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Old 10-12-2007, 09:48 AM   #1
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Default Help: Re-tinning a soldering iron tip

Grr, this is driving me nuts.

Somebody told me once that in a pinch you could rejuvenate a deteriorated soldering iron tip by grinding it back into shape and then re-tinning it. First time I tried it, worked perfectly. Grind it so the surface is very rough (bench grinder), dunk it in flux gel, and as soon as it gets hot enough, touch the solder to it. It worked, then when that run wore out I tried it again and couldn't get it. So I gave up and threw in the spare tip, and now that one's junk and I'm trying to re-tin this one and I still can't get it to work.

Anyone heard of this trick and/or can tell me what I might be doing wrong? This is one of those cheap $8 Hobbico irons, and the only thing keeping me from tossing this one and getting another is that my LHS is a 45min drive away.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:03 AM   #2
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hey thx for the info. I will try this in the future.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:04 PM   #3
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it seems to work better for me if i wrap the tip in solder when it is cold, then turn it on and let it heat up
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:17 PM   #4
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i find they last alot longer if you make sure it is frequently tinned. just some advice. get the weller 40w with the orange handle amazing for 20 bucks.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTE_TheMissile View Post
the only thing keeping me from tossing this one and getting another is that my LHS is a 45min drive away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RB FIVE View Post
get the weller 40w with the orange handle amazing for 20 bucks.
Is there a Home Depot closer than 45 minutes away? Because if so, then you can get a Weller iron there.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saw View Post
it seems to work better for me if i wrap the tip in solder when it is cold, then turn it on and let it heat up
This is also what i do with my iron tips and i havent had a drama yet, use a dremel or other grinder to keep the tip relatively round, this will let it get hotter as it concentrates the heat around the tip instead of across a flat surface with corners. Give it a light sand with some fine sandpaper and then wrap it with fluxed solder when cold and then turn the iron on and let it heat up fully. The tip should be now clean and ready to use.

Also how do you clean your tips? Always use a damp sponge or cloth to clean old solder off the iron and i clean it on the sponge before every single solder join i do, ive had the same cheapo tip for years doing it this way.
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:28 PM   #7
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All sound like top advice.
I would keep a flat surface more heat surface to contact job, prep the tip then get your tip real hot then hit with flux and then solder to retin tip..
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:04 PM   #8
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Yeah when I grind it I usually try to restore the "screwdriver" point it came with. I always keep it tinned and wipe it across a damp sponge while I'm working. When I'm done I give both sides a final wipe and dab them in fresh solder wire before unplugging it.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:51 AM   #9
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Radio Shack sells tip cleaner/tinner that I think works great. When I got my used Hakko, the tipped looked about finished to me. But when I'm done using my iron, I turn it off and dip it into the cleaner. I think the heat needed to melt into the cleaner/tinner cools the tip off dramatically and keeps the solder on the iron.

The next time I go to use the iron it has a clean shiny tip - still the same one I thought was shot when I got the iron.

Here's a link to it on their site (I stick it right to the top of the iron's control box): http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search
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Old 10-23-2007, 04:03 PM   #10
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If you guys have a Hakko iron, NEVER sand or grind the tips. According to Hakko, the tip is made of copper (i believe) for heat conductivity. It's coated with a thin layer of steel or chrome. The steel slows down the erosion process when you solder. As soon as you wear through the steel, the erosion accellerates when it hits the copper.

Not sure if weller iron tips are similar but just giving you guys the heads up.
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