Author Topic: How do I keep components neat when I solder  (Read 11953 times)

MikeM

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How do I keep components neat when I solder
« on: December 10, 2013, 06:18:14 AM »
Hey folks

I've found that I need to bend the leads of my components before soldering them, otherwise I end up with them sitting relatively sloppily and skew on the pcb.

Any tricks to keeping them looking neat and trim?

Thanks

rullywowr

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 06:29:37 AM »
Get some blue tac poster putty. This is a neat trick.  Simply put the component through the hole and hold into place with the putty. Also makes a great way to hold the PCB on your table while doing this. Chromesphere has a great video on this.

I have a panavise but barely use it anymore when soldering PCBs.  Just a nice ball of blue poster putty is all you need.  :)



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muddyfox

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 07:41:04 AM »

Ditto!

I used to use that third hand alligator clamp thingy but after discovering blutack (mine is yellow and a bit harder than I'd like but it's the only one available around here) all that's history.

GermanCdn

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 09:40:24 AM »
While I've used the blue tack, I'm not as big a fan of it as most.  What I've found works really well is to use a sanding sponge to work off of.  The grit gives enough friction to keep the components from slipping, and there's enough give in the sponge to seat the component right up against the board.  But both methods work well.
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muddyfox

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 09:58:31 AM »

sanding sponge? this thing here?


I've used this for sanding but the sanding surface doesn't have any give, let alone enough to sink the entire component in there?
Or is there a different sanding sponge, this is the only thing I've ever seen locally...

GermanCdn

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 10:17:21 AM »
That's the one.  You have to work it in a bit beforehand (bend it back and forth to break it up a bit).  Works fine for passives, IC sockets, SIP sockets.  I don't use it for electros, for those I use Scotch brite pads.
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muddyfox

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 10:20:26 AM »

Huh... interesting. I'm gonna try this the next time I go to the hardware store...

davent

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 10:21:49 AM »
First work from lowest to highest when soldering components, so place all the resisitors if they're lowest, flip the board and solder them in. Haven't tried the Blutack trick yet but use a much hacked third hand to hold the pcb while it rests on an elevated surface, a handy chunk of wood. May need to place something on top of the board to hold the components in place while you flip it.

Place the next tallest components, flip and solder.

Just work one size of component at a time or things do slip through the holes and end up all skewed. If things do slip from where you want them you can reheat the pad anytime later on and push the component lead back down through the hole and square things up.

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jkokura

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 10:58:51 AM »
Piece of cardboard works for me, like a business card or something. I often will place the parts on the PCB, then put the card on top, squeeze them as I flip them, and keep them together till I put it down on my desk. Once there, the parts usually lay flat, and I can solder them in just fine.

However, sometimes I solder in just one leg of each componant, then I flip it, make sure the parts are in nice and flat, straight and even. If/when they are, I flip it back and solder the other sides.

I do bend resistor legs in, that way they stay a little bit better. Sometimes on caps too, but usually they're fine with the business card method.

I work from 'shortest' to 'tallest', which really helps with my method. It's way easy to load in all the resistors and keep the board lying flat on my desk to solder in those parts. Really helps when you get up over 40 resistors, like in a CE-2 clone or the like. Diodes are next, followed by SIP sockets and trim pots. next are the DIP sockets 'cause they're a little taller. Next comes short box caps, followed by taller box caps. I put the smallest types of caps in next, and bend the leads a bit to get them to stay. Electros are next, then usually I'm on to the pots and testing.

Business cards man. Gotta put those suckers to new use in this digital age.

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 11:26:51 AM »
Here's Chromesphere's great video on the subject.  I really enjoy this method used along with what Jacob mentioned: tacking one side in...ensuring it is straight and then finishing up both leads. 

« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 11:28:39 AM by rullywowr »



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MikeM

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 11:37:57 AM »
Never thought I'd get such a good response. Thanks guys!!!

I think a combination between working in levels and using blutack will get my boards looking great!

skadogg

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2014, 08:21:36 PM »
Is there something special about this Blu-Tack, or can I just use normal poster putty? Here's what I found available nearby: Scotch Removable Mounting Putty (http://tgt.biz/1dgN7c3).

jkokura

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2014, 08:36:36 PM »
Same stuff.

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das234

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2014, 09:56:07 PM »
Good ideas out there.  I haven't heard anyone say tape yet, so... tape.  For resistors, diodes and flat stuff, I pop 'em in and put a piece of blue masking tape to hold them (kind of like the blue putty does but I haven't used putty yet.)  Like others have said, I always solder one leg to tack the part in then make sure it's in place properly before soldering the other leg(s) and finally I reflow the first leg to make sure it's in right.

alanp

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Re: How do I keep components neat when I solder
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2014, 10:17:58 PM »
I bend leads for resistors, diodes, capacitors, LED's and LDR's (with blu-tac for the LDRs to get the right height), and use blu-tac for sockets.

Practice'll get you there, plus start with the short components (resistors and diodes), then the higher ones (box caps), and so on.
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