steel wool to clean it up, but for this I'm going to demonstrate using solder wick.

Basicaly, you want to fan out the wick like so:

this helps the wick to draw the solder. The wick should be dipped into the flux to facilitate the capilary action.

Next, and I use the 3 hand for this, hold the wick to the excess solder, and heat it up with the iron. THe wick will suck up most of the excess and what left can be dealt with steel wool. DO NOT hold the wick in your hand as it gets EXTREAMLY HOT and the solder does flow about 5-10 mm up and WILL burn you. :p

the finished joint:

And installed.

I hope this SBS will help all of you who are new to soldering and maybe even some of the veterans will pick up something. :o

RickLawler 06-16-2007 10:12 PM

The Flux is Strong in this One...

Bitchin nice Fletcher...good job and thanks...


Larry Bates 06-16-2007 10:55 PM

Very Nice sbs Fletcher-san. :thumb:

The soldering "wick" is a new one on me, where did you come by this technology?


Larry Bates 06-16-2007 10:56 PM

Sorry for the double post,, very slow right now....

Kit Stasher 06-17-2007 02:11 AM

Nice work :). Saved to the hard drive for use later.
ta, Ed

Jan Peters 06-17-2007 03:53 AM
Great SBS Fletcher! :thumb:
Jan :)

holmerz 06-17-2007 04:36 AM

Suberp SBS Fletcher & Rick. Suits me perfect, couldn't have come at a better time, thanks :thumb: .


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