Soldering iron is an inexpensive hand tool primarily used in soldering joints. It provides sufficient heat to melt the solder which allows the wire to flow to the fitting between two workpieces. The soldering iron also serves to strengthen the joint because of the heat it produces. This tool is ideal for soldering joints in metal and plastic materials. Its fast heating properties make it very useful for soldering joints that are hard to install or repair.
A soldering iron tip comes in different shapes and sizes. The two most common types are the flat tip and the round tip. Their differences lie in the number of points at the end of the wire, the size and shape of the tip, and the overall diameter of the tool.
The flat-top soldering iron has a single heat-heated metal tip and is mostly used with soldering irons with flat bases. It has a consistent heat distribution. Because of its single heated metal tip, you can rely on its heat efficiency during soldering operations. This hand tool is ideal for projects where the soldering iron will be used on a flat surface. The soldering iron’s large surface area makes it ideal for soldering thin joints and fastening small diameters of wiring.
The round soldering iron has a flat heat-heated plate and is more versatile than the flat top version. Due to its larger heat-heated area, the round version is able to attain higher temperatures than the flat tip. It has a larger surface area and can withstand higher temperatures than the flat tip.
The soldering iron can reach the melting point of tin, lead, aluminum, copper or brass at about 650 degrees Celsius. It can melt the excess solder in the connection at a lower temperature. You can use this tool to melt the joint at almost any temperature. Its larger surface also ensures that it is easy to grip and use.
The solder-to-ferrous flux-cored soldering iron makes it easier to handle. It has a stainless steel body, an adjustable weld shield, and a plated base. It can hold up to two-third more weight compared to its counterpart. You can use the heat-safe solder-to-ferrous flux-cored soldering station to complete almost any project, even those that require stronger chemicals.
The tip of the soldering iron can have different designs. Some have ball bearings that allow for more tactile feedback when you place the tip over the metal parts to be soldered. The designs also determine the heat range that the tool can operate at. For example, if you are welding aluminum components, the tip with an elongated design is ideal because you can uniformly heat the aluminum without exposing yourself to the concentrated heat of the soldering iron. However, if you want to have uniform heat coverage, you can opt for the flat tip soldering iron, which allows for a circular heat pattern even when the metal parts are heated to a specific temperature.
There are some differences between the three basic types of soldering irons available in the market today. For instance, the corded soldering iron uses an electrical current to transfer the heat. Instead of relying on the heating element, the corded tool allows you to hold the iron close to the metal while using a rotary motion. Meanwhile, the hand tool is designed to work at a faster rate than its corded counterpart. It is operated using a safety switch that prevents the user from potentially burning his fingers when the heated metal tip is exposed to the concentrated heat. The hand tool is also designed to prevent you from accidentally touching the heated part and risking the chances of electrical injuries.