Author Topic: Solder Iron Station  (Read 4172 times)

madbean

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Re: Solder Iron Station
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 09:47:13 AM »
After polishing with Scotch Brite, did you clean with Acetone? That is extremely important. Are you tinning your iron tip with solder pretty frequently? When soldering, try to heat the lead and pad together with the tip. You should be able to flow solder after about 2-3 seconds this way. If you have a lot of flux, you can clean it with a lightly damped toothbrush. That will take it right off.


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Here's a quick tutorial on how I prep boards in case it comes in handy for someone. I polish it with two things. First is a 3M foam sanding pad, around 330grit. This removes burrs around the edges of the board and flattens the pads out. Next, I polish with either 000 steel wool, or lately with an alternative that is similar in grit but in pad form (steel wool is freaking nasty). The polishing is done first along the two axes of the board, then in cross hatch. This gets it pretty dirty, but it cuts very fine grooves into the copper, which is what makes solder adhere easily. Lastly, I clean both sides vigorously with Acetone and a paper towel. When the towel comes away clean, the board is ready.

This is really only good for a few days, though. The copper will start to oxidize around day two. Over a longer period of time, the traces will become very dark and somewhat discolored, and the board will need to be polished and cleaned again before soldering. This is part of the reason I'm starting to tin the hand-made boards again, because it prevents that oxidation from happening. That way if you don't build one for a few weeks or months it will look exactly the same as the day it arrived.

gtr2

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Re: Solder Iron Station
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2010, 10:21:04 AM »
Thanks guys!  I am cleaning and tinning and heating as described...  I think madbean nailed my problem.  I have no trouble soldering anything else except the copper clad pads.  I did not clean the board other than the scotchbrite.  I've had the boards since August and I believe they oxidized more than I thought.

Thanks again, and for the tip with the rubbing alcohol!

Josh
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